Earlier this month, the Ebell of Los Angeles remembered six members of the club who were prominent in the community at their annual Legacy Tea.
At the tea this year, the club restarted the tradition of inviting members to sign the membership book upon joining, in honor of Gloria Carroll, a former Ebell President who was memorialized at the tea. Entries in the book go all the way back to the club’s founding in 1894.
The following women were honored this year at the Legacy Tea:
Gloria Carroll, who passed away earlier this year at the age of 92. Carroll joined the Ebell in 1981 and served as chair of the Ebell Scholarship Committee as one of her first areas of involvement at the Ebell. She became involved in many other club activities and served as president from 1998-2000. Shortly after she joined the club, her mother, Lilian Mobley, joined. Currently, her daughter Charlon Franke and granddaughter Gloria Franke Shaw are also members, making four generations of family members of the Ebell. Carroll’s step-daughter, Patricia Carroll, is also a “member.
Brookside resident Sandy Boeck provided the following tribute for Linda Key Biro: “On September 10, 1976, Linda and her family purchased a lovely Paul Williams home in Hancock Park; we met soon after they moved in next door to my childhood home! We discovered that we shared a love of reading, travel, and cooking and became good friends. We joined a local book club in 1990 which still meets monthly in members’ homes. Linda was a wife, mother, traveler, hostess, chef, and charity worker at Children’s Hospital, who lives on in the hearts and minds of her family and countless friends.
“Several years ago, Linda was invited to speak about her father, at the Bohemian Club in San Francisco. She was the first female who had ever given a talk in that elite club! Her father, a well-known fine arts painter, painted this portrait of her. He was a member, and many of his paintings are on display in the City Club. Founded in 1872, it has a diverse membership with many local and global leaders ranging from artists and musicians to businessmen.”
Ebell President Loyce Braun provided the following remembrances of members:
Alice Desobry Bowens, another of our outstanding Ebell educators, taught in Germany for the Department of defense and for many years for LAUSD, serving her passion for education by establishing the Mentor Teacher Office and helping to establish the Teacher Training Academy. After retiring, she worked with the Gates Foundation, chaired the Center Theatre Group and was a Board member of the California African American Museum. Just before her death she fulfilled her life-long dream to travel to Anarctica.
Emma May Fulcher, born 108 years ago, holds the unchallenged record for longevity among Ebell members. She spent her younger years as wife and mother, and after her children went off to college, received her own degrees and taught for LAUSD for 20 years in her own classroom and many more as a substitute teacher after her retirement. She loved to travel and spent many summers at sea on a cruise ship with her daughter Marianne, being the life of the party.
Patte Barham Inman, Ebell member since 1963, passed away in 2016, but since the Ebell had no memorial gatherings in the following two years, Inman was celebrated at the 2018 tea. Though her actual age was unknown, it is believed that she lived to be 99. Patte Barham was the daughter of Frank Barham, publisher of the Los Angeles Herald and Express and a longtime friend of William Randolph Hearst. Ebell member Shar Penfold, also a resident of Fremont Place, talked about wonderful parties at that home. Patte was also passionate about animals and traveled with her Skye terriers, even entering them at the Westminster Dog Show.
Windsor Square resident and Ebell member Suz Landay recalled Marian Randall. Randall was born in Moline, Illinois on June 8, 1919 and lived almost 99 years. She lived her life to the fullest until the end. In her early years she went to NYC to pursue a singing career. Entirely on her own with only the name and address of a friend of a friend she found a place to live and a voice coach. Sadly she contracted a serious throat infection and had to give up singing. She got a job at NBC in the production department and worked her way up to producer. She worked in that industry for the rest of her life. She joined the Ebell after the death of her second husband and enjoyed singing in the Ebell Chorale. She elected herself to be the cake maker for all the member’s birthdays and sang with them until she was 96!
Marian was always happy and never complained- ever! She traveled to Sweden, New York and Chicago in her nineties. She kept up on current affairs watching PBS Newshour every day, The Metropolitan Opera live performances and The Mass from the Vatican each week. She will be missed by her many friends!
Founded in an era when women were denied access to higher education, the Ebell was started by two sisters as a social and educational club for women in downtown Los Angeles. The spectacular Italianate building at Wilshire and Lucerne became the home of the club in 1927 and has welcomed women members (and men too, though they are not permitted to vote) from the neighborhood and around the city. The club operates several foundations that provide scholarships to college students in Los Angeles County and grants to social service organizations that help women and children.
The Ebell welcomes women to join and continue the traditions of education and service in their historic home. For more information contact Meredith Deighton, Director of Membership and Programming at the Ebell at [email protected].