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A Brief History of Soroptimist International of Davis

The Soroptimist International of Davis was chartered in 1954 and began doing philanthropic work in its first year.

A Brief History of Soroptimist International of Davis

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Submitted by:  Janice Labadie, 10/28/07
This entry relates to past and present.
Category(ies) of this entry:  Organization

A Brief History of
Soroptimist International of Davis
Janice Labadie ~ 2007

The Soroptimist International of Davis club was chartered on the evening of May 1st 1954 at Emerson Junior High School with 300 people in attendance.  Familiar names in this community such as, Walgenbach, Quessenberry, Dolcini, Anderson and Neubauer were gathering together to establish an association that would build on a foundation that stands strong today.

In 1961 we chartered the Venture Club of Davis, and then in 1985, we chartered the Soroptimist International of Greater Davis club.

Most are familiar with our annual `Cruising with Soroptimist’ event held the first Saturday in March.  Many more are familiar with the `Picnic in the Park’  beer booth at the Davis Farmer’s Market which runs April until October that we partner with Venture.

In the first year of existence, the club worked to obtain donations for corneal transplants.  We sponsored delegates to Girl’s State and candidates to the Sugar Queen Pageant.  With I-House as fiduciary, we founded the Parent Child Learning Center over 20 years ago.

As a precursor to what is now the work of the Senior Center, it was members of our club who hosted the Second Horizon’s Spaghetti dinners.  From 1955 until 1991, Susan Walgenbach would head up the project.  One time though, Susan laments that one of the `husbands’ had slipped some liquor into the sauce and they had to start all over again at 2am!

I can safely say that over these many years, countless hours of service and hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding have been given back to this community through the work of Soroptimists. 

The accompanying photo shows founding member Lorraine Neubauer being driven in the 1996 Picnic Day Parade in celebration of Soroptimist 75th anniversary.  With her are, Diane McDonough, Minnie Brenner, Janet Mason, Nancy Davis and driving the car, Janice Labadie.

As Susan Walgenbach would say, “It’s a lot of work but, a lot of fun too!  We always had a fantastic group of ladies.”

Thank you to Phyllis Haig, Yolo County Archivist and long standing member of Soroptimist International of Davis, for her dedication to the history of our club.

This site provided with the assistance of the Davis Community Network.