Not Looking A Day Over 99

Photo by Leonard COUTIN Celebrating 100 years of the La Crescenta Woman’s Club are previous presidents including (from left) Idabelle Griffin,’73-’75, Mary Dea McCrory,’01-’04, Freda Yager,’90-’92, Deanna Alfeld,’94-’95, Patricia Wichert,’97-’01, Kathleen Parenteau,’77-’79, ’04-’05, Rita Even’05- ‘10 and Marian Wood, ’76-’77, ’92-’94 (in wheelchair).

By Brandon HENSLEY

Early Wednesday afternoon, former La Crescenta Woman’s Club President Deanna Alfeld stood in front a full dining hall with glasses raised, ready to toast a special day.

“A hundred years ago eight ladies organized our club to do community service and other philanthropic works,” Alfeld said into a microphone. “A hundred years later here we still are doing it, and here’s to another century of service and friendship.”

The full room cheered and applauded, each woman inside the La Crescenta Woman’s clubhouse happy to there, because Wednesday was the 100-year anniversary celebration of the club being founded.

The club is part of the California Federation of Women’s Clubs and on hand were honored guests from the federation, including Carol Lopez, president of the Western States Region, Kathi MacGrawm, federation president, and federation Area C vice president Toby Kahan.

The afternoon featured speeches from those honored guests, and most who attended wore clothes from other eras. There was even an appearance from Abe Lincoln, played by CV resident J.P. Wommack.

“They really liked it. I had their attention,” said Wommack, who recited the Gettysburg Address and part of Lincoln’s second inaugural speech. Wommack has been playing the president since 2001.

Wommack’s facial hair was even the real thing. “You have to grow it, shave it,” he said. “I have to color it.”

The La Crescenta Woman’s Club is a non-profit organization that continuously helps out in the community. They give to the Red Cross, but also to several local charities, and have set up scholarships at CV High School and Glendale College.

“A lot of people even now don’t realize the La Crescenta Woman’s Club exists and we’ve doing so much work since 1911,” said member and PR chair Gloria Lee. “We’re very central to the whole community, really.”

Woman’s Clubs can be found all across the world, which is comforting to Lee.

“I can go to another state or to another country anywhere in the world and not know anybody and contact a local women’s club and have instant friends,” she said. “I think that’s a wonderful concept. It’s almost like a sorority.”

Lee said there are around 26 women’s clubs in the San Gabriel District, but not many still have their clubhouses like La Crescenta does. Some clubs have had to sell the houses over the decades for economic reasons.

But this clubhouse, which opened in 1924, still remains. It housed people who lost their homes in the flood of 1934.

“Not all clubs have clubhouses,” said Kahan. “This is one of the rare ones that does. We have clubs as old as 112 years. [CFWC has] been around since 1890.”

“It’s fortunate in one way but in another way, financially, you have to keep it up,” said Co-president Carol Huntwork.

Still, Huntwork said, “This is our home.”

According to Co-president Genny Bundick, the good of having a house outweighs the bad.

“Because of that everyone is more than willing to put in extra money and time in keeping this going, which is the important thing about having a clubhouse,” she said.

Huntwork, a member since 1994, is from northern California. Bundick, a member for 10 years, is from Michigan. Both women, like so many who come from out of the region, have moved to La Crescenta and found a special place where they can be involved in doing good in the community.

Bundick said they are always looking to serve the Foothills in some need.

Huntwork said, “I derive a lot of satisfaction from serving the community, and we’ve made lifelong friends in the club.”

Kahan herself doesn’t make it out to La Crescenta too often, but when she does, she’s impressed.

“They’ve done such good work in their community over the years,” she said. “They’re very philanthropic … they should be commended for withstanding the test of time.”