ILWACO - Honoring three of the Peninsula's most cherished ladies, the Willapacific Chapter of the American Association of University Women held a party with cake, punch and coffee at the Ilwaco Heritage Museum Monday evening. Collectively these women represent 180 years of service to their community.
Born during the Depression, all were married, raised families and worked outside the home. They have all tried to address problems in the community by coming up with solutions and leading the way. In attendance were many former students, colleagues and friends of these ladies with 60 attending the event. Invitations with their pictures implanted on Mt. Rushmore went out to over 200 as well as an open invitation to the community.
Martha Murfin's greatest gift seems to be in always finding a way to raise funds for worthwhile community causes.Karen Campbell, co-president, spoke about Murfin's list of accomplishments including: AAUW President, Secretary, and chairperson for Community Affairs; Seattle Times 2005 Jefferson Award Winner; 1998 Washington State Health Volunteer of the Year; PTSA Secretary and recognized for ACORN Award; American Legion President and Secretary; Simon's Net President and Treasurer; initiated KITES Program (Kids In the Educational System) teenage parents needed child care to finish their schooling; began Peninsula Children's Fund; ECEAP Head Start; established F.I.S.H. in 1971; Accelerated Reading Program; bead lady; AmericaCorps oldest volunteer; Peninsula Church Center Infant Center dedicated to her (she raised over $100,000 to build it); Infant Safety Net; and her amazing ability to raise funds for worthwhile causes - no one can turn her down.
Edie Shire stopped her formal education just short of a degree, but has never let that get in her way.A widow, she has three very successful children and will be a great-grandmother this December. Her organization skills in leading the AAUW to make cranberry-peach pies each year provides scholarship funds that are given each year by the local chapter. Her reading pins, which she sells consistently for $14, provide literacy monies each year for the organization and also purchases books for new infants and their siblings. Each December local firemen bring her a cake and sing Happy Birthday to honor her community efforts. Sandy Stonebreaker spoke about Edie Shire and honored her for: AAUW Secretary many times over, Chair of Cranberrian Fair Booth; 2000 Education Foundation Award, and Honorary Life Member; Food Bank 2005 Outstanding Volunteer; Hilltop 2005 Bulldog of the Month; Kiwanis 2001 Education Certificate for Outstanding Community Service; 1998 Outstanding Community Service Award; 1994 Ocean View Convention Center Certificate of Appreciation; RSVP 1998 Outstanding Community Service Award (over 1,111 hours of service); 1963 Ordained Elder in Presbyterian Church; 1997 Ordained Deacon in Presbyterian Church; Junior Choir Director; Long Beach Elementary and Hilltop Volunteer in Reading Program; WSU (Cranberry Museum) 24 Years of Service Award; Board Member Kiwanis, Mentor Study Club, and River City School of Arts & Crafts, Modern Travellers Club; Together with Martha Murfin started F.I.S.H.; and helped get Cranberrian Fair restarted.
Marjorie Beard, originally from Iowa and Vancouver, worked with her dad in the shipyards to earn money to go to college. After being married to husband Toby and while four months pregnant, she was drafted to teach in the Ocean Beach School District. Her two sons are attorneys."She never met a kid she didn't love." Many of those problem children are productive members of the community today because of her efforts. She is known in the community particularly for her talent in writing grants.With pride we can say that she received every grant she ever wrote. "Everything she does is a loving thing," saidJuanita Marasco who went on to expound on Marjorie's list of accomplishments: Ilwaco Library Board Secretary-Treasurer; PACE Board of Directors; Pacific County ICC Chair; established art gallery at Fort Columbia; 50-year Eastern Star member; Rainbow Girls Advisory Board; Ocean Beach Presbyterian Church Treasurer, Women's Association Treasurer; 38 years in teaching; 1958 Washington State Teacher of the Year - nominated by her sophomore class; service on the School Board; President of PTA; Pacific County Education Association Secretary; Secretary, Vice President and President of Ocean Beach Education Association; and Washington State Scholl Librarians Secretary and President.
Each lady was presented with an apron hand decorated by Co-President Karen Campbell. Marjorie's read, "Cheering for Kids,"Edie's, "Cranberrian Queen Forever," and Martha's. "For A Good Cause, Give Until it Hurts,"
Diana Tehrani, candidate for Long Beach City Council, and former AAUW scholarship recipient, spoke to the group regarding the impact of AAUW on the treatment of women in the workplace.She is the only person in her family to attend college and it was difficult to go against the wishes of her family. AAUW helped her meet that challenge. She trained to be a teacher, but is now attending school to be an attorney. Once a strictly male profession, lawyers are about 50:50 now. One of the other four candidates for city council said she would lose because she is a woman. She commented that if she lost it would be because she was not the best candidate.Gender is no longer a criteria for choosing the best. AAUW has done a lot in making "the pig go underground."
After 58 years as charter members of AAUW, these ladies continue to make an impact on their community and there is hardly a person that has not been touched in some way by their efforts.