The Ferndale/Linthicum Seniors Club threw itself a birthday party Thursday and honored the woman who gave it life: founder Ethel Schmidt.
More than 60 members and associate members attended the club's 19th birthday bash, held at the Ferndale-Linthicum Senior Center. They were entertained by Ben Romeo, who played some old favorites on the piano.
After the blessing, everyone was served a buffet lunch prepared by President Melva Scott and her husband, Pete.
But the highlight of the afternoon came when Schmidt, seated at the head table, was presented with a photographic portrait of herself that will be on permanent display in the clubhouse.
The presentation was made by Lee Payne, vice president-elect, in recognition of Schmidt's efforts to establish the club and years of dedication.
Schmidt was visibly surprised and thanked the club for this special way of honoring her.
"I am very happy to receive this, and I love working with everyone here,"Schmidt said.
Schmidt started the Ferndale/Linthicum Seniors in the fall of 1972 and served as president for 13 years until she stepped down to vice president, the office she now holds.
When asked whyshe began the senior citizens club, Schmidt said, "After attending aseniors meeting in Linthicum, I felt it would be nice to have one inFerndale."
She spoke to the Rev. Raymond Crowe, minister of the Ferndale United Methodist Church at the time, and with the permission of the church board, she and 10 members met twice a month in the education building.
They met there until about seven years ago, when they moved to the senior center on Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard.
Schmidt has been active in community events since moving here from Baltimore 68 years ago.
She and George Cromwell, a local landowner, were instrumental in getting the community its own elementary school in 1925.
She is very involved in the Ferndale United Methodist Church, and remembers when they met in each other's homes before buildingthe church. For many years, she taught Sunday School and can recall the names of many of the children.
In her 94 years, Schmidt has watched Ferndale grow and prosper, and many in the community give her credit for making things happen.