They would meet every month from September to May, a board meeting and a general meeting, but now after 50 years the North Riverside Woman’s Club will no longer meet. The club is disbanding, and after their luncheon in May it will cease to be the organization that has served the community so well.
It was Sue Frampton of the North Riverside Recreation Department who felt the club should be recognized for their years of service. A call to the Club’s President Leona Wojtowicz held the answer to the club’s history and memories.
Wojtowicz stated the members had decided it was time to disband when they realized they could not continue to raise the funds necessary for their many projects. Among the meaningful works the club did, they helped the children in the pediatric ward of Loyola Hospital by making colorful hats for the children who were going through chemotherapy.
Girls would don a cap that may have been fitted with yarn braids and decorated brims. The boys would have airplanes on the caps or items suitable for a youngster to bring a smile to a small face. The items would be brought to the hospital by club member Lillian Palucki, who had been a Loyola volunteer for 30 years.
Those who were patients at the VA Hospital were remembered with “ditty bags” made and filled with items used as prizes when the women came to play Bingo with the patients. Handmade afghans and lap robes were also among the prizes donated by the women.
In 1997 the club opted out of the National Federation and State Federation of Women’s Clubs when a request for dues increases was requested. The local group, whose dues are only $12, decided their money could be put to better use on the local level.
The community benefited from the decision. Over the years, the former North Riverside Village Hall received donations from the club?”drapes, tile for the floors, repaired stairs and a piano.
They are proud of having donated the first water fountain in Veteran’s Park. The accomplishment of which they are most proud is the North Riverside Library, started by the group in 1957 in the basement of Byrt March’s home.
Their next move was to a storefront on 26th Street near Westover. Another move to Desplaines Avenue was made before the present library was built. The library was started as an all-volunteer endeavor, and members still volunteer their time to the new library. It was with deep pride that Wotowicz said, “The library will always be our legacy.”
Wojtowicz added that four of the founding members are still members in good standing, paying their dues even if they no longer reside in the area.
“I have stayed with the club because I love it and I’ve learned so much,” Wojtowicz said.
The club’s last luncheon will be held in May, after which they will begin the task of dispersing funds and assembling the years of paperwork which chronicle the efforts of a dedicated group of women. Perhaps the North Riverside Library could find space and dedicate it to the North Riverside Woman’s Club and the women who recognized the need of a library.
Save the date
On March 11, Hauser Junior High will host its “garage sale” to raise funds for students attending the PRIDE Conference in Washington D.C. in April.
After the PRIDE sale, go west on Forest Avenue to Riverside-Brookfield High School at 1 p.m. to take a tour of the school and learn more about proposed plans for RB.