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50 years of debutantes reunite for Hinsdale Assembly anniversary

Published: Friday, Oct. 11, 2013 9:27 a.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:58 p.m. CST
Caption
Linda Meher (left) of California and Purdie Meissner of Florida, both debutantes from the class of 1963, look through photographs during the 50th anniversary Hinsdale Assembly lunch Oct. 3 at Hinsdale Golf Club. (Erica Benson - ebenson@shawmedia.com)

HINSDALE – They now may be scattered all over the United States, but for at least one day, more than 100 members of the Hinsdale Assembly across its 50 year history gathered together in the town they loved and supported for so long.

“No matter how far I go or how long I’ve been gone this will always be home,” said Judith Coleman, debutante from the class of 1985.

Coleman was on hand for the Hinsdale Assembly’s 50th anniversary debutante lunch Oct. 3 at the Hinsdale Golf Club. Coleman, along with about 130 other debutantes spanning the 50-year history, were coming together for what was more like a high school reunion as they exchanged stories, shared laughs and caught up with friends some hadn’t seen for 20 years.

“We just pick up the conversation where we left off,” said Linda Wagner, debutante from the original class of 1963.

Wagner was one of eight original debutantes who was in attendance. One of the originals joining her was Constance Manzer who made the trip for the reunion all the way from Arkansas where she currently lives.

“I’m really excited because I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it,” Manzer said. “I’m really excited to see what girls are coming back.”

Marcia Nolan, class of 1963, said there’s a constant bond between all those who have been debutantes despite whatever distance might separate them now.

“We are very close, all of us,” Nolan said. “We’re hundreds that see each other and really care about each other.”

That caring was clear as debutantes, even generations apart, hugged and shared a youthful energy present throughout the lobby of Hinsdale Golf Club. But the event wasn’t just to catch up with old friends.

Over the past 50 years, the Hinsdale Assembly has donated more than $2 million to Adventist Hinsdale Hospital. Starting this year, the organization will embark on a 10-year, $1 million pledge to the Adventist Cancer Institute that was recently approved for construction by the Hinsdale Village Board of Trustees.

“In the spring of 2015, a new 54,000 square foot cancer center will open its doors on Ogden Avenue near 294,” said Chairman Mary Buddig. “What will set our cancer center above others is the focus on the patient experience.”

Construction for that cancer center is set to begin in the fall and be open in 2015. To help support that process and begin the pledge of $1 million, the Hinsdale Assembly presented a check to Adventist Hinsdale Hospital for $265,000 at the luncheon.

“We feel this new state of the art building will be a wonderful addition to our already beautiful hospital in the community,” Buddig said.

The next major event for the Hinsdale Assembly will take place Dec. 23 for the 50th anniversary Presentation Ball.

If it’s anything like the luncheon, Buddig will once again be pleasantly surprised.

“You’re not really sure when you start planning what the vision is going to be or what the turnout is going to be, but I think all the women are pretty excited and it’s kind of a major reunion for all of them,” she said.

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