Category: May Luncheon

Centennial Luncheon Redux

Centennial Luncheon Redux

Photos by Elaine Allen:

Barb Graham, name unknown, Kathy English.

Gayle Hedlund and Mary Anne Mohanraj

Delia Vargas and Joyce Vitullo

Joan Figantner and Marilyn Giles

Kathy English

Leslie Goddard as Rachel Carson

Linda Reisberg, Mayumi Barrack, Tracey Schroeder

Rachel Carson by Leslie Goddard

Raffle Tickets

Swearing in of New Officers

The Hat Parade

Tracey Schroeder

Virginia Cassin and Joan Meister

May 2016 Luncheon

May 2016 Luncheon

Colorful centerpieces by Cherie Fedota and Sue Milojevic

It was gray and dreary outside on May 4th, but inside the Oak Park Country Club it was bright and festive. The Garden Club was holding their annual spring luncheon and their theme was Cinco de Mayo. It appears Frida Kahlo’s influence was seen in the ladies hats and with the “Azul” color theme at the raffle table (Frida’s home was known as La Casa Azul).  Sue Milojevic and Cherie Fedota featured bright orange lilies in their colorful centerpieces.

Wonderful creativity was in evidence in the hats:

Hat Parade_1283 [421687] (2)Hat Parade_0336 Delia Mary Ellen Joyce Ruth_0318 Kathy English_0344Barb with Daughter and Cousin_0308Linda and Barb_0343

Many hands make light work and thankfully Garden Club members share the work and enjoy the results!   Thanks so much for the tireless contributions from all of the Board members and to all the others who contributed to the success of this event.

Much appreciation to Elaine Allen Elainephotographer, who memorializes our events.

Mary Ellen Warner and Ruth Rowe worked on the raffle plants.  Shirley Henderson contributed her beautiful glass sun catchers. Jackie Paine, Delia Vargas, Barbara Graham and Linda Zwierz contributed items.  Alice Blanchard and Cindy Rossi sold raffle tickets.  Sue Milojevic and Cherie Fedota created table centerpieces.  Barbara Graham handled invitations, reservations, table cards and more. Ken Zwierz and Bob Graham handled the money at the front desk. My apologies in advance to anyone I failed to mention.

Crowd and Prizes_0328Prizes 10 11 12 _0321 Prizes 11 12 13 14_0322 Prizes 14 15 16 17 18 _0323 Raffle prizes 1-3_0331 Mary Ellen Ruth_0313

Floral Arrangements_1319 [421689] Floral Arrangement_1326 [421691] Floral Arrangement_1325 [421692] Luncheon Speakers_1321 [421686] Floral Arrangement_1317 [421693] Floral Arrangement_1302 [421694] Floral Arrangement_1298 [421695] Floral Arrangement_1296 [421696]













Barbara served 2 terms as President with distinction
Barbara served 2 terms as President with distinction


After four years of progressive thinking and excellence in all she put her attention to, Barbara Graham leaves her post as President of Garden Club.  Barbara certainly deserves a rest but please Barbara, not until after completion of the June tea and Garden Walk!


Sue Milojevic begins her term as President
Sue Milojevic begins her term as President

 Sue Milojevic assumes her new post as President.  Sue has been a long standing, tireless worker as a Garden Club Board member and  has worn many hats in terms of responsibility:  Sue has been in charge of Programs for the last four years;  editor of the club newsletter , the seedlings; chair of Garden Therapy for seniors; Directory creator; frequent floral designer for numerous events; coordinator of the holiday decorating at Cheney.  Let us all give Sue a  helping hand ushering  in the club’s 100th anniversary.  It all started in March 1917.





Creating A Legacy

Creating A Legacy

In spite of the vagaries of spring weather in the Midwest, Mother Nature came through with another spectacular display for the Garden Club’s luncheon on May 6. The entrance drive to the Oak Park Country Club was a showcase of gorgeous blooming trees, flowering shrubs and plants.

Centerpiece by Sue Milojevic
Centerpiece by Sue Milojevic

The human touch wasn’t bad either. The tables bedecked with beautiful floral centerpieces and pink napkins, along with the twenty colorful floral raffle items all presented a powerful “wow” factor upon entrance to the dining room. Add to that the guests wearing beautiful hats and lovely clothing and you get an idea of the visual impact we felt.   Yes, it is nice to enjoy the four seasons!


Wearing a floral decorated hat to the luncheon is a tribute to our club’s 98 year heritage of women loving flowers. Granted hats and gloves were de rigueur for the well dressed women even fifty years ago, but today it is an enjoyable event at our luncheon. We promenade our creations and vote for our favorite decorated hat. Delia Vargas, Ginger O’Malley and Linda Zwierz received the People’s Choice awards this year.


Delia, 1st
Ginger, 2nd






Another returning favorite was speaker, Cornelia McNamara.Cornelia We last saw Cornelia’s floral magic at our luncheon in 2010. A Chicago native, who graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago, she lived and worked in Manhattan, was a candidate for the position of Chief floral designer at the White House and finally she returned to Chicago and opened her own firm in 2005. Although Cornelia has handled the floral designs for numerous prestigious events and weddings in Chicago, she maintains the demeanor of a girlfriend chatting across the table from you. While creating gorgeous arrangements with ease right before our eyes, Cornelia was also telling us about her flower farm outside of Chicago, “Five Row Farm” and her participation in “Chicago Honey Co-op”, an urban bee farm both in an effort to reduce her carbon foot print on the world. She maintains that 85% of the flowers sold in the US are grown on another continent with unregulated pesticides and shipped in refrigerated containers to the final destination. We can do our part to lessen the carbon impact, she told us, by buying locally grown flowers in season or to grow our own.

The Oak Park Country Club has been such a wonderful venue for our annual luncheon. In addition to being a beautiful location, Tracy Reyes and her crew are unbelievably cheerful and helpful assisting us with our early morning set up, special diets, bar tender, punch, car valet and clean up! Chairwoman Kathy English was ably assisted by board members, club members, guests, and husbands to deliver a beautiful event

Special thanks to Sue Milojevic for designing the centerpieces and to the Ways and Means team of Mary Ellen Warner, Ruth Rowe and Barbara Graham for the unique raffle items. We couldn’t have had a better day-of-supporting crew! Ticket sellers: Alice Blanchard, Sherry Pavel and Cindy Rossi plus  GC male auxiliary of Graham, Vitullo and Zwierz were outstanding.

Thanks to all who helped continue the Garden Club legacy.

View the “Photo Albums” in the side panel on the main page for additional pictures of the May 2015 Luncheon


















67th May Luncheon – Garden Club Oak Park – River Forest

67th May Luncheon – Garden Club Oak Park – River Forest

2007 May Luncheon
Hats 2007

Although the name has changed  some of the time, the annual May Luncheon Festival has continued since the late 1940’s according to our records.  The hat parade began in 1949 and the prizes were $5 The funniest hat theme that year was “A Nest of Robbins in Her Hair” worn by Mrs. Chris Licht.  Is that inspiration enough for you?   Maybe the Kentucky Derby hats will start the flow of creative juices?  Mary Ellen Warner will be in attendance this year…she has always been a formidable foe.  Let’s please give her some hat competition!  ps the hat prizes are worth more than $5.

Something special at this year’s luncheon will be the awarding of two scholarship for graduating seniors from the local high schools.  Profits from the 2015 Garden Walk will determine how many scholarships will be give next year.  Two Garden Walk tickets will be in your packet at the Luncheon.  Please purchase these tickets.  We will have  the “Helper Husbands” : Graham, Vitullo, Zwierz, sitting at the tables ready to accept your credit cards or checks or even cash will do!

The Ways and Means committee of Graham, Rowe, Warner and Zwierz have been very busy creating unusual, whimsical, useful, and just plain beautiful plant creations for the raffle.  Did I mention unique?  You will not find anything like them at your local stores.  Ways and Means are necessary to fund our Club’s activities.  We do not charge for individual meetings/speakers and our dues do not cover everything.  In addition to our usual expenses for Community activities, we have our 100 year anniversary in 2017.  We would like to hold some extra special events during that historic year and our fundraising needs to start now.  Please support our efforts by purchasing some raffle tickets at the luncheon raffle.

At this writing there are more than 80 reservations made for May 6.  Beautiful people, lovely location, good food and a spectacular floral designer.  It will be a fantastic event.  We hope to see you there.

Linda Zwierz