Ladies of Lorain

July 21, 2009 at 9:45 pm 11 comments


There has been a lot of volunteering going on lately in my neighborhood. I have been thinking about all the projects that are coming to fruition and those that came before. such as the Lorain Library
Birth of Illumination: First Hundred Years of the Lorain Public Library System by Kelly Boyer Sagert

Fortunately, other local groups began to pursue the idea of a public library. Three of them – Sisterhood, Sorosis and WIMODAUGHSIS (standing for wives, mothers, daughters and sisters) — were comprised of all women…..

And, in April of 1900, the ladies belonging to these three literary clubs collectively got the “library bee in their bonnets” and declared, “Let us constitute ourselves a library committee here and now and begin the good work without delay.” Those interested in pursuing that stated goal met the following Monday in the Opera House and they elected the following officers:

Mrs. Elisha M. Pierce, chairman
Mrs. J. H. Hills, secretary and treasurer
Mrs. W. R. Comings
Mrs. F. D. Ward
Mrs. F. M. McIlvaine
Mrs. A. E. Thomson
Mrs. McKee
Mrs. J.A. Graham
Mrs. S. Klein
Mrs. C. B. Hopkins

I arrived in Lorain a few decades ago now, looked around , took a deep breath and realized this certainly wasn’t London ( England) .

I was in my very early twenties when I first arrived, a Mrs. Osmundson of the ” Lorain Chapter of the Welcome Wagon” knocked on our apartment door and there followed the introduction to the Ladies of Lorain.

These ladies , some of whom have passed away , then introduced me to the “volunteer aspect” that was and is Lorain. The ladies that saved the Palace Theatre, built Lorain Community Hospital, literally ran the entertainment for Lorain International , planned the ” Hospital Follies” and fundraisers, celebrated the “anniversaries” and gently bullied administrations, newspapers and public servants to join in and refused to take No for an answer . They organized their projects and committees with a battle plan and strategy that would have made any General proud.
jean schaeffer Jean Schaeffer

Ruth Calta, Jean Schaeffer, Marylou Connone, Lori Hoke, Barbara McGregor, Corky Bruck, Charlotte Zakowski, Jane Baran, Jane Norton, Lou Kepler, Alice Weston, Phyllis Pfaff, Sally Bobel , Lilly Yuzon, Sally DeLuca , Mirium Schneider , Jean Anne King , Lee Mattei, Darlene Brown , Mrs. Robert Bostwick, Mrs. Dave Herzer , Carol Kramer, Frances Cellozzi, Marie Bonaminio

and so many others whose names have faded with my memory . Some of these ladies are still volunteering and making a difference in Lorain everyday.

There is always a danger when doing something like this that there will be those that are omitted but I have found the Ladies of Lorain do not volunteer for recognition, they do it because they love this place called Lorain.

We still have “Ladies of Lorain” – I realized that in the past few weeks-

Renee Dore, Martha Pye, Diane Medina, Carolyn Spikovski , Pat Morrison, Anne Molnar, Paula Tobias, Pam Radke, Minnie Wade , Jeri Boyer, Mary Harkacz , Kelly Sagert, Joanne Reidy, Jean Wrice, Tracy Isenberg , Terri Fredericks, Melanie Szabo, Gail Stilgenbauer, Jeanette Struckley , Valerie Farschman , Palma Stipe , Dr. Hilaire Tavenner, Andrea Fischer, Maureen Smith , Sandy Campana, Barb Cook , Vanessa Knipper, Denise Carloff, Connie Carr , Jan Mackert, Peg Asensio and ??? –

all of whom help carry on the legacy of the Ladies of Lorain – look to any event, project, or job that needs doing and you will see their names. They are involved – these Ladies of Lorain.

There are many more of Lorain’s ladies who quietly sustain and work with the different organizations- This isn’t their “job of work” they don’t get paid for their participation they just “do

I know I haven’t covered everyone , so if you would like to honor one of Lorain’s Ladies who make such a difference in our community please do so and I will add their names . Thank you to the Women of Lorain –past and present and future
rotary planting Abigail Sugerick CVSI

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Entry filed under: Brit take, city of lorain, commentary, Women of Worth. Tags: .

Can you credit? History ? Attention Shoppers- Lorain’s Gateway- NOT!!!

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Paula  |  July 21, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    Thank you Loraine. These women are inspirations.

    I’d like to think that we were inspired by women and men you don’t see or hear about. Friends and especially family who are always giving, taking care of others, putting themselves last on the list.

    Something that touched me during my campaign was watching and meeting the people of Lorain who quietly go about their business, raising a family, doing their jobs but setting examples for the rest of us.

  • 2. Carolyn Sipkovsky  |  July 22, 2009 at 3:44 am

    Thanks Loraine for all you do for your adopted community. As you said we do because we hope to see Lorain rise again. This weekend I had contact with several people at the 175th celebration that feel that this can happen and hopefully will.

  • 3. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  July 22, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    There are also the ladies who run and work at the various hunger relief programs in churches and other venues in Lorain . . .

  • 4. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  July 22, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    To the far right of the photo is another lady of Lorain (we graduated from high school together!). Her name is Dianne Brehm; she works for the United Way of Lorain County and, in the photo, she was volunteering as part of the Lorain Rotary Club team.

  • 5. Loraine Ritchey  |  July 22, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    I think the Ladies of Lorain have always been a force to be reckoned with 🙂

  • 6. renee dore  |  July 24, 2009 at 2:15 am

    Thank you Loraine- your name should also be included in this list…It was meeting you and others from the Charleston Village area that created an interest in history and getting involved in community/ neighborhood projects.
    After learning about the lives of some of the women who lived here during the 1800’s, seems it was the women who held this tiny port community together while most of their husbands were away sailing someplace on the lakes. They were also the one who initated the Missionary societies for the few churches just getting started then and raised the funds for the churches that grew into the ones still here to this day. thanks again. Renee

  • […] has been very involved with art projects in downtown Lorain. She was featured as one of the Ladies of Lorain on Loraine Ritchey’s blog, and was the driving force behind the window decorations downtown […]

  • 10. Jen D  |  May 17, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    Lou Kepler was/is my great grandmother. I love seeing blogs that reference her as she left quite a legacy when it comes to Lorain County. Thanks for sharing!

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