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!
active, 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.
Who We Are
are 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 food.
Paying Our Dues
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.
Membership dues: $40 per
pay their dues on July 1 every year. Of course, the dues are prorated
for those who join in mid-year.
How to Join
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
the form. Fill it out and send it to the post-office box below.
the form. Fill it out with Adobe’s Fill & Sign, and
then email it to the Mature
Friends email address.
us to request the form through postal service mail, also known as snail mail.
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
by the way, first-time guests at the potluck don’t need to bring
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
Where We Meet
main 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
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
When We Eat
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.
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
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 Bring
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 more socializing.
Normally, the potluck
is held at our homebase in Wallingford. But two months out of the year
we do something different:
those 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.
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
you enjoy eating out with a lively group of restaurant aficionados,
then by all means join us for our lunches and dinners out.
this month’s schedule, click Dates and Times.
a 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.
year 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 (or two).
Last Year’s Event
addition 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
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.
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 from you.
two card games, Bridge and Pinochle are open to both members and
nonmembers. These are the only two activities open to nonmembers.
the schedule for all activities for this month by clicking the
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.
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 for you.
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
we’ve read include:
Time Traveler’s Wife, by
- True History of the Kelly Gang,
by Peter Carey
- The Whistling Season
by Ivan Doig
by Irene Nemirovsky
- Things Fall Apart,
by Chinua Achebe
- River Town, by
- Heart of Darkness,
by Joseph Conrad
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 eateries.
So, come join our investment club and learn while you earn.
Check out the times for our next meetings
Every 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
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.
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
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.
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
in 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.
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?
our upcoming plans, see the blurb in the latest newsletter.
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 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.
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 Canada.
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
be 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.
sure to check out the newsletter and see what new and exotic
destinations await you!
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 prices.
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 connoisseur.
come and sample the grape in a relaxed, convivial atmosphere of
like-minded gourmets. Give it a try. Check out our next meeting
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 formalized.
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 destination.
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
Board Is Organized
board, 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.
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.
you’re not yet a member, you can still check out our monthly activities
in the web
version of the newsletter.
How to Contact Us
you 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:
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 latter.
Why We Need
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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 report.
list of committee members, questions asked of the interviewees, and
individuals interviewed are listed in the appendixes, which are not
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
the 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.
Name, and Purpose
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.”
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 Valentine party.
[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.
and New Locations
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 Senior
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.
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.
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.
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 forthcoming.
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.
for the Future
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.
Jerry Olson, Long-time Member Now Deceased
Friends: 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 Stevenson
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 April 2017.
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 Committee.
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 AIDS Walk.
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
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.)
note: Since then, the board has lowered the age requirement in the
by-laws to include individuals over 40.]
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.
of the activities begun earlier still continue:
held on the last Friday of the month, still
draws a large number of members and guests, with often more than
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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 for
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.
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.
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
club 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 members.
as 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.
list 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.
success 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.
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 area.
- Seattle Gay News
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
A safe environment for gay kids
to meet and socialize.
- OUT 4
A community-based organization
committed to advancing the status of lesbians by combating oppression
and by promoting empowerment, visibility, and social change.
Seattle Business Association (GSBA)
A “Chamber of Choice”
organization of Seattle area businesses owned and operated by gays and
Our local gay and Lesbian
multi-disciplinary arts organization located in West Seattle with
programs in music, theater, visual art, education, playwriting, and
late night entertainment.