In November 1925, several Kenmore women met with Marian DeForest; past Chairman of the Confederation of Zonta Clubs, Ellen Bixby; then Vice-President of the Zonta Club of Buffalo, and Florence Fuchs, at the home of Jessie E. Webster on LaSalle Avenue in Kenmore. As a result of that meeting, the first steps were taken to organize the Zonta Club of Kenmore — just 5 years after the first club originated in Buffalo, NY!

The Club was formally organized on December 2, 1925 at the home of Mrs. Aurelia Opperman. On December 7, 1925 the Zonta Club of Kenmore received its charter — Charter #38, with fifteen members and the first weekly luncheon meeting was held on Wednesday, December 9, 1925 at the Kenmore YWCA.

In the first year of service work, the members decided to help further the education of a needy girl or woman so that she might earn a living. Fund raising projects, such as; Monster Theater parties at the Kenmore Theater, Annual Stunt Days, Book reviews, Card parties, Bake sales, and Rummage sales all helped to accomplish this objective.

The Zonta Club of Kenmore hosted the First District Conference at the Masonic Temple on Delaware Road on November 5, 1917. The club, the youngest of the district, was praised for its girls’ work program, for its enthusiasm, and for its hospitality by national President Louise Gerry.

In 1931, the club formed its own orchestra which performed at club functions, as well as sessions of sister clubs.

On December 26, 1950, the Zonta Club of Kenmore celebrated its 25th Anniversary at a dinner party at Hotel Lenox.

In 1952, the Club has for the first time a mother and daughter amongst its members when Jean Pearson joined her mother, Bertha Buddenhagen. There was also another mother-daughter membership when Bonnie Horohoe joined her daughter, Beth Haseley in 2011 as a member of the Club.

In 1955, the Zonta Club of Kenmore sponsored a Safety Flag contest for local children, which was won by 10 year old Julie Sweat, from Lindbergh Elementary School for her design made into a flag that was flown in front of the Municipal Building, for which she relieved a $25 savings bond.

In 1959, they held their first Passport to Spring and All Aboard for Autumn Fashion Shows.

In 1973, member Ruth Viox was awarded the Governor’s Cup for her work as Chairman of the International Relations Committee.

On April 19, 1975, our Club celebrated our 50th Anniversary at a dinner held at the Packet Inn, in Tonawanda, NY.

In Septemeber 1976, the Zonta Club of Kenmore organized their first Z Club, consisting of 14 high-school aged girls, from Kenmore East, Kenmore West and Mt. St. Mary’s Academy High-Schools. Meetings were held at Jean Pearson’s house.

In 1982, we held our first Lucky Number Dinner, a tradition which still continues today. We held our 32nd Annual dinner on April 9th this year. It’s our main fundraiser, which provides us with funds for our service projects.

On August 20, 1986 our first Salad Fest was held at the Town of Tonawanda Senior Center. We will be hosting our 28th Annual Salad Fest on August 6, 2014 at the same venue.

On December 2, 2000 the Zonta Club of Kenmore held its 75th Anniversary Dinner at Warren’s in North Tonawanda.

In December 2010, we celebrated our 85th Anniversary with a dinner at Jovi’s Restaurant in Kenmore.

In 2013, we formed a Z Club at Mt. St. Mary’s Academy, with a membership of approximately 35 girls. They have partnered with us in many of our service projects, including; Birthing Kits, Linus Blankets, and also our fundraisers.

Throughout the years, Rummage sales, Pops Concerts at Kleinhans Music Hall, Baked goods sales, Card parties, Candle sales, Tastefully Simple sales, and Pancake breakfasts, have made it possible to contribute to worthy community causes. Some of the organizations that have benefited are: Girl Scouts of America, The American Red Cross, Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Protestant Home for Unprotected Children, Parents Council for Retarded Children, Buffalo State Hospital, The Needle Work Guild, WNED Channel 17, Town of Tonawanda Paramedics Program, Haven House, Schofield Residence, D’Youville College Center for Women in Management, Hospice Buffalo, Hospice Buffalo Blue Skies Camp, Flare’s TRY Program, Ken-Ton Meals on Wheels, Prevention Focus Supper Club, Compass House, Independence Foundation, Mothers Club of Tanzania, North Buffalo/Kenmore Food Pantry, SEPTSA, Project Linus, Sheridan-Parkside LEAP Program, Canine Helpers for the Handicapped, Veterans Hospital Women’s Veterans, Hope for Two, Special Friends Jamboree, SABAH, and the International Institute.

Over the years, Kenmore Zontians enjoyed social activities such as Supper Dances, Theater trips, Picnics, Teas, and Sporting events.

Our members have included: Lawyers, Pharmacists, Teachers, Principals, Bankers, Librarians, Realtors, Business Owners, Politicians, Travel Agents, Social Workers, Secretaries, Musicians, Journalists, Beauticians, Nurses, Healthcare Administrators and Homemakers.

Perhaps it was best expressed on the 5th Anniversary of the Zonta Club of Kenmore, when a letter from Zonta International was shared, which read: “The progress and activities of the Kenmore Club are something to be proud of while the Club is one of the smaller ones in the confederation, it has always carried on an active service program and has participated very actively in the confederations development. It has been very generous in its contributions to National and International organization work, and has always met its financial obligations to the confederation promptly and willingly. This is a fine record for a Club the size of Kenmore and on behalf of the confederation, may I express our appreciation of the Clubs loyalty, interest and support. Ladies, we are truly an example of “Mighty things from small beginnings grow” (John Dryden).”

Today, with a membership of 20 members, our motto is, “Small but Mighty.”

Respectfully submitted,
Karen Fritsch
Zonta Club of Kenmore