Thirty-six members and guests helped celebrate the Ozaukee Co. League of Women Voter’s 60th Anniversary last May at the annual meeting held at Gallioto’s in Cedarburg.
A special guest that evening was Marti Watts, an original founding member and president from 1959-61. Marti shared how she had had registered to vote on her 21st birthday and joined a Milwaukee LWV with an interest in starting a league in Ozaukee county. She invited the Milwaukee league president to come to her town of Grafton house on a snowy night to explain the league to members of her book club. The president made a wrong turn and got stuck in a snowbank before getting to the house. Marti’s husband George spent about 40 minutes getting them unstuck. It took several years of study and work before the Ozaukee league was granted provisional status in 1957 with 71 members, and a year later in 1958, full status was granted. It was the only county league in the state at that time.
In helping to recruit members, the following excerpt from a local newspaper article stated, “As a woman are you tired of housework and child care? Do you tire of bridge games and ordinary conversation? Do you long for an intellectual challenge? Do you ever wish you could discuss the vital issues of the day with ability? Would you like to be a better informed citizen? Then try the League of Women Voters’ meetings…”
At the state annual meeting, leagues were told by the president that “women who restrict their interest only to their homes will find their indifference to government reflected in their children.” And about 1972, newspapers dropped the Mrs. And husband’s name and began to refer to women by their first names. We have certainly come a long way!
Another past president and our current longest serving member, Gina Taucher from Port Washington, shared some of her experiences as a young mom joining the league and becoming one of the most active members over the years. Dorothy Nowicki talked about her early years in a Milwaukee league before moving to Port Washington, and also celebrated 60 years of membership in the LWV.
At the annual celebration dinner, we thanked Donna Fowler for her wonderful four years as President of our league, and know that she will continue to be very active as past president.
The photo above is of our current president Barbara Hunt along with past presidents, co-presidents Marge Palleon, Vonna Pitel, Gina Taucher, Claire Vanderslice, Kit Keller, Judy Schwengel, Marti Watts (founding member), Barbara Hunt (new president), Carol Hertz, Donna Fowler (past president) and Dorothy Nowicki (60 year member).