JLL Highlights

About JLL

The Junior League of Lufkin started in 1953 with 23 women who were committed to identifying unmet needs and working for positive change in our community. Today, the Junior League of Lufkin has over 100 active members and over 250 Sustaining members committed to the same ideals. We have served our community with over 8,000 volunteer hours this past year.
The Junior League of Lufkin has supported many important projects and has made a positive impact on countless lives in Lufkin by addressing the needs of our community.

Our project support is through both direct financial assistance and many thousands of volunteer hours. The vision of our organization’s members is to enhance the lives of children and women in our community through our diverse projects and fundraising efforts. We have donated over $1.8 million dollars to Lufkin, and we look forward to donating more financial assistance and volunteer hours to enhance the lives of everyone in our community.

Mission Statement

The Junior League of Lufkin is an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism and to improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.

Reaching Out Statement

The Junior League of Lufkin reaches out to women of all races, religions, and national origins who demonstrate an interest in and commitment to volunteerism.

Vision Statement

The Junior League of Lufkin welcomes all women who are committed to volunteerism. The League educates and challenges its members to be effective community leaders, advocates, and individuals. Trained volunteers and collaborators will address and respond to community needs with positive solutions. The League focus is to educate and empower individuals, primarily children, by providing the resources and tools that will address all aspects of their well being.


For more than 60 years, the women of The Junior League of Lufkin, Texas have been working to build a better community.


MARGE BECKHAM (1953-1954) – First President of the Lufkin Service League. The first Follies was presented as a fund raising project. The league serviced a magazine cart in local hospitals for patients.

MARY JULE BAGGETT (1954-1956) – The League helped to establish the Crippled Children’s Center. In January of 1956 the Wilson McKewen Treatment Center was established in cooperation with local physicians and a therapist was hired.

ANITA WILLIAMS (1956-1958) – The second Follies was held as a fund raising project. The League helped to administer vaccines such as Salk and TB. The League participated in the “Disaster Plan” working with local doctors and professionals should a disaster strike.

BEBE BISHOP (1958-1959) – The League began an Education Committee to help raise funds for local liabraries.



BETTY DEBEHNKE (1959-1960) – The League helped organize the Retarded Children’s Clinic and help the Wilson McKewen Treatment center for new equipment.

HILDA MITCHELL (1960-1962) – The League helped the Lions club sell Rodeo tickets. A League brought the National Children’s Theatre Guild to Lufkin to present three plays to children and were broadcast on KTRE-TV.

BETH DENMAN (1962-1964) – The League began conducting puppet shows to school children.

ANN SHANDS (1964-1966) – The League began to organize a Youth Center for high school students.

VIRGINIA WINSTON (1967-1968) – The League sent a therapist from the Treatment center to Dallas to attend a Dyslexia program. The League helped provide dental and orthodontic care and hearing tests to needy children.



JAN METTEAUER (1968-1970) – The League donated money to help purchase playground equipment for the Ellen Trout Zoo. The third Follies was held and all proceeds were donated to the Kurth Memorial Library.

FLORA O’QUINN (1970-1971) – The League started an information booth at Memorial Hospital.

VELMA REESE (1971-1972) – The League voted to undertake the project of rebuilding the partially burned St. Cyprian’s Church which is now the Museum of East Texas.

MARY GIBBS (1972-1973) – A lease was signed for the St. Cyprian’s building between the city and the League.

EMILY SHELTON (1973-1974) – The League helped staffed the office of the newly opened Family Planning clinic. Renovations of the Museum (partially burned St. Cyprian’s Church) began with much assistance from Rufus Duncan.

PAT BERRY (1974-1975) – The Board of Directors for the Museum of East Texas was established and the League gave monies for operating expenses. The fourth Follies was held as a fund raising project and was donated to the Museum.

NANCY MOORE (1975-1976) – The first exhibit was opened at the Museum called “Before There Was A Lufkin”.

JAN MOORE (1976-1977) – The first Charity Ball was held for the benefit of the Museum.

JANICE ANN ROWE (1977-1978) – A director for the Museum was hired and the League continued to staff the museum.

BARBARA POLK (1978-1979) – The League began the Art Enrichment program for sixth grade students. The League also began working with the Juvenile Probation Department in Lufkin.



ANN WOODS (1979-1980) – The Artist-in-Residence program began from a grant with the Texas Commission on the Arts and Humanities to work with sixth graders. This grant also helped to sponsor the Houston Symphony in performance for fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh grade students.

MARTHA CHANDLER (1980-1981) – The League helped start the Palmer Drug Abuse program in Lufkin.

SHERRY ROPER (1981-1982) – The League contributed a large sum of money to the newly planned Exposition Center in Lufkin.

CLARICE WHITEKER (1982-1983) – The League donated a “Life Line” machine to Memorial Hospital. The League’s Visual Screening committee screened a record of 6,550 students in sixteen area schools.

BARBRA WOOD (1983-1984) – The League began the Children’s Area of the Folklife Festival in October. Lufkin was officially proclaimed “The Christmas City” and the League was selected to decorate the Civic Center.

LADDIE WILLIAMS (1984-1985) – The Museum officially changed its name to the “Museum of East Texas”. The first and only cookbook of the League was published called “According to Taste”. The League began educating school children on the effects of alcohol and drug abuse.

MARY LEAH DURAN (1985-1986) – In 1985, the League’s cookbook “According to Taste” was unveiled in conjunction with the Musuem’s exhibit “Someone’s in the Kitchen”. The League took part in the Texas Forest Festival by organizing children’s activities.

LLEWELLYN FRAZIER (1986-1987) – The League began “Operation Graduation” for high school graduates.

SUSAN MATHIS (1987-1988) – The League expanded the “Operation Graduation” to “Operation Celebration”, the first all night drug and alcohol free party for seniors.

JOANN ROQUEMORE (1988-1989) – The League helped build the new cat exhibit at the Zoo.



AN SWEENY (1989-1990) – The hard work of all League members enabled many organizations in the community receive over $71,000.00.

VICKIE EVANS (1990-1991) – Sustainers and League both worked together when the eye testing committee had more work than workers for children in the community.

MARY JANE WEST (1991-1992) – The League spent over 5,300 hours helping many organizations in the community.

TERRI ZELESKEY (1992-1993) – The League began their research to become affiliated with Association of Junior League International, Inc. www.ajli.org

BARBARA FERGUSON (1993-1994) – The League received an award from the Angelina County Drug Education program for 10 years of continuous service in Angelina County. This year also marked the 40th year for Lufkin Service League. A Tribute Fund was established. This fund was established in honor of or in memory of any individual. The fund is to serve as a fundraiser for the League with the proceeds being spent on League projects.

SALLY CAIN (1994-1995) – The League published their first brochure highlighting their projects.

DORAN GIPSON (1995-1996) – The Lufkin Service League was officially affiliated with the Association of Junior League International and became known as “The Junior League of Lufkin”.

LYNELL STOVER (1996-1997) – Lynell Stover became the first President for the Junior League of Lufkin and a new logo was designed. The League began Camp-Get-Fit to teach components of a healthy lifestyle – food and fitness for children.

EMILY WATTS (1997-1998) – The League hosted a reception honoring the First Lady of Texas, Laura Bush. The “All Aboard School Supply Train” was started to help community children with school supplies. This project still continues today known as “Back to School Bonanza”.

LYNNE HANEY (1998-1999) – A new endowment fund called “Celebration 75” was formed in hopes that the League’s 75th anniversary will provide much needed funds for the future.



DANA SMITHHART (1999-2000) – The League brought a nationally acclaimed child safety expert, Mr. Kenneth Wooden of Child Lures, to Lufkin. This was a community-wide seminar focusing on safety of children. A “Done in a Day” project was held to collect 2,000 canned foods and all 2,000 were donated to the Salvation Army.

MARY KING (2000-2001) – The League was able to secure a grant from Brookshire Brothers/Conoco to bring Dr. William Purkey to speak to educators in the community.

BRIGETTEE HENDERSON (2001-2002) – This began with one of the most tragic events in history, September 11th. The Junior League of Lufkin raised money to be sent to the Junior League of New York and the Junior League of Brooklyn to help fund their disaster relief fund to benefit the victims of the 911 terrorists attacks.

KELLEY MOORE (2002-2003) – The League held a “celebration of volunteerism” and brought in a nationally recognized speaker, Emory Austin. This event also honored the 10th anniversary of the Jan Moore Memorial luncheon, a former President of the League who died of breast cancer.

LISA GRIFFIN (2003-2004) – This was the year that marked the League’s 50th anniversary and was celebrated with an exhibit at the Museum of East Texas “The League: 50 Years of Remarkable Women”. This also marked the year for a new project for the League “The X-Change Place”. The League helped established this organization for a safe place for children of divorced parents for supervised visitation.

JENNIFER CUMBIE (2004-2005) – This was a year of restructuring the League. The League’s new “Council” system was structured to empower women in leadership positions while creating a smaller board to govern and guide to the future. A 3 year strategic plan was also developed to help guide the league to obtain it goals. A new fundraiser was opened in 2005 called “The Spring Market” where the community could come and shop for fabulous finds.

ANITA CARAWAY (2005-2006) – The League began the year with challenges and service opportunities as Angelina County worked the aftermath of Hurricane’s Katrina and Rita. From housing to evacuees to gathering much needed supplies for shelters, League members were helping our community.

KIM KASSAW (2006-2007) – The League developed a “Thank you” card that was sent out at Thanksgiving to donors and supporters. The community saw an increase of PR through the Lufkin Daily News, and the implementation of a new JLL design and logo on all JLL communications.

MARY MOORE (2007-2008) – The League implemented “Done in a Meeting” projects, which focused on a need and completed it in a meeting. The League added a new AJLI focus, Kids in the Kitchen, to our Camp-Get-Fit program. JLL finances were streamlined and an evaluation system was put into place for JLL fundraisers. The League voted to sell our newest asset – the old Planned Parenthood building.

SHELLY SLATON (2008-2009) – The League implemented a “Helping Hands Annual Campaign” uniting all our fundraisers for the first time. This campaign raised in excess of $40,000 in its first year. The League retired several projects and implemented new and exciting volunteer opportunities through a “Family Fun Night Program” partnering with LISD, Done in a Day Projects, extending Camp Get Fit/Kids in the Kitchen, and volunteering with Child Protective Services. We held our first ever Open House and the Mayor declared May 21, 2009 as “Junior League of Lufkin Day.” The League delegated over $75,000 to our community.


CINDY TIERNEY (2009-2010) – During 2009-2010, the first Family Night was held at Herty Primary. The League was faced with a tough decision regarding the Lufkin Service League Building. When presented with options, the League voted to take it off the market and recruit a charitable organization to occupy the building. Because of the great success of Charity Ball and Spring Market, the dollar amount for grants and scholarships was increased. In total, the Junior League of Lufkin gave amost $80,000 back to the community (through grants, scholarships, projects, etc.)

ALLYSON LANGSTON (2010-2011) – The League was blessed with the sale of the Lufkin Service League Building in November 2010. The JLL received a closing check for $98,925, which was invested. A new, updated website was introduced over the summer. Nine positions were removed from council in order to get more volunteers out in the community. A new provisional proposal process was implemented, requiring only one sponsor per proposed candidate and allowing each active member to sponsor up to three provisionals. Annual dues were increased. AJLI President Delly Beekman visited JLL for three days in early March, introducing our League to the Strategic Roadmap plan. Spring Market was the most successful yet, and funds raised from that, as well as Helping Hands and Charity Ball, enabled us to give back to our community.

JENNIFER WEBSTER (2011-2012) – The League hosted its first annual Back to School Bonanza in the summer of 2011, which is set to become our Signature Project. This event served more than 1,300 children. The League also hosted its final Charity Ball on December 31, 2011 and then said goodbye to the 36-year tradition. The League started a new fundraiser and got in on the healthy living kick with the Sprint into Spring Fun Run. The Fun Run was an enormous success with more than 150 runners and will be tweaked and duplicated in the years to come. As a result of this successful year, the League was able to give almost $82,000 back to the community.

MARCY WEIBE (2012-2013) The League hosted its second annual Back to School Bonanza, which serviced 1800 kids in August 2012. The League also continued to develop and grow its Helping Hands Annual Campaign with the addition of the 2013 Campaign – $20.13 can buy and stuff one backpack for an area student. The Sprint into Spring Fun Run grew to more than 200 runners, Spring Market was held in the newly renovated Civic Center, and the Big Raffle was a great success in its first year to stand alone. Because of the hard work and dedication of its members, the League was able to give a little over $80,000 back to the community.

EMILY PARKS (2013-2014) The League serviced 2,000 children at its third annual Back to School Bonanza in August of 2013. The JLL website was revamped to make it more user friendly for members and others interested in JLL. Jll also went paperless! Placement Packets, surveys, and questionnaires were all completed online. The Helping Hands Sponsorship levels were updated and an In-Kind Sponsorship category was added. Sprint Into Spring Fun Run hosted the first JLL Past Presidents walk/run. Through the efforts of the Fun Run, Spring Market, Big Raffle, and Helping Hands, JLL was able to give 5 scholarships, 10 grants and support its own Community Projects.