Woman's Club of Catonsville

From left, Woman's Club of Catonsville members Anne Kaufman, Becky McNamara and Rachel Fink pose for a photo outside the clubhouse on St. Timothy's Lane. The clubhouse was donated to the Catonsville Community Foundation after the Woman's Club disbanded in December 2012. (Staff photo by Julie Baughman / March 22, 2013)

The members of the Woman's Club of Catonsville will gather one last time on April 2 to pose for a commemorative photo.

Though the 80-year-old club officially disbanded in December 2012, its members have been chosen as Grand Marshals of the annual Catonsville Fourth of July Parade.

"It's quite an honor," said Anne Kaufman, president when the club disbanded.

Getting together for the photo session for the parade program is "bittersweet," according to Paula Ray.

Ray said she and the other club members were thrilled to be chosen, but a little bit sad that it happened after their disbandment.

"It iced the cake," Ray said.

"We're so proud of the way it ended," she said.

The Woman's Club of Catonsville was founded in 1932 after a group of nine local women decided to start a book club.

In 1935, the club became official as part of the national entity called the General Federation of Woman's Clubs.

The group's members dedicated their time and efforts to improving the community. They headed many historic projects, such as starting the first senior group before the Catonsville Senior Center was built on North Rolling Road and leading multiple revitalization movements in the Frederick Road business corridor.

"I truly believe that these women saved Catonsville," said Maureen Sweeney Smith, executive director of the Catonsville Community Foundation.

Sweeney Smith, who is also a member of the parade planning committee, said the choice for Grand Marshal was easy.

According to Sweeney Smith, it was a "unanimous vote by the committee."

"Everyone just loved the idea," she said.

Though she is not a member of the Woman's Club, Sweeney Smith has worked closely with the group.

When the club disbanded last year, the club members donated their clubhouse on St. Timothy's Lane to the Catonsville Community Foundation.

"We are continuing a lot of the things they did," Sweeney Smith said of the foundation.

For example, the foundation will continue to provide free meeting space for local non-profits and community organizations as the Woman's Club has done for many years.

They will also set up a small exhibit in the entrance to the building displaying information about the club and artifacts donated to the clubhouse over the years.

The clubhouse, built in 1959, provided a home for the club and gave the women of yesteryear a chance to congregate and learn together.