High school grad sorority spans 60 years, 3 generations

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

alt The Cressey family: from left are Karen Cressey; Marissa Giardina; Margaret Ann Neyman; Eleanor Cressey; Teighan Sykes; Kristina Plackter; Paula Sykes; Mary Pat, Currie and Danielle Cressey; and Maryann Giardina. By STEVE PRISAMENT
Staff Writer

GALLOWAY – The Chi Delta Sorority of Pleasantville High School's Class of 1951 held a landmark reunion Thursday, June 30 – a dressy affair in Fred & Ethel's Lantern Light Tavern at Historic Smithville.

"We've been together for 60 years," Tina Austin said. "The sorority started in June at the end of the school year. Neighbors, friends and sisters-in-law all joined later on."

The only remaining original member is Betty Jane Kane. She and Austin still live in Absecon. The other 14 members live in Absecon or Galloway.

"We meet at peoples' houses twice a month," Austin said. "We meet in the afternoon. We just started that this past year since many of us have trouble seeing to drive after dark."

The meetings include lunch and a formal program. The group raises money to help the needy.

"We don't meet in the summer," Austin said. "We have a pool party at Betty Jane Kane's and we have our mother-daughter banquet. At first it was a dinner with our mothers; then they all died. So then we brought our daughters, and now it's daughters and granddaughters."

Of the 53 guests at the anniversary dinner, there were 11 at Eleanor Cressey's table including daughters, daughters-in-law and granddaughters.

"Tonight's highlights are our memories – counting our blessings," Cressey said. "We've had weddings, babies, parties – we were really into parties when we were younger."

This year's mother-daughter 60th anniversary party replaced the annual dinner and installation of officers.

"We skipped the installation this year," Cressey said. "The same officers will remain another year. We're thinking about switching to two-year terms. Everyone has served several terms as officer."

The twice-a-month meetings are attended by at least 14 of the 16 members, she said. They have a prayer, take attendance, read the minutes, the treasurer's report and correspondence. Then there's old business, new business, announcement of the next meeting and adjournment.

"It's very organized," Cressey said. "We've been helping a needy family. They remain anonymous. We have one member who meets with them in our behalf."

She said the 16 women are all best friends.

"We've been there for each other in good times and bad times," Cressey said. "We can depend on each other."

The evening included some skits featuring dancing.

"When we get together we always have a good time," Cressey said. "We used to have stuff for the kids: egg hunts and fashion shows. Then they got too old for that. We've had lots of theme parties: we had a luau, Kentucky Derby party, a night in Las Vegas and a Roaring '20s themed party."

To comment on this story

email steve.prisament

Photos by Steve Prisament 

alt Co-chairwomen Tina Austin, left, and Betty Jane Kane relax before dinner.   alt   alt Seated for dinner are from left, Debi and Katie Higbee of Absecon, Patty Austin of Northfield and Kathie Gardener of Galloway.   alt The Kane family seated from left are Julie Myrtetus, Laura Kane, Diana Delareto and Kim Krause. Standing are Jane and Amanda Showell, Emily and Kathy Huenke, Betty Jane Kane and Jean Warley.   alt When Dora Maurer's daughter was unable to attend, she invited friend Mai Gruber of Galloway. Maurer of Absecon is on the right.   alt The 60th Reunion Committee from left are Phyllis Wilson, Eleanor Cressey, Tina Austin, Etta Hand, Dora Maurer and Betty Jane Kane.   alt The Hand family, all from Absecon, are, from left, Georgina and Etta Hand, Terri Zechman and Rachael Hamby.

blog comments powered by Disqus