By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
An Enid P.E.O. Chapter Q is thriving at age 100.
Established in 1911, the club’s charter members were Alva Patton, Mary Butcher, Myrtle Bailey, Edith Lawrence, Lucy Smith, Bertha Hoffman and Addie Purmort.
One of the P.E.O.’s primary projects is to sponsor a scholarship for an Enid student going to college with the intention of majoring in music.
“Every year we sponsor one music scholarship for a graduating Enid high senior,” said chapter president Ann Bryant.
Bryant said an early member, Grace Frantz, was the inspiration for sponsoring music scholarships. Grace Frantz Memorial Award was established because of Frantz’s love for and dedication to music and the industry. The Frantz home was the only one with a piano in the early days of Enid and became a rehearsal hall for vocal groups.
Dorothy Harbaugh, approaching her own 100th birthday June 11, has been a member of Chapter Q for half its history. She was awarded her 50-year pin last year.
Harbaugh said she joined because the organization had a good reputation.
“I just had always heard nice things about it,” Harbaugh said.
Membership is by invitation only, Harbaugh noted, but she likes the “pro-woman” aspect of Chapter Q. She’s stayed with it because of the positive affiliations she found there.
“I’ve made some friends who have been my friends all my life,” Harbaugh said. “Interesting things happened the whole time. We took in new young girls and watched them grow here into fine ladies.”
Mary Merritt said she was invited to join Chapter Q six months after she moved to Enid in 1997. By joining and taking part, she has found not only a worthwhile cause to support but also a circle of mentors.
“There is so much wisdom in that group,” she said. “I really like to be around them.”
Denise Tucker knows Chapter Q from both perspectives: She is a member as well as a scholarship recipient. She’s also a fourth-generation P.E.O. member and a third-generation member of Chapter Q.
“My grandmother and mother were both members of Chapter Q,” Tucker said.
She was one of the youngest members of the chapter when she joined and the only single member at that time. Then she moved away from Enid and later moved back.
“I became involved again and decided I wanted to go to dental hygiene school,” Tucker said. “My chapter sponsored me with a scholarship that helped me go back to school and get my degree.”
Besides sponsoring scholarships, another project is near and dear to the hearts of the P.E.O. members. Chapter Q has an ongoing special project in memory and in honor of another longtime member.
Naoma’s Fund was established after the 1997 death of Naoma Barnard. Barnard was a licensed counselor and a counselor at Taft Elementary School. Throughout her life, she helped families who were struggling financially, taking the funds out of her own pocket. Naoma’s Fund now continues that tradition, with Chapter Q members donating to the cause.
“Each year since I’ve been associated with (Taft Elementary) School, our Chapter Q sisters have donated over $1,000 to complement the Christmas needs of families,” said member and school principal Ann Reding.
Reding, the daughter of Dorothy Harbaugh, said joining Chapter Q after she moved back to Enid in 1991 was like a homecoming.
“I grew up in Enid, and a lot of my friends’ mothers had been involved in Chapter Q,” Reding said.