(Women's Progressive Families Association)
AND IBERIA COMMUNITY CLUB…….
By Peggy Smith Hake
On October 15, 1921, Henry F. & Hannah (Grady) Carroll sold a tract of land in the town of Iberia (85' x 95') at the corner of Lombar and Pearl Streets to the board of directors of the Iberia Co-Operative Association #208. In 1941, a Certificate of Amendment was presented to Missouri's Secretary of State and when approved, the organization became known as IBERIA MFA FARMERS EXCHANGE. A large, two-story frame structure was built on the corner and served Iberia and other citizens of southern Miller County for almost 60 years.
The W.P.F.A. was organized on 9 November 1937 at a meeting held in the Modern Woodmen Hall in Iberia. The women decided they were needed as a helpmate to the MFA and could serve and represent the entire family. Sixteen charter members were in attendance that Tuesday evening in early November of 1937. Those present were Edith Law, Jessie Farnham, Anna Cross, Mary Bilyeu, Ada McKee, May Morrow, Minnie Groff, Mrs. Eugene Keeth (Faye), Arlie Kinder, Mrs. Clarence Law (Sadie), Lillie Farnham, Sarah Crismon, Laura Fancher, Laura Shockley, Edith Wilson and Grace James. At the next meeting, held on 21 December 1937, Mrs. Hirsty McKee became the 17th member.
In 1939, Iberia's WPFA helped to organize more clubs in the county at Eldon, St. Elizabeth, Alder Springs and Ulman. The same year a county-wide club was organized.
In the early years, meetings were held in the homes of members. Much of their time was spent quilting, embroidering, tacking rugs, sewing carpet rags, and according to the club's minutes, they even helped the hostess stem gooseberries!
In 1939 and 1940, the MFA and WPFA jointly sponsored picnics at Hardy Park and the funds were used to built a future hall. In 1941, they sponsored a J.F.A. group of young people.
During World War II, they bought war bonds from their small funds; sewed articles for the Red Cross; sent Christmas boxes and kits to area servicemen who were fighting for America in both Europe and the Pacific; and during the same years, they also made donations of money and food to Iberia Academy and Junior College.
Later, the ladies of WPFA raised funds by printing a cookbook (which sold for only 50 cents). They contributed to the March of Dimes; held an annual bazaar; served several Lincoln Day banquets; served a Rural Route Convention banquet; and also served several Junior/Senior banquets for the Iberia High School. While reading through some of the minutes, I learned they also worked on the Bloodmobile when it came to Iberia and sponsored two 'parcel post sales'…what ever that was ! ! ! !
In 1944, after meeting in member's homes for seven years, they began hold their meetings in the MFA Hall which was upstairs over the feed store. All the members donated items to equip the kitchen.
The last meeting of the WPFA Club was held in August 1985 and at that time Iberia Community (ICC) became an offshoot club of WPFA. Mabel Fancher was elected as the first president and the first vice president was Lorena Brown. The ladies did not want their club to fall by the wayside because for years they had been an important part of the Iberia community….a light came on!....They would become the Iberia Community Club and carry on with a new name and hopefully new members as the years came along. Iberia Community Club remains 'alive and well' today (in 2008), 71 years after a group of sixteen ladies decided Iberia's MFA needed a woman's touch to instill the importance of 'family' in the community.
MEMBERS OF W.P.F.A. (Women's Progressive Families Association) in 1939:
Sadie Adams Mrs. Eugene Keeth (Faye)
Irene Anderson Nora Keeth
Margaret Anderson Edith Law
Della Barnett Martha Law
Mary Bilyeu Sis Lee
Sarah Crismon Flossie Livingston
Anna Cross Ada McKee
Electa Denton Mrs. Hirsty McKee
Anna Doubikin Mary McKee
Chloe Dickson Tavie McKee
Laura Fancher Mae Morrow
Jessie Farnham Paradine Phillips
Anna Groff Laura Shockley
Mary Hedges Euna Stark
Bertha Hendricks Sarah West
Grace James Ida Whitaker
By 1940, the following had been added to the membership list:
Addie Burks, Wilma Clark, Helen Davis, Fannie Hannah, Thelma Law, Elizabeth Lee, Clara Vineyard, and Edith Wilson.
IBERIA COMMUNITY CLUB
The Iberia Community Club is now in its 23rd year but its roots are much deeper and older. The club is an offshoot of Iberia WPFA which was organized in November 1937. They were active through five decades of service to the community. When the MFA organization began to dissolve in the mid-1980s, it also affected the WPFA Club which was associated with MFA.
The last meeting of the WPFA Club was held in August 1985 and at that time the members voted to continue on as a 'community club'. They met the next month, September 1985, at the VFW Hall east of Iberia; re-organized the club and named it "Iberia Community Club". So they closed one chapter of their history and opened another.
New officers were elected at the first meeting including-- President: Mabel Fancher; Vice-President: Lorena Brown; Secretary/Treasurer: Stella Keyes; Chaplin: Faye Keeth; Pianist: Doris Wilson; Song Leader: Fern Powell; Team Leaders: Ruby Woody, Lorraine Atwell and Lorena Brown; Past President of WPFA: Lorene Allen.
In August 1985, 40-Year Certificates of Membership (1945-1985) was awarded to Faye Keeth and Fern Powell who were still very active in the club at that time.
Since the beginning, the Iberia Community Club has met on the first Wednesday of each month and they first met at the Iberia VFW Hall. Today they meet at the Iberia Congregational Church Annex. They have a carry-in luncheon each month where spouses and friends are always invited to attend.
For many years the ladies spent several years doing hand-quilting, but have now discontinued this service due to so few left who can perform this unique form of art. Many of the older members, who were the experienced quilters, are now gone and the younger members have not carried on the tradition.
Iberia Community Club continues to maintain an interest in the community as a whole. Over the years they have supported many projects including Halloween Alternative, Project Graduation, Bloodmobile, Best Choice Label programs, Girls State sponsorship, Iberia School's landscaping and tennis courts; the hospice program; the Miller County Ambulance District's 'Jaws for Life'; South Miller County Crime Watch program; Nimble Thimbles Quilting Club; the Miller County Care Center; Iberia's Community Christmas for the children; donated to the VFW's heating/air conditioning system and helped to buy kitchen appliances for the VFW Hall and have assisted Iberia Community Betterment Association at Fall Fest, Christmas street decorations, construction of a new gazebo/bandstand in downtown Iberia; and donated to the purchase of a new spruce tree for the downtown Christmas displays. In addition to assisting all these community organizations, the club has often given donations to citizens who have had medical problems, fire losses, and various other needs.
Each month the members and guests look forward to gathering together at the Congregational Church Annex for fellowship and fun. They share in a wonderful meal, compete to win door prizes, enjoy various programs, sometimes sing a few songs and participate in monthly devotionals. Some months, if the time is sufficient, they have played bingo. At Christmas time, they have enjoyed the annual Christmas dinner, party, and gift exchange.
The current officers of Iberia Community Club are: (2008)
President: B. J. Davis
Vice President: Lorna Crawford
Secretary: Peggy Hake
Treasurer: Alice Stroyick
Song Leader: Lois Kochenower
Patriotic Leader: Ruby Plemmons
Best Choice Chairman: Peggy Hake
Sunshine Chairman: Delores McDowell