Rochester Junior Woman’s Club Celebrates 60 Years in the Community

In 1956, 16 Rochester women; Robin Blanton, Joan Brann, Marilyn Brooks, Mary Burke, Mary Eberline, Peg Fetterly, Eveline Goble, Pat Henry, Ruth Herkless, Helen Mair, Kathy Crowe McAfee, Tommy Nirider, Gwen Ott, Ibbie Price, Leonore Talley and Katy Upton, came together to help the Rochester community be a better place to live.

RJWC Past Presidents 60th Anniversary

RJWC Past Presidents 60th Anniversary

And, today, 60 years later, RJWC is still making a difference, fundraising and contributing to community betterment programs and organizations.

The nonprofit, which counts almost 100 local woman as its members, celebrated its 60th anniversary on April 21 at the Rochester Community House. Approximately 100 past and current club members, 20 past presidents and club members attended the event.

The celebration began at 6:30 with a social hour that included group photos of the past presidents. Appetizers and light refreshments were served while guests viewed tables displaying items of club memorabilia, event programs, club and community awards; even the famous Red Stocking Revue “legs” were on display. Videos of past Red Stocking Revues were played in the background providing great entertainment and amusement to all in attendance.

At 7:30 the festivities officially began as Club President Lisa Belisle welcomed everyone and then introduced local dignitaries who presented proclamations in honor of the anniversary; Kim Russell Mayor Pro-Tem City of Rochester, Mark Tisdel City Council Rochester Hills, Michael Webber State of Michigan Representative as well as another received from the General Federation of Women’s Clubs.

Lisa Belisle led a champagne toast to the club’s 60 years in the community, more than 1 million hours of community service and more than $890,000.00 donated to local charities and organizations.

The guests were welcomed and program began as past president Nancy Kamman and president elect Alicia Chenhalls provided a colorful walk down memory lane with “60 Years of RJWC”, noting the significant changes that have occurred in RJWC since 1956 because of the accomplishments of the women, past and present, who have unselfishly given of their time, talents and support to the Rochester Community over the past 60 years. Followed by special guest and past member Joan Allen who share an amusing and sentimental story of the “Early Years” in Juniors and the Red Stocking Review. Members also took a moment to remember past presidents who have passed away.

In a special tribute to the club, each of the past presidents in attendance took a few minutes to share what RJWC has meant to them as well as special memories from their year as Club President. Presidents began in order of their Presidency, Pauline Schafer, Wendy Waldrup, Grace Norton (read by Wendy Waldrup), Nancy Kamman, Toni Wiley, Patty Walklet, Lynn Marie Oates, Michelle Vitale, Jeanette Mixon (read by Deanna Gross), Kim Dolenga, Linda Dill, Marianne Koller (read by Alicia Chenhalls) and Kathy Lewis. Although the club has changed through the years along with its members, the one thing that held true as each of the past presidents spoke was the special place the club holds in their hearts, the life long friends they have made and their ongoing dedication to the community.

Local author (and husband of past president Candy Lytle), Bob Lytle provided copies of poems he had written over the years for the Red Stocking Revues. Also, John Modetz, long time Red Stocking Revue performer, was unable to attend but sent along his memories of performing.

The Rochester Junior Woman’s Club is very proud to have been serving the community since 1956. In it’s early years, RJWC participated in launching many local landmarks including Crittenton Hospital, Rochester Hills Public Library, Rochester Community House and the OPC to name a few.

RJWC is often most remembered for their performances of the Red Stocking Revue, a variety show with many local community members who participated for many years. The last Red Stocking Revue was held in 2001, the club’s 45th anniversary.

Each year, the club designates projects for members to work on, and those have left indelible marks on the city over the decades. Members of RJWC have helped found many institutions in the Rochester community; Rochester Community House, Crittenton Hospital, Rochester Hills Public Library, Rochester YMCA, Older Persons Commission (OPC) and the League of Women Voters all were started with the support of club members.

The club hosts fundraisers throughout the year to make contributions to various groups. This year the club has hosted three annual events; the Lobster Boil was held on September 26 and “Spring Highlights” Luncheon and Shopping Boutique was held on March 19 at the Royal Park Hotel and the “Haute to Trot” Kentucky Derby Event at Twin Lakes Golf & Swim Club on May 7.

Much of the club’s day-to-day work is still very impactful on the community. They provides hands on support to the Paint Creek Center for the Arts, Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm including the annual Stonewall Pumpkin Festival, the Older Persons Commission, and Dinosaur Hill Nature Center. They also provide two scholarships annually through the Greater Rochester Community Foundation.

In addition, past fundraisers have benefited Avon Players, Band of Angels, Blessings in a Backpack, Crittenton Hospital Foundation, Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve, Leader Dogs for the Blind, Meadow Brook Center for Learning Differences, Meadow Brook Hall, Meadow Brook Hall Garden Club, Older Persons Commission (OPC), Paint a Miracle, Paint Creek Center for the Arts, Rainbow Connection, Rochester Area Neighborhood House, Rochester Community House, Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm, Rochester Hills Public Library, Rochester Symphony Orchestra (RSO), South Oakland Shelter, and many other organizations.

Proceeds from the club’s upcoming fundraising events will go to benefit Friends of the Paint Creek Trail, RARA’s SCAMP program, Rochester Symphony Orchestra, and Vista Maria’s Wings program.

Rochester Junior Woman’s Club welcomes new members all year long. Meetings are held the third Thursday of every month, September through May at the Rochester Community House at 7:00 p.m.

If you are interested in learning more information about the club please Alicia at 248-310-5979 or achenhalls@yahoo.com. You can also visit their website at www.rjwc.org or follow them on Facebook at “Rochester Junior Woman’s Club”.

Speak Your Mind

*