Gadsden Woman’s Club hosts dual centennial celebrations

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The Woman’s Club of Gadsden recently held a two-fold centennial celebration on March 26. The celebration was to honor Woman’s Club member Claudia Jermyn’s 100th birthday and to also honor the club’s 100th anniversary of serving Gadsden.

Jermyn was born on March 27, 1924, in Attalla, and was the third of six daughters born to Claude and Amanda Wyatt. Her father was employed by Republic Steel and her mother, a homemaker, died after childbirth when Claudia was 15 years old.

Claudia’s grade school years coincided with the Great Depression. She considered her family fortunate because her father had a job and she was also able to help support her family by working several part-time jobs during her teenage years. One of her jobs was a government sponsored office job at Etowah High School, which paid $7 monthly. Claudia also worked part-time at the F.W. Woolworth store located on Broad Street in Gadsden.

She graduated Etowah High School in 1942, during World War II. After graduation, the young men in her class were drafted to serve in the armed forces. Claudia secured her first full-time job working for the Red Cross at Camp Sibert, a World War II military training base. While working at Camp Sibert, she met Richard J. Jermyn, who was stationed at the base. Richard was an Army staff sergeant and involved in military intelligence. Richard was from Pennsylvania. After the war ended, Claudia and Richard married on November 23, 1945, at the First United Methodist Church in Attalla.

The Jermyns lived in Pennsylvania for a year and then returned to Gadsden to live, work and start their family. They joined the Trinity Lutheran Church, where Claudia remains an active member today. She was employed by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and worked in the shipping department until her retirement in 1987. During those years she and Richard had two daughters, Laura and Leah. Today Claudia’s favorite title is “Gran,” which is what her five grandchildren call her.

Since her retirement, Claudia has served in many civic, church and social organizations, including volunteering at Riverview Medical Center, The Antiquarian Society of Gadsden and Trinity Lutheran Church. One of the most significant organizations she has served in is the Woman’s Club of Gadsden, in which she has been a member for 36 years.

Claudia joined the Woman’s Club in 1988 and has held several offices, including president from 2005-2007. Her contributions to the club include serving on numerous committees as well as being a member of the executive board and also a trustee. For many years Claudia has served as the gracious southern lady who meets with community members desiring to rent the stately Woman’s Club for memorable events like weddings and bridal showers. Claudia’s welcoming smile and southern grace is a treasured asset for the club.

For 100 years, the Woman’s Club has been leading the way in civic and cultural activities. The club has been a vital force in the community. Some of the significant contributions include helping design the flag of Gadsden, placing the statue of Princess Noccalula at Noccalula Falls, planting trees throughout the community, supporting the Gadsden Museum of Art and providing scholarships to many young ladies.

To honor Claudia, Barbara Pavey presented her a gift of a set of pearls from the Woman’s Club. Senator Andrew Jones presented her a proclamation from the State of Alabama and Gadsden Councilwoman Dixie Minatra presented a proclamation from the City of Gadsden on behalf of Mayor Craig Ford.

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