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Phi Sigma Chi alumnae share memories

By Staff | Aug 28, 2015

Purple napkins, white table linens, and lavender and white carpeting greeted Shepherd College Phi Sigma Chi alumnae upon their arrival at the Purple Iris , Martinsburg. The significance of the colors was not lost upon the women who came together several weeks ago to celebrate their college years and their continuing friendships , for purple was the color and violet the flower which became so much a part of their lives.

Phi Sigma Chi was one of four “local” fraternal organizations which were parts of the college campus during the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. Beginning as Phi Chi, the sorority became Phi Sigma Chi, then Sigma Sigma Sigma, a “national”, and then returned to Phi Sigma Chi until 1960 when it again joined the Tri Sigma and remains that sorority today.

During those early years the women meet in the Little House, the small cottage which today sits along High Street beside Snyder Hall. Stories about those early times include a ghost and a despondent cat. This alumnae group has recently taken a role in stabilizing and upgrading this small retreat and its wrought iron railing.

Bursts of laughter turned attention to various tables during the afternoon as memories and foods were shared. A ghost story retold, an initiation paddle lost, traffic stopped on a city street as part of a sorority slumber party….the women surprised themselves with some of their early antics.

The group becomes smaller as time takes its toll on the members. The oldest attendee, Dorothy Eye, was presented purple violets by the group. Folks came from West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia to enjoy the festivities.

For many years Betty Lowe, Shepherdstown, has led the group. Historian that she is, she shared information from the group’s past and the Little House. Barbara Nickell presented an hilarious reading about that ghost. Betty was the recipient of a beautiful floral arrangement.

In memory of members who died during the year, a collection was taken to purchase books to honor Joan Moler, Jane Miller, Edna Snyder, and Mary Farmer. These donation were presented to the Shepherd University library.

Through the years luncheon sites have moved among Shepherdsstown, Charles Town, and Martinsburg. A committee of Martinsburg alumnae accepted the responsibiities for 2015 and was praised for a well-organized event. Guests representing Shepherd University were Monica Lingamfelter and Susan Brennan, a school photographer who caught the group on camera.

Those attending included: Clarissa Stemple, Emily Miller, Barbara Nickell, Mary Ann Morgan, Linda Carter, Nancy Grove, Reva Hoffman, Gloria Biddle, Diane Steece, Peggy Booth, Nancy Smith, Barbara Miller, Joan Roach, Jane Downey, Dorothy Eye, Biddie Smoot, Eleanor Ann Shirley, Althea Miller, Betty Lowe, and Becky Shaffer.