Twelve Original Pearls-In-Memoriam
The selection of Thirteen Original Pearls of Gamma Phi Delta was finalized June, 1953 by the National Organization. These were women who made outstanding contributions to the Organization in the formation period and in the expansion process. These women shall always remain as the "Thirteen Original Pearls". The following members were so honored: Sorors Elizabeth Garner, Violet T. Lewis, Annie Blakemore, Lula Garner, Geraldine Harrison Perkins, Robelye Trumbo Dungey, Mattie Wills, Jean Myers, Odell Glover, Ivalue Lennear, Eurine Harrison, Beatrice Preston and Ruby Tipton.
Twelve of the thirteen are "Pearls-In-Memoriam."
Soror Elizabeth Garner
Soror Beatrice Preston
Soror Violet T. Lewis
Soror Annie Blakemore
Soror Odell Glover
Soror Lula Garner Waller
Soror Ivalue Lennear
Soror Geraldine Harrison Perkins
Soror Eurine Harrison
Soror Robelye Trumbo Dungey
Soror Mattie Willis
December 25, 1917 - March 15, 2014
Soror Mattie Willis was an Original Founding Pearl of Gamma Phi Delta Sorority, Inc. in February, 1943, Alpha Chapter at Lewis College of Business, Detroit Michigan. She was a dedicated supporter putting her financial and secretarial skills to work managing national and chapter goals. Soror Willis was a founding member of Theta Chapter serving our organization with dignity and participating in the growth and development of this great organization until her health challenges restricted her. Soror Willis was the Supreme Tamias (formerly called the Supreme Epistaleus) from 1948-1952. She submitted a recommendation to National on August 6, 1950, requesting that the symbolic flower of Gamma Phi Delta Sorority, Inc. be changed from a pink carnation to a pink rose – it was adopted nationally. She became Gamma Phi Delta Soror of the Year in February 1971. On May 22, 1993, she received the Northern Region Founding Pearl Pioneering Leadership award. In August 1994, she received two Rose Recognition Charms for “Women Making a Difference” for Gamma Phi Delta Sorority’s 50th Anniversary. Soror Willis was a Heritage Hall Tile Member and a Life Member. She was appointed the National Headquarters Resident Agent on February 21, 1998 and served until September 1, 2005. In July 26, 2000 she was honored with the Rose Pin Award, for outstanding service to the sorority and community, and the Gamma Phi Delta Extra Mile Service Award Trophy. Soror Willis was appointed Property Trustee in February 2001 and served to September 2007 when she requested a leave of absence. Soror Willis worked hard as a member of Theta Chapter. As of June 2005, she was the only remaining original member in that chapter. Soror Willis will be missed for her commitment and dedication to her beloved sorority.
Soror Jean Audrey McGruder Myers
November 20, 1923 - Sunday July 10, 2011
Soror Jean McGruder Myers was an Original Founding Pearl of Gamma Phi Delta Sorority, Inc. in February, 1943, Delta Kappa Chapter, Las Vegas, Nevada. The following are excerpts for “A Pearl’s Farewell” Composed by Dr. Willie B. Kennedy written especially for Soror Myers. "For more than sixty-four years she helped move us along. Always insisting that we keep Gamma Phi Delta strong. Soror Myers was truly a Gamma Phi Delta champ, she taught us not to quit but always try. Soror Myers taught us to achieve the goals we set, that through trusting God our goals would be met, and to everything that Gamma Phi Delta set out to do, we must complete the task always seeing it through. We’ll remember how she brought us so much cheer. Her kind, sweet and gentile touch, will be missed by us all who loved her so much". Soror Myers devoted to her chapter and Gamma Phi Delta Sorority and over the years she held the positions; Supreme Second Anti-Basileus, Supreme Financial Grammateus and National Organizer. Soror Myers taught in schools in Indiana, California, and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. She traveled extensively with her husband. She attended Green Valley Presbyterian Church and Victory Black Mountain Church in Henderson and volunteered for Catholic Charities and Henderson's Senior Center.
Soror Robelye Trumbo Dungey
November 30, 1914, 1917 - January 10, 2010
Soror Robelye Trumbo Dungy was an Original Founding Pearl of Gamma Phi Delta Sorority, Inc. in February, 1943, Alpha Kappa Alpha Chapter in Detroit, Michigan. Soror Dungy, 95 passed away at Tuscany Hospice House on Saturday January 10, 2010. Soror Dungy was a retired school teacher in the Detroit Public Schools. She was a member of Gamma Phi Delta Sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Detroit, Michigan. Soror Dungy was also a member of the American Association of University, Chairman of the Hostess Committee for the March of Dimes serving for more than fifty years as a major fundraiser in Detroit and was awarded Emeritus status for the significant leadership role she demonstrated over many decades and a long time member of the Shores Baptist Worship Center. Soror Dungy will be remembered for her commitment and dedication to her beloved sorority.
Gamma Phi Delta Sorority established "Living Pearls" in 1976. Because of the need to maintain thirteen active Pearls in Gamma Phi Delta, it was adopted by the Boulé in session at Detroit, Michigan on July 29, 1976 to establish the "THIRTEEN LIVING PEARLS" by election. This group does not replace the "PEARLS" named by the Organization as previously mentioned. Those Pearls will always remain as established. Pearls, in both categories, upon demise, shall become "PEARLS-IN-MEMORIAM".
The following names were so honored: Luthermae E. Adams*, Mayme L. Irwin*, Evelyn S. Adams *, Catherine E. Bozeman*, Hilda Hammond*, Mamie Diggs*, Mary F. Myles* , Marjorie Anderson*, Mayme L. Irwin*, Patricia Lewis*, Margaret B. Little*, Vernece A. Gardner*, Jeanette Foreman*, Frankie Gadson White*, Nelis J. Saunders*, Sidney K. Hason*, Edmonia Lovett*, Dr. Willie B. Kenney*, Marinda Gaskins*,Kay Davis, Sarah Young, Bessye D. Long, Dr. Marjorie Harris Phyllis Ponders, France F. Jarrett, Patricia A. Daniels, Bertha Crossley, Rebecca H. Ford, Nan Harshaw, Pinkie W. Sanders and La Verne Wilson.
The following are the most recent Living Pearls-In-Memoriam
Soror Marinda H. Gaskins
Soror Marinda H. Gaskins was a member of Alpha Omicron Chapter, Washington, DC since 1961, where she held many positions and was the only remaining charter member. Soror Gaskins served as the Eastern Regional Director from 1995-1999. During her term as Regional Director Soror Gaskins was an absolute blessing, marked with many noteworthy accomplishments such as: the establishments of three new chapters in the Eastern Region (Virginia, New York and Maryland). After her tenure as regional director ended, she was considered one of the ‘mom’s’ in the establishment of Gamma XI an undergraduate chapter at Temple University. She implemented diverse youth-oriented programs and under her leadership the region developed programs in the community. She also interfaced with other agencies to promote Gamma Phi Delta Sorority, Inc. Throughout her many years she served in various capacities; chapter officers and liaison for Gamma Phi Delta with the National Council of Negro Women and the Washington Urban League, to name two. Additionally, Soror Gaskins represented Gamma Phi Delta Sorority on various local and national boards. She enjoyed traveling with sorors domestically and internationally; the trips to Africa and the Bahamas were her two favorites. In 2002, Soror Gaskins was elected as a “Living Pearl”, Gamma Phi Delta Sorority’s highest honor commemorating her years of dedication, great passion for membership recruitment and her commitment to community service throughout the years. Soror Gaskins was also a dedicated member of the Gamma Phi Delta Foundation, Inc., where she served as Scholarship Chairperson for many years. Soror Gaskins leaves a legacy of two daughters who are sorors – Supreme Anti-Grammateus Donna Harrell and Basileus Vanessa Harrison.
Soror Dr. Willie B. Kenney
Pearl In Memoriam
Soror Dr. Willie B. Kennedy was a member of Rho Chapter since 1966, where she held many positions and served as Basileus for many years. She served as the Far Western Regional Director from1973-1983. During her term as Regional Director Soror Kennedy was awarded the Rose Pin Award in 1981 for her outstanding works with the sorority and the community. From 1986-1992 Soror Kennedy served as Supreme Basileus. During her term she established the South Atlantic Region, awarded the 40 year pin designed by Soror Alva J. Young, the five-point program MEEPS, The Heritage Fund, and The Heritage Tiles, designed by Soror Dorothy Hill. The Basilei Council, two Undergraduate Chapters and a seat on the National Board for Undergraduate members was during her term. It was also during her term that The Ann McElwee Phi-Teen Perpetual Fund was established, revived The Administrative Board and the wearing of our colors, pink and blue gives us recognition that was long overdue. “Ribbons for Africa” was adopted at the 1986 Boulé as a National Project of Gamma Phi Delta Sorority, Inc. 2002 Soror Kennedy was elected as a “Living Pearl”, Gamma Phi Delta Sorority’s highest honor commemorating her years of dedication and great passion for membership recruitment and her comment to community service throughout the years. Soror Kennedy was true a poet She wrote the Gamma Phi Delta Sorority Founders Day Commemoration in 1974 and revised it in 2008, the Gamma Phi Delta Sorority Fiftieth Anniversary Tribute in 1994 and many other poems throughout her life time.
Soror Edmonia Lovett
Pearl In Memoriam
Soror Lovett Joined Alpha Omicron Chapter in 1972. As Basileus of the chapter she established the first scholarship in memory of deceased Sorors. Soror
worked on every level of the organization including Assistant Eastern Regional Director, Eastern Regional Director and Supreme 1st Anti-Basileus. A Soror
wrote on her behalf of her bid for the Rose Pin Award: "Gamma Phi Delta Sorority, Inc. has been the recipient of more than 20 years of your love and
service to its purposes, aims and goals."
Soror Frankie Mae Tarrance Gadson White
Pearl In Memoriam
Soror Frankie Mae Tarrance Gadson White was born on August 24, 1923 and died on February 19, 2009. Soror White was a member of Beta Alpha Chapter Detroit,
Michigan. She was an alumni of Lewis College of Business and one of the original chartered member of Gamma Phi Delta Sorority, Inc. that signed and filed
the Articles of Incorporation with the State of Michigan on July 9, 1943. She received her B.A. from Wayne State University and was employed by the U.S.
Army for 38 years as a Procurement Manager. She was very active with GPD until 2006 when she relocated to Georgia. She started in Alpha Chapter, Beta and
her final chapter was Beta Alpha. She held numerous positions and she was the Basileus of Beta Chapter and the First Anti in Beta Alpha. Soror White was
greatly involved in her church, Greater Grace Temple. Soror Frankie Tarrance Gadson White was involved in numerous organizations: Black United Fund, Life
Time Member of the NAACP, United Negro Fund Alumni, and Greater Queen Esther Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Stars, Queen Tyree #35.
Soror Dr. Nelis Saunders
Pearl In Memoriam
Soror Saunders was a Charter Member of Alpha Theta Chapter Detroit, Michigan
for 49 years where she served as Grammateus, Chaplain, Parliamentarian, Second Anti-Basileus, Historian on the Chapter level. On the Regional level she served as Director, Assistant Director/Organizer (organized 6 chapters in one year); Parliamentarian, Chaplin and Editor-in Chief. On the National level she served as Historian, Assistant National Organizer, National Organizer, and National Organizer-at-Large organizing 22 chapters during her tenure.
Soror Sidney K. Hason
Pearl In Memoriam
Soror Sidney Hason joined Alpha Iota Chapter, Oakland California in 1962.
she was a strong, proud, self-confident, organizer, revolutionary, family oriented, champion of "what is right" woman was certainly one who truly made a difference. Her contributions to the chapter, region and national were immeasurable. As Director of the Far Western Region Soror Hason identified issues that plagued the Organization, proceeded to correct them and made the Far Western Region a model to be emulated. Because of the improvements made under the governance of Soror Hason, the then Supreme Basileus Adams asked and received permission to use some of her operating principals at the national level. Soror Sidney Hason further distinguished herself by conceptualizing and formulating a Birthday Calendar that chronicled the history of Gamma Phi Delta Sorority, Inc. and produced funds for the youth programs.
"A Pearl’s Farewell"
Gamma Phi Delta’s vision was established by our Pearl’s
Who always held our Banner high and unfurled.
Thirty six Original and Living Pearls has answered God’s call,
Recently, Sorors Mattie Willis, Jean Myers, Dr. Willie B. Kennedy, Edmonia Lovett, Frankie Gadson White, Nelis Saunders, Sidney K. Hason and the others before them, Will be missed by us all.
For more than sixty-four years they helped move us along.
Although sometimes had to make us atone.
For the things we did were sometimes wrong,
Always insisting that we keep Gamma Phi Delta strong.
Sorors Willis, Myers, Kennedy, Lovett, White, Saunders, Hason and the others before them, Were truly Gamma Phi Delta champs,
They shone so brightly through our symbol, the lamp.
Where-ever they went they held our banner high,
They taught us not to quit but always try.
Clad in our colors of pink and blue,
They pledged that they would be forever true,
Which they did to the very end,
A Soror, a sister and a devoted friend.
Sorors Willis, Myers, Kennedy, Lovett, White, Saunders, Hason and the others before them, Taught us to achieve the goals we set,
That through trusting God our goals would be met,
And to everything that Gamma Phi Delta set out to do,
We must complete the task always seeing it through.
As we memorialize our sisters so dear,
We’ll remember how they brought us so much cheer.
Their kind, sweet and gentile touch,
Will be missed by us all who loved them so much.
Their work on earth is complete it’s done,
They finished their fight and their battle’s won.
Their legacy will live on through their years of love,
As they rests in God’s home above.
Composed by: The Late Dr. Willie B. Kennedy
Gamma Phi Delta Sorority, Inc.
For more information on Past Pearls please refer to this document
National Theme: 2016 – 2020
“The Power of Vision: Empowering Women and Inspiring Leaders”