Woman's Club of Catonsville gathers for final meeting

Hugs and smiles filled the main hall of the clubhouse on St. Timothy's Lane Tuesday morning as the Woman's Club of Catonsville met for the first time in almost four months.

The club, which began in 1932 when several Catonsville women wanted to start a book club, disbanded in December. But in a tribute to the club's years of service to the community, its members have been elected to be grand marshals of the annual Catonsville Fourth of July Parade.

On April 2, the members met for one last official time to share breakfast and pose for a photo for the parade program.

"It's lovely. I love it," said Joyce Wooldridge, a 57-year club member and former president.

Though disappointed that the club had to disband, Wooldridge said she was proud of the club and that the clubhouse will continue to serve the community in the future.

"I was so sad for the loss of this club," Wooldridge said. "(But) you have to think positive.

"The women did this, the women did it," she said of the clubhouse.

The building has been donated to the Catonsville Community Foundation and will be used by local non-profit and community organization for meetings and as a fundraiser by hosting banquets, receptions and other large events.

"It's the perfect place for a reception, a wedding reception," Wooldridge said.

Though Wooldridge will not be in town for the parade this summer, her friend and fellow club member Jean Simkins will be.

At first, Simkins said she was going to pass on the opportunity to be in the parade.

"But then I thought, wait a minute, I'm this old and I've never done it before, let's go for it," she said.

Annlynn Ayres, the vice president of the club when it disbanded, said she had spent the last two years of her membership driving back and forth from Delaware twice a month for executive board meetings and general meetings.

She was glad to make the now-familiar drive again.

"We are delighted to be back together again," Ayres said.

She said she is proud of the lasting friendships and of the legacy her friends have left for the community.

"We have to look back with pride on what we've done for the community," Ayres said. "But most importantly, what we mean to each other."

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