PAST DEPARTMENT PRESIDENTS: 1960-1969
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1959-1960
Mrs. Lucille Hayden
Sedgwick, Kansas

National Vice President 1965-1966

Mrs. Lucille Hayden, a native of White Cloud, Kansas, served as Department President in 1959-1960.  After relocating to the Wichita area in 1946, she joined the Hicks-Davison Unit #268 in Sedgwick.  Her eligibility was gained through the World War II service of her husband who served in the Army Air Force.  A lover of music, Lucille Hayden served as unit president and later Fifth District President in 1953.  She served at Sunflower Girls State for more than 22 years and also served at Girls Nation in 1961-1964.  Mrs. Hayden proudly served the national organization as National Music Chairman in 1964-1965 and also on the education committee in 1966-1967.  An accomplished pianist, she was the organist for The American Legion Convention in Las Vegas, Portland, Miami, Washington, Boston and Honolulu.  She was a member of the Sedgwick Christian Church and served as organist from 1950 until her death.  Additionally she was a member of the Wichita Piano Teachers League, Wichita Club of Parliamentarians and National Association of Parliamentarians.  She was active in her community, a member of the Order of Eastern Star and volunteered for many other civic organizations.  Lucille loved people, especially children, music and life.  Her friend Vera Grimwood remarked, "Her theme was probably music."  Lucille Hayden passed away March 13, 1987.

1960-1961
Mrs. Florence Batten

Manhattan, Kansas

National Chaplain 1968-1969

Florence Batten of Manhattan, Kansas served the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Kansas as President in 1960-1961.  "Progressing ever forward to the Future" was her aim in the programs and service for "God and Country."  She remarked, "the true success and accomplishments depend upon the entire membership for one person walking alone can make only a trail, but a broad pathway can be made by the marching of many feet."  The Sunflower State was enjoying its Centennial Birthday during Mrs. Batten's administration so the focus was on accomplishing much on behalf of those who had given so much for freedom.  After attending an informative conference on communism and the importance of gaining a better understanding and appreciation of democracy, Mrs. Batten returned home and visited Girls State, held the Annual Fall Conference and attended Presidents and Secretaries Conference in Indianapolis.  Kansas' goal was 27,556 members and President Batten pledged that Kansas would have 22,000 members by January 31, 1961.  Additionally she challenged Nebraska to the greatest amount of quota by January 31 and accepted Oklahoma's challenge on the greatest amount of quota by December 31.  Kansas met all of the challenges!  Holiday Gift Shops were visited and through a successful president's project, an electric popcorn machine was presented so the veterans could enjoy popcorn at their ward parties.  Florence Batten passed away on January 18, 1996.

1961-1962
Mrs. Marjorie Dunham
Erie, Kansas

Mrs. Marjorie Dunham, a member of George L. Hendricks Unit #102 in Erie, Kansas, was elected President of the Department of Kansas at the 41st Annual Convention held in Hutchinson in 1961.  Her theme for the year was, "Measure Your Work in Deeds."  Not only was the department the first in the Central Division to reach quota, Kansas exceeded its all time high by over 100 members.  During this term, Mary Koger of Kansas was the leading candidate for National President and therefore much excitement and activity occurred throughout the year.  Following the election of Mrs. Koger, Marjorie Dunham was appointed to the National Rehabilitation Committee, which she recalled as wonderful and rewarding.  Pictured at left is President Dunham with National President Melisse Jean McKay of Pennsylvania.  Marjorie Dunham passed away on August 2, 2005.

1962-1963
Mrs. Nelle McCabe

Norton, Kansas

Nelle McCabe will always be remembered by her friendly wave and the jingle Click to download articleof her charm bracelet, most of which were earned through her dedicated work and love for the American Legion Auxiliary.  Nelle became eligible through the WWI service of her husband Orla McCabe.  She joined the Norton unit in 1941 and was president in 1944-1945.  The Department President's Project was encouraging all units to contribute to the St. Francis Boys Home located in Ellsworth, Kansas.  Once again Kansas achieved an all time high in membership with the fun and whimsical membership theme, "Sunflowers Blooming, Membership Zooming."  Nelle spent two weeks on coffee tours visiting 76 units in the state and further attended all seven district conventions.  The article sharing the details of her convention can be downloaded by clicking on the image.  Nelle McCabe passed away on May 6, 1990 and is buried in the Norton Cemetery.

1963-1964

Mrs. Willa Lucero

Kansas City, Kansas

Mrs. Willa Lucero of Quindaro Unit #199 accepted the responsibility and privilege of serving as Department President of the American Legion Auxiliary on June 2, 1963.  She was a very active president and traveled extensively on behalf of the organization and its mission.  In addition to actively installing many new officers across the state, membership growth was highlighted and challenges were issued.  The Auxiliary, winning the challenge enjoyed the presentation of Commander Bert Church to President Lucero of a beautiful blue Cholly hand-knit sweater.  Additionally, Kansas was the winner of the challenges issued against the departments of Michigan and Missouri.  President Lucero visited many units, attended district conventions, and traveled to conferences outside of Kansas' borders to further her knowledge and bring back new ideas to the dedicated members in the Sunflower State.  She fondly remembered the hospital representatives known as "The Ladies in Blue" for their devotion and attention to the veterans in the hospitals across Kansas.  As her year of service came to a close, she shared, "The book of my year has closed. Its pages more precious than gold, Are filled with familiar faces, Of friend both the new and the old.  If I have accomplished little, my efforts were true and sincere, and that's why I sigh as I'm closing the book of a wonderful year."  Willa Lucero passed away on June 16, 1992.

1964-1965
Mrs. Dolores E. Horner
Leavenworth, Kansas

Dolores E. Horner, a member of Byron H. Mehl Unit #23 of Leavenworth was elected President at the 1964 Department Convention on June 28 at the Broadview Hotel in Wichita.  Her first duty was to select a theme for the year, which was determined to be, "Leadership Through Service" with the thought in mind that all American Legion Auxiliary programs require leadership.  After traveling and serving as installing officer at many installations, President Horner presided over the annual Fall Conference held in Great Bend.  During the month of October, coffee tours were in full swing and President Horner attended and participated in these annual events for the purpose of connecting with members.  A highlight of the year was visiting the ALA Christmas Gift Shops and participating in the festivities throughout the state during the holidays.  In February 1965, Mrs. Horner traveled to Washington, DC to attend the Women's Form on National Security and the National Executive Committee Meeting.  Other activities included a visit to Capitol Hill and a trip to the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Virginia.  Many donations were extended to worthy causes including the Arts and Crafts Shop at the Wadsworth VA facility and the Children's Rehabilitation Unit at the University of Kansas Medical Center.  The administrative year concluded with the directive that all Past Department Presidents will be Distinguished Guests at the department convention banquet.  Past Department President Dolores Horner passed away on January 5, 1967.

1965-1966

Mrs. Verlon Martin

Larned, Kansas

Verlon Martin, a native of Larned, Kansas, served the Department as President in the 1965-1966 administrative year.  Election and installation occurred at convention held in Kansas City and soon after she enjoyed a reception and homecoming hosted by the Larned unit.  Renewing old friendships and making new friends as she made visitations across the state was a highlight of the year.  In addition to travels within Kansas, she enjoyed three business trips to Washington, DC and then attended the Presidents and Secretaries Conference in Indianapolis.  The culmination of the year's activities concluded at Department Convention hosted by Lysle Richel Unit #68 in Hutchinson, Kansas.  As she commented, "The Hutchinson unit members went all out and of course, to me, it was the most wonderful Department Convention."  Verlon Martin passed away on December 20, 1995 in St. John, Kansas at the age of 84.

1966-1967
Mrs. Agnes Riechers
Clay Center, Kansas

Alonzo F. Dexter Unit #101 of Clay Center, Kansas, presented their candidate for Department President at the annual Department Convention held in Hutchinson, Kansas on June 26, 1966.  Mrs. Agnes Riechers was a dedicated and devoted member who took her new responsibilities seriously and with great enthusiasm.  Her theme for the year was "From Where I Stand - Let us take time for all Things." As one of National President Gen Ryan's "Shining Stars," she encouraged new ideas and projects in support of the Auxiliary's programs.  Regretfully, the Auxiliary lost the membership wager to the Department Commander, but in support of the fun challenge, President Riechers sponsored a boy to attend Boys State.  Following the conclusion of her year as President, she continued to travel abroad and remained active in her unit until her death on September 8, 1989.  Membership was her focus and she encouraged new membership opportunities for all eligible members of the ALA throughout her lifetime.  As she concluded her Department Convention, she left the members with the following message, "There's happiness in finding friends, As on through life we go, There's happiness in making friends, As we travel to and fro, But the blessedness that never ends, Is the daily joy of being friends." Agnes Riechers passed away on September 8, 1989.

1967-1968
Mrs. Dora Seymour
Bird City, Kansas

National Vice President 1974-1975

National President 1980-1981

A proud member of Bird City Unit #352, the name of Dora Seymour was placed in nomination for Department President by Past Department President Nelle McCabe.  Mrs. Fred Cady served as installing officer during the installation ceremonies held at the Broadmoor Hotel on June 25, 1967.  Mrs. Seymour fondly recalled that the Florists of America were also holding a convention that weekend at the hotel.  Needless to say, President Seymour's room was filled with elegant vases of flowers after all their meetings.  The President of the organization was housed only a few doors from her hotel room and insisted upon designing a custom green leaf chapeau for the installation occasion.  The year was filled with much travel and attention to the programs of the organization in support of veterans and veterans' issues.  Mrs.  Seymour commented, "Since that fruitful day [of installation] many wonderful American Legion Auxiliary experiences have come my way.  None of this however could be or will be without the encouragement and support of the members of the Department of Kansas."  Dora Seymour passed away on January 1, 2001 in Las Vegas Nevada.  She is buried next to her husband Lyle in Bird City, Kansas.  The last National President from the great state of Kansas, Dora proudly served in this capacity during the 1979-1980 administrative year.  She was installed in Boston, Massachusetts and concluded her term with a beautiful convention in Honolulu, Hawaii.

1968-1969
Mrs. Bernice Wright
Independence, Kansas

Unit #139 of Independence placed in nomination the name of Bernice Wright for Department President for the 1968-1969 administrative year.  Mrs. Wright remained busy and active throughout her term as President enjoying the many events and opportunity to meet members on her travels.  She recalled fondly serving as Official Hostess to the 27th Annual Girls State Session and sharing the story of the poppy to the citizens.  Each attendee was presented with a poppy by President Wright.  Leadership Training was held on June 26, 1969 for the first time in Kansas with more than 225 members enrolled.  VAVS Awards were presented at each of the VA facilities with President Wright recognizing outstanding Auxiliary members with certificates of appreciation and hours of volunteer service given on behalf of veterans in Kansas.  Resulting for her fundraising efforts, special gifts were arranged for the VA facilities with Wadsworth Hospital the first to receive a new color television for the veterans to enjoy.  Upon recalling her year of service as Department President, Mrs. Wright recalled many of the funny situations she found herself in, including locking her keys in the car during a visit to Colby.  As six men were attempting to get the card door open, one asked if she had a spare set of keys.  She assured him she did, however they were both on the same key ring!  While traveling from Overland Park to Topeka on the turnpike, President Wright missed the turnoff.  She promptly turned around where it said, "do not cross," handed the turnpike officer the ticket and money and was "long gone" before he could stop her.  Bernice Wright passed away on October 17, 1983.

 

 

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