Lois Club celebrates 20th anniversary

SPICER -- In a room full of women named Lois, about the only name you won't hear uttered is Lois. Instead, it's: "Pass the coffee, Peterson." "Runge, how was your trip to India?" or "Rouser, how are the grandchildren?" It's only the uninformed wh...

SPICER -- In a room full of women named Lois, about the only name you won't hear uttered is Lois.

Instead, it's: "Pass the coffee, Peterson." "Runge, how was your trip to India?" or "Rouser, how are the grandchildren?"

It's only the uninformed who start a conversation with, "Hi, Lois" only to have every head in the room turn to look.

Since 1987, on the fifth Tuesday of any given month, area women who share the name of Lois have been getting together to share a meal and some laughs.

"I think we should be called the laugh-a-lot players," said Lois View, of Lake Lillian, a charter member of the local Lois Club. There's "never a dull moment" during the get-togethers, she said. "It's just happiness."


On Tuesday, the Lois Club celebrated 20 years of happiness during lunch at Little Melvin's in Spicer.

"I can't believe it's been 20 years," said Lois Dittes, of Willmar, another charter member of the Lois Club, who said she went to that very first meeting in Willmar because "it just sounded interesting."

"It's just a lot of fun. It's unique," said Lois Rouser, of Atwater, one of the Lois Club's five remaining original members who attended the anniversary celebration.

At the first meeting in March of 1987, 15 Loises responded to the notice in the newspaper to come to the Perkins Restaurant to meet other women named Lois.

View said she was "home and bored on the farm" with only a part-time job and children out of the house when she read the invitation in the newspaper. She's hardly missed a meeting since.

"I just thought, this is going to be fun and I'll meet a lot of people," said Lois Yarmon, of Willmar, who was also one of the original members of the group.

Lois Clubs aren't unusual, with about 60 clubs organized throughout the United States. Other countries, such as Wales where Lois is still a popular name, also have Lois Clubs.

During its peak, the local Lois Club had about 22 members. There are currently about 16 members on the roster, with a dozen active members in the local group.


Some of the Loises, including the club organizer Lois Dahlen, have died in recent years.

The women have gently recruited other Loises to join but lament that it's getting harder to find younger members because parents aren't naming their baby girls Lois anymore.

"Way back when I was younger, it used to be a popular name," said Dittes. She said it was one of the top 50 names when she was growing up. "Now it's like 200," she said with a laugh.

Actually, it's not quite that bad.

Lois, which peaked in popularity in the 1920s and 30s, is still listed as the 91st most popular American girl's name, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, with 280,500 Loises reportedly living in the United States.

However, at least one blog on popular names claims Lois has fallen from the list of the top 1,000 favorite baby names in the U.S.

"It's not a common name anymore," said Lois Linn, of Willmar, who's been a member for three years.

As an incentive for a renewal of the name, the women are quick to point out that Lois is mentioned in the Bible -- grandmother to Timothy -- and means superior and desirable.


Lois Hurley, of Willmar, is one of the five remaining original members of the local Lois Club.

Hurley said she likes to come to the meetings because it's given her the opportunity to meet people she otherwise would not have. "We got to meet new people from different places who were at different places in their lives," she said.

The women range in age from 59 to 85.

The group includes homemakers, bookkeepers, a nurse with a doctorate degree, a former school librarian who has traveled around the world, a former post-mistress with 30 years of experience, a former school bus driver, X-ray technician and newspaper woman.

"Some of us are retired, some are semi-retired and some of us are just tired," said Lois Maroschek, of Belgrade, with a hearty laugh.

Without the Lois Club, Lois Runge, of Rice Lake, said she would not have met any of the women she now calls friends. "We all have the same name, but we all have different lives," said Runge. "It's just a fun group. It lightens your mood."

At the Lois Club there are no dues and no formal motions, votes or minutes taken, read or approved. The club's motto is "always have a good laugh," said Hurley.

Despite the informality, the club has five scrapbooks that contain tidbits of information about past meetings, pictures of Halloween get-togethers, newspaper clippings from celebrities named Lois and, more recently, obituaries from some of their Lois Club members.


After catching up with news about trips and grandchildren on Tuesday, the members had a light-hearted auction of knick-knacks to raise money to send flowers to members if they get ill, or for memorials for funerals.

While many items went for 50 cents or a dollar, any coffee cup or button with the name "Lois" on it took top dollar.

Carolyn Lange is a features writer at the West Central Tribune. She can be reached at or 320-894-9750
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