On-Line Edition Thursday, May 17, 2018 Vol. 60 No. 20
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Lilac Queen Kathleen Gomez and her escort Nick Danielson are pictured as they prepared to greet guests at Friday’s 59th annual Lilac Ball at The Carlisle in Lombard. The ball, hosted by the Lombard Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry, supports the Lilac Parade and the Lilac Princess program. Featured during the evening was a Lilac Court reception, a four-course dinner, raffles, auctions and dancing. Queen Kathleen and the members of her Lilac Court will be guests of honor during the 64th Lilac Parade “Musicals of Stage and Screen” on Sunday, May 20. Photo by Steve Spoden
***** Out & About by Jane Charmelo *****
Volunteer recognized for 60 years of service
Barb Barta remembers when her mother reached her 50th year of membership in P.E.O., and recalls thinking to herself, "How could you be in an organization for 50 years!" Well, now she knows—and then some—as Barta was recently honored by P.E.O. Chapter IR for having been a member for 60 years. P.E.O. stands for Philanthropic Educational Organization, and it supports educational opportunities for women. The organization was founded by seven young women at Iowa Wesleyan University in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2019. At a recent chapter meeting, Barta was surprised with a 60th anniversary celebration, during which time the minutes from 1958 were read and stories shared. When asked if she had any idea there was going to be a recognition, she responded with a chuckle, "None. In fact, I was late for the meeting!" Barta related that she is a lifelong resident in Lombard, still living in the same house. She said she joined P.E.O. because her mother "was a very active member," and one of the chapter's founders. Her sister Elizabeth had also been a member of her local P.E.O chapter in Washington State for about 15 years. P.E.O. International offers scholarships, loans and grants for women to continue their education, according to Barta, who said that locally the chapter offers a $500 scholarship annually to a Glenbard East High School student, and each year selects a local charity to which money, goods or services are donated. The chapter also supports the Illinois P.E.O. Lulu Corkhill Williams Friendship Fund, named after Williams, who grew up in Mount Pleasant and was initiated into P.E.O. at the age of 14. According to the P.E.O. website, Williams served as Illinois State Chapter president and the fund in her name was created from funds left over after the 1934 convention. More than $1,756,000 has been awarded to 1,300-plus Illinois women and men facing financial difficulty. In fact, Barta said, the members present the programs at their meetings, and she once portrayed Williams for her program. The local chapter here is involved in a number of philanthropic endeavors to raise money, Barta explained, including an auction held every other year. The organization also produces cookbooks, sells bean soup mixes, holds spring and fall dinners and auctions off baskets occasionally at meetings, all to raise money for the local scholarship, P.E.O. International programs and also to help support Cottey College in Nevada, Mo., a liberal arts and sciences college for women—owned and operated by the P.E.O. Sisterhood since 1927. Barta said that she has maintained her membership for so long "because I believe in all that it does...what it stands for." She mentioned that she had worked for some 70 hours a week, and upon retiring in 1988, was able to be more active in the chapter, including following in her mother's footsteps (1958-60) by serving as chapter president from 1999-2001. Chapter member Jan Kintonis commented about her fellow PE.O. member, stating, "Barb's dedication to P.E.O. has been admirable, her accomplishments great and she continues with a zest for life in all she does...she said that for the first time in her life she was speechless at all the attention and praise and how humbled she was to be recognized for her service." Barta said of P.E.O. that "for me, it improves your appreciation for what can be done, to help women get an education...things that used to be only for men."