Barry’s Bay Legion Ladies Auxiliary celebrates 60th Anniversary year

60th Anniversary of the Ladies Auxiliary to the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 406, Barry’s Bay, Ontario

The Royal Canadian Legion Barry’s Bay Branch 406, has had the assistance of the Ladies Auxiliary since May 18, 1961. It started a few weeks earlier, on April 23rd of that year, when interested ladies met with the Zone Commander of Zone G7.

The First Executive was made up of:

  • President – Mary Fox
  • First Vice President – Mary Maika
  • Second Vice President – Susan Kulas
  • Sergeant-at-Arms – Evelyn Cybulskie
  • Secretary – Constance Chippure
  • Treasurer – Isabell Etmanskie

Other members initiated at the organizational meeting were Julia Burchat, Francis Chapeskie, Beatrice Shalla, Annie Ostroskie, Susan Cybulskie, Ursula Yarascavitch, Ella Hoffman, and Ursula Burchat. The news clipping above from those early days shows (from left) Front Row: Doris Hudder, Teresa Sullivan, Ann Cybulskie, Lillian Campbell, Constance Chippure. Back Row: Sandra Coulas, Beatrice Lentz, Ursula Burchat, Viola Cybulski, Judy Lisk. Photo submitted.

Charter Night for the newly formed Auxiliary was held at Pine Cliff Lodge on May 23, 1961.

In the early years, the Auxiliary did not have facilities to raise funds, but the ladies managed somehow with their limited means. Card parties, bake sales and teenage dances are just some examples of how the ladies raised money in the early years. Later, the activities included cribbage, darts, broomball and bowling added to the Ladies schedule. Most years the Auxiliary has entered teams in the Zone Darts, Bowling, Cribbage and Euchre. In 1994, a team consisting of Doris Hudder, Ursula Burchat, Sandra Coulas and Teresa Sullivan brought home the Provincial Cribbage Trophy.

In 1963, the Ladies Auxiliary started the practice of presenting an Auxiliary member who became a new mother with an Engraved Silver Baby Cup. This still continues today. Another important tradition, which started in 1997 at a Zone Convention, is placing a single red rose in a vase at the head table for each deceased member from the past year. This, too, continues today.

In 1972, construction of a new Branch building started and the first wedding the Ladies Auxiliary catered to was on September 30, 1972. With the building of the new Legion by the Branch, the Auxiliary’s abilities at fundraising changed. Using the modern kitchen facilities at the Legion, the Ladies could now cater to weddings and parties, something they have become famous for over the years. Branch 406 is now doing the catering at the Legion.

The above historical information about the Ladies Auxiliary was provided by Teresa Sullivan when she was G7 Zone Commander. As a keen lover of local history and 50th Anniversary of Barry’s Bay Committee member, she contributed this to the book Village of Barry’s Bay, 50th Anniversary: 1933-1983.

Above are members of the present Ladies Auxiliary Executive. (From left) Front row: Joan Smithers, Zone Commander; with Maureen Kiedroski, President; Back row: Sandra Coulas, Second Vice-President, Secretary and Sports Officer; Viola Cybulski, Membership; Aileen Yantha, First Vice-President; Theresa Chapeskie, Sick and Shut-ins; Helen Gutoskie, Honours and Awards. Photo taken by Glenda Vaillencourt, Treasurer and Sergeant-at-Arms.

Each year, the Ladies Auxiliary donates to various charities including the Provincial Bursary Fund and Charitable Foundation. Local donations have included Royal Canadian Legion Branch 406, Veterans, Girl Guides, Minor Hockey, Figure Skating, St. Francis Memorial Hospital, Valley Manor, local schools for their Healthy Snack Program and Bursaries, Food Bank, and Christmas Gifts for Children.

The Ladies Auxiliary has also participated in many community events over the years including Remembrance Day Services at the Branch, Valley Manor, St. Francis Memorial Hospital and Local Schools, Bingo at Perley Rideau Veteran’s Health Centre, sale of Luminaries for an All Night Vigil, Canada 150 Community Parade, preparing tray favours for St. Francis Memorial Hospital, hosting card tournaments, helping prepare and serve St. John Bosco School’s Christmas Dinner and catering for Weddings, Funerals and Birthday Parties.

The membership of the Ladies Auxiliary today stands at 15 with four Life Members. Many members have come and gone, but each one has left a piece of themselves in this great organization called the Ladies Auxiliary to the Royal Canadian Branch 406. The Ladies Auxiliary continues to stand with the Legion, to help carry out the purposes and objects of the Legion.

Both sides of a decorative rock commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Ladies Auxiliary. Photo submitted.

Editor’s note: This article was amended Dec.17 to correct details of the present LA Executive. Apologies for any confusion caused.

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