The Portage County Retired Teachers Association was organized September 15, 1966, at the Kent State University Meadowview Clubhouse. Most of the early meetings were luncheons alternating between Twin Lakes Country Club ($3.00 including tax and tip) and the Tallmadge Buffet ($2.50 including tax).
Programs were planned to make more understandable the problems educators faced as retirees – dealing with Medicare, National Retired Teachers Association insurance plans and state pensions.
In 1974, the Portage County Chapter RTA began meeting at the Kent Methodist Church and later moved to a church in Rootstown. A reason for moving was that the meetings ran too long. Meetings have always been luncheons on the third Thursday for five months of the year. The sixth meeting was added in 1991. Dues were raised from $1.00 to $2.00 in 1974, and the secretary-treasurer office was separated.
Through the years travelogue programs were presented as were musicals and talks on many interesting topics. Legislative concerns of retired teachers have always been included as topics of interest.
Changes that affected retired educators included:
- 1971 First cost of living adjustment
- 1974 Health care benefits added
- 1980 Supplemental check initiated (13th check)
- 1981 prescription drug options added
- 1994 health care benefits raised to $1,250,000 – maximum
As a chapter the retired educators also became involved in a variety of community projects including drivers for Mobile Meals, tutoring in schools and in depressed neighborhoods, gathering books and magazines for shut-ins and nursing homes, gathering teddy bears for the local police department to use, gathering toys for needy children, soliciting telephone pledges for educational television stations, and gathering small gifts for nursing home residents.
The Portage County Chapter R T A is frequently recognized for its voluminous newsletter that is mailed four times a year. Besides the meeting reservations sheet it usually includes eighteen to twenty pages of information on the president, interesting stories by Ralph Moore, warnings about the latest scams, a “Getting to Know Our Members” section, with lifetime stories about three or four members, a memorial section about the chapter’s deceased members and occasional humorous stories and recipes. The newsletter was initiated by Gene Newton and Pauline Weckerly in 1991 with Ralph Moore serving as editor. In 1993, Winona Vannoy began serving as editor.
The 1990s saw the adoption of a new constitution and by-laws. These revisions more clearly addressed associate membership and honorary membership. The dues were raised ITom $3.00 to $5.00, and several standing committees were added. The Portage County Chapter was honored by Ohio Retired Teachers Association for having the largest membership growth in the state in 1990. Pauline Weckerly accepted the brass school bell on behalf of the Portage County Chapter RTA.
In 1991 life membership was offered for $70.00 and associate dues were established at $3.00. Charter life membership was continued through 1993 with 93 members taking out life membership. In March 1993, meetings began to be held in the Kent VFW Hall with meals provided for $5.00. A sixth annual meeting was added in December combining a Christmas party with new officer installation.
Portage County Chapter RTA Officers: Beverly Beuck, Recording Secretary; RayTroxell,President; Saroj Sutaria, Membership Chrnn; Winona Vannoy, 2nd Vice President and District XI Director; Grace Manfrass, Trea; Edith Scott, Corresp. Sec. and Portage County Trustee.
Winona Vannoy was the first Portage County Chapter RTA member to be elected (1995) to serve as the District XI Director. She completed Robert Jackson’s two year term and was then elected to serve a. two year term in 19961997. In 1995, Portage County Chapter RTA membership grew from 245 members to 308 members, qualifYing the chapter to sponsor a trustee for the first time. Ms. Edith Scott was elected to serve as the first Portage County trustee for the 1996-97 term. Portage County Chapter R T A has continued to strive toward the American Association of Retired Persons goals:
to enhance the quality of life for older persons
to promote independence, dignity and purpose for older persons
to lead in determining the role and place of older persons in society
to improve the image of aging
This information was taken from the book A Fifty Year Review of the Ohio Retired Teachers Association; 1947-1997, pp. 285-288. The book was compiled by Frances M. Sites, ORTA Historian, and published in December, 1996.
PCRTA – LOOKING BACK by Dave Gynn
The Portage County Retired Teachers Association was organized 50 years ago, on September 15, 1966, at the KSU Meadowview Clubhouse. There were 57 members paying $1.00 dues. Luncheon meetings alternated between Twin Lakes Country Club ($3.00) and the Tallmadge Buffet ($2.50 including tax).
Early programs were planned to make more understandable the problems educators faced as retirees – dealing with Medicare, National Retired Teachers Association, legislative concerns, insurance plans and state pensions. Pre-1955 retirees were receiving an average monthly pension of $153.00.
We have come a long way in 50 years, and we plan to celebrate our anniversary all year. Our programs will focus on the history of education in Portage County, and we will look forward to the future in education. There will be many opportunities for members to engage in the celebration – watch for details in the Desktop newsletter or on our website (www.pcrta.net).