you gay and over 40? Be honest now! Looking for something to do?
Wanting to expand your circle of friends? Well then, Mature
Friends is tailor-made for you!
fun-loving group of over 250 members meets regularly to share
common interests such as traveling (both locally and internationally),
attending arts events, playing bridge or pinochle, reading and discussing
books, making investments, touring gardens, taking walks and
going on hikes,
choosing among many options for dinners and lunches, cooking,
and tasting fine wines from our own state, from other states,
and from around the world. Truly, Mature Friends offers
something for everyone and for most every taste.
you . . . or who you will eventually be — gay and
lesbian individuals and same-sex couples over 40.
Membership is confidential! We do not share our membership list
with any other organizations or individuals, period. An active
group, we enjoy a variety of activities as well as travel and
To join up, all you have
to do is pay nominal annual dues and show up at any of our
our size naturally incur operating expenses, and
Mature Friends is no exception. To rent the our home
base, the Wallingford Community Senior Center, and to
pay other expenses, members pay annual dues, which
cover the fiscal year from July 1 through June 30 of
the following year.
$40 per year
Members pay their
dues on July 1 every year. Of course, the dues are
prorated for those who join in mid-year.
How to Join
Why not join us today and
get in on the fun? Just fill out the membership form and
send us your check for $40.00.
You can fill out the Mature Friends Membership Form in one of three ways:
- Print the form. Fill it
out and send it to the post-office box below.
- Download the form. Fill
it out with Adobe’s Fill & Sign, and then
email it to the Mature
Friends email address.
- Contact us to request
the form through postal service mail, also known as snail mail.
- Sign up and pay your
dues at the next potluck.
PO Box 21203
Seattle, WA 98111-3203
Come on, meet some new friends and join in on the fun! A
good place to start is with our next potluck, at the Wallingford
Community Senior Center.
To find out the date of our next potluck or any other
activity, check out the date in the current
Hey, by the way, first-time guests at the
potluck don’t need to bring anything!
Mature Friends, its officers,
directors, and members, hereinafter known as The Club, may
assist members to arrange travel, outings, meals, and other
activities. The Club assumes no responsibility for any loss,
injury or expense incurred by members’ participation in these
activities, and cannot be held liable for any acts of
commission, or omission, on behalf of any vendors that may be
involved. Participants should take measures to protect their
investments and participation in group activities.
Where We Meet
meeting place is centrally located in Wallingford on the lower
level of the Good Shepherd Center, the Wallingford
Community Senior Center. All of our potlucks take place here, as
well as the bridge club, the pinochle club, the camera club, and
the weekly exercise group. Check out the address below, and click
the link for a map.
Community Senior Center (Homebase)
Sunnyside Avenue North
Other activities meet elsewhere,
and sometimes their meeting place changes from month to month.
To find up-to-date locations for each activity, see the current newsletter.
Like any army of people, we at
Mature Friends travel on our stomach. Practically every time
we get together, we eat. To accomplish this feat, we offer
four regular activities centered around food. Each activity
consists of either dining in or dining out. Actually, there
are more than four, but the others are informal, such as the
lunch out on Wednesdays after the
three-mile walk around Green Lake.
|We Eat Out
|Dinners for Six
there are only two dining-in activities per month, they are
major lynch pins that hold us together and allow us to share
our culinary arts with other members of the group.
On the last
Saturday of each month (with a few exceptions), members at
large get together for a potluck dinner at the Wallingford
Community Senior Center. This event is the brick and mortar of
Mature Friends, allowing members to keep in touch regularly
and to welcome new and prospective members.
The social hour, with others sitting in the room off to the
left, and at 7:15, our buffet table Is ready!
For information about the potluck for this month, click What Dish to
But the potluck is
more than just dinner — it’s a social and educational event.
Beginning at 6:00 p.m. with appetizers, we socialize while
sampling each other’s culinary creations. At around 7:15, the
main course is served, with several dishes for each course —
salad, main, and vegetable. Then sometimes a guest speaker
gives a short program, which can vary from art displays to
presentations from other gay groups to tales of adventure
abroad. After the program, it’s time for dessert, coffee, and
Normally, the potluck is held
at our homebase in Wallingford. But two months out of the year we
do something different:
who want to open their homes to a small group of Mature
Friends who love to cook and entertain, you can join the
Dinner for Six. This activity consists of a pool of gourmets
and novices who share a love of cooking and entertaining. The
pool is divided into couples (either real partners or just
friends who double up). Each couple takes an evening during a
month to cook a dinner for the other two couples. When the
group has rotated three times, the pool of members is shuffled
into different pairs of six people.
But you do not have to be a four-star
chef to join the Dinner for Six. All you need is a desire to
share your favorite foods with a fun-loving group who
appreciates all kinds of meals.
We Eat Out
If you enjoy
eating out with a lively group of restaurant aficionados, then
by all means join us for our lunches and dinners out.
For this month’s schedule, click Dates
month, many club members get together for lunch at Rooster’s
on Broadway, conveniently located on Capitol Hill. These
lunches are purely social and allow members to touch base with
each other in a gay-friendly atmosphere.
in mid-December, large number of Mature Friends get together
in true holiday fashion for a Christmas lunch. Held in Seattle
on a Saturday preceding Christmas, Mature Friends gather in a
private dining room at Robb’s 125th Street Grill.
This festive occasion kicks off with a rousing cocktail hour
Relive Last Year’s Event
to the lunches, once a month the group meets for dinner out.
For variety, the specific restaurant will change from time to
time. Lately, we’ve been meeting at the 125th Street Grill,
which offers a varied menu, high in quality. The 125th Street
Grill, like any other restaurant we choose, offers a full bar,
separate checks, and easy access.
What We Do
Never letting moss grow
under foot, Mature Friends is an active group. From simply
playing bridge or pinochle to travel abroad to competing and
winning medals in the Gay Games every four years, you’ll surely
find an activity to entice you. Remember that large groups have
the clout to negotiate lower rates on any kind of activity, from
theater tickets to trips overseas. This clout leaves you with
more money for shopping, dining in fancy restaurants, or
splurging on anything else that appeals to you. And you get the
added advantage of enjoying these activities with a ready-made
group of people who share your interests.
The following list describes our current
activities. The list just keeps growing. Do you have an idea
for something new? Our board of directors would love to hear
The two card games, Bridge and Pinochle are open to
both members and nonmembers. These are the only two activities
open to nonmembers.
Check out the
schedule for all activities for this month by clicking the
This Month’s Schedule
at a Glance
you been reading lately? If you like to read
contemporary fiction and non-fiction, we have just the club
for you! Our book club gives members an opportunity to read
and discuss one book every other month. We aim to choose
books that receive critical acclaim, often because they have
won a literary or journalistic prize or simply because they
are best sellers and people are talking about them. Since
quite a few of these noteworthy books now include gay and
lesbian themes, we often read such books. Although we don’t
promise that every book will be a gem, we take the attitude
that we can learn something from any book.
We meet every other month in
the early evening and in a member’s home, where we share
some cookies and coffee, spend a little time getting to know
each other, and settle down to discuss the book. A lot of
thoughtful discussion ensues, and you will have a good time
joining in. This isn’t the graduate level seminar you would
find at a university, but if you like reading and want to
share ideas with others in a spirit of conviviality, this is
Look for the announcement in
the web version of the
newsletter identifying the book and the meeting place.
All the books we read are in paperback and most of the books
come from the Seattle Public Library’s special collection
for book clubs.
Some books we’ve read include:
Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
- True History of the Kelly
Gang, by Peter Carey
- The Whistling Season
by Ivan Doig
- Things Fall Apart, by
- River Town, by Peter
- Heart of Darkness, by
And many more!
are you waiting for? Sign up for this month’s book today! Be
sure to check the newsletter
for current information.
- The Swimming Pool Library,
by Alan Hollinghurst
don’t know a small cap from a large cap or even a baseball
cap? Well, Mature Friends has a solution — A Better Club for
Investing, which meets at 7:00 p.m. once a month.
Any member of Mature Friends who wants to add to their
savings by investing with a group can get ahead through
consensus and judicious investments by joining this club.
Not only do you add to your portfolio, but you learn more
about wise financial planning and how the markets work.
Meetings are conducted over dinner at a variety of cafes
in the Seattle area, giving you the chance to hone your
fiduciary skills while expanding your repertoire of local
So, come join our investment club and learn while you
earn. Check out the times for our next meetings
Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. (precisely), rain or shine,
a group of Mature Friends will gather for a walk
around Green Lake. Fast walkers, slow walkers,
part way lake walkers — all are welcome. A
small group use to gather after the Wednesday
exercise class however when the class was canceled,
a decision was made to still gather on Wednesday at
Green Lake for a walk around.
WOW! The group keeps growing with new faces every
week to replace those that are snow birds,
travelers, or other valid excuses. Recently, the
group has grown to twenty walkers. (You really don’t
need an excuse, since attendance isn’t taken.) So, why not join the
fun, camaraderie, and fresh air?
Following the walk those who are hungry head over to
the Blue Star restaurant, 4512
Stone Way North, for a light lunch.
We meet just north of the parking lot that is
adjacent to the boathouse on the west side of the
lake close to Aurora.
Not for card
sharks only, members who are interested in testing their
skills meet every Wednesday at the Wallingford Community
Senior Center. Not exactly tournament bridge or cutthroat, this activity is for anyone no
matter the level of skill, from beginner to pro. The purpose
is to relax and have some fun at the card table. There is a
slight fee collected to off-set the rental of the hall, but
it’s well worth it.
Bridge is open to members and nonmembers. Members pay a $4.00
fee per night (on top of the $40 membership fee) and
nonmembers pay $5.00 per night.
other members for some Pinochle fun. The group
meets on the first and third Wednesdays at the Wallingford
Community Senior Center.
Depending upon the number of participants, you can
play from three-handed to five-handed games. You
don’t have to be an expert, we’ll teach you how to
play. Like the bridge group, there is a small fee
collected to offset the rental of the hall.
is open to members and nonmembers. Currently both
pay the same fee of $4.00 per night.
show time, folks! With lower group rates, it’s easy and
cheaper to see local, professional, and college
productions around the town. So . . . Lights! Camera!
Action! — Whoa! CUT! CUT! CUT!!! Not that kind of show
(although it’s been done!). What we’re really talking
about here is something with a higher brow — live theater,
opera, concerts, visiting museums, and of course,
performances of the various gay and Lesbian choruses.
the fall, a group of Mature Friends drive down to Ashland,
Oregon, for the annual Shakespeare Festival. More than just
theater, we also celebrate Daedalus, the Oregon Shakespeare
Festival’s fundraiser for AIDS, including a reading of a
play appropriate to LGBT issues and a talent show produced
by the company, which includes the ever popular underwear
contest, where you get to stuff your donations into the
underwear of the actors or crew members.
But in addition to our formal
outings as a group, many members get together informally
on short notice for impromptu outings of two to six
people. Something similar took place while we were touring
Europe a couple years ago with a beautiful concert in
Vienna. Can you imagine? Enticing, eh?
For our upcoming plans, see the
blurb in the latest
structured exercise isn’t for you, or if you’d just like
to explore the local area on foot, you can always join us
for our monthly hike. Hiking in natural areas outdoors,
whether mountains, seashore, or desert, refreshes the
spirit and the body. In our walking and hiking activities,
we focus on places with moderate length and elevation. In
summer and fall, we sometimes take longer hikes out of
town, while in the rainy season, we lean toward local
hikes and walks.
Hikes for this
All hikes are day hikes. If we go
out of town and you share a ride, expect to chip in a few
dollars to the driver for gas. Also, we sometimes brown
bag it for lunch along the trail. Other than that, this
activity offers an invigorating, healthy, and inexpensive
way to enjoy a few hours during the day.
So, keep an eye on the newsletter to find
out when and where the next hike will be. And then come
and join us! Take in some fresh air while sharing the
pleasure of seeing nature with friends. Warning! The
enjoyment may become addictive.
Mature Friends love
to travel. From near to far, we’re on the go every year.
From day trips to long
weekends to short hops to Nevada, we take reasonably priced
escapes to visit wineries, to see the fall leaves, to spend
long weekends in Vancouver and in Portland, and to visit
favorite, inexpensive gambling sites and see shows. Our
experienced travel committee is always coming up with
exciting, affordable getaways.
For those who like to
venture a bit farther, we’ve taken tours of Eastern Europe,
cruises to the Mediterranean and countries around it, sailed
to South America and around the Horn, visited Italy’s
Tuscany region, and also cruised to Australia, New Zealand,
and up and down the west coast of the United States and
Each year offers new and
exciting destinations. So be sure to check out the latest
newsletter online for details of upcoming adventures.
Check out our upcoming plans.
April through October, our resident horticulturalist
arranges a monthly tour of a garden in the Puget Sound
area, enjoying the splendor as well as the plants. Most
are free of charge, but a few charge entrance fees.
These tours never fail to delight the eyes and please the
noses of our members from home gardeners to experienced
horticulturalists. We usually have between ten and thirty
people attend. Each month takes us to a garden where we
see various innovative arrangements by professionals as
well as skillful amateur gardeners. We visit both private
gardens as well public gardens, often getting a glimpse
behind the scenes.
sure to join us on these tours to learn new tips and
tricks to make your garden bloom to its full potential, or
just come along to smell the roses, while enjoying the
scenery and the good company.
Be sure to check out the newsletter
and see what new and exotic destinations await you!
Every other month, the oenophiles of
Mature Friends meet at a member’s house to sample specific
types and vintages of wines. From Pinot Grigios of Oregon
to the Malbecs of Argentina, our wine group sits squarely
on the cutting edge of highest quality wines at affordable
A wine is assigned in advance and
everybody brings a bottle to share. Then we all sample
what each other has brought and tell what we know about
that vintage. But don’t be intimidated. The group’s
experience ranges from novice to well-informed
So come and sample the grape in a
relaxed, convivial atmosphere of like-minded gourmets.
Give it a try. Check out our next meeting
Touring the Town
Our newest activity
teed up in July with with a miniature golf
tournament at the Green Lake Pitch & Putt
golf course. Initiated by our treasurer, the
outing was successful enough to schedule another
in August. Actually, the local tours began much
earlier informally with tours of the University
of Washington’s rowing facilities, a tasting
tour of Fran’s Chocolates, and a visit to the
Herbert H. Warrick Museum of Communications.
Finally, in August, the tour organizer latched
on to a name and the “Oddball Outing” was
The outings take us
on tours around town, often to little known
places. Lately, the group has expanded to
include the Museum of Glass in Tacoma and their
Museum of Art. Short, simple day trips packed
with new experiences and sights. So, come on a
join the group and see fascinating sights, often
right under your nose.
Check out our next
Who Runs Us
coordinate a big group with many activities, you need
careful organization and leadership. Mature Friends has
both. During the May potluck each year, we elect a
ten-person board of directors from the membership at large,
and this board elects officers from its membership. Meeting
monthly, the board and officers manage the affairs of the
organization. Board members and officers can serve up to
four years consecutively.
Board Is Organized
in turn, is split into committees, headed by board members.
Each committee is responsible for a specific group activity
or event. All members are encouraged to serve on the board
or on a committee, in line with their interests.
As mentioned earlier, Mature Friends
publishes a monthly newsletter to inform the membership of
upcoming events and to convey additional information of
general interest. In the newsletter, you’ll find a calendar
of the current month’s events so that you can see at a
glance what’s going on when. Although board members write
the main content of the newsletter, Mature Friends
encourages everyone to submit an article now and then.
Note: If you’re not
yet a member, you can still check out our monthly activities
in the web version of
How to Contact Us
have any questions or would like further details about any
specific events or about Mature Friends in general, please
contact us either by regular mail or e-mail:
PO Box 21203
Seattle, WA 98111-3203
has a past. Some are quite . . . what’s the polite word? Oh,
yes . . . colorful. And others are quite sordid. Then there
are those . . . well, you don’t really want to know. But
many are open books. Luckily, Mature Friends’ history is the
Need a History
history of any organization resides in its members. This is
all the more so with voluntary organizations. However, with
the passage of time, individuals with knowledge of the
organization moved on for one reason or another, leading to
a loss of its history.
Preserving an organization’s history is vital, not only for
the continuity of the organization, but also as a legacy for
the future of the community it serves. Mature Friends has
been an organization for older gay men and women for many
years, but has not made any concerted effort to record its
Gay studies is increasingly becoming a
legitimate academic pursuit, so for an organization to be
included in the development of gay culture, it is incumbent
to document its activities in a form and place that will be
accessible to future historians. So, in June 2005, the Board
of Mature Friends established a History Committee and
allocated funding to gather and document the early history
of Mature Friends.
Obtained the History
One of our
long-time members, Wes N., was appointed Chairman of the
History Committee. A group of volunteers gathered together
to decide upon the operation of the committee — how it will gather its information and how it will
make available its findings in a form and place accessible
to future scholars and laymen.
The committee decided to obtain oral
histories from as many of the founding and early members as
could be identified and assembled. A set of questions
covering important topics that each of the interviewees
should address was compiled. Each interview session was
recorded on tape and later transcribed. For this task, the
committee was fortunate in having the services and
cooperation of Ruth Pettis of the Seattle Gay History
Project. Alvin Fritz of the Gay Library of the University of
Washington (U.W.) was also contacted. The U.W. Library will
be the final repository of the information collected and the
final report, as well as ancillary documents.
The committee interviewed ten persons
who were founding members or were members at an early stage
of the club. The interviews were conducted in an informal
setting, with the interviewee free to recall his or her
early experiences with the club. Committee members in
attendance were free to interject, to comment on, amplify
and in some instances correct statements that were made. It
was apparent at this stage, some 16 – 18 years after the
founding of the club, that memories were a little hazy.
Fortunately, the club has an extensive archive of materials
which was an invaluable resource in the preparation of this
The list of committee members,
questions asked of the interviewees, and individuals
interviewed are listed in the appendixes, which are not
So, grab your favorite snack, and pull
your chair closer to the computer. Relax and enjoy an
overview of how this unique group formed and how it became
the large, multifaceted social group we have today, with
over 200 members.
persons interviewed generally agreed that John Reeder was
the catalyst behind the formation of Mature Friends. John
had not intended to found a new organization, but had
preferred to work with existing organizations. One such
organization was the Lavender Panthers, an offshoot of the
Gay and Lesbian Task Force, a group created by the then
Mayor of Seattle, Wes Uhlman. John was interested in having
an organization as a safe place where men and women of the
community can come together. John’s first association with
the Lavender Panthers was to help them organize a Christmas
party in 1988. John enthusiastically helped plan the party,
and in the end, did the decorations with fresh greens,
provided red table cloths and a program. John’s energetic
efforts were not viewed favorably by the women who comprised
most of the original members of the Lavender Panthers. His
efforts were regarded as a “taking over” of the club.
John still felt a need for an
organization where older gays and lesbians, those over 50
years of age, could meet socially in a safe environment. A
safe environment meant a non-bar environment, in as much as
these were older people for whom the bar scene was not a
good place to meet others in a similar age range. In
addition, John himself had recovered from alcoholism, so
bars were not a good environment for him. John put together
some ideas and called upon Don Moreland and Harold Mick, who
were both at that fateful Christmas party. As early as
January 4, 1989, letters of invitation were sent to friends
to attend an organizational meeting on January 13, 1989. A
second meeting on January 27, 1989, was held to elect
temporary officers and to consider a name for the
organization. The first or acting officers were: Don
Moreland, president; Shirley M., vice-president; Eugene Van
V., treasurer, and John Reeder, secretary. A specifically
gay name was to be avoided since many of the target
population (that is, prospective members) were wary about
being in an outwardly gay organization. A dichotomy should
be noted, as pointed out by several of the interviewees,
that some of the same people had no qualms about frequenting
the gay bars. A name was expeditiously chosen, as
correspondence soon after the January 27 meeting contained
the name “Mature Friends.” Legend has it that either John
Reeder or Glen H. sat down with a dictionary and came up
with the right combination of words. The name was also
attributed to one of the early members, Dorothy F. The group
was known thereafter as “Mature Friends.” The statement of
purpose was “Mature Friends is a resource organization of
individuals 50 years and older promoting human services,
social interaction, education, and comradrie [sic] in and
for the Lesbian and Gay community.”
With February 1989 coming up, a
Valentine party for gay and lesbian seniors was planned. The
social room at Grace Gospel Church in Ballard was obtained
free of charge. Invitations were sent out and others were
contacted by word of mouth. Around 25 people attended. It
might be said that Mature Friends had its beginning at that
[I recall attending a
February potluck a year or two later at Greenwood Hall,
which John Reeder had decorated in a Valentine theme. John
proclaimed it an anniversary potluck. — D. Lee].
While the Valentine party was a success, it should be noted
that it was a new experience for many of the people who
attended. Many had lived their lives with their gay persona
hidden from all but their closest friends, and here they
were, at a party with people whom they barely knew or had
not known at all. As John recalled, people barely uttered
their first names.
Growth and New Locations
The success of the Valentine party
prompted the fledging organization to look for a larger
space. Again, it was John Reeder who came to the fore. John
had access to Greenwood Hall in Phinney Ridge. He lived next
door and managed the hall. Club members helped to clean up
and paint the hall, and helped John install a small kitchen.
The monthly potlucks and activities such as the Bridge group
met at Greenwood Hall until 1995. By then the membership had
grown and a larger space was needed. Thanks to a lead from
member Bob Johnson, the club moved to the Odd Fellows Hall
in Ballard, where the group continued to meet for 22 years.
Then in April 2017, thanks to then-president
Bruce T, we moved our home base to the Wallingford Community
Formalizing the Organization
In the months following that first
Valentine party, John, Don, Harold (nicknamed “Mick”),
Eugene, Van V., Shirley M., Glen H., and many others
continued to meet. They still had in mind Mature Friends as
a social service organization. To be a credible organization
when it came to tax exempt (501(c)3) status consideration,
they felt it necessary to be on a sound financial footing.
Fund raising activities were planned. One such fundraising
activity was a garage sale, which was tremendously
successful. Other fundraisers were progressive dinners, at
which attendees contributed money. These activities put the
club on a firm financial basis. The progressive dinners
eventually evolved into the “Table for Eight,” social
gatherings wherein members gathered in groups of eight for
dinner at a member’s home. They would then rotate among the
group of eight. Eight people for dinner proved to be
unwieldy and the concept changed to "Table of Six."
Recently, this activity has been renamed more appropriately
“Dinner for Six,” which has been quite successful and
continues to the present time.
Social activities were always part of
Mature Friends. Some of the early activities were Saturday
Socials, Lunch/Tea Dance, and outings such as one to the
Tulip Festival. Travel was spearheaded by Eugene Van V. and
is still one of the major activities today. The Saturday
Social and the Lunch/Tea Dance did not last for long, but
very soon dining out, both lunch and dinner, became a
regular activity. The Garden Tours was also a popular
activity. Both the dining out and garden tours were ideas
promoted by Glen H. [It
should be noted that Glen H. was a Landscape Architect.] A
most enduring activity has been the potluck dinner. This
event began in mid-1989 and continues as the most prominent
monthly activity. Later activities included monthly
walk/hike, both locally and farther afield, a weekly
exercise group led by Len T., and more recently a pinochle
group which meets twice a month.
While the club avoided an outwardly
gay name, early on, the active members promoted the club
within the gay community. At the Pride Festival of 1989, the
club staffed a booth to inform the community of the new
organization and to recruit members. In 1996 and 1997, the
club had a contingent in the Pride parades. Although Mature
Friends has reached out to the gay community, club
membership was and is still confidential. Only board members
and activity heads have access to the membership list to
conduct their affairs.
Lesbian Membership Declines
In the beginning, there was a strong
involvement of women in the organization. They served on
committees and were board members. However, as the club
grew, the number of women members has decreased as well as
their participation in the club organization and activities.
The bridge group still attracts a fair number of women
players. The decline in women members and their
participation was regularly broached during the interviews
for this history, but no definitive answer or answers were
The club has been a success as a
social organization. As a group, it remains non-political
and non-sectarian. The original idea as a social-service
organization has largely been abandoned, mainly because the
membership preferred it as a social organization. A Sunshine
Committee functions currently to recognize members’
birthdays and send get well wishes for illnesses and
condolences to survivors of members who have passed away.
Recording for the Future
This report is not an exhaustive
history of Mature Friends. It covers the founding of the
club and the events leading to its founding. It addresses
the questions raised by the History Committee and tries to
find a common answer from among the people interviewed. In
some cases, the answers were supplemented by information
from the archive for clarity. A ten-year retrospective was
written by Jerry O., which appeared in the February 1999
newsletter. It is included in the appendix of this report.
When a president’s term is completed, such president will
write a summary report. These reports will be kept as part
of the history of the club.
And that brings us up to the twenty-first century and the
second decade of our club.
from Jerry Olson, Long-time Member Now Deceased
A Decade of Success
Jerry Olson, Mature Friends Newsletter, February 1999
“To be what we are, and to become what we are capable
of becoming is the only end of life.” Robert Louis
A meeting was held at the Grace Gospel Chapel in
Ballard on January 13, 1989, to form a new
organization in Seattle to be called MATURE FRIENDS to
serve, the gay and lesbian community. The
organizational meeting grew out of meetings with the
Lavender Panthers, active in Seattle at that time. It
must be pointed out that John Reeder, Seattle art
teacher, was the “spark” the “live-wire” if you will,
behind this initial meeting. John sent out many
letters inviting a large number of people to attend
the meeting. At this meeting an organizing committee
was elected and several participants were elected as
acting officers. Don Moreland acting president;
Shirley Maser, acting vice-president; Eugene Van
Voorhees, acting treasurer; John Reeder, acting
secretary. This committee of acting officers set about
establishing the by-laws for an organization with 87
members at the outset, securing the necessary tax
exempt status and such everyday concerns as installing
a telephone, opening a bank account, getting a Post
Office box and address (30575 - 98103), and setting up
a telephone answering machine.
Charter members of the organization included: George
Bauer, Stephen Blair, John Enders, Jan Erickson,
Rolland Friend, Simon Genovart, Glen Hunt, Ken Love,
Shirley Maser, Harold Mick, Don Moreland, Art Morgan,
Frank Neff, Wight Reader, John Reeder, Bob Schultz,
and Eugene Van Voorhees. Don Moreland was elevated
from acting president to president in the first year.
Bill Cunningham replaced him in 1990, but failed to
serve out his term and was succeeded by Don who served
another term and was replaced by Harold Mick who
served until 1992. Harold Mick was replaced by Ray
Ordway. Len Tritsch assumed the presidency in 1994 and
continued in that capacity until 1998. He then served
as acting president with Lewis Finch as
President-Elect for the period 1998–99.
A Quarterly Newsletter was quickly published with John
Reeder as the first editor. John Enders took over the
editorship in 1991, and at this time the newsletter
began to appear on a monthly basis, as it has
continued to do so until the present. Dan Lee and Jack
Motteler were co-editors for 1992-93, followed by
editor Dick Meyers in 1994. Paul Dietrick assumed
these duties in 1994 and continued as editor until
The first meeting place for the organization was at
the Grace Gospel Chapel at 22nd and 64th in Ballard
where the social room was used for MATURE FRIENDS
social activities. From time to time the group also
met at the Friends Center in the university District.
John Reeder lived in a little apartment with a patio
behind the Greenwood HaIl at 65th and Greenwood Avenue
North. John worked for the owner of this complex and
scheduled the use of the hall for various groups.
Greenwood Hall was provided rent-free the first few
years until John resigned from the organization. Money
had been raised at a garage sale to help get
appropriate furniture, paint, and equipment for the
kitchen. It was small, often crowded but it was home!
MATURE FRIENDS moved to the International Order of Odd
Fellows Hall at 1706 Market Street in Ballard on
September 1, 1995, where the group continued until
The activities of this organization have continued
rather stable over the course of a decade with more
having been added up till the present. Almost at once
the now traditional Last Friday of the Month Potluck
Dinner and the Annual Potluck Picnic were inaugurated.
The picnic had almost always been held successfully at
Seward Park. In addition a variety of interest groups
were established with chairpersons and committees.
These included: Bridge Group, Garden Club, Dining out,
Dinners for Six (sometimes for eight), High Tea, and
Tea Dances. Early on there were fund-raising
activities such as popular Progressive Dinners, and
Garage and/or Sidewalk Sales. Although these sales
events were very successful (the first raising over
$1200), they were canceled, and as the MATURE FRIENDS
newsletter has stated, members disagreed as to what to
do with the money. Then, as now, the organization
experienced strain as to what causes to support.
The activities also included many trips from local to
out of state to international travel. Local trips,
with some consistency, included the LaConnor Tulip
Trip, Leavenworth for autumn leaves and Christmas
lighting, the Diablo Dam in the North Cascades, the
Bloedel Reserve, the Yakima Valley Wine Country,
Puyallup Daffodil Festival, and the Pilchuck Glass
Factory. Many of these trips and activities remain a
part of the organization’s activities today.
MATURE FRIENDS has always been a non-profit,
non-partisan, and non-sectarian organization. However,
this has not meant that MATURE FRIENDS has not been
involved in social issues. Several of our founders
were, and continued to be, social activists. Don
Moreland, first president, certainly earned that title
as he served on the Governor’s Aids Task Force,
President of the Seattle Dorian Society, the Lesbian
and Gay Democrats, a GSBA member, a Privacy Fund
Founder, and in addition to many other activities of
local and national significance, he was an openly gay
delegate at large for the Washington Democratic Party
and was a member of the Gay Caucus during the 1968
National Democratic Convention. John Reeder was a
member of the Dorian Society, GSBA, National Gay and
Lesbian Task Force, the Human Rights Campaign Fund,
and people for the American Way. He also participated
in the National March on Washington, D.C. in 1968, and
served as a member of the American Friends Service
The non-partisan and non-sectarian legal status of the
organization has not prevented it from supporting
political issues when they involve gay and lesbian
rights. The organization has always reached out to all
churches friendly to gay and lesbian issues. For many
years canned goods donations to the Chicken Soup
Brigade were made at the Friday night Potluck Dinners.
From the very beginning there has been an information
booth at the Pride Festival, and for the past three
years [1997-1999] at least as many as 12 to 15 members
have marched in the Pride march. Every year the
organization has a group walking for the Northwest
Many members continue, as they have over the years, to
work with local organizations in a volunteer capacity,
and the Chicken Soup Brigade, Bailey-Boushay House,
the Northwest AIDS Foundation and many other groups.
Sometimes the newsletter contains information
concerning volunteer activities. From time to time
there have been Potluck Programs, featuring such
issues as gay and lesbian adoption rights, same-sex
marriage legislation and the like. These programs have
not always been met with unanimous enthusiasm! On a
few occasions members have, been seen to walk out
grumbling! A good example of controversy has been the
recent board decision to restrict financial support to
the gay and lesbian community to one fund-raiser and
one donation per year! Sort of the United Way approach
to social concerns. Many members continue to be
concerned about “outing.” This is certainly
understandable in light of the repressive times in
which many members came of age. As a result the
membership lists are restricted to board members and
are carefully guarded and kept confidential. An
amazing example of this concern is found in the
reaction of a member in January of 1992. In resigning
from the organization, a member wrote: "I hereby
resign my membership in MATURE FRIENDS, for the
following reasons; When I first paid annual dues in
June 1991, I was not aware until I obtained a copy of
the by-laws in September, that the purpose of MATURE
FRIENDS was geared to the “gay community with which I
feel no special identification.”
MATURE FRIENDS shall function as a non-profit,
non-partisan, non-sectarian resource organization to
provide social activities, education, and human
services, creative housing solutions, to protect
against discrimination and other considerations
appropriate to individuals over 50 in the Gay and
Lesbian community, and friends fifty and over.
(By-Law, Adopted July 1989 and amended June, 1990.)
[Editor’s note: Since then, the
board has lowered the age requirement in
the by-laws to include individuals over
Decade and Beyond
Friends was founded in 1989 as an organization where older
gays and lesbians can meet socially in a safe environment.
Twenty years later, it still functions as an organization
for older gays and lesbians in the Puget Sound Region. But
as one member once remarked, “We’re not old, we’re
MATURE.” And that has been the hallmark of Mature Friends.
Far from being a group of senior citizens, Mature Friends
have maintained through the years a vibrancy and energy
through the many activities sponsored by the club or
informally among various members.
second decade saw Len T. at the helm, at the end of his
long term as president since 1994. He was succeeded by
Lewis F. in 1999, followed by Don Moreland in 2000, Bob
McQ. in 2002, Charlie F. in 2004 and Kent H. in 2007.
Kent led Mature Friends into the Third Decade, before
handing the presidency off to Mark J. in July 2010.
Many of the activities begun
earlier still continue:
The potluck, held on the last
Friday of the month, still draws a large number of
members and guests, with often more than seventy
The Bridge group, one of the
earliest special interest groups, continues today with
as many as six tables of avid players weekly. The Bridge
group was headed for many years by C. Henry H. and later
by Paul S.
Not to be outdone, a Pinochle
group, under Walter J. and others, was started in 2006
and attracts twelve to fifteen participants in their
twice a month meetings.
Mature Friends are not entirely
sedentary. An exercise group meets weekly, followed by a
walk around Green Lake. It has not been unusual for
non-members to join the exercise group, and subsequently
learn about and join the club.
For the more adventurously
inclined, a monthly hike, sometimes in local parks and
sometimes farther afield in the Cascades, is held, first
under the capable leadership of John K. and more lately
under Dale J.
In addition, the garden tour group
has visited many public and private gardens in the
region, initially under the joint leadership of Lloyd
Herman and Dr. John Wott, and lately under Dr. Wott
alone. We are fortunate in having Dr. John, professor
emeritus of Urban Horticulture at the University of
Washington, with his extensive knowledge of and
connections with the area gardeners and horticulturists,
leading the garden tours.
If the garden tours are a legacy
of late member and Mature Friends founder Glen H., so
too are the dining-out groups, collectively the
Knife-and-Fork Club, which comprises the lunch group,
meeting semi-monthly, and the dinner group, meeting once
a month. The dining out groups has been kept going by
many volunteer coordinators, notably, Harry W., Mel H.,
Walter J., and currently by Don S. and Bob McQ. In
addition to the lunch and dinner groups, the club
coordinates the Dinner for Six groupings, an intimate
dining occasion for six (three couples, not necessarily
partnered couples), the dinner host rotating among the
three ‘couples’. The groupings are then reassigned each
quarter. Group members demonstrate their culinary
expertise at these gatherings. Thanks are due to the
juggling talents of Dick N. and Jim Y. in arranging
these groups. Mature Friends have always enjoyed good
food and drink.
Apropos good food and drink, the
Annual Banquet to celebrate the anniversary of the club
is an anticipated social event of the year. The event
was moved from February, which was more appropriately
the founding month of the club, to late spring in May or
June. The banquet has been held at various venues, such
as the Yankee Diner (later the Yankee Grill) in Ballard,
Anthony’s Homeport at Shilshole, the College Club
downtown, and the Best Western Executive Inn in lower
Queen Anne, and now at the Women’s University Club.
Starting in 2005, the Board instituted an Annual
Volunteer of the Year award, a feature during the
Annual Banquet, to recognize the importance of
volunteers’ contributions to the club. The award, by
nomination from the membership, acknowledges a member
who has put forward an extra effort in his/her service
to the club. The recipients have been Harry W. in
2005, Don K. in 2006, C. Henry H. in 2007, Dan L. in
2008, Curt Johnson in 2009, and Gordon L. in 2010, Bil
B. in 2011, Paul S. in 2012, Kent H. in 2013, Len T.
in 2014, Bruce T. in 2015, and our Garden Tour guru,
Dr. John Wott in 2016. Who will we give the coveted
plaque to this year? Gosh, I hope they don’t mirror
the Academy Awards Best Picture Oscar and give it to
the wrong person!
In addition to the Annual
Dinner, the Annual Picnic takes place in August. The
picnic has been held at various Seattle park
locations through the years, from Lincoln Park,
Seward Park, to the present location at Woodland
Park. The club provides hot dogs and burgers with
the trimmings and members are asked to bring potluck
picnic dishes to accompany the hotdogs and burgers.
Larry W. organized the picnic for several years,
until he passed the leadership over to John K. Then
Brian W. took over for two years, and now Bruce T.
secures the shelter house each year for Annual
Picnic. Bruce also makes sure we have plenty
of soft drinks, hotdogs, and bratwursts, and he also
Add to this the annual
Christmas holiday brunch organized by Harry W.,
complete with a white elephant gift exchange for a
good time. In 2014, Jim W. took over the
brunch, and with the consent of members, stopped the
white elephants gifts in exchange for bringing Toys
Mature Friends are also
cerebral. An ongoing Book Club with eight to fifteen
members meets monthly to discuss a book assigned at
each meeting. This is done with the cooperation of
the Seattle Public Library, which supplies copies of
the books to club members. All this effort was
coordinated by John L. Later, Dick N. took
over the reins of the club and has since passed them
on to Bruce B.
Cerebral may not describe the
Investment Club, but perhaps “crystal-ball gazing”
might be appropriate. The Investment Club began
meeting late in 2000 under the leadership of Ed
Estes to provide a fun, informative and collegial
means for Mature Friends to manage their money and
stay current on economic issues. Members contribute
a specified amount and study the stock market to
decide how to invest their collective funds. The
Investment Club has attracted a number of members,
but to keep it functioning so that all members have
opportunity for input, membership must be kept
small. As a result a second investment club dubbed A
Better Club for Investing was started in 2008 to
accommodate this growing interest. After eight years
leading the Investment Club, Ed stepped down, and
the leadership of the investment clubs fell to Don
C. Currently, Ray B. has combined the two
investment clubs into one, A Better Club for
Investing, meeting once a month at a local restaurant.
Although Mature Friends was
chosen as the group’s name initially to avoid an
overtly gay name, the club has not been hesitant
about participation in the larger gay-lesbian
community. From the beginning, active members
staffed a booth at the annual Gay Pride festival to
publicize the club within the community and the club
has been a contingent in the Pride parade. In the
past year, the Board has decided to forgo a booth at
the Pride Festival, feeling that the booth has been
of marginal value in membership recruitment relative
to the investment in time and money. The upcoming
older generation is increasingly computer literate,
and the Mature Friends’ web site, by webmasters Curt
Johnson and Gordon Lovell, has been an important
source of information to the community. Prospective
members also learn about club activities through
various media, such as the Seattle Gay News.
Travel has been a part of the club from its inception,
and continues through the second decade. Trips are
organized by the Travel Committee, under the current
leadership of Bruce T., from short one-day or weekend
trips to near-by points, to longer across-country and
overseas trips. They are too numerous to detail, but
of the former, fun trips have been made to Vancouver,
British Columbia, and Portland, Oregon, as well as
wine tours in eastern Washington and in Oregon. Local
trips include visits to the Glass Museum in Tacoma and
the LeMay Car Museum also in Tacoma, where members
waxed nostalgically at cars they might have driven or
wished they had driven. Trips farther afield include
some fondly remembered ones, such as the trip to
Montreal, to Eastern Europe, to the Mediterranean,
Southeast Asia, China, and most recently Spain and
southern France. Now with Bruce T. as leader of the
travel group, we extend our thanks to Jerry J. and Don
Moreland as well as Marlyce B. and Gary H. for their
expertise and experience in organizing these trips.
continues to grow in membership. By the end of the
second decade, paid members number more than 260.
To highlight some of our members, members’
profiles were a regular feature in the newsletter.
Members were interviewed and their stories were
capably compiled by Scott W., Kyle B., and John L.
These profiles provided a glimpse into the lives
and the varied backgrounds of our members.
Unfortunately, after John stepped down, nobody else
has volunteered to continue interviewing the
the club moved toward the end of the second
decade, it became clear that Mature Friends did
not have a recorded history. There was concern
individuals with knowledge of our history would
vanish through relocation, attrition, and death.
Gay studies are increasingly becoming a legitimate
academic pursuit, so for an organization to be
included in the development of gay culture, it is
incumbent to leave behind documentation of its
activities in a form and place that will be
accessible to future historians, scholars and
laymen. The board established a History Committee
and allocated funding to gather and document the
early history of Mature Friends.
of our organizations members involved in this
project from start to finish is huge. A report
covering the founding of the club and the events
leading to its founding was to be the centerpiece
of the project. Ten persons who were founding
members or were members at at early stage of the
club’s development were interviewed. It was
apparent at this stage that memories were a little
hazy. Fortunately, the club has an extensive
archive of materials which was an invaluable
resource to supplement the interviews and help in
the preparation of this report. Newsletters, Board
meeting minutes and agendas, President’s
summaries, internet website printout and club
by-laws were also gathered and assembled after an
extensive search. The completed project is now at
the Special Collections division of the library at
the University of Washington.
of Mature Friends since its beginning in 1989 is
best summed up by club president Charlie F. in
2006, “Our Club members, retired or not, possess
extensive work history that they put to good use
for the benefit of us all. Those qualities also
make for exciting and stimulating association...I
urge all members new and old to contribute to our
many activities and projects...I’m confident that
you will find your association with Mature Friends
enjoyable and rewarding.”
On this page, you’ll
find links to other gay and Lesbian web sites.
- Three Dollar Bill Cinema
Dollar Bill Cinema provides access to films by, for, and
about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT)
people and their families, and a forum for LGBT filmmakers
to share and discuss their work with audiences. They
curate themed screenings throughout the year and produce
programs in partnership with other arts, cultural, and
service delivery organizations in the Greater Seattle
- Seattle Gay
An LGBT Newspaper — proudly serving
Seattle and the Pacific Northwest for over 37 years.
site gives the concert schedules as well as other
information about the chorus.
A safe environment for gay kids to meet and
A community-based organization committed to
advancing the status of lesbians by combating oppression
and by promoting empowerment, visibility, and social
Seattle Business Association (GSBA)
A “Chamber of Choice” organization of Seattle
area businesses owned and operated by gays and Lesbians.
- Seattle Frontrunners
Our local gay and Lesbian running group.
A non-profit, multi-disciplinary arts
organization located in West Seattle with programs in
music, theater, visual art, education, playwriting, and
late night entertainment.