First lady speaks at club anniversary

VIENNA – The GFWC Parkersburg Woman’s Club marked another milestone in its long history Tuesday as the club celebrated its 110th birthday.

“Today we’re celebrating 110 years of service to the community,” said Patty Miser, president of the Parkersburg club.

Joanne Jaeger Tomblin, first lady of West Virginia, spoke to more than 100 club members and guests attending the birthday luncheon Tuesday at the Parkersburg Country Club.

Tomblin spoke about the benefits provided by the club to the local community and the importance of service to the community.

“It’s the idea of women passing on their service and their ideas to the next generation,” she said.

Tomblin said among the things that struck her were all of the changes which have occurred in the past 110 years and looking ahead at all that might change in the next 100 years.

“It’s fabulous that any club can make 110 years. This club is very special. They have a large number of women who belong to it, who are very active in the community,” she said.

“They’re to be commended for keeping it going all of these years,” Tomblin said.

Miser said the Parkersburg organization began around 1901 as the Parkersburg Literary Club and in 1904 was federated as a member of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, which was the milestone celebrated Tuesday.

“We’re really proud of the fact that we’ve been around for 110 years,” she said. The club, which has about 110 members, has operated and maintained its clubhouse on Ninth Street in downtown Parkersburg since 1924.

The GFWC Parkersburg Woman’s Club is active in a variety of programs, providing support for projects in the community, including scholarships, children’s brown bag and backpack programs and leadership training at Girls State. Much of the money raised by the club is through its annual Holly Trail Tour of Homes and its gift-wrapping booth at Grand Central Mall, both during the holiday season, she said.

Miser said the club provides an outlet for women to do things for the community, whether it’s a little time given to a single project or a lot of time given to a wide range of activities and projects. The club is open to anyone who wants to participate, Miser said.

“It’s a nice outlet for people who still want to be involved,” she said.

In addition to Tuesday’s luncheon, Miser said the club will mark the anniversary on April 24, which is Federation Day for the national and international network of clubs. Federation Day is a nationwide celebration by GFWC clubs across the country, with members doing projects and spot jobs around the community and around the country, she said.

Williamstown resident Jody Cunningham is serving as president of GFWC West Virginia, the statewide organization of women’s clubs. This year also marks the 110th anniversary of the federation of the state organization, which began with four clubs, she said.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin issued proclamations recognizing April as Federation Month in West Virginia and April 24 as Federation Day, Cunningham said.