Tustin women have long history of service

by Juanita Lovret
Reprinted courtesy of the Tustin News

These women, whose husbands belonged to the Tustin Knights of Pythias lodge, organized as Pythian Sisters, Tustin Temple 27, in 1926

The Advent Christian Church, organized in 1880, and Tustin Presbyterian Church, dating back to 1882, offered the first opportunities for Tustin women to engage in social and philanthropic groups.

Possibly inspired by these women, Mrs. C.E. Utt spearheaded the organizing of a Women’s Christian Temperance Union unit. By 1902, approximately 40 women had pledged “to abstain from all distilled, fermented and malt liquors, including wine, beer and cider, as a beverage, and to employ all proper means to discourage the use of, and traffic in the same.” Meeting every other Tuesday afternoon at the homes of members, the ladies also concerned themselves with evangelism, health, motherhood, music and sociability.

Organized in 1913 when the new grammar and primary school buildings were opened, the Tustin Grammar School Parent Teacher Association was the first of Tustin’s many parent/teacher organizations. It lives on today as Columbus Tustin PTO.

Wives of members of the Knight of Pythias were chartered in 1923 as Pythian Sisters, Tustin Temple 27. Meetings were held at the hall above the First National Bank of Tustin building until the Knights of Pythias building across the street was completed in 1926.

Approximately 50 women organized under the leadership of Emma Wassum to promote moral, mental, social and physical elevation of members, minister to the sick, distressed and needy and daily exemplify the Golden Rule in every possible way. In addition to doing charitable work, the group sponsored dances and socials for members and guests. As the lodge members aged, the membership dwindled and the Pythian Sisters disbanded.

American Legion Auxiliary, Tustin Unit 227, organized next in 1929. Its membership of 49 women under the leadership of Blanche Young aimed to aid war veterans and their families, promote community service, Americanism, legislation, civil defense, education and foreign relations. They, too, served for many years, disbanding only when women’s interests changed.

Thirty years later the Tustin Area Woman’s Club was federated after being organized in 1958 by founding president Lillian Beckwith Providing social, educational and philanthropic opportunities for women, it is now the largest women’s group in Tustin. Members participate in special interests such as volunteering at Chapman Hospital as well as attending section meetings to pursue activities such as bridge and bowling. Luncheons with business meetings and programs are held each month for the entire organization.

Assistance League of Tustin was founded in 1962 by Winifred Campbell and chartered by the National Assistance League 1965. With two auxiliaries, Assisteens for high school girls and the Winifred Campbell Auxiliary, the organization operates a Thrift Shop and staffs more than a half dozen philanthropic projects ranging from dental care for children to befriending seniors. They also hold monthly meetings in their Old Town Tustin facility.

Over the years Tustin women have joined many countywide organizations in addition to becoming members of service clubs once limited to men. Although the figures have never been totaled, they are responsible for giving thousands of hours of service to the community as well as raising thousands of dollars to benefit its residents.



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