CHESTER — With what was described as reluctance and sadness, the Chester Garden Club made the decision last fall to dissolve/disband after 80 years of continuous activity.
The Club was formed in 1939 with the aim “to create interest and pride in home and community.”
To that end, members were active in almost every aspect of Chester life. They became mentors for others who joined their group, sharing their knowledge and skills of all things floral, as well as a deep commitment to their community.
The Club built and entered floats in Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and homecoming parades. They planted flowers at Chester High School, and some are still blooming at the now abandoned site.
The group supported numerous school activities in Chester, according to longtime member Edna Wood.
“Whoever needed our assistance, including the baseball team, we were there to help out wherever we were needed,” Wood said.
The Club purchased and installed large urns around the cannon in the Chester Cemetery, and tended the site for almost 30 years before the urns were removed by an unknown source.
The Meigs County Fair Flower Shows were one of the year’s big events and required a tremendous amount of planning and work to accomplish. The Chester club, along with the many other Meigs County Garden Clubs, sponsored two separate shows that included floral design and horticulture exhibits. The club also provided funds for 4-H members who needed assistance with their fair entrance fees.
Members traveled to the Ohio Association of Garden Club shows around the state, and several were accredited judges in the organization.
Wood said the club was more than a social endeavor, or just about flowers.
“We were very involved as a group,” Wood said. “We really enjoyed our activities, and felt we were a positive presence in the Chester community.”
With only six members remaining, and citing an inability to recruit new members, the club voted to disband during their October 2019, meeting.
The group closed out the year by chairing the Winter Flower Show in December at the Syracuse Community Center. The contest book sent to the OAGC for judging, scored 100 percent.
The last active members were Edna Wood, Judy Rigsby, Marjorie Fetty, Linda Blosser, Pam Schatz, Lula Toban.
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Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.