The Daily Southerner
The Tarboro Woman’s Club (TWC) celebrates its 60th anniversary today. Two of the club’s current members – Madeleine Bass and Lena “Bill” Calvert – are founding members.
“We’re proud to celebrate this birthday,” said Calvert. “The Woman’s Club has been a great asset for Tarboro.”
Calvert recalls moving to Tarboro as a young woman with her husband, a tobacconist, and her young daughter. She saw that there wasn’t much going on in Tarboro and decided to get a group of ladies together to start a club.
“People were very anxious for something like that,” said Calvert. “It was very successful and it has been through the years.”
The club had 118 charter members. The club’s membership has fluctuated over the years; this year, 18 new members are joining, said Bass. At 93, Bass is still an active member of TWC but no longer serves as the treasurer, a role she held for many years.
“I was a charter member and I’ve never dropped out,” said Bass. “I’ve always been interested in doing for others, in volunteering.”
Bass recalls working hard to raise money for the club in its early days, but having fun at the same time. She remembers doing a door-to-door canvas in the community, asking for pledges to start a Presbyterian college in the area. The canvas resulted in $30,000 in pledges and Wesleyan College was later established in Rocky Mount.
One of the club’s fundraisers still in existence today is the fashion show.
“Our first one was the day Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated,” said Bass. ”That was one of our big moneymakers.”
This year’s fashion show for the TWC is set for Oct. 17 at the Fountains at the Albemarle. The fashion show is a fundraiser for the scholarship the club gives to a local college-bound student every year.
Bass also recalls the club’s drafting of a petition to change Tarboro’s style of government to a city manager type. Other community contributions in which Bass played a role as a TWC member are donations to the local hospital in support of a hospital emergency administration radio, which provided direct communication with the rescue squad, and a $16,500 donation to the Blount-Bridgers House, a local history museum.
“We were some of the ones that started the Blount-Bridgers House,” said Bass. She said TWC started the Girl Scouts in Tarboro, as well.
Among the club’s more recent charitable contributions are a $1,000 donation for the purchase of bicycles for needy children at Christmas after the devastation of Hurricane Floyd and a $500 donation to the American Red Cross to help the victims of the terrorist attacks of 9-11-01, according to a “History of the Tarboro Woman’s Club,” written in 2002 by TWC’s third president, Minnie Lou Parker Creech.
Calvert has fond memories of Creech, whom she believes represented the TWC well.
“She has certainly been missed in the Tarboro Woman’s Club,” said Calvert. “She was one of the best.”
Janice Cutchin is the current president of the TWC.