"Golden Girls"

P.E.O. Chapter E recently honored six “Golden Girls,” spanning as many as 63 years of service to the organization.
The international women’s organization, P.E.O., is a philanthropic and educational organization that supports women’s education through scholarships, grants, awards and loans. Originally founded by seven college students at Iowa Wesleyan College in 1869, the international P.E.O. now has a quarter of a million members throughout the United States and Canada, with their headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa.
Since 1927, P.E.O. has owned and supported Cottey College, a women’s college in Nevada, Missouri. Local chapters throughout the U.S. and abroad work toward earning and offering the funds to further women’s education in colleges and universities, including Conway’s three local institutions of higher education. Conway’s chapters are: E, BE and CA.
Jackie Robinette, president of Chapter E, echoes the important role P.E.O. plays in women’s educational opportunities.
“P.E.O. is a wonderful philanthropic organization whose primary objective is enabling young women to reach their educational goals. Various opportunities exist for financial assistance. Lives have been changed, and many successful stories have been shared,” she said.
On June 5, 2016, P.E.O. Chapter E celebrated the six (an unusually high number) women who have contributed to the philanthropic organization for 50 years or more. These members, dubbed “Golden Girls,” were honored at a tea held at the First United Methodist Church Trinity Building. Guests included members of all three chapters, as well as family members and friends of the Golden Girls. The honorees and their years of membership are as follows:
Mary Louise Rogers (Mrs. Earl)
63 years
The late Caralou Miller (Mrs. George)
59 years
Edna Earle Pence (Mrs. Richard)
59 years
Polly Bumpers (Mrs. J. Phil)
59 years
Frieda Dyer (Mrs. Sam)
53 years
Beneva Farris
50 years
Cathy Ketcheside chaired the event, with co-chairs Pat Thessing and Hilda Malpica assisting. Guests were welcomed at the entrance by Cathy, Chapter E President Jackie Robinette and Beth Ruple, a past president.
As the guests entered the tea, they enjoyed viewing a display of photos of each honoree and Chapter E scrapbooks that Historian Meredith Wilbourn arranged.
Zack Bryant, son of Jann and Jimmy Bryant, provided piano music during the event.
Pat Otto arranged a large silver bowl of various colors of hydrangeas for the serving table centerpiece and placed magnolia blossoms and hydrangeas in silver appointments throughout the room. In addition, each honoree received a gardenia blossom.
The serving table was set with a linen tablecloth and silver and crystal serving pieces. Voluntary monetary gifts in honor of the Golden Girls were placed in a bowl, and all gifts will be used for the support of P.E.O.’s educational projects.
Some points of special note:
Mary Louise Rogers had both of her daughters in attendance — Jennifer Pearce of Chapter DB, Heber Springs and Weese Clifton of Chapter E, Conway.
Polly Bumpers had four generations of family members present — Martha Bumpers of Chapter CA, Kisha Bumpers and Kayla Bumpers and Laura, Emily and Lacey Simpson, all of Conway.
The late Caralou Millar was represented by her daughter, Dana Millar, of Maumelle and special guest Joanne Riddick, of Chapter AZ in Little Rock.
Edna Earle Pence was unable to attend.
Frieda Dyer was joined by her daughter, Melinda Wright, who is Vice Principal of Conway High School-West and also by College Square friends, Louise Wilcox and Mary Ferguson.
Beneva Farris’ daughter, Susan DeBoard of Chapter E, attended with her.
The presidents of the other two guest chapters from Conway attended:
Carole Teague, BE
Susan McNabb, CA
Other Chapter E members assisting with food and serving guests were Ella Reese, Bobbi Roberts, Susan Standridge and Becky Rasnick.
The honorees have contributed to the betterment of Central Arkansas for many years. Just a few examples of how the women have supported our community include serving on the Conway Public School board (Edna Earle Pence), and contributing property to the city of Conway (Mary Louise Rogers – Rogers Plaza). Mary Louise also contributes generously to the Faulkner County Library. All of the honorees have been leaders in their respective churches and numerous civic groups such as Jr. Auxiliary, Conway Civic League and multiple Bible study groups.
Polly Bumpers, who has served P.E.O. for 59 years, summed up how much she treasures her longstanding involvement.
“I cherish the many friends I have made over the years while supporting this meaningful organization. The love and support we have for each other is invaluable.”