Our Founders-A Picture In Time, by International President Sandy Morris

Lambda Province Sisters have been going through our history books in preparation for our 100year Celebration.  I don’t remember if I ever sat down and just took my time to really look at each picture.  To remember the beautiful ladies in each picture.  The pleasure in just taking it page by page and looking at it without distraction is wonderful.  Much different than standing at a table and quickly looking at them while at a meeting.  I would recommend everyone sit down and take some time with a  history book and just enjoy looking and remembering.

What can I say about this picture of Edith, Irene, Violet, Ferne and Phyllis?

WOW was my first thought when I saw it in my Chapter’s history book; that’s all five of the Founders!  We have no idea who took that picture that was taken back in 1977.  Convention that year was held in Los Angeles, California.  Our lovely Founders were all together.  What a treat for the members who were there and for the Founders who were honored by the membership.  It is my hope that all of us believe in Sigma Phi Gamma and are working to keep it alive just as our Founders did.  It is our responsibility to grow our membership.


My BFF – Judy Vance, by Bonnie Gerard

Judy Vance 1939 – 2019

     Judy and I were BFFs for 30+ years.  We lived two miles down the street from each other.  I was the Ethel to her Lucy.  I couldn’t seem to get started on this tribute until I typed to Jean Morton and she said: “There are so many great stories to tell about Judy, they would fill a book.”  That one line inspired me.  Jean and Judy were very tight, too.

     Judy could be best described as bodacious.  She was bigger than life; big as in 6’ tall; big as in big hearted; and big in love and friendship.  It could be said that Judy never met a stranger.  She loved to have parties-all kinds of parties.  She loved to cook and entertain.  She loved to have people at her home and if you needed to spend the night, or weekend, no problem.  You were always welcome.  Half of Bedford may have had a key to her house!  She retired from American Airlines and loved to travel.  She said if times were different “back then,” she would have been a pilot.  She was not a passenger in life.  She loved kids and dogs.  Judy never married, didn’t have kids, but always had a big dog: yellow labs.  She took care of the elderly in her home, her dad, her mom and then her aunt.  Judy was a religious person.  She was an absolute aficionado of Christmas.  There were 13 “themed” trees in her condo.  She collected things in a big way.  Judy loved sorority, shopping, and garage sales in that order.  Craft making was also a specialty.  Her passion was sports, especially The Texas Rangers baseball.  Also, basketball, and she played golf.  Many organizations were proud to call her theirs and she held offices in every group she joined.  For Judy, leading was much more fun than following.  In sorority, Judy served on the International Council from 1983 to 1989.  She served as general chairman of three International Conventions in Texas: 1991 in Arlington, 2002 in San Antonio and 2008 in Fort Worth.  Judy joined sorority in Phoenix on June 24, 1973 and then became a charter member of Mu Gamma Chapter in Arlington on April 3, 1977.  She became a member of Zeta Chapter on May 24, 2019 as a 46-year member.

Photo provided by Betty Crafton



Growing SPG Membership-It’s a job for all of us, by Sandy Morris, International President

I have been serving as your International President for a little over a month now.   Needless to say, it has been a roller coaster of feelings and emotions.  I have been excited, loved, numb, overwhelmed, amazed and honored.  As with everything new there is a learning curve; hopefully I am approaching the downside of this curve.

When I thought about what I wanted to see accomplished this year I, thought about membership.  Yes, we need to work on growing our membership.  How many ways can we say that?  Does everyone in your Chapter realize that we need to increase our membership?  They should.  It is not just a job for Chapter Organizers, Province Organizers, the International Organizer, or the International Council.  It is a job for everyone!  Each and every one of us is responsible for membership.  The International Council has and continues to work on providing you with some tools.  Please take these tools, found on the Website, and use them.  Perhaps your Chapter could put someone in charge during one of your meetings to do a show and tell on what’s available on the SPG website.  Some of your Sisters may have never looked or seen what’s been added under “Toolkits.”  Find Toolkits under the Documents tab.  The Webinars from Shari Pash are posted on the website too (look under the Publications tab in the Video Gallery) along with her presentation at our International Convention in Wichita (in Membership Toolkit under Membership Webinars From International Convention).  Take the time to find out!  See what you missed!

Thoughts on Sisterhood by Patricia Herweg

Last night I attended a wonderful celebration of sisterhood: Our Founders’ Day dinner.  There was good food and good company bringing us together to honor the 5 ladies that started Sigma Phi Gamma Sorority.

It has been almost 100 years since those 5 ladies got together to start an organization of women who supported one another in daily life and did community service for their area.

We are committed to each other and to serving our community…I feel privileged and honored to be part of this wonderful group of Women.  We try to live our Creed and our Pledge every day of our lives.

Right now I am waiting for my ride to pick me up…one of our sisters needs us in her time of grief…we are there…through the laughter and the tears.

Sigma Phi Gamma is an organization that means so much to me.


Patricia Herweg: Secretary for Eta Sigma Chapter in Omicron Province

Mu Eta Chapter Is Growing! by Cindy Worley, Chapter Editor

Mu Eta Chapter of KAPPA Province recently got together to celebrate pledging Deb Martin and reinstating Marilyn Joy.  We all had an exciting time getting together afterwards to celebrate!  As you can see from the picture below, food, drinks, laughter and stories were in abundance.

Left side front to back: Patti McNeill, Dee Dee Rupp, Tammey Steffen, Deb Martin and Kathy Jacobs.  Right side front to back: Marilyn Joy, Cindy Worley, Jo Ann Morse, Michelle Morgan and Diana Jennings.

Sisters=Family by International Counselor Robin Pelton

They say that friends are the family that you get to choose.  I am blessed to have a wonderfully loving and close family that are truly my friends too.  I didn’t choose them, but I treasure each and every one of them and I am thankful that they are in my life.

My sorority Sisters are also my family.  I treasure each and every one of them as well.  It is such a special thing to have–Sisters that are from different walks of life, different ethnicities, different ages, different religions, different political leanings, different cultures, different areas, different backgrounds, different viewpoints, different MANY THINGS.

BUT we are all the same in these important areas—we love our Sigma Phi Gamma, we love serving our communities, AND we love each other.

THAT is Sigma Phi Gamma!

IROC Convention Memories From Betty McClure and Donna Collins

As we prepare for the 2019 International Convention in Wichita, Kansas, it gives us an opportunity to reflect on conventions of the past.  Betty McClure and I are sharing a few memories with you:

Betty shared that her favorite convention was in Indianapolis, Indiana – June 24-28, 1992.  Betty was serving as International President.  Ferne Palmer Schick and Violet Pettit Tindall were in attendance.  Betty remembered that Ferne and Violet both really wanted to go to Founders’ Park, but they didn’t want to travel there on the bus.  So, Betty and her husband Dick drove them to the park by car.  Upon arrival, Violet and Ferne walked around and lounged a bit on the Founders’ Bench.  They both had a really nice time.

My favorite convention was held in Columbus in 2016.  Gamma Province was the host and I was co-chair of the convention along with Deb Juracich.  Like every Province, we worked more than a year on every detail.  It was hard work and so much fun.  So many Sisters stepped up and did us proud.  Because Deb and I were also on International Council–the day the convention began we relinquished our chair responsibilities to Linda Johnson (Xi Xi Chapter) and Gwen Toth (Mu Beta Chapter).  Wendie McKnelly was our presiding officer that year and the rest of the Council was: Donna Collins, Vice President; Joyce Berkey, Organizer; Jill Pyclik, Service Secretary; Jan Beeker, Editor; Deb Juracich, Historian; and Liz Cochrane, Counselor.  It was such an honor to be elected International President for the 2016-2017 year, and the bonus was my Province–Gamma Province–was the convention host in our hometown!  Wow, what an honor.

What was your favorite International Convention?  Take a moment to leave a comment below and tell us about your convention memories!

Many IROC Sisters had the good fortune to know and spend time with one or more of the Founders.  Betty McClure became close to Violet.  During the 75th Founders’ Day Celebration on August 27, 1995, Violet was the honoree.  Colleen Keller was International President, Robin Pelton was Upsilon Province President, and Betty was a Past International President.  The celebration was held in Fairfield making it easier for Violet to attend.  Colleen presented Violet with her 75th Year Member pin, Robin shared a video, and Betty presented the Candlelight Service.  The following year on January 27, 1996, Violet installed Xi Delta Chapter.  Wow, what wonderful memories!

      This is what we loved about Violet

V   Violet – Vivacious, Vibrant as a spring day

 I    Inspirational, spiritual, a moral leader

O   Openness to ideas and progress

L    Love and friendship ever true

E   Enchanting as a precious pearl

T   Tender and delicate, the Violet we love

      by Delta Nu Chapter, Chico, California

   Violet, Betty, and Ferne

   Betty, Violet, and Ferne

   Violet Pettit Tindal

   Ferne Palmer Schick

   Betty McClure

   Donna Collins

I get by with a little help from my friends by Debbie Henize, International Historian

I am by nature, a very independent person.  I was the first person in my family to go away to college.  I packed my things and moved three hours away and I knew no one.  I bought my first home on my own.  I lived there by myself for 6 years before meeting and marrying my husband.  I suspect that many of you are that way too!  It is not a bad thing but …

Isn’t it funny how there is always a but?  I need to keep myself in check because I don’t have to do it all myself.  I have friends.  Just like you, I have hundreds of Sisters who know more than I do and are willing to help.  

As you probably know, I have been inputting pictures in the new directory and hit a roadblock.  I didn’t ask for help, I just kept trying.  A dear Sister sent me an email with the pictures of her chapter for the directory.  I, of course, thanked her and proceeded to post the pictures to the directory.  In our conversation, she shared with me how she got the pictures.  It was like a light bulb went off.  Why had I not thought of that?  Now I know how to get the pictures from the old directory into the new one.  If I had only asked for help, I would have saved a great deal of time.

I keep learning more and more about our wonderful organization.  Even more important are the people I am getting to know and depend upon.  We all need each other and there are many more lovely women out there who need us as much as we need them.  

Practice Mindfulness by Robin Pelton, International President

As I catch up on my tasks as President, try to get ahead a bit on those deadlines coming up, keep up with my job/kiddos, try to spend time with my husband, try to relax a little, focus on better health habits, etc., I realize that sometimes I feel very frazzled.  Trying to make everyone and myself happy is a hard task.

So, in light of this, I am trying to practice “mindfulness”– a big buzzword in education and the world in general right now.  The dictionary says it is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”  I think the biggest part of this is being aware of the present moment—enjoying and accepting what is happening RIGHT NOW.

To be honest, I have always tried to be aware of the present.  When I raised my children, I kept reminding myself to enjoy EVERY moment because I didn’t want to regret what I had when it was gone. 

So these days, I am trying to keep all of my life in perspective and enjoy the busy-ness. Because after it is gone, I know I will feel a sense of loss and wonder how I did it all.  Enjoy the moment. Remember—the Present is a gift!

Welcome To SPG Anna Shipley-From Linda Bullington, International Organizer

A suggestion came from our Advisory Committee to have the International Officers reach out to new members and welcome them into sorority.  What a nice idea and one easily accomplished!  We receive the names of new Sisters who have joined recently from our International President, Robin Pelton. 

If it were me, as a new person, I would have two thoughts on an International Officer reaching out to me, and I’m not sure which would come first…one is- how nice, an Int’l Officer welcoming me into SPG, the other is…I don’t even know this person, what could we possibly have to talk about, I don’t want to talk to a stranger.

So far, I have been assigned 5 new Sisters to contact.  Multiply that by 8 Officers and that’s a lot of welcoming!  Yea us for growing SPG!

Recently I arranged to contact Anna Shipley, to welcome her.  In responding to my email to set up a call time, Anna sent an insightful, thoughtful response.  After reading it I felt like I knew her and calling was that much easier, ‘cuz it’s easy to talk to a Sister you know.  Below is her response with my thoughts following in parenthesis. 

Anna– I would be happy to speak with you.  I am in the Eastern Time Zone, so we have a three-hour difference.  How about Wednesday at noon for me and 9 AM for you in WA?  (9 AM?! Yikes, I guess I’ll have to set my alarm since I’m a night owl.)

Anna– Are you wondering about anything in particular?  (No, I’d just like to welcome you into SPG and offer my help if you have questions.)

Anna I don’t want to waste your time hemming and hawing as I think of my answer.  (I like this Sister already.  One short, sweet phone call, and mission accomplished!)

Anna– I took the liberty to write out my thoughts about becoming a part of SPG.  I do my best thinking on screen with a delete key.  (I like the way Anna thinks!  That delete key gives us all the option to reconsider the way we word things.  Once words are out, it’s too late to change them.)

Anna– At 62, my chances for a 20-year pin are so-so and the 50-year pin is a solid no.  (Ya never know, you might see 112.)

Anna– I do not aspire to an office in the Chapter.  (Hopefully, that will change.) 

Anna– I am the farthest away from the sorority core, it takes about 40 minutes to get to the meetings.  I have a lovely home, but I will never host a social meeting because of the distance.  (I drive 45 minutes to my Chapter meeting so it is far for me too, but I still get my Chapter to my home once in a while.  Offer to host a birthday or Christmas party- that’ll get them to come your way.) 

Anna– The Chapter is comprised mostly of women who have been members for decades, were high school classmates, are related or have lived in the same area for most of their lives.  So why join?  (For the sisterhood!  Anna is one sharp cookie for sure, did you notice that she has a WHY!)  

AnnaI joined, because I met a member of SPG in 1995 who is still very active, Sharon M.  We became good friends.  She and I had the same position in different counties.  We were the Directors for our counties’ recycling programs.  We traveled together to meetings and conferences and did things socially.  I even attended a Province convention with her around 1997!  Sharon went to the sorority functions and I swam, shopped and had a relaxing weekend.  (Nice job Sharon M!  Way to work SPG, take ‘em to fun things and slowly reel them in!  Anna- we swim, shop and relax while attending meetings- you’ll see.)

Anna– Sharon asked me early into our friendship about my interest in SPG.  (Good job Sharon.  Offer her the opportunity, then sit back and wait for her to let you know when the time is right for her.) 

Anna– I was interested but I had a work conflict with the Chapter business meeting, every month.  (Give it time, keep us in mind.)

Anna– In the years since then, my job ended, I remarried and had to convince my new husband that the sorority would be good for me and thus for us as a couple.  (Job ended-retirement or downsized?  Remarried…I have two thoughts here-Yea for love or didn’t you learn from the first time?!)

Anna– He wasn’t convinced for a while, that he was happy for me to join a ladies only organization.  (Um… not his decision to make.  Can you tell I’m single?)

Anna-His health was not good for several years and I didn’t want to commit to a group if I wouldn’t be able to participate fully.  (Sorry to hear his health was bad.  What a good wife- putting your man first.  Just remember to take care of you while caring for him.  Sorority friends are good for your soul!)

AnnaI joined SPG because I have been acquainted with the members of the Chapter for 20 years due to my friendship with Sharon.  (Her Why again!)

Anna– I still do not know all the ladies (Sisters) yet, but over the years I met them in various places.  They were always kind and gracious to me.  (Good job Chapter Sisters, way to be friendly!)

Anna– Many remembered me from previous encounters.  (When we SPG members have a potentially interested Sister, we just keep reelin’ them in till we snag ‘em!  Good things take time.) 

Anna– These ladies (Sisters) seem to be the kind of ladies (Sisters) that a person would want to have as friends.  (Yes, we are!)    

Anna– Finally, I joined to make new friends.  This is the most important reason and it is based on the first two reasons.  Having a group of ladies who are happy to see you twice a month Is priceless.  (YES IT IS!)

Anna– Getting out with a group of women twice a month is also wonderful.  (YES IT IS!)

Anna– The idea that some of the women might become personal friends is more than I hope for.  (They definitely will!  Give it time.)  

Anna– The opportunity to go to conventions is great and Sharon talks about the wonderful time she has, but I don’t think I will be able to attend much due to the cost.  (Hopefully, an International Convention will happen near enough to you to allow you to go.  It will charge your sorority battery and you’ll meet Sisters from around the country and Canada who will become your Sister friends too!)

Anna– I hope to go to St. Louis for the 100th anniversary.  (Yea!  That’ll be a grand celebration for sure!  100 years young is quite an accomplishment!) 

Anna– Making new friends is terribly hard for me.  (Chapter Sisters make it easier.  Don’t force things to happen or get depressed.  Good things take time and they will happen when it’s right.)

Anna– This age of virtual communication makes making friends face to face even harder.  (Our Virtual Chapter Sisters would beg to differ on this point but they would do so lovingly.)   

Anna– I won’t go into detail about the efforts I’ve made in past years to find a friendship niche for my husband and I, but I’ve tried a variety of things.  We have momentary success, but it doesn’t last.  Neither of us are native to the rural area where we live, roots are important here.  Without history, we are different enough, to not fit into the local mold.  Our circumstances left both my husband and I with few ties to family or friends.  We’d love to have a couples group to socialize with, go on day trips, eat out, but it may not be in our cards.  (SPG has many supportive husbands- we call them our Mister SPGs.  Give your Chapter friendships time to bloom and perhaps friendships between your husbands will too!)  

Anna– My only negative in joining SPG is that I have a group and my husband does not.  That makes me a little sad.  (Perhaps try to find a men’s organization for him- Elks or Moose, get him a hobby with a club.  Just keep going to sorority meetings for you!)

Anna-I feel fortunate to be able to join Sigma Phi Gamma.  I am happy to be a part of a group who holds friendship in high regard and one that values service to others.  (And we’re happy to have you Anna!) 

AnnaSister love going out to you, (I feel the love!)


LindaWhat a great, unsolicited, email Anna!  Best wishes for years of feeling the SPG love!  I look forward to seeing you in St. Louis!  And wishes for success in finding a niche for your husband too!

Sister to Sister…..