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FIRST DEPARTMENT PRESIDENT: WINIFED CALIHAN

Winifred Calihan 1921-1922

Winifred Hamilton Calihan was born at Topeka, Kansas, April 23, 1897.  The daughter of Thomas H. and Alpha Aiken Hamilton and the granddaughter of Icahabod Aiken of Virginia and William H. Hamilton of Kentucky, both veterans of the Civil War.  Her early childhood was passed on a ranch in Morris County, but at twelve years of age she returned to Topeka to enter high school.  She attended Washburn College and later the Kansas State Agricultural College at Manhattan.  While there she enrolled as a student and worker in the Red Cross and during the last year of World War I, conducted classes in surgical dressings and food conservation.  In December 1917, she married Ray Hile Calihan of Topeka who saw 11 months overseas service with the 353rd Field Signal Battalion.  Mr. Calihan returned to civilian life late in the year 1919, at which time the family moved to Garden City, Kansas to establish residence.

In October 1920, a unit of The American Legion Auxiliary was chartered at Garden City with Mrs. Calihan serving as its first secretary.  In January of 1921 she was elected Department President at the first state convention.  During this year, with the invaluable assistance of an enthusiastic executive committee, Mrs. Calihan was able to extend the organization, establish definite fields of endeavor and lines of contact and to inaugurate in Kansas a system of welfare and relief work among the returning service members that was later adopted by the national organization.

Following her administration as Department President, Mrs. Calihan became the National Committeewoman for the American Legion Auxiliary representing Kansas and in 1923-1924 served as National Vice President.  At the completion of her term as National Vice President, she was named chairman of the National Child Welfare Committee and appointed to membership on the Legionville Billet Board.  She served on the Legionville Board until failing health forced her to abandon all public activity.

Prior to her retirement, Winifred Calihan was very active serving veterans through her work with the Red Cross.  The photo at left show Mrs. Calihan (far right) in her volunteer uniform. 

Winifred Hamilton Calihan passed away in January 1980 at the age of 83.

 

Winfred Calihan Receives her 50-Year Membership Pin

May 1977

Download the .pdf of Winifred Calihan receiving her 50 year pin in 1977 >

 

 

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