Our Vision: "Women and girls have the resources and opportunities to reach their full potential and live their dreams."

Governors of Founder Region

1960 - 1962  Southwestern Region Governor, Mary Lorentzen-Moser

Soroptimist International of Layfayette-Orinda
Theme:  The Song of Soroptimist - Beat the Drums, Loud and Clear"
Region Board  
Secretary: Mildred Myers, Concord
Treasurer: Edna Colville, Reno
District 1:  Clowe Collins, Napa
District 2:  Lois Lyons, San Jose,  Mary Ellen George, San Jose
District 3:  Evelyn Holland, Woodland  
District 4:  Selma Hansen, Sonora  
District Secretaries
District 1: Mary Ann Brown, Concord
District 2:  Patricia Randolph, Burlingame-San Mateo
District 3:  Ariel Gardner, Lovelock
District 4:   Charlotte Chichester, Delano
 This was our "Ruby" biennium with the theme "The Song of Soroptimist - Beat the Drums, Loud and Clear." It was a term with the full realization that every Soroptimist "has something of importance to offer and that every offering is needed if we are to fulfil our goals and meet the challenge of an ever-changing world." 

1962 - 1964  Southwestern Region Governor, Evelyn Holland

Soroptimist International of Woodland
Theme:  "Building Today's Youth ito Tomorrow's Leaders"

Region Board  
Secretary: Elsie Hilton, Modesto
Treasurer: Mary Gianotti, El Cerrito
District 1:  Mildred Meyers, Concord
District 2:  Mary Ellen George, San Jose
District 3:  Aimee Luginbuehl, Reno
District 4:  Norma Rhoads Mecum
District Secretaries
District 1:  Jean Sauder, Crescent City
District 2:  Nita Gurbarg, S.F. West of Twin Peaks
District 3:  Arthusa moore, Davis
District 4:  Lois Firestone, Hanford
This biennium we found a "new quest" through expansion of IGU programs. We saw "new action" in undertaking the development of youth leadership and studying the needs and problems of youth. Enthusiasm and support was given to the Soroptimist Foundation Endowment Fund and Southwestern continued to lead in contributions to the fund.

Conference planning took on a new approach through group discussion and evaluation, especially emphasizing that "PUBLIC AFFAIRS ARE OUR AFFAIRS".

Plans were made for the introduction of an Education Handbook. This biennium the extension and education committees worked very well, jointly in workshops - a natural step toward their being combined by federation decision as an education - extension committee.

The region contributed $5,--- to the SFA foundation. (Minnette Kerr-Higgins, San Francisco member, served as trustee for the Soroptimist Foundation for a period of six years during the early developments of the Foundation and Endowment fund).

Five Soroptimist clubs, four Venture and six "S" clubs were chartered during this term.

1964-1966 Southwestern Region Governor, Mary Ellen George

Soroptimist International of  San Jose
Theme:  "Accent on Youth"

Region Board  
Secretary: Clowe Collins, Napa
Treasurer: Bayonne Glenn, Sacramento
District 1:  Mary Gianotti, El Cerrito
District 2:  Doris McDonald, Barbara Nobles
District 3:  Arethusa Moore, Davis
District 4:  Charlotte Chichester, Delano
District Secretaries
District 1:  Helen Howard, Ukiah
District 2:  Rea Roderick, Hayward
District 3:  Matie Barker, Placerville
District 4:  Lolly Hanson, Tracy

Clubs Chartered:  Four Soroptimist, one Venture, and eight "S" clubs were chartered this biennium.
This biennium program planning was done for more outstanding accomplishments for youth. The first "S" club meeting was held at the April regional conference. It was at this meeting that the Soroptimist Club of Alameda presented the Mary Ellen George "S" club awards. In 1964, the total regional board attended a Venture conference, and the Venture governor was the Region's guest at all seven of the winter area meetings.

Other firsts were: an extension-educational handbook was published (thanks to the immediate past governor, Evelyn Holland as chairman of the combined extension-education committee); the "ear bank" became a regional project; a roster and literature committee came into being; a regional newsletter was sent quarterly to all members; a regional choir made its appearance; and the United Nations materials were made available at all district and regional meetings.

Directly due to Soroptimists' efforts in the area of public affairs, a California Governor's Commission on the Status of Women was formed and a Soroptimist was appointed to the commission. Thus, California, Hawaii and Nevada each had a commission with Soroptimists serving on it.

1966 - 1968 Southwestern Region Governor, Mary Gianotti

Soroptimist International of El Cerrito
Theme: "Moving the Direction of Change"

Region Board  
Secretary: Lucile Mauzy, Walnut Creek
Treasurer: Marjorie Brown, Crescent City
District. 1:  Violet Unland, Oakland    
 District 2:  Betty Howard, Redwood City     No. 2:
 District 3:  Matie Barker, Placerville   No. 3:
District 4:  Lolly Hansen, Tracy   No. 4:
District Secretaries
District 1:  Lois Sundborg, Antioch
District 2:  Ilse Greer, S.F. West of TwinPeaks
District 3:  Gladys Kimball, Paradise
District 4:  Mauda Crockett, Delano

Clubs Chartered:  Five clubs were chartered, the greatest                                                 number in any region of the SFA for this biennium. 
Many firsts occurred this biennium. A 50th Anniversary committee was appointed, and work planning for the Golden Jubilee year began; A Violet Richardson Ward "Youth Achievement" award was presented; and the region contributed $500 to the Violet Richardson Ward scholarship fund at the University of California;

The "S" club annual conference was held at Asilomar, the program planned by the girls under the supervision of the regional chairman; the Mary Ellen George endowment fund for "S" club awards became a regional project;

A Redwood Memorial Grove History was written by Marjorie Brown; a Redwood Memorial Grove Fund was established and all responsibilities for the grove were transferred to the region - a chairman was appointed and all expenses incurred shall be withdrawn from this fund.

Area meeting "Early Bird" sessions were started for an organized question and answer period; by conference action, mid-morning and afternoon "rest breaks" were introduced;

Two three-fold education pamphlets were published and distributed.

Southwestern region was privileged to be a large contributor to the Foundation Endowment fund, with 51 clubs contributing 200 percent; over $800 was contributed to a school in Patzacurro, Mexico, and $800 was sent to the American 4-H program in Korea; a collection at regional conference netted $500 for a SIA Refugee fund.

A grant of $12,000 from the SFA Foundation fund was made to the Redding club for building a Community Senior Citizens center.

One Venture club and 10 "S" clubs received charters.

1968 - 1970  Southwestern Region Governor,  Matie Barker

Soroptimist International of Sparks
Theme: "On the Beam Today for Tomorrow"

Region Board  
Secretary: Flora Critchlow, Livermore
Treasurer: Lois Sundborg Gustafson, Antioch
District 1:  Margaret Knott, Vallejo
District 2:  Ilse Greer, S.F. West of Twin Peaks  
District 3:  Margaret Galli, Roseville  
District 4:  Esther DePaoli, Amador
District Secretaries
District 1:  Betty Soekland, Calistoga
District 2:  Audrey Jacobs, Santa Cruz
District 3:  Grace Donehower, Reno
District 4:  Lillyan Robeson, Fresno

 Clubs Chartered:  Four clubs were chartered

Slogan: "SOROPTIMISTS THINK BIG" Southwestern came to the front in Youth Projects, the new area (program) of Soroptimist activity, with the addition of 14 "S" clubs and two Sigma societies. Muriel Morse, SFA president, invited four "S" clubs and one Sigma Society girl to participate in the SFA convention in St. Louis in July, 1970.

A Human Rights committee came into being, at the suggestion of the SFA; IGU added support for the Indians; the education committee published a compact-size handbook with an extension supplement; and the 50th Anniversary committee opened the last conference with a "Roaring '20s Fun Night" to inspire enthusiasm for the Golden Jubilee, at club level.

The program and activities for the Golden Jubilee year began to take shape. A multiflora begonia was named "Lady Soroptimist" for the Santa Cruz club. A golden orchid was named "Lovely Mists" for the lovely Soroptimists of North San Mateo county. Each of these flowers were presented to federation officers at the St. Louis convention. Preliminary work was done on a Bronze Portrait of Violet Richardson Ward, Soroptimist's first president. The region led with substantial contributions for the SFA float for the 1971 Tournament of Roses parade, in Pasadena, California.

In addition, members and clubs rose immediately to the last "SOS" for aid to earthquake victims in Peru, both with dollars for the SFA-chosen school rebuilding project and many other emergency items that were needed.

Besides the "S" clubs and Sigma societies, four Venture and four Soroptimist clubs (including one of each in Hawaii) were chartered and Southwestern region acquired all of the state of Nevada through a regional boundary change.

Conference registration fees were increased, by conference approval of the budget, which had been revised to set up Hawaii as a separate area of District II.

1970 - 1972  Southwestern Region Governor,  Charlotte Chichester

Soroptimist International of Delano
Theme: "Turn Your Face to the Wind"

Region Board  
Secretary: Marian Larkin, Walnut Creek
Treasurer: Betty Howard, Monterey Peninsula
District 1:  Jeanette Romonoff, Alameda  
District 2:  Dorothy Dodson, San Leandro
District 3:  Marjorie Brown, Carson City
District 4:  Vada Fink, Patterson
District Secretaries
District 1:  Dorothy Sarnes, Berkeley
District 2:  Carol Incerpi, Foothill Cities
District 3:  Barbara Luther, Placerville
District 4:  Virginia Congdon, Hanford

 Clubs Chartered:  Three new Soroptimist clubs were chartered and the regions's             50th  "S" club was chartered in Vallejo on May 18, 1971, the 50th year of Soroptimism.
This is the biennium of the Soroptimist Golden Anniversary. The Golden Jubilee conference was held in San Francisco in April, 1971. The bronze portrait of Violet Richardson Ward was unveiled in appropriate ceremonies.

This "Portrait in Bronze" of Founder Violet Richardson Ward marks the Golden Jubilee. It was sculpted in her likeness by Mr. Ono deRuyter. It was unveiled during the Jubilee year regional conference in San Francisco as the highlight of Violet's 50 years as a Soroptimist. In this ceremony, all Soroptimist clubs in Southwestern and others from around the world placed capsule predictions of the future of Soroptimism. they will not be opened until the 100th year, 2021.

The "Lady Soroptimist" begonia and "Lovely Mists" orchid were on display; 60 clubs were commended for "Leading the Action" and becoming golden Jubilee clubs and many more for writing their club histories and for planning special Golden Jubilee Anniversary projects; and a number of members attended the Golden Jubilee SIA convention in Rome, Italy in June 1971.

On June 13, 1971, at the annual memorial services in the Soroptimist Redwood Memorial Grove, Soroptimists and friends witnessed an added feature - the dedication of a stately redwood tree as a living memorial to honor Violet Richardson Ward, charter president of the first Soroptimist club in the world.

In June 1971, the regional board and the extension and education chairman flew to Hawaii to charter the Kona club. While in Hawaii, the first area meeting was held for the Island clubs.

October 3, 1971, Soroptimists are celebrating their 50th anniversary with a pilgrimage to the city of the birthplace of Soroptimism - Oakland, California.

Soroptimists from around the world made the pilgrimage. Ethel Lord, SI president, the keynote speaker, Katherine Stinson, SFA, and a number of other Soroptimist dignitaries were on hand for the gala occasion.

Approval was given by the regional board to support the "Heifer Project". Funds were collected to purchase 28 pregnant goats and one pregnant heifer, which were transported to Korea.

1972 - 1974  Southwestern Region Governor,  Julia 'Bess' Combs

Soroptimist International of Antioch
Theme: "Let It Begin with Me"

Region Board  
Secretary:  Dorothy Sarnes        
Treasurer:  Dottie Locke        
District 1:  Ortha Wulfing
District 2:  Carel Incerpi
District 3:  Marjorie Lauerman
District 4:   Martha Miller
District 5:  Agnes Conrad
District 6:  Lenore Jordan
District Secretaries
District 1:  Julia Vargo
District 2:   Audrey Signalness
District 3:  Gail Stober  
District 4:  Margaret Ann Lowry
District 5:  Zona Morrison
District 6:  Del Laine

1973 -  Sacramento - Woodlake Inn          
1974 -  San Jose                                       Clubs in region:  150      

Clubs Chartered:   Santa Cruz  Mountains     North Fresno       Ceres    Novato       Modesto North    Hickham, HI       Rocklin/Loomis    Portola       Weaverville    Lake Almanor          Las Vegas (2 clubs)

The Sacramento conference was memorable for the ammunition train explosion near Roseville. Not knowing what else would happen, the Woodlake Inn management evacuated the conference body to the swimming pool area for the day. Also, during the evening Regional Board meeting, the fire department was called to put out a fire in the kitchen which was directly below where the board was meeting.

The San Jose conference in 1974 provided the Soroptimists experience of being in an armed camp - dog corps sniffing for bombs in the shrubbery, sentries with guns ready for action in each hotel hallway. Keys had to be shown for entry to the halls. There were cameras on the roof, manned by military guards and riots on the streets. WHY? President Gerald Ford was to arrive for a 9:00 AM meeting at the hotel. Little, if any, delay was experienced in opening the Southwestern Regional conference.

1974 - 1976 Southwestern Region Governor,  Margaret "Maggie" Knott

Soroptimist International of Vallejo
Theme: "Onward and Upward"

Region Board  
Secretary:  Shirley Godfrey        
Treasurer:  Marjorie Lauerman        
District 1:  Nina Arrabit  
District 2:  Adeline Mills    
District 3:  Dr. Dorothy Patterson    
District 4:  Lillyan Robeson
District 5:  Lillyan Robeson  
District 6:  Del Laine    
District Secretaries
District 1:  Marlene Leverett
District 2:  Kathryn Peterbaugh  
District 3:  Edith Dilley
District 4:  Lillyan Robeson
District 5:  Dora Kurasaki
District 6:  Marie Knobel

Region Conferences  
1975-  Honolulu - Hilton          
1976-  Santa Rosa - El Rancho Tropicana          

Clubs Chartered:   SI/West Maui & SI/fort Bragg
At the Santa Rosa conference Southwestern Region was divided into three regions along district lines -District I and V, Founder Region; District II and IV, Sierra Pacific Region; and, District III and VI, Sierra Nevada Region. Later some boundary adjustments were made. Long discussions had been held over several years to determine the feasibility and wisdom of the division. The size of the region had become unmanageable by volunteers. Particularly was this true for the size of the conference, with attendance of well over a thousand precluded many sites being available.

Founder Region was established for the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano, Napa, Marin, Sonoma, mendocino, Lake, Humboldt, and Del Norte, and the state of Hawaii 

1976 - 1978  Founder Region Governor,  Violet Unland

Soroptimist International of Oakland
Theme:  "Beat the Drums Calls Us To Service "

Region Board  
Secretary:  Ruth Duer  
Treasurer:  Marjorie Conley  
District 1:  Marian Larkin    
District 2:  Catherine (Jordan) Burns
District 3:   Jean Paty  

Region Conferences            
1977 -  Oakland, Hilton           Clubs in region:  55          
1978 -  Concord, Sheraton     Clubs in region:  57     Registration 352        

Clubs Chartered:   SI/Benicia,  SI/Guam & SI/West Santa Rosa
Clubs Chartered   Benicia   Guam   West Santa Rosa
International of Guam was chartered under the auspices of the federation board, and assigned to Founder Region as the most able to integrate it. There was never a vote by the regional board nor conference body to accept this responsibility, however, Guam (Agana) is now considered to be a part of the district including Hawaii.

This new region moved forward to establish its own identity - to become a unit. New leadership was developed as the closeness of the clubs provided mutual effort and a new regional strength.

1978 - 1980  Founder Region Governor,  Catherine (Jordan) Burns,

1980-1982 SIA Vice-President
Soroptimist International of Eureka
Theme: "Let Us Grow"

Region Board  
Secretary:  Susan (Lompa) Joyce  
Treasurer:  Marjorie Conley  
District 1:   Jinx Mann  
District 2:  Patricia Daniels  
District 3:  Frances Sueco    
District Secretaries
District 1:  Dorothy Sarnes  
District 3:  Mabel Peterson

Region Conferences           
1979  -  Eureka, Eureka Inn                               Clubs in region: 56     Registration: 293    
1980  -  Santa Rosa, El Rancho Tropicana     Clubs in region:  58    Registration: 390

Clubs Chartered:  SI/Mendocino - Sonoma Coast,  SI/The Redwoods &  SI/The Tri Cities

During the summer of 1979 Violet Richardson Ward passed away. A large group of regional representatives attended the Memorial Service in Berkeley to pay respect to this leader in the development of Soroptimist.

Conference action of this biennium included the division of the districts from three to five and the addition of a Lieutenant Governor. Following the new Federation By Laws adoption in Calgary, July 1978, long hours of conferencing were needed by the region and the clubs to adopt procedures implementing the options provided for them in the By Laws.

We grew in our understanding of Soroptimist service and ideals, our friendships and working relations, and particularly, in membership numbers.

During the International Convention in Honolulu the summer of 1979 several members of the regional board and others served the International Board as "Conrad's Crew", doing secretarial work, page service and general errand running. It was an exciting way to learn of the procedures and policies at the International level and meet Soroptimists from around the world.

The incorporation of individual clubs was encouraged. Several clubs completed the process, providing protection against liability for club action for individual members.

1980-1982- Marge Conley
1982-1984- Patricia Daniels
1984-1986- Del Nickerson
1986-1988- Carol Steele
1988-1990- Susan (Lompa) Joyce
1990-1992- Lorraine Komor
1992-1994- Dorothy Avilla
1994-1996- Patti Cross
1996-1998- Nancy Walker
1998-2000- Linda McDoniels
1960-1962- Mary Lorentzen-Moser
1962-1964- Evelyn Holland
1964-1966- Mary Ellen George
1966-1968 – Mary Gianotti
1968-1970- Matie Barker Sparks
1970-1972- Charlotte Chichester
1972-1974- Julia 'Bess' Combs
1974-1976- Margaret "Maggie" Knott
1976-1978- Violet Unland
1978-1980- Catherine (Jordan) Burns
1940-1942- Lessie M. Hancock
1942-1944- Lois Stanley
1944-1946- Edith B. Kelley
1946-1948- Dr. Ruth S. Thomas (Heitfield)
1948-1950- Emily N. Ziegler
1950-1952- Ruth G. White, M.D.
1952-1954- Josephine Deterding
1954-1956- Maryn Overhouse
1956-1958- Robina Sleeper
1958-1960- Grace Patton
1927-1928 Jeannie G. Todd
1928-1930- Mae Wright Hutchins
1930-1932- Blanche O Edgar
1932-1934- Amelia F. Johnson
1934-1936- Helena M. Gamble
1936-1938- Mayme V. Matthay
1938-1940- Alta D. Hengy