Meet the women honored for service at the 2019 PDCCW Appreciation Luncheon

Maribeth Vandersnick of St. Anthony in Atkinson accepts her certificate of appreciation from Msgr. Dale Wellman at the annual Appreciation Luncheon hosted by the Peoria Diocesan Council of Catholic Women on April 26. She was among 38 women honored. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Following are names and brief biographies of 37 women from around the Diocese of Peoria honored for their service at the 2019 Appreciation Luncheon hosted in Peoria on April 26 by the Peoria Diocesan Council of Catholic Women. See related story here.

ANNAWAN: Nancy Clementz, Sacred Heart: Circle chairman for many years, helps to raise money for the parish, assists with and serves funeral luncheons.

ATKINSON: Maribeth Vandersnick, St. Anthony: Member of the Altar and Rosary Society for 58 years and served on the ways and means committee, spiritual committee and nominating committee. In addition to being a circle chairman, she has chaired the mother-daughter banquet, organized church cleaning, and heads the annual Thanksgiving dinner.

Gloria Gubbels of St. Michael the Archangel in Streator talks with Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, as they wait for their photo to be taken after the Mass for the Peoria Diocesan Council of Catholic Women’s Appreciation Luncheon on April 26. Looking on is Marilyn Weiss. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

BARTONVILLE: Lynne Kelch, St. Anthony: A trustee of St. Anthony Church and a member of the finance council. She and her husband, Steve, chaired the parish’s annual Italian buffet dinner for 11 years, and are currently chairing the 50th anniversary jubilee and banquet. She is active in the Women’s Club and Tony’s Garage Sales.

Dorothy Morrison, St. Anthony: A master at sewing, she helps to organize “Tony’s Quilters,” which provides quilted lap robes for sick and shut-in parishioners, and baby quilts for all babies baptized at St. Anthony. Donates baked goods, especially pies, for bake sales and funeral luncheons, and helps with Tony’s Garage Sales.

CHILLICOTHE: Mary Adams, St. Edward: Sacristan, extraordinary minister of holy Communion, grief support co-chairman (organizes funeral luncheons and the parish Memorial Mass), helps maintain the parish cemetery, assists the Knights of Columbus with the Giving Tree at Christmas, plans and prepares parish events and fundraisers, assists the art teachers at St. Edward School, was a religious education teacher and assistant instructor for RCIA.

Donna Daly, St. Edward: Grief support co-chairman, assists with the Giving Tree at Christmas, helps plan and prepare parish fundraising events, substitutes for the school secretary, assisted with Summer Bible School, served on the Education Committee for six years. A former member of the Diocese of Peoria’s Catholic Committee on Scouting, she was a Girl Scout leader for 13 years and a Cub Scout leader for two years.

DANVILLE: Maureen Askins, St. Paul: Responsible for the St. Paul Food Pantry for 13 years, she receives monetary donations, shops as needed, and bags food appropriate for each recipient.

Ann Underwood, St. Paul: “Almost a full-time volunteer for Schlarman Academy,” she is credited with revitalizing the SCRIP program as a way to raise money for the school. This involves selling the gift cards and taking orders for new ones, making sure they are delivered. A “cheerleader” for Schlarman on social media.

DWIGHT: Barbara De Waard, St. Patrick: Music coordinator for the parish and collaborates with coordinators in linked parishes, provides guitar accompaniment and serves as cantor for parish liturgies and programs, altar server, sacristan for eucharistic adoration, cleans the church, helps to plan and assist with parish events, designs and lays out parish bulletin, former circle leader for the Altar and Rosary Society.

GALESBURG: Rachel Bicego, Immaculate Heart of Mary: Volunteers for many activities and fundraisers for the Ladies of Mary, including going to nursing homes and assisted living centers, working at the annual spaghetti dinner, cleaning the church, working on funeral luncheons, serving on the bereavement committee, and baking and delivering cakes for Knox College students. She will be the group’s secretary next term.

Gayle Whitmore, Immaculate Heart of Mary: Cleans and irons the albs and helps to take care of the church linens; mends, makes curtains and does painting at the church and activity center on a regular basis; volunteers for many things with the Ladies of Mary, including working on the quilt that is raffled as a fundraiser.

Debra Cassens, St. Patrick: Co-chairs St. Patrick’s Mexican fiesta, serves on the parish council and finance committee, extraordinary minister of holy Communion and takes Communion to the homebound, rosary leader, lector, Legion of Mary, Lay Carmelites, chairs Lenten soup suppers, assists with funeral luncheons, money counter. Former member of the Costa Catholic Academy Education Commission.

Dot Hammitt of St. Louis in Princeton takes a moment to read the certificate of appreciation she just received from Msgr. Dale Wellman at the Peoria Diocesan Council of Catholic Women’s annual Appreciation Luncheon on April 26. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

GENESEO: Mary Ann Clifton, St. Malachy: Taught religious education, worked at Vacation Bible School for eight years, takes Communion to nursing home residents and helps them with feeding and rehabilitation, wedding coordinator, and cooks, serves and cleans up at funeral luncheons.

Linda Ford, St. Malachy: Co-president of Circle 4 for five years, serves and cooks for funeral luncheons, has assisted at sacramental receptions, and encourages participation in social justice initiatives. A member of the liturgy committee, she plans and decorates for all special seasons, and has helped with Winterfest decorations.

MACOMB: Shirley Adams, St. Paul: Women’s Guild president from 2014 to 2016, co-authored the Women’s Guild’s 50th anniversary history book, and helped to develop the Prayer Hankie tradition for parishioners experiencing a hardship; religious education teacher since 1992; started and co-chairs the parish’s annual block party to raise funds for first responders; is in charge of altar linens; has helped with Marriage Encounter.

Judy Yeast, St. Paul: Women’s Guild president for three years and currently represents the Guild on the parish council; started the greeting card sales program to raise funds for charity; active in the semi-annual rummage sales; taught religious education; assisted with the Mardi Gras food drive for the local food pantry; co-authored the Women’s Guild’s 50th anniversary history book; involved in the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Newman Center at Western Illinois University.

METAMORA: Mary Jo Grebner, St. Mary: Teacher’s aide at St. Mary School, served on the Parent-Teacher Organization board, chaired St. Mary’s food tent and chili supper/carnival, taught Vacation Bible School and high school religious education, worked with the formation of extraordinary ministers of holy Communion, started a guitar group and sings in the choir.

Darlene Klien, St. Mary: Former treasurer, secretary and president of the Altar and Rosary Society, directed and accompanied the adult choir and provided music for weddings and funerals for many years.

PEKIN: Kathleen Bright, St. Joseph: Second grade religious education teacher for 20 years, helped with youth group mission trips and chaperoned other youth activities, extraordinary minister of holy Communion at Mass and takes Communion to the nursing home and homebound, co-chaired chicken dinner, member of St. Joseph’s Mission Society, WATCH hospitality co-chair, Ladies of Columbus, served on RCIA team and Cursillo teams.

Tina Sondag, St. Joseph: Catechist for more than 30 years and currently teaching confirmation, extraordinary minister of holy Communion, parish council, evangelization committee, grief ministry, adult education committee, Cursillo, parish secretary. Former president of the Altar and Rosary Society at Immaculate Conception in Manito and was director of religious education at St. Joseph in Pekin for 16 years.

PEORIA: Linda Boone, St. Jude: Has served the parish as bookkeeper for many years.

Joanne Mellor, St. Jude: Works with the St. Vincent de Paul Society pantry and does home visits, takes care of the purificators, helps with funeral lunches.

PONTIAC: Linda Lambert, St. Mary: Extraordinary minister of holy Communion for 30 years, served on St. Mary Commission on Education for four years, chaperone for the Steubenville retreat, co-chaired St. Mary Parish block party, organized and facilitated the “Beloved” Bible study and Valentine marriage seminar, member of the Legion of Mary.

PRINCETON: Jeanie Gelsomino, St. Louis: Past president of the Council of Catholic Women, chaired six CCW fundraisers, volunteer for Our Table, funeral luncheons, bake sales and cookie walk.

Dot Hammitt, St. Louis: Funeral luncheon coordinator, volunteer for Our Table, cookie walk, bake sales and parish recipe book, has served on various fundraiser committees.

PRINCEVILLE: Chris Meuser, St. Mary of the Woods: Served as co-president of the Altar and Rosary Society and has helped the parish and community in many ways.

Kathy Sullivan, St. Mary of the Woods: Director of religious education, secretary of the Altar and Rosary Society, longtime volunteer for events that support the parish and diocese.

Nympha White, Jeanine Best and Sue Nelson-Helms, Chicago Province director for the National Council of Catholic Women, pray the rosary before Mass begins at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

SILVIS: Millie Longbons, Our Lady of Guadalupe: Prepares food for funeral luncheons, rosary leader, sewed for the Haiti dress project, organized a group to support a fundraiser for the homeless.

Barbara Michalek, Our Lady of Guadalupe: Sings in the choir, weekday lector and rosary leader, takes Communion to shut-in parishioners and drives them to Mass.

STREATOR: Gloria Gubbels, St. Michael the Archangel: Altar and Rosary Society officer, sings in the contemporary choir, volunteers with Guardian Angel Outreach, St. Vincent de Paul Society, WATCH program, active in pro-life and elementary school projects, coached basketball.

Marilyn Weiss, St. Michael the Archangel: Lector, extraordinary minister of holy Communion, visits homebound parishioners, member of the Altar and Rosary Society, assists with parish functions, involved in the elementary school parents club, gym teacher.

URBANA: Elizabeth Hendricks, St. Patrick: Has served in several capacities at the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society food pantry, including welcoming guests, stocking the pantry, organizing a yearly dinner for food pantry friends, and helping with the Friends of the Poor Walk. She also is writer and editor of the parish’s monthly newsletter and sings in the adult choir and funeral schola.

Teresa Rund, St. Patrick: Former member of the Women of St. Patrick board, extraordinary minister of holy Communion, devotes “countless hours” to leading the Children’s Liturgy Ensemble, serves as cantor for “just about every occasion.”

WALNUT: Gina Freeman, St. John the Evangelist: Teaches first and second grades in the religious education program and assists with the annual bazaar.

WESTVILLE: Virginia Ferpotto, St. Mary: Participates in the parish’s organizations and activities, including the Altar and Rosary Society’s Christmas bazaar, prepares food for funeral dinners, one of the “noodle ladies” that make noodles that are sold at the bazaar and Palm Sunday bake sale and served at funeral dinners, counts the Sunday collections.

Ruth Karuzis, St. Mary: Volunteered and cleaned the church for many years, provided food for the International Food Festival, makes deviled eggs for every funeral dinner, works the Christmas bazaar, brings homemade items for bake sales, attends Altar and Rosary Society meetings.

WOODHULL: Angela VanDeWalle, St. John: Member of the Altar and Rosary Society, taught religious education classes for preschool, serves on the cleaning committee and chicken dinner committee, money counter, community volunteer.

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