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
active, fun-loving group of over 250 members meets regularly to share
common interests such as traveling
locally and internationally), attending arts events, playing
bridge or pinochle, reading and discussing books, making investments,
touring gardens, taking walks and going on hikes,
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
Who We 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.
To join up, all you have to do is
pay nominal annual dues and show up at any of our events. Groups 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
their dues on July 1 every year. Of course, the dues are
prorated for those who join in mid-year.
How to Join
join us today and get in on the fun? Just fill out the membership
form and send us your check for $40.00 (annual dues).
You can fill out the Mature Friends Membership Form in one of three ways:
form. Fill it out and send it to the post-office box below.
form. Fill it out on-screen (option: use Adobe’s Fill & Sign ), and then email
it to firstname.lastname@example.org
to request the form through the US postal service.
PO Box 21203
Seattle, WA 98111-3203
Annual dues can be paid
at the potluck dinners.
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 on our Activities page; see
Hey, by the way, first-time guests at the potluck
don’t need to bring any food!
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
Our 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)
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.
When We Eat
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
after the three-mile walk around Green Lake.
|Dinners for Six
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.
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
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
Normally, the potluck is held at our
two months out of the year we do something different:
Dinner for Six
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.
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
enjoy eating out with a lively group of restaurant aficionados, then
by all means join us for our lunches and dinners out.
month’s schedule, click Dates and Times.
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
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
Street Grill. This festive occasion kicks off with a rousing
cocktail hour (or two).
to the lunches, we meet twice a month for dinner out -- the first and
third Tuesday of the month. For variety, the specific restaurant will
change from time to time, but for now we meet at Palermo on the first Tuesday and at the 125th Street Grill on the
third Tuesday. Both restaurants, like any other restaurant we choose,
offer a full bar, separate checks, and easy access.
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.
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.
card games, Bridge and Pinochle are open to both members and
nonmembers. These are the only two activities open to nonmembers.
out the schedule for all activities for this month by clicking the
This Month’s Schedule at a
What have you been
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 for you.
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
Traveler’s Wife, by
History of the Kelly Gang, by Peter Carey
Whistling Season by Ivan Doig
Française, by Irene
Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe
Town, by Peter Hessler
of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad
And many more!
what are you waiting for? Sign up for this month’s book today! Be
sure to check the newsletter
for current information.
Swimming Pool Library, by Alan Hollinghurst
So, you 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
So, come join our investment club and learn while you earn. Check
out the times for our next
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 walk
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
We meet just north of the parking lot that is adjacent to
the boathouse on the west side of the lake close to Aurora.
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
other members for some Pinochle fun. The group meets on
the first and third Wednesdays at the Wallingford
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.
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.
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?
upcoming plans, see the blurb in the latest
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 month
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.
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
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.
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
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
to check out the newsletter and see what new and exotic destinations await you!
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
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
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
off 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”
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
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
the 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.
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 the newsletter.
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:
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.
We Need a 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 its history.
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.
We Obtained the History
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
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.
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
of committee members, questions asked of the interviewees, and
individuals interviewed are listed in the appendixes, which are not
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.
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.”
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.
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 Center.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 1999.
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
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.)
Since then, the board has lowered the age
requirement in the by-laws to include
individuals over 40.]
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.
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.
the activities begun earlier still continue:
on the last Friday of the month, still
draws a large number of members and guests, with often more
than seventy attending.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!
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 grills them.
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 Tots.
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.
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
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 members.
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 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
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
Newspaper — proudly serving Seattle and the Pacific Northwest
for over 37 years.
gives the concert schedules as well as other information about
safe environment for gay kids to meet and socialize.
community-based organization committed to advancing the
status of lesbians by combating oppression and by promoting
empowerment, visibility, and social change.
Business Association (GSBA)
“Chamber of Choice” organization of Seattle area businesses
owned and operated by gays and Lesbians.
gay and Lesbian running group.
non-profit, multi-disciplinary arts organization located in
West Seattle with programs in music, theater, visual art,
education, play-writing, and late night entertainment.