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Beta Sigma Phi
in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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Founding of BSP in Ottawa

Ottawa BSP


Being "between jobs" is nothing new. In 1937, a young teacher read an Ottawa newspaper ad: 'wanted, intelligent young girl, must know Ottawa well, and be interested in meeting people'.

Verna (Munro) Nicholls answered that ad, met a representative from the International office, and in that year 25 women founded the first chapter of Beta Sigma Phi in Ottawa. The following are her comments:

"Groups of 15-25 members meet together as a Chapter, and then are represented at a co-ordinating body known as City Council." She had fond memories of a sleigh drive party where she met her future husband.

"In those days we made good use of our 'long dresses' at Sorority special functions. There is a record of Zeta Chapter holding a Dinner Dance in a private room in a large hotel when a 4-piece orchestra cost us $18.00. How times change!"

"We remember when there was an exchange of letters with Birthstone Chapters -- 2 from which we heard were Alpha Chapter, Sacramento, California and one in Council Bluff, Iowa."

"Cultural Activities and service work kept us busy and together over the years. Long lasting friendships are truly treasured."

We were sorry to lose Verna in January 1998. She is missed.

Joyce's Story


Joyce Shearer, 1996

"Beta Sigma Phi in Ottawa goes back to 1937 when Zeta Chapter was formed with 25 members. I have been fortunate in being active in Ottawa since the beginning -- taking time out between 1956 and 1964 to be an Advisor and a regular member in Montreal-Lakeshore." 

"There are very few activities in which I have not been privileged to be a part - Conventions, Building Fund Committee, Member Advisor, various assistance programs during the War and with the Canadian Legion; selling football programs, Grey Cup activities, even acting as Rehearsal Chairman for a semi-professional show, while being very pregnant. I have been City Council President, and Parliamentarian."

"One special highlight was being one of three forming a Committee prior to and during 1967 when over $6000.00 was realized from Canadian Chapters to present a Centennial Book Collection on the Arts to the National Library."

"I feel that our Motto, "Life, Learning, and Friendship", says it all - and, perhaps, in today's flexible society, friendship is the most important."

Joyce passed away in October, 2011. She is missed. Obituary

Founding of Beta Sigma Phi in Abilene, Kansas

"In 1931, I was two years out of high school and working for the United Telephone Company six days a week," wrote Helen Klover Pepper, a charter member of Alpha chapter of Beta Sigma Phi in Abilene, Kansas, where our sorority story began. "I lived with my parents and three sisters: Alice, a charter member of Alpha; GeBe, who joined Beta Sigma Phi in Wichita; and Avis, who also joined Alpha."

"Abilene, Kansas was a town of between 5,000 and 7,000, then and now. My sisters and I lived by the rules outlined by our parents who patterned our lives. We lived without resentment, fear or many temptations. There was music in our home. Alice played the piano and we sang a a lot, no matter what we were doing. My sisters and I had a happy 'growing up time'."

"I sang in the church choir, and taught Sunday School. I attended an occasional movie, hiked to the country, enjoyed being with friends, but still had time tohelp wash dishes, make beds and do yard work. I also helped prepare fruits for canning, and made jams and jellies. We walked to town and the movies, not because of cholesterol, but because my dad used the car for his work. Our entertainment was simple and was often a lunch or dinner in the home. I hemmed a tea towel at a bridal shower!"

"In May, 1931, another girl and I were sent across the street from the phone company to the new Sunflower Hotel because we had 'nice telephone voices'. We were to help with the switchboard and desk. That's how and where I met Walter Ross, our founder; and ultimately, why I joined Beta Sigma Phi."

"Now almost 64 years later, I am still active, liking everything about belonging and proud to be a charter member of Beta Sigma Phi."


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