Living Columns & Blogs

Hilton Head Plantation Women's Club celebrates 25 years

Thanks to Bonnie Sudduth and Beverly Gackenbach of the Hilton Head Plantation Women's Club for sharing the story of its 25th anniversary gala.


The Hilton Head Plantation Women's Club celebrated its silver anniversary May 8 at the Sonesta Resort in Shipyard Plantation.

During the social hour the ladies enjoyed a fashion show by Tradewinds Ladies Apparel. Fabulous outfits were modeled by Angela Anderson, Anna Broecker, Sue Donham and Gail Lovell.

And, with their marvelous personalities and voices, the children from Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Achievement School gave an outstanding performance. They always are loved by the members.

A "Through the Years" video produced by Jack Wilfore brought back many pleasant memories.

The Hilton Head Barbershoppers provided resounding, enthusiastic music as a prelude to our luncheon. How fabulous was our social hour?

A delicious lunch was served under the glistening chandeliers of the Crystal Ballroom with sparkling silver table decorations and candles. The silver outfits worn by the ladies further emphasized the theme: "25 Sparkling Years."

Peter Kristian, general manager of Hilton Head Plantation Property Owners Association, spoke about the club's accomplishments in the plantation through the years.

Joyce Wilfore greeted the members and thanked them for being so helpful and supportive during her year as president. Her motto for the members is: "Volunteer when asked -- you'll be glad you did."

The Fred Astaire Dance Studio, under the direction of Armando Aseneta, entertained with "Dancing to the Hits of 1986," the year the club was founded. Also, members of the Program for Exceptional People, under Fred Astaire's leadership and guidance, danced the "Merengue." They all were so entertaining.

Beverly Gackenbach, who chaired the event as well as coordinated the program book and history, had an outstanding committee. We would like to thank the following people: entertainment, Marianne Neidich; decorations, Eileen Frey, Elaine Maher, Susie Marquis, and Trudy Minana; reservations, Lori Yoss, Janet Young and Linda Jones; game gifts, Linda Ackerman; photographs, Richard and Kathy McLaughlin; program assemblers, Judy Watkins, Diane Ambur, Dottie Distelheim, Angelina LoGrasso, Kerry Mangan, Bonnie Pastore, and Angela Strom; "Through the Years" video, Jack Wilfore; and graphics, Rosanne Ball. And, a special thanks to the ladies who did a spectacular job collecting door prizes: Mary Jacques, Kathleen McPartland, Bonnie Pastore, Trish Ouellette and Angela Strom.

A special thank you goes to all the neighboring businesses and country clubs that generously contributed the fabulous door prizes.

A program booklet was presented to all, including the history of the club with pictures of our activity groups. The history reviewed the founding of the club with dates and interesting facts on all the activity groups. It also contained information about organizations the club has so generously contributed to through the years.

The club's first meeting was an elegant tea with 250 in attendance. By the end of the first year, membership was 328 members, and it has grown to more than 550 today.

The club's first speaker was Emma Kelly, the late "Lady With 1,000 Songs" from Savannah.

Louise Gault was the first president, and the club recently donated a teak rocking chair for the new Spring Lake Pavilion in her memory.

Others to serve as president have been Marge Hartis, Joan Israel, Lois Hermann, Judy Bacon, June Haffeman, Bonnie Haroff, Lynda Kepler, Nancy Graham, Shirlee Stone, Jacqueline Cordray, Eileen Frey, Katie McGrew, Pat Maxwell, Ginny Breen, Pat Whitmore, Joanie Saalfrank, Maryjean Herberger, Beverly Gackenbach, Shirley Mitchum, Sharon Horton, Patricia Mastrovito, Margaret Melick and Joyce Wilfore.

Club members have contributed many service hours and donations, with a few of the organizations to benefit including Volunteers in Medicine, Deep Well, the Hilton Head Island public library, Red Cross, PEP and the Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Achievement School.

The largest undertaking, under president Maryjean Herberger, was to purchase 2,500 packets of note cards with 12 different scenes from Hilton Head Plantation and sell them to friends and neighbors. We were able to present $10,000 to the Hilton Head Plantation Conservancy Foundation.

Our members enjoyed a wonderful and memorable 25th celebration. And, we are looking forward to 25 more successful years as a club and to our members' continued support and service to the community.