In April 1965 an enthusiastic group of women met at the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce building to form sort of a “No Name Club” which had two aims, sociability and beautification of the Lower Keys. The first meeting was held Thursday, April 8, 1965 on the Big Pine Inn porch. At the second meeting on May 13, 24 women who lived between Big Pine Key and Big Coppitt Key, voted to call themselves the “Lower Keys Women’s Club”. Lou Castles was Chairman and at the November meeting was officially elected the first President.

In March of 1966 the first fashion show was held with the profit going to the Chamber of Commerce Building Fund.

In 1967, the Scholarship Fund was established to benefit the Florida Keys Community College. During that year, over 228 Ditty Bags were sewn by the women to be sent to Vietnam. Also, that year it was voted on that all members must wear fresh flowers to the meetings or pay a fine of $10.00. This tradition continued until it was abolished in 1971.

In 2012, Racy but Tasty was created and has raised $28,000 to date benefiting Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice.

Members exchanged gifts at the December meeting and Christmas gifts were collected and distributed to needy children.

Bake sales and plant sales were held quite often during the year. Each February a Market Place sale was held on Route 1. This event was held in the years 1967 until 1974. Anyone could participate with the Club members having a White Elephant table, bake table and a plant table.

In 1968, the By-Laws were passed. In 2012 the By-Laws were reviewed and revised.

The Disaster Fund was established in 1973. It was to be used in an emergency.

Bus trips to Miami for shopping or dinner and shows were held at different times. It was an annual event to have a Christmas shopping trip to Miami in December.

Through the years the Club has continued the work those 24 women began in 1965. The scholarship fund has grown from a $300 scholarship to a $5,000 contribution made in 2013. 

Beneficiaries of LKWC

Bay Shore Manor Nursing Home

The Peacock Apartments 

The Heron House

 the Key West Convalescence Home

 Florida Keys Children’s Shelter

 Domestic Abuse Outreach

Cancer Foundation of the Florida Keys

 Visiting Nurses and Hospice of the Florida Keys

Florida Keys SPCA 

Florida Keys Community College

and other charities have benefited from the generosity of the Club. 


The Lower Keys Women’s Club has grown from the original 24 women to 100+ women today and retains its focus to raise funds to benefit our local charities.


Mission Statement


The purpose of the Club is to promote friendship and good will among residents and visitors of the Keys, and support local charities through fundraising.

Past Presidents:

1965-66 Lou Castles

1967 Louis Kitching

1968-1969 - Elenor Moor

1970  Elsa McNulty

1971  Edith Meyers

1972  Betty Harmon

1973-1974 Mary Clark

1975  Mary Lou Howell

1976- 1977 Mary Roberts

1978 -1979 Ione Troha

1980-1983 Bessie Schueler

1984-1985 Jean Johnston

1986 -1987  Lil Krom

1988 -1989 Nancy Beckman

1990-1992 Bobbie DeStefano

1993 - 1999 Blanche White

2000 - 2002 Paula Phillips

2003- 2007 Joanne Drabinski

2008- 2011 Loretta Baker

2012 -2013 Abby Oglesbee

2014  Erica Garrick- Rodriguez

2015  Natalie Maddox

2015  Chelsea Grider

2016  Karen Chesley

2017 Katheryn Eads


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