The Urbana Chapter DAR celebrated the 120th anniversary on Monday, May 23, at First Presbyterian Church, Urbana.
The celebration centered on the R.M.S. Titanic. On board that tragic night, April 14, 1912, were eight women who were members of various DAR chapters throughout the United States, who survived.
Members of the Urbana Chapter dressed up with clothing from the 1912s and chapter members portrayed a woman from the Titanic. On hand was also Captain Smith, who didn’t survive, portrayed by Doug Dohner, husband of chapter member Thiesa Dohner and Fredrick Fleet, a crewman of the ship, who survived, portrayed by Nick Pettit,
Boarding pass invitations were sent out to State Officers and other DAR chapters with 37 guests and 37 Urbana Chapter members attending. Twelve State Officers were in attendance.
The ladies were greeted at Port Presbyterian gangplank with mooring columns and the White Star Line flag. Upon entering the Grand Salon, ladies received their boarding pass with table assignment and name badge. Many ladies were dressed in period clothing from that time, plumed and feathered hats, long dresses, furs and jewelry completed their look back to 1912.
Upon entering the 1st class dining room, the ladies were greeted with beautiful table settings with white linen table cloths, crystal stemware, and place settings. A vase of flowers on a small mirror was centered on each table. At each place setting were the menu and a napkin with the White Star Line logo, a copy of the pledge (at that time it was different than what we say today) and a small favor, a key chain of the Titanic. Around the room were potted plants and trees and on the walls various pictures of the Titanic which added to the ambience of the time period. The 1912 American and British flags were hung above the Captain’s table and various passengers enjoyed their luncheon meal with him. Our delicious meal was catered by Lana Waldren.
After the meal each member of the Urbana Chapter, who portrayed a certain Titanic DAR member, stood up and told how she came to be on board the Titanic. The women lost everything they owned and some lost loved ones. Many men stayed on board the Titanic but once in the water, they died from the cold, icy water. The women also related what happened to them as they moved on with their lives after returning to New York. It was very interesting to hear the history of these courageous and brave women who were thrust into a hardship beyond imagining. One of the Titanic DAR women was Mrs. Margaret Brown, better known as the Unsinkable Molly Brown, but she herself was never called Molly; that was only in books, on Broadway and film.
Following the program, Regent Judi Henson thanked the Urbana members for their portrayals. She then welcomed State officers and other DAR chapter members who attended. State Regent Sandy McCann announced that the Urbana Chapter would now be known as the “Unsinkable Urbana Chapter.”
Linda Katon, an associate member of Urbana and a member of the Lagonda Chapter DAR, brought her display of Titanic pictures, reproduced relics and many books on the Titanic subject. This was a very enjoyable historical display.
Alta Kay Holmes, Parliamentarian, was presented with a Certificate of 60 Years of Membership and a gift by Regent Henson and Vice Regent Pat Detwiler.
The next meeting was scheduled for June 10, 2016, 11:30 a.m., for our annual Flag Day potluck at the Champaign County Historical Society.
Submitted by the Urbana Chapter DAR.