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Life and Arts

On the Town: Women’s organization holds annual tea, honors one of its members

Ruth Sowby Rands, Glendale News-Press columnist, awards the Glendale News-Press Perpetual Trophy for
Ruth Sowby Rands, Glendale News-Press columnist, awards the Glendale News-Press Perpetual Trophy for Outstanding Sportsmanship to Emiko Miller, right, a member of the Glendale Women’s Athletic Club.
(Ruth Sowby Rands)

The Glendale Women’s Athletic Club is one of the city’s best-kept secrets.

It doesn’t put on any huge fundraisers. Its clubhouse is on the edge of town. Its members would rather hike and do acrobatic yoga. And its 103 members include 12 hardy men.

The club was founded in 1924, in an age when women generally stayed home, few would become world-class athletes.

On June 4, the club held its annual Tea — yes, they do drink tea — featuring the awarding of the Glendale News-Press Perpetual Trophy for Outstanding Sportsmanship by yours truly.

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The winner was the very fit Emiko Miller, who has been in the club’s hiking department since 2005. Besides hiking, she doesn’t shirk domestic duties, having put in many hours in the club’s kitchen, washing dishes and cleaning up after meetings. Add good sport to her accolades.

Miller’s family comes from Kyoto, Japan, where she was born and raised.

About 50 years ago, Miller moved to the United States, where she met her second husband. Together, they travel the world on trains, planes and automobiles. Their itinerary also includes river cruises.

This fall, China is on the agenda.

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Miller’s activities also include playing mahjong, singing with a choral group and doing yoga.

Following the award ceremony, officers for the 2019-20 year were installed. They included Colleen Shier, president; Susan Edwards, immediate past president; Charlie Bennison, co-president; Sylvia Carson, first vice president; and Elke Allwelt, who will be in charge of membership and the club bulletin.

As a nod to women’s more traditional activities, there is a club quilting department with about 35 members. Their quits are donated to at-risk children in the community and to patients at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

Artist Suzi Reil paints a bird for La Crescenta members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Artist Suzi Reil paints a bird for La Crescenta members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
(Ruth Sowby Rands)

“Paint and Sip” was the theme of an evening activity on May 30, put on by the Relief Society at the La Crescenta Stake building of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The sipping was strictly from sodas and sparkling water. The painting was led by La Crescenta first Ward member and artist Suzi Reil.

Reil went through, step by step, the sketching and painting of a bird. About 40 participants followed her lead and painted their own version of Reil’s bird.

Each attendee had their own acrylic paints, palate and canvas at the ready. Rags were provided for any oopsies.

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Kiana Hughes, 6, takes a photo break from her artistic endeavors. (Photo by Ruth Sowby Rands)
Kiana Hughes, 6, takes a photo break from her artistic endeavors.
(Ruth Sowby Rands)

Kiana Hughes, 6, listened to her inner artist and painted her own version of a bird. Her mom, Jennifer, encouraged her from the sidelines.

The church’s Relief Society was organized on March 17, 1842, in Nauvoo, Ill. Twenty women were present that day.

The society, organized under the mission of charity, adopted the motto, “Charity Never Faileth.”

Membership is free and open to all women in the church 18 years old and older. Today, there are approximately 71 million members in more than 188 countries and territories.

Relief Society members in La Crescenta have recently made baby blankets, quilts and hygiene kits for the community’s homeless and refugee populations, as well as donated school supplies to local needy school children.

Ruth Sowby Rands may be reached at ruthasowby@gmail.com.

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