They have served Tustin for 50 years

by Juanita Lovret
Reprinted courtesy of the Tustin News

Tustin Community Hospital patients welcomed visits from members of the Tustin Area Woman’s Club Hospital Auxiliary. Ida McCalla, the third president, 1961 - 62, was a volunteer, delivering books and other items to the patients

Prior to 1957, the only organizations in Tustin for women were the American Legion and Knights of Pythias auxiliaries or church circles.

But that all changed when Lillian Ruth Beckwith came to town. She decided that the women of Tustin needed an organization especially for them, something like the woman’s club she had belonged to in her former hometown.

After convincing nine friends, including Tustin News publisher Bill Moses and his wife Lucille, that it was a good idea, she held an organizational meeting on Dec. 5, 1957, for 70 enthusiastic women.

The first meeting of the Tustin Area Woman’s Club (TAWC) was held at the Revere House in January 1958 for 143 charter members. Mrs. Beckwith was elected founding president of the club, which received its official charter from the California Federation of Women’s Clubs in February.

The new club held ts first fundraiser in March 1958 and raised $210 to benefit the Tustin Youth Center Building. Three special interest sections formed: American Home (later renamed Home & Garden), Bridge and Mannequins. It was decided to limit membership to 200 with a waiting list, but as women clamored to join this regulation was relaxed.

By 1960 the club had 300 members, more than the Revere House could handle, and relocated meetings to the Red Hill Tennis Club. Growth was consistent and in 1963 the membership reached 500. Two years later they had outgrown the Tennis Club and moved to the Elks Club.

More sections formed to satisfy the interests of the members: Choral, Arts ad Crafts, Fine Arts, Antiques, Golf, Book Review, Yearlings, Gadabouts, Gourmet, History and Landmarks, Bowling, Canasta and Couples Ballroom Dance. But these ladies did more than socialize and attend meetings. Fundraising was an important function of the club.

Between 1958 and 1967, they donated $35,000 to charities and philanthropic organizations. One of the most unusual fundraisers was the publication of a book written by one of History and Landmarks section members, Inez Pierson. Proceeds from “Tilda from Tustin” were earmarked for the Tustin Area Museum.

In addition, volunteers worked for other organizations such as Services for the Blind, the Albert Sutton Home and Orange County General Hospital.

Tustin’s youth also benefited from the Woman’s Club. In addition to organizing Tustin Youth Employment to help young people find jobs, they opened a youth employment office and staffed it. Over the years they have given hundreds of dollars in scholarships in addition to organizing Artist of the Month and Girl of the Month awards. Girl of the Month began at Tustin High and was expanded as Foothill and Beckman opened.

The club has given financial assistance to students at Hillview Continuation School, sponsored youth in the American Field Service Program and adopted Heideman Elementary School in the “Partners in Education Program.”

When Tustin Community Hospital opened, TAWC formed a Hospital Auxiliary to do volunteer work there. In addition to visiting the patients and assisting the staff, the auxiliary operated a gift shop. After the hospital closed in 1996, the auxiliary began to volunteer at Chapman Hospital in Orange.

Tustin Area Woman’s Club has provided close to a million dollars to hundreds of charities and philanthropic groups in the past 50 years. Their work has been recognized many times by the California Federation of Women’s Clubs as well as Disneyland, which has given them five awards, and the city of Tustin.


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