Being "between jobs" is nothing new. In 1937, a young teacher read
an Ottawa newspaper ad: 'wanted, intelligent young girl, must know Ottawa well,
and be interested in meeting people'.
Verna (Munro) Nicholls answered that ad, met a representative from the
International office, and in that year 25 women founded the first chapter of
Beta Sigma Phi in Ottawa. The following are her comments:
"Groups of 15-25 members meet together as a Chapter, and then are
represented at a co-ordinating body known as City Council." She had fond
memories of a sleigh drive party where she met her future husband.
"In those days we made good use of our 'long dresses' at Sorority
special functions. There is a record of Zeta Chapter holding a Dinner Dance in
a private room in a large hotel when a 4-piece orchestra cost us $18.00. How
"We remember when there was an exchange of letters with Birthstone
Chapters -- 2 from which we heard were Alpha Chapter, Sacramento, California
and one in Council Bluff, Iowa."
"Cultural Activities and service work kept us busy and together over
the years. Long lasting friendships are truly treasured."
We were sorry to lose Verna in January 1998. She is missed.
Joyce Shearer, 1996
|"Beta Sigma Phi in Ottawa goes back to 1937 when Zeta Chapter was
formed with 25 members. I have been fortunate in being active in Ottawa since
the beginning -- taking time out between 1956 and 1964 to be an Advisor and a
regular member in Montreal-Lakeshore."
"There are very few
activities in which I have not been privileged to be a part - Conventions,
Building Fund Committee, Member Advisor, various assistance programs during the
War and with the Canadian Legion; selling football programs, Grey Cup
activities, even acting as Rehearsal Chairman for a semi-professional show,
while being very pregnant. I have been City Council President, and
"One special highlight was being one of three forming a Committee prior
to and during 1967 when over $6000.00 was realized from Canadian Chapters to
present a Centennial Book Collection on the Arts to the National Library."
"I feel that our Motto, "Life, Learning, and Friendship",
says it all - and, perhaps, in today's flexible society, friendship is the most
Joyce passed away in October, 2011. She is missed.
Founding of Beta Sigma Phi in Abilene, Kansas
"In 1931, I was two years out of high school and working for the United
Telephone Company six days a week," wrote Helen Klover Pepper, a charter
member of Alpha chapter of Beta Sigma Phi in Abilene, Kansas, where our
sorority story began. "I lived with my parents and three sisters: Alice, a
charter member of Alpha; GeBe, who joined Beta Sigma Phi in Wichita; and Avis,
who also joined Alpha."
"Abilene, Kansas was a town of between 5,000 and 7,000, then and now.
My sisters and I lived by the rules outlined by our parents who patterned our
lives. We lived without resentment, fear or many temptations. There was music
in our home. Alice played the piano and we sang a a lot, no matter what we were
doing. My sisters and I had a happy 'growing up time'."
"I sang in the church choir, and taught Sunday School. I attended an
occasional movie, hiked to the country, enjoyed being with friends, but still
had time tohelp wash dishes, make beds and do yard work. I also helped prepare
fruits for canning, and made jams and jellies. We walked to town and the
movies, not because of cholesterol, but because my dad used the car for his
work. Our entertainment was simple and was often a lunch or dinner in the home.
I hemmed a tea towel at a bridal shower!"
"In May, 1931, another girl and I were sent across the street from the
phone company to the new Sunflower Hotel because we had 'nice telephone
voices'. We were to help with the switchboard and desk. That's how and where I
met Walter Ross, our founder; and ultimately, why I joined Beta Sigma
"Now almost 64 years later, I am still active, liking everything about
belonging and proud to be a charter member of Beta Sigma Phi."