The Waxahachie City Federation of Women’s Clubs held its annual spring tea Thursday, April 7, at the Ellis County Woman’s Building in Waxahachie. Dozens of women representing 11 of the 14 member clubs were on hand for the event, the first in-person tea held since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Present were representatives from Century Club, DAR – Rebecca Boyce Chapter, Daughters of the Republic Texas – Cedar Mountains Chapter, Ellis County Genealogical Society, Eta Omega Chapter – Beta Sigma Phi, Friday Book Club, Heirloom Club, Parson’s Rose No. 9 – TSOCR, Preceptor Pi Sigma – Beta Sigma Phi, Rebekah Lodge No. 381 and Shakespeare Club. Unable to attend were members from Beta Nu Master (Honorary) Beta Sigma Phi, Delta Kappa Gamma and Ellis County Porcelain Arts.
The tea was preluded with music from pianist Arthur Sweeney, who later provided accompaniment to vocalist Taylor Durrett. After a welcome from federation president, Linda Sibley, an invocation by Pamela Wilhoite, the pledges by Jane Ann Shipp, and club roll call by Shawnee Harding, Ellis County Judge Todd Little spoke, sharing his thoughts about and admiration for the work done by women in the community, especially that done by women involved with the federation’s groups.
“I see a lot of familiar faces and appreciate all that you do,” he said, noting that he was raised by “an incredible mom and an incredible grandmother.”
He noted the far-reaching influence exerted by the women and their efforts.
“You have a value system that is unprecedented in the country,” he said, going on to praise his wife, Dawn, for being the “wind beneath my wings.”
“I know that mothers are the fabric and key to our society,” he said. “I want to thank you all.”
The tea is also the joint event that sees the outstanding clubwomen from each club recognized. As Marla Ann Graham read an introduction, each honoree was presented a yellow rose by Little.
The 2022 outstanding clubwomen are as follows.
• Deborah Dickason is the outstanding clubwoman for the Daughters of the Republic of Texas – Cedar Mountains Chapter. Dickason has been a member for four years and serves as the secretary. She has taught elementary school in Dallas and Cedar Hill ISDs. For the past five years, she has served as caretaker for her mother; she the mother of a seventh-grade student, Edward. She volunteers at the school, with a Boy Scout troop in Waxahachie, with the Children of the Republic of Texas – Cedar Mountains Chapter and the Dallas USO. Dickason has developed the club’s children’s programs and its history trunk that’s used in area schools and library programs.
• Shawnee Harding is the outstanding clubwoman for the Century Club. Harding has served in most offices and currently serves as president. She is a member of the DAR and City Federation Clubs. She has served as president of Trinity District of Texas Federations Women’s Clubs, as first vice president, and as treasurer. She has worked on committee assignments of TFWC since 1992 and served two terms as trustee. Harding has served on the Ellis County Woman’s Building board as president and vice president. In 1997, she was honored as First Lady of Waxahachie. She and her husband, Bob, have two children, Ed and Kathy, and one grandson, Robert.
• Diann Wilson is the outstanding clubwoman for the Rebecca Boyce Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution. She was also the club’s last year’s nominee and was nominated again for her service as treasurer, where she has served more than one term. Wilson is also in the Friday Book Club, on the Ellis County Child Protective Services Board, and serves with the Dinah Weable Breast Cancer Survivor Events. She and her late husband, Don, have two sons and four grandchildren; she is a member of First United Methodist Church of Waxahachie.
• Betty Bowden is the outstanding clubwoman for the Ellis County Genealogy Society. She has been a member for almost 50 years and has served as editor, treasurer, and membership chair in addition to other duties. Bowden also belongs to United Daughters of the Confederacy and Daughters of the Revolution. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Bowden and the club worked to accomplish avenues around the hardships with computers, new ways to research and new ideas. She and her husband, Jay, have two adult children, two grandchildren and a great-grandson.
• Lori Williams is the outstanding clubwoman for Eta Omega Chapter, Beta Sigma Phi. She has served her club as secretary, vice president and currently as president, working with the club’s blood drives in collaboration with Carter BloodCare, and donations of gifts and gift cards to the Texas Baptist Home for Children. Williams studied at Oklahoma State University and has worked for Waxahachie ISD. She and her family attend St. Joseph’s Catholic Church of Waxahachie.
• Kathleen Bowen is the outstanding clubwoman for the Friday Book Club. She has served the club as luncheon chair 2019, president 2020-2022 and has been a member since 2017. In addition, she has served as past president and current board member of Historic Waxahachie Inc., vice chair of the city of Waxahachie Comprehensive Plan Committee and a board member of the STEM Education Garden. She and husband, Mark, have two adult children and four grandchildren.
• Diane Johnson Collard is the outstanding clubwoman for Parsons’ Rose No. 9 Order of Confederate Rose. During the past 25 years, she has served as president numerous times. In addition to this club, she is a member of the Waxahachie Rotary Club and sponsors the Interact Club at Global High School. She is a member of the Ellis County Special Zoning and the Ellis County Woman’s Building boards. She and her late husband, Les, have a blended family of four daughters and a son. She attends Waxahachie Bible Church.
• Jackie Wray is the outstanding clubwoman for Preceptor Pi Sigma Chapter, Beta Sigma Phi. She has served as both vice president and secretary. She also is a member of the Rebecca Boyce Chapter of the Daughters of American Revolution and the Business Women’s Luncheon Club. In addition, Wray has served on the Waxahachie Symphony Association board, the Chautauqua board, Daniel’s Den board, Ellis County Child Welfare Board and community advisor of Navarro College. She has one son, John Wray and wife, Michele, and grandchildren, Morgan and Patrick; she is a member of First United Methodist Church.
• Francis Volino is the outstanding clubwoman for Shakespeare Club. She came to the United States from the Netherlands at age 22 and now lives locally. She and her husband, Lou, have four children, five grandchildren and three grand dogs. Volino is a member, president and district president of a Parish of the St Vincent de Paul Society, a Catholic organization that provides for the poor. She is a member of the Midlothian Book Group, a board member of a local crochet group, a board member of the local FEMA-funded Emergency Food and Shelter Program, and a board member of the Holland America Club.
In closing the ceremony, Sibley said, “We’re the backbone of the community. The ladies here have their hands in everything.”
With the annual tea held, the clubs now take a summer break before reconvening in the fall, when the annual newcomer’s tea is held.