GFWC Woman's Club of Beckley

Club History - Part II

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Part I                                                                                                                                  Part II
 

The Next Fifty Years

 

1960 - 2010

 

Presidents of the 1960s:  Mrs. Robert (Margaret) Thompson, Jr. (1959-61), Mrs. Paul (Claire) Phipps (1961-63), Mrs. Fred K. (Lucy) Hays (1963-66), Mrs. George Warren (Muriel) Hodel (1966-68), Mrs. Robert H. (Anabel) Frilen (1968-70)
 
     The 1960s saw a total remodeling of the clubhouse including a bright, new kitchen.  The clubwomen gave hours of work to the Epic Drama (Honey in the Rock), published a Centennial Cookbook (1963), did everything to raise money - holding hobby shows, taking donations and awarding a car, pie socials, bridge parties, and more.  It was in this decade that the club sponsored the "Friends of the Raleigh County Library" organization with a clubwoman becoming charter president.  The local library has always been a major concern to the club, and used-book sales have been conducted annually by clubwomen to assist in it's growth.      

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Beckley Appalachian Arts & Crafts Festival (click to enlarge)

     They held dinners for honor students from Woodrow Wilson High School, saw the birth of the Appalachian Arts and Crafts Festival, which became so large it was turned over to the Chamber of Commerce with the club assisting, as they do to this day, and put forth strong efforts in the building of the YMCA.  In 1965 the club spearheaded the organization of the Woman's Auxiliary of Appalachian Regional Hospital, to be called the "Pink Ladies."  Another major project was the assistance with the organization of the Raleigh County Historical Society.
 

Presidents of the 1970s:  Mrs. Harry F. (Connie) Cooper (1970-72), Mrs. Charles S. (NancyPat) Lewis (1972-1974), Mrs. James L. (Frankie)Wheeler (1974-76), Mrs. Maxine Dozier (1976-78), Mrs. John F. (Anne)Miller (1978-80)
 
     When the new Raleigh County Library was built, the club furnished the Heritage Room and has continued to purchase other needed equipment.  The clubhouse got a "facelift" including the replacement of the stage curtains, the addition of louvered doors to the club room, new window treatments, new paint, new glass display cabinets, and a large breakfront (a gift from the Civic Department).
 
     Constant assistance to the Pearl Buck Foundation has been made by the Woman's Club of Beckley.  Each of our presidents has made known the need for keeping this Foundation going.  During the 1970s there was the addition of a Community Affairs Department, a Books for Beginners project, a Guided Reading Course, and a rating as the best large club in the state in 1975.  Many first-place honors on the state level went to our artists, writers, and craftswomen. 

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Youth Museum

     In the late 70s wildlife pictures, the state bird, animal, and tree pictures were presented to thirteen area schools.  Annual style shows were held, and the giving of time and money to other major projects continued.  When the Education Department sponsored the Youth Museum of Southern West Virginia, they gave a special gift to everyone in southern West Virginia.
 

Presidents of the 1980s:  Mrs. J. L. (Nelle) Keefer (1980-84), Mrs. James (Gerry) Sibray (1984-86), Mrs. Richard (Connie) Meadows (1986-88), Mrs. Anna Rose Parker (1988-1990) 
 
     In addition to furthering previous projects, the 80s decade is marked by the Annual Library Used Book Sale, the March of Dimes, the sponsoring of the Miss Teen West Virginia Contest, the L.P.N. Reception (a reception for 350 Licensed Practical Nurse graduates), a Community Beautification project, fashion shows, card party desserts, and the carpeting of the clubhouse as well as some major repairs.   
 
     One of the highlights of this decade was the observance of the club's 75th Diamond Anniversary.  The program, "You've Come A Long Way, Baby," was written and presented by the members to recall many past accomplishments and look forward to many more years of community service.  Membership at this time was 285 paid members.
    
 
Presidents of the 1990s:  Mrs. Anna Rose Parker (1990-92), Mrs. J. L. (Nelle) Keefer (1992-94), Mrs. Lorraine Cantley (1994-96), Mrs. Kathryne Williams (1996-98), Mrs. Danny McMillion (1998-1999).  Mrs. Gladys Gwynn (1999-2000) 
 
     The Woman's Club continued to participate in the Arts and Crafts Festival, work on Random Acts of Kindness, had a "Kids in the Garden" project with the Youth Museum, held a rummage sale, sponsored a booth for "Chili Night" in uptown Beckley, worked on Libraries 2000, which provides books for West Virginians, and helped with the newly organized Veteran's All Wars Museum

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Beckley's Mayor Emmitt Pugh Cutting the Ribbon (click to enlarge)

Remodeling of the Outside Clubhouse and Grounds
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New Parking Lot with Handicapped-Accessable Entra0nce (c;lick to enlarge)

     In 1997 the clubhouse was struck by lightning, and estimates to restore electricity to the building brought attention to the old wiring, the new city codes, the antiquated furnace, and other needs for safety.  The total cost of the renovation was exhorbitant, and this meant having to forfit some of their other projects in order to preserve the building.  So the highlight of the 90s was the extensive renovation of the clubhouse inside and out with the addition of a handicaped-accessable parking lot and entrance.  Finally, in 1999 a Gala Ribbon Cutting and Open House Celebration was held.
 
 
Presidents of the 2000s:  Mrs. Nancy Pat Lewis-Smith (2000-2002),  Mrs. Kathryne Williams (2002-2004), Mrs. Nancy Pat Lewis-Smith (2004-2006), Mrs. James (Linda) Ramsey (2006-2008), Mrs. Mary Abbott (2008-2010)    

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Susan Landis, Director of Beckley Area Foundation

     Besides the continuation of existing projects and activities, the highlight of the new millennium was a program called "Extraordinary Women," which honored outstanding women in the community.  The GFWC President's Project, "Count 10 for Kids," and the GFWC WV President's project, "Restoration of the Anna Jarvis Birthplace Museum," were major concerns.  In 2003 the Beckley Woman's Club reactivated their Junior Department (see Scrapbook).  And in March of 2003 the club launched a website (www.beckleywomansclub.org), thanks to new member, Marcia Fairlie. 
 

     The following year the club celebrated GFWC Federation Day.  Beckley mayor, Emmett Pugh, read a Proclamation from the front steps recognizing our achievements and proclaiming April 24th as our Federation Day (see Photo Alubm 2004). Supporting the Beckley Art Group and their building project was important to the club in the second half of this decade.  In 2009 the Beckley Woman's Club will have a grand celebration in honor of their 100th year since being organized.

 

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     In 2010 Shari Jones became president of the Beckley Woman's Club.  Shari runs a catering business and started providing a light lunch or supper to members before the meetings.  Also, membership increased due to the efforts of Kathryne Williams, membership chairman. The Woman's Club embarked on many new activities that year, many of which were related to our 100th anniversary including the Ladies of Vision plaque, a parade downtown, and a trip to the WV Capitol for a recognition award presented by the Legislature. 

     One of our biggest projects in 2011 was with conservation - recycling bottle caps into a beautiful flower garden art-form. We also made ornaments for a Victorian Christmas Tree, which was displayed at Beckley's Festival of Trees at the mall and later auctioned off with profits going to the United Way. 

 

 Club Presidents  1959-2017

 
   1959-1961   Mrs. Robert Thompson, Jr.
   1961-1963   Mrs. Paul Phipps
   1963-1966   Mrs. Fred K. Hays
   1966-1968   Mrs. George Warren Hodel
   1968-1970   Mrs. Robert H. Frilen
   1970-1972   Mrs. Harry F. Cooper
   1972-1974   Mrs. Charles S. Lewis
   1974-1976   Mrs. James L Wheeler
   1976-1978   Mrs. Maxine Dozier
   1978-1980   Mrs. John F. Miller
   1981-1984   Mrs. J. L. Keefer
   1984-1986   Mrs. James Sibray
   1986-1988   Mrs. Richard Meadows
   1988-1990   Mrs. Anna Rose Parker
 
 
   1990-1992   Mrs. Anna Rose Parker
   1992-1994   Mrs. J. L. Keefer
   1994-1996   Mrs. Lorraine Cantley
   1996-1998   Mrs. Kathryne Williams
   1998-1999   Mrs. Danny McMillion
   1999-2000   Mrs. Gladys Gwynn
   2000-2002   Mrs. Nancy Pat Lewis-Smith
   2002-2004   Mrs. Kathryne Williams
   2004-2006   Mrs. Nancy Pat Lewis-Smith
   2006-2008   Mrs. James (Linda) Ramsey
   2008-2010   Mrs. Mary Abbott
   2010-2012   Shari Jones
   2012-2012   Mrs. Harry (Karen) Faulk
   2012-2014   Linda Polly
   2016-2017   Linda Conte
 
 

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Email:  mrfairlie@yahoo.com