G-A Homemakers celebrate 40 years

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Officers of Greencastle-Antrim Homemakers posed with a banner commemorating the group’s 40th anniversary, along with two cakes. Pictured, from left: Sue Miller, Sara Funk, Gloria Kimmel, Jo Mowen, Kitsie Hicks, Shirley Freeman, Jean Zimmerman and Jen Robertson. Zimmerman is a founding member, past president, and currently publicity chair.

Two women are left standing. Jean Zimmerman and Sally Bohn are the remaining charter members still active in Greencastle Antrim Homemakers. Zimmerman was able to attend the 40th anniversary party of the club, observed Feb. 12. The regular meeting was held at Heritage Hills Retirement Center, with members entertaining residents with a program dedicated to winter and Valentine’s Day. A lunch followed at Nick’s Airport Inn, Hagerstown.

The Greencastle Homemakers first met Feb. 20, 1974 on the second floor of Citizens National Bank. Twenty-four woman elected Vida Ruth Hickey and Lorraine Anderson as co-leaders.

Today 38 members, including four with honorary titles, comprise the organization, dedicated to “Better homemaking by education and training”.

Zimmerman, 87, joined for that reason.

“I wanted to learn more about homemaking skills. And it was a way of meeting other women in the community.”

The club was sponsored by Cooperative Extension Penn State Capitol Region, which had an office in Chambersburg. Extension provided workshops, leadership training and materials to the groups in Franklin County. It also hosted two popular events, “Holiday Daze” and “Spring Awareness Day”, well-attended by county homemakers.

State funding dropped 19 percent in 2011, though, so Extension positions were eliminated from the Penn State College of Ag Sciences, and the clubs were on their own. They made do without the services of home economists such as Nancy Hogg, Eleanor Garris, Mary Ann Oyler, and her assistant Darlene Scott Kelso.

Ladies newer to the ranks joined Homemakers for similar reasons as Zimmerman.

Joanne Dunning has been a member for a year. Her friend Esther Smith invited her to join.

“I like getting out and getting to know other people,” Dunning said. “They are a great group.”

Smith also appreciated the opportunity to get out, and has been attending meetings for three or four years.

“I didn’t belong to anything before,” she said.

Irene Porterfield was in a club in western Pennsylvania for 37 years, and in Greencastle for nine.

“I enjoy the company. And going out to lunch.”

Dolly Shoemaker joined in the 1970s, then took a break for work.

“I though it’d be a nice club to belong to,” she said. “I enjoy the meetings, programs and fellowship.”

Greencastle Antrim Homemakers has monthly programs on home and garden topics, and takes field trips to places of interest. Zimmerman especially liked the Cheese Haus on Edenville Road, where they learned how cheese was made. And though the state no longer provided information for meeting lessons, the club was in fine shape.

“With this many women, they come up with ideas at our organizational meeting,” she said.

The group places books in memory of deceased members at Besore Memorial Library and Tayamentasachta, and donates to community causes. The club now meets the second Wednesday of the month from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church.

Current co-leaders are Sue Miller and Sara Funk. In addition to Anderson and Hickey, leaders over the past four decades were Rose Browell, Debbie Hughes, Zimmerman, Susie Angle, Sue Widener, Betsy Henneberger, Prudy Sacco, Mary Resley, Lois Stains, Clarisse Hicks, Albina Gwaltney, Donna Miller, Virginia Mowen, Martha Bricker, Shirley Freeman, Marie Eshleman, Almeda Barnhart, Hilda Eshleman, Joanne Witmer, Helen Mullenax, Mary Martz, Alice Bartholomew, Betty Lee Fisher, Marlene Roadcap, Genevieve Kiser, Phyllis Knepper, Gloria Kimmel, Jo Mowen, Jan McClain, Jen Robertson, Nancy McIntyre, Tena Karinshak and Helen Gearhart.