Declining membership brings end to Dinner Club

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Cape Girardeau Dinner Club, formerly known as the Executives Club in the 1950s, held its final meeting last night after 54 years. The club disbanded due to lack of membership and finances.

The club's dwindling membership was evident as just more than 50 members attended the dinner at Drury Lodge. The entertainment was speaker David Fiedler, who lectured on POWs in Missouri during World War II.

Club secretary Judith Anne Lang said membership has diminished in the past four years from 130 members to just 80. Without the dues from a sufficient amount of members, the club could not afford the speakers for each meeting.

"It's a shame, but a lot of clubs in the area are losing membership," said Lang.

"People today just don't belong to as many organizations," said John Jansse, who has been a member for 15 years and once served as the club's president.

But recruiting members for the club, which met five times a year, was not always a concern. In fact, the club was once popular and exclusive.

Gentlemen only

When it originated in 1951, it was known as the Executive Club and was strictly a gentlemen's club. Women were only allowed to join if their husbands belonged.

"Anybody who was anybody in Cape Girardeau was invited," Lang said of the club's beginnings. "The first year's register were people whose names are now on buildings."But as membership decreased, the club extended invitations to anyone in the community to join, and the name was changed to Cape Girardeau Dinner Club.

"I'm sorry it's ending. It was a nice night out, a nice way to socialize," said Norma Blattner, club board member.

335-6611, extension 127

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