Kathy Dunbar Later is the new Woman’s Club President and has exciting plans for the coming year.
She told CTN that “The Woman’s Club has been dark for a year and we are bringing back as many traditions as we can! Watch for announcements on Grants and the Town’s 90th Birthday Party.
“As Covid restrictions allow, we also plan to join forces with other local organizations like the YMCA and Historical Society to create even more community events,” Dunbar Later said. “We’re starting to plan another Wine Tasting Event in February and will participate in the 4th of July Parade.”
Later, who grew up West Lafayette, Indiana, home of Purdue University, spent a lot of her childhood at her grandparents’ farms. She still is in touch with high school friends and “eight of us are traveling to Naples, Florida to celebrate our 70th birthdays this month!”
She attended the University of Oregon, majoring psychology and early childhood education. Later was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma and is now on that sorority’s advisory board at UCLA.
Although one of her jobs in high school was the 5:30 a.m. shift at Dunkin Donuts and claims she “learned how to carry six cups of coffee without spilling,” her first adult job was with a Portland travel agent.
“Luckily, I progressed up the ladder pretty quickly and managed Mercer Island Travel in Seattle then moved to San Francisco to work for Royal Viking Line,” Later said, noting that the cruise industry became her passion. “I was one of the first 25 employees of Crystal Cruises based in Los Angeles.”
She retired four years ago as director of reservations.
Later had moved from Seattle to Los Angeles 21 years ago and bought a house in Westchester. Shortly after she met her husband Roger, who had graduated from Santa Monica High School. Both were single until they married in their early 50s.
“We were fortunate to have a beautiful wedding on the beach at The Beach Club and now live within walking distance of the beach!” she said.
Roger had a home near Santa Monica airport, which they remodeled, never expecting to move again, but then . .. “I found a house for sale on Michael Edlen’s website and that brought us to Rustic Canyon where we have lived for the last eight years.”
About six years ago, she joined the Woman’s Club, because she knew would be retiring and wanted to give back to the community.
“The first year I retired I was elected vice-president, in charge of Home Tour,” Later said. “What an incredible experience and a lot of work! I remember feeling rewarded and thinking how much more you get back when you give.”
She pointed out that since she didn’t grow up here and didn’t have a network that many residents have from schools/children, “It meant the world to me the first time I was able to walk from PPWC down Sunset to the bank, stop in to say hi to Susan at The Gift Garden and run into people I had only known a short while and smile and say ‘hi!’
“That experience was grounding and something I hadn’t felt since I left my hometown in Indiana,” Later said. “All thanks to the Woman’s Club and the community of Pacific Palisades.”
She mentioned that the club had surveyed members and there might be new plans such as game nights, hiking, meals together at local restaurants and classes.
“We have discussed launching an intriguing and exciting Virtual Home Tour for this year’s biggest fund raiser,” Later said. “Covid restrictions have given us the opportunity to think out of the box and the Home Tour could be so interesting if we incorporate personality, a gorgeous home, gardens and art and décor in one really good ‘tour.’ If we could find an experienced cinematographer to volunteer their time, we have someone already lined up to coordinate the project!”
Interested members can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org (visit: theppwc.org) and to be contacted by Membership Chair, Emily Scheid. Membership for the year is $100 and “While we won’t be up to full speed, it’s a great time to join in and become familiar with our PPWC family,” Later said. “While there are no restrictions to membership, we anticipate our members are not only community spirited but also want to join for friendship, fun and philanthropy!”
ABOUT THE WOMAN’S CLUB:
The development of the philanthropic club parallels the growth of Pacific Palisades. Initially, the JOC (Jesus Our Companion) were Methodist women, with the male equivalent called the We Boys. As the town grew, so did the club and in 1925, women who were not Methodist were allowed to join (and it became the Woman’s Club).
After meeting in homes, church basements and open meadows, the group in 1950 decided to raise money for an assembly hall. At that time there were about 300 members and 200 juniors.
The first building was Quonset-hut style with no bathrooms and a single room. By 1956, the original building, at 901 Haverford, had been paid off and money was raised to add the restrooms, a kitchen, foyer, stage and lanai. The kitchen was updated in 1965.
In 1970, the Woman’s Club and the Junior Woman’s Club separated. In 1973, the Club bought the land that bordered Temescal Canyon, which today is the lower parking lot.
In 1984, minor interior decorating was done, which may have been when the mosaic tile on the fireplace was painted white, wallpaper added, and white wood picket fence placed on walls.
In 2014 over three years, a major renovation was done on the clubhouse to update the bathrooms, kitchen and lighting.
The Woman’s Club and the Junior Women’s Club once again merged in 2012 under the leadership of Tricia Grossman and Trish Bowe.
Annually, the club gives grants to nonprofits in the community and over the decades has awarded more than $1.5 million to local groups.
The club is rented out to community groups but has a contract with Seven Arrows School through December.