The initial meeting of the Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club was held in the Library of the Out-of-Doors Academy and was attended by 20 people who developed the original charter. One of that original group, Fran Morehead, is still a member of the club. Elizabeth Norton was elected president.
LWR Women’s Club Past Presidents
1997 Elizabeth Norton
1998 Karen Michener
1999 Jane Drake
2000 JoAnn Dain
2001 Mary Button
2002 Charlene Betourney
2003 Sandy Simmons
2004 Lyn Griffiths
2005 Jamie Grollman
2006 Sandy Simmons
2007 Judy Heck*
2008 Pat Eilender
2009 Marian Wolfe
2010 Wilma Nourie
2011 Jean Gustafson
2012 Frankie Bailey
2013 Mary Beth Steffens
2014 Trish Newman
2015 Patti Wrobel
2016 Shirley Taradash
2017 Monika Templeman
From ODA the group moved to the Community Service Office located next to Summerfield Park. Back then it was the original “town hall” providing all comminity services and a meeting room which held 25-30 people.
By 2001 the WC had grown so large that new quarters were needed and the club moved to St. Mary Magdalene Church. At that venue elaborate decorating was done for each meeting and event, the most memorable being a “beach scene theme” staged by Barbara Limon and Nancy Futch.
The WC has steadily grown over the years from 20 members to 286 [Nov/2016.] It is interesting to note the “tidal wave effect”…as new neighborhoods develop the composition of the club changes. Initially, back in 1997 most residents as well as most club members lived in Summerfield. This was followwed by an influx of women from Edgewater and then by the Country Club. Today [Nov/2016], members continue to come from all over Lakewood Ranch.
Some social activities have been become traditions. The first Holiday Dinner and Auction was held in 2000 at the University Park Country Club where 100 women gathered for dinner and a charity auction. In 2002, LWRWC raised $7000 for charity in contrast to the $28, 000 donated in 2011 and 2012. By the end of 2016, the WC will have donated well over $250,000 to various charities.
The Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club is a seminal part of the greater Lakewood Ranch community. It is important to remember its history and accomplishments and the hundreds of women who have served as officers and committee members and the wonderful members who support them.
By CHARLENE BETOURNEY
*LWRWC Remembers Past President Judy Heck
On Wednesday, April 8, 2015, a dedication ceremony was held at 10:30 AM near the memorial tree and plaque that the LWR Women’s Club sponsored to honor the memory of beloved past president, Judy Heck who passed away last December 2014. Judy’s friends and loved ones gathered together around the beautiful tree near a tranquil lake in Edgewater Community to pay tribute to a truly remarkable woman who will always live in the hearts of those she touched.
Judy was LWR Women’s Club President in 2007. She was an innovator who helped shape the club and the embodiment of the motto “fun, friendship and community service.” She was the creator of the Fall Bazaar (Cirque de Holidaze in 2014 and Mistletoe Market in 2015) which has become a major annual fund-raising event.
In the heartfelt words of her close friends “what stands out the most about Judy is that she was a lady at all times.” She was beautifully groomed and had a beautiful smile and warm eyes. She was always there for friends and acquaintances and had that ability to get everyone involved. She was the energizer bunny and inspired members to “jump in to the volunteer waters” and try new things.
Judy was selfless and no matter how much pain she suffered, she went, saw and conquered (many times with her husband at her side.) With all her ailments that were ongoing, she never had a frown. She was loved and adored by all and will truly be missed. If we could one lesson from Judy, it would be to “smile all the time and all things will fall into place.”
Rest in Peace Judy – forever admired, loved and remembered