Civitan Club of Simsbury Celebrates 60 Years of Service

For 60 years the Civitan Club of Simsbury and the Farmington Valley has been giving back to local communities and beyond. 

Members celebrated this milestone late last week with a special anniversary dinner at the 1820 House/Metro Bis Restaurant. It was on that very property in a carriage house now located down the street that the group held one of its first meetings in December of 1953.  

The celebration included stories, guest speakers, a proclamation from the First Selectman Mary Glassman, a General Assembly citation and more. 

The organization has made many contributions in town over the years with numerous projects, include the building of a bridge on a walking patch behind the library and a gazebo and the Dr. Owen L. Murphy Apartments/Virginia Connolly Residence campus. 

In addition to helping the community, it's also about camaraderie, said John Wiles, a long-time member. 

"Those are the good times," he said after telling some stories at the dinner. 

The club has also been well represented on a regional, national and even international basis with the parent Civitan organization.

Long-time member Marge Diachenko, for example, has been New England governor twice and served as International Director for two years. 
"It's been a wonderful organization," she said. 

Internationally Civitan does much worked with the developmentally disabled and locally the club has supported Special Olympics and many other efforts. 

Civitan is famous for selling Claxton Fruit Cakes. While it was the subject of a few jokes at the celebration and they are still sold, Robert D Wolff, a member since the late 1950s, said he misses the days of peddling them door to door. 

"It kept us in contact with the general populous of town," he said. 

Civitan also supports the Junior Civitan Club at Simsbury High School and Boy Scout Troop 174. Part of that effort includes annual scholarships. Adult advisors to both groups thanked the club at the event. 

Others also touted the club's work. 

"This club has served the country well," New England District Civitan Governor Daniel M. Boulais said. "I hope that this club will continue to serve the community, grow in number and be vibrant." 

Club members acknowledged that they could use a little help with numbers. Treasurer Dane Woodberry said there are currently 17 active members. 

Anyone who may be interested in joining can contact vice president Mary Turner at (860) 658-7794 or tolturner@comcast.net. 



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