The Manteca Soroptimists Grove — just like the service club’s good deeds — continues to grow.
Five more trees planted in honor of members who have passed away, current members and a late husband of a member in the Sierra Creek Park were dedicated on Tuesday.
The grove now numbers 45 and includes a bench donated by the club as well.
The service club founded 66 years ago has left its mark on the community in a number of ways. They run the gamut from awarding more than $14,000 annually in scholarships and ongoing support for endeavors such as the Boys & Girls Club to conducting programs mentoring girls.
The club’s marquee project is the teen crisis counseling program that is available to Manteca Unified students. The crisis counseling was launched in 1987 after a cluster of four teen suicides. Since then the club has continued funding that effort with more than $370,000 donated so far.
Two of the trees previously planted were part of a remembrance ceremony Tuesday for longtime club members Pat Johnson and Mary Albertsen. Both passed away in the past year. They were the club’s last two surviving charter members.
They were part of a group of Manteca business women that started the club on Oct. 3, 1953. Johnson passed away on April 25, 2018 at the age of 92
She was married to Dale Johnson in 1945. They moved to Manteca shortly thereafter and started their business, Johnson’s Photography Studio. The couple operated the studio for more than 50 years. Both were strong supporters of community endeavors.
Johnson maintained perfect attendance from 1953 to 2014 when her health started failing.
Albertsen served as club president in 1956-57.
She lived her entire live in San Joaquin County and married Randy Albertsen in 1949.
Albertsen worked for lawyer John McFall who served as city attorney before being elected to the California Assembly and then Congress where he rose to the second most powerful positon in the House of Representatives as Majority Whip. Albertsen kept McFall’s law office in Manteca open and served as his district representative.
“I feel very honored that I’m part of (the Soroptiomists),” noted club President Barbara Brocchini after the contributions of the two charter members were shared with those gathered in the grove.
The other members with trees dedicated in their honor that have passed away are Jaqueline Brophy, Dorothy Indelicato, Kathleen Aartman-Weed, Evelyn Allen, Julie Azevedo, Judith Collins, Shirley Davis, Sandra Dye-Miller, Flossie Fuller, Bobette Giles, Bianca Jacklich, Frances Schmiedt, Sherilyn Weatherford, and Selma Wrigglesworth.
Current members with trees are Susie Beeler, Bea Bowlsby, Barbara Brocchini, Jan Brown, Dolores Cardoza, Tina Caperon, Sharon Cunial, Dorothy DeCosta, Betty Ingell, Danette Jarred-Kaiser, Mary Lou Kirk, Kathleen Mayhew, Connie Meinstasis, Nancy Myatt, Carol Nunes, Sarah Nunes, Frankie Rieger, Arleen Sevor, Mary Smalley, Laurianne Stroud, Leslie Trueb, Alana Turner, Marion Thibodeau, Judy Vasquez, and Gayl Wilson.
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