About the ADA Award

The ADA award is named for Mrs. Ada Edwards Laughlin who joined Anne Banning in the original plan for Assistance League. Mrs. Banning was elected President and Mrs. Laughlin, Vice President. This was in 1919. In addition, Ada Edwards Laughlin was involved in many philanthropic and cultural endeavors in the City of Los Angeles as well as being associated with the Red Cross and many war efforts during WW1.
Our original “Ada” was quite a business woman as well as a visionary. It is said that she was the administrator of ideas and money for the Assistance League until her retirement in 1948 Ada Edwards Laughlin was the inspiration for the award that is still granted today in many Assistance League Chapters to their member who contributes significantly behind the scenes – an unsung hero. It is in this spirit that the award is presented

Ada Edwards Laughlin Award Recipients


Carol Williams – 2017 Award Recipient

This year our past presidents found the perfect member to receive this award.  She was born near Chicago, Illinois and has a degree in Home Economics from Purdue University where she met her husband, Bill.

This year our past presidents found the perfect member to receive this award.  She was born near Chicago, Illinois and has a degree in Home Economics from Purdue University where she met her husband, Bill.

On the campus there was a practicum house where you got to test your skills and had to learn how to use a mangle iron. So, if you happen to have a mangle iron lying about you know who to call.  Our honoree taught school for a bit before moving to New Jersey, Northern California and finally settling in Fullerton. Our honoree loves to cook, and everyone wants to be on her luncheon committee.

Carol has been swimming laps at the YMCA for over 25 years, so you might see her with goggles and fins one day.  She has delivered Meals on Wheels for over 25 years.  It has also been rumored that she has never had a void on the cash register while working at the Thrift Shop.  She has been a member for 29 years or 348 months   If you have 40 transactions on your shift that would mean no voids for 13,920 transactions. Amazing!

Carol joined Assistance League® in 1988 along with Marilyn Buchi, Sara Martin and Pat Finley.  At the award luncheon she was joined by her husband Bill, their children and grandchildren.  They have been married for 55 years. They have 3 sons and 7 grandchildren.  Along with the family she was joined by several of her dear friends, some of whom she has known for over 40 years.

What makes Carol so deserving of this honor?  She approaches any task with a smile and just does it.  It was explained to her son Steve that the reason Carol was chosen for this award was because she always gets things done with so little fanfare. He said oh like the 40 Christmas decoration boxes that need to be taken down and emptied. Mom says: “No big deal, we‘ll get it done”. Most of us would be complaining or rolling our eyes and even threatening to ―downsize.

Carol’s family and grandchildren are extremely important to her. She is so very proud of their accomplishments from taking their first steps to graduating from High School.  She loves hosting family birthday parties.

Carol is a computer whiz. She was our webmaster before most of us knew about the web and internet.  She and Bill love to travel and over the years they have made photo books on the computer even before Shutterfly came along.

She has been Assistant Treasurer for many years. Last month she was in charge of the luncheon and while turning in the paperwork to the office she quietly said, I‘ve got to go to the bank now and make a deposit for our wine purchases.  Quietly and with much grace she does the job.  She‘s been involved with Heart to Heart by providing meals when our members have been ill. If you need someone to do a job you hope Carol will say yes to your request.  She keeps track of the amount of sales for each purchase at Target for our almost teen shopping spree never complaining and always smiling.  She can make complicated tasks become simple.

Last month she was asked to provide a recipe from the luncheon. She typed it up and forwarded it to us. Even though she had used the recipe she gave the original cook the credit. She is kind and gracious and a good friend to all.    Her name has been added to the perpetual plaque.  Assistance League of Fullerton is perpetually grateful for her and her time commitment to Assistance League®.

2016 Ada Award Recipient Marilyn Marks with Daughter Kelli Nelson

Marilyn Marks with daughter Kelli Nelson

Marilyn Marks – 2016 Award Recipient

This year‟s recipient Marilyn Marks has worked for many years in service to the community– mostly quietly. As so many got their start, she was active in PTA, serving as President of Sunset Lane PTA in the late 70s.   She belonged to Children‟s League of Fullerton and the Children’s Home society. She recently became a member of PEO.
Our recipient loves music and is one who is not known to speak ill of any. She may be heard to use the descriptive word “sweet” on many occasions. She looks to see the world and others in only the best way.
Marilyn was born and lived for many years in Oregon and has lived in New Mexico, Colorado and of course in Fullerton. She claims the University of Oregon as her alma mater. It is no surprise that the most important people in her life are her family. Marilyn met Jerry Marks on a blind date. They married and had three beautiful children: Kelli and Greg and Ryan.
Marilyn‟s children and grandchildren and many friends joined in the Chapter celebration. Kelli and Greg were here; daughter-in-law Miriam and granddaughters Kathleen and Kaylie attended along with many longtime friends. Special messages from the family spoke to Marilyn Marks’  kindness, love, humility, generosity and a positive outlook no matter what life brings. She has always admonished her family to KISS (Keep It Simple Sweetie) in life.
With a bit of lightness in the beautiful family tributes, grandson Bobby spoke to the Starbucks coffee runs and texting; granddaughter Jacquie likes the snacks and Greg suggested inviting his mom over for tea if your kitchen needs a spruce up. Congratulations Marilyn Marks!


Betty Mann – 2015 Award Recipient

2015 ADA Award

Betty and Will Mann with Children

Our honoree, Betty Man, is a native Californian, born in Los Angeles not too long ago. She has lived most of her life in the area except for the few years when she and her family were interned at Manzanar Relocation Center. She also lived her first married year in Glenview, Illinois where her husband was stationed during his military commitment.

She graduated from San Fernando High School, did her prenursing at UCLA then transferred to the Hospital of the Good Samaritan where she received her nursing degree. After graduation she continued work at Good Sam, as it is known, where she was introduced to her husband by two OB Residents. She and her husband Wil recently celebrated their 53rd anniversary!! They have three children, Kevin and Leslie both physicians and David an executive chef. These three have blessed our honoree and her husband with 6 grand daughters: Madeleine, Courtney, Emily, Kayla, Olivia and Elisabeth

Our honoree has been active in the community. PTA Boards of Laguna Road school, Servite High School and Cornelia Connelly School. She and Jackie Williams co-chaired a fashion show at Connelly High where their centerpieces of tulip bulbs never blossomed! She also is a charter member of the Celeste Guild for the Pacific Symphony Orchestra when it was in it’s early stages at Cal State Fullerton and the support group for the Child Guidance Clinic. She and her daughter were active in National Charity League, a worthwhile and satisfying experience for both. Another organization she was active in was an organization of Asian women whose spouses were either physicians, lawyers or dentists.

Thanks to Jackie Williams and Julie Moran for sponsoring our honoree to be an ALF member. She has served the organization well as Operation New Start Chairman, VP of Resource Development, VP Philanthropies and currently the scheduler for the Thrift Shop. As her husband says, “Her work has given her new purpose to which she has given great energy to this worthwhile endeavor”.

Gerry O’Donnell – 2014 Award Recipient


Past President Gloria Kremer, Gerry O’Donnell, Past President Maureen Meyers

Named after a famous opera diva, Gerry was born in Springfield, Illinois, and lived two decades on the south side of Chicago. But her Minnesota roots ran deep, as parents and three grandparents hailed from the Land of 10,000 Lakes. She spent many a bucolic summer and vacation on the Minnesota Family Farms. She grew up in a devout Catholic Irish family where service to others was woven into the fabric of the clan.

She attended grammar school and high school in Chicago but she was eventually drawn back to her Minnesota roots to attend the College of St. Theresa In Winona. She trained as a white gloved “Kathryn Gibbs” girl and landed a prime secretarial job.

While at a blind-date dinner party, she met the dashingly tall, twinkle-in-his-eye Windy City Irishman. They were married in 1954 and 8 children, 10 grandchildren and 59 ¾ years of marriage later, together they would lead tireless decades of self-sacrifice, including 50 years of at-home care of their cherished Mary. This Valentine’s Day the good Lord took John home to be with Mary leaving behind six decades of treasured memories.

John’s position with the Ford Motor Co. included 8 moves from Illinois to Arizona to Michigan, Ohio, Seattle, San Jose and finally in Fullerton for 33 years. Gerry did volunteer work at the 22 schools her children at-tended as well as a tireless community worker.

And in 1990, Gerry joined Assistance League® of Fullerton. She served on many committees and always served in Operation School Bell® and Vision Screening. We all know of her devotion to the Thrift Store where you will find her several days a week and her devotion and love of selfless women dedicated to the service of others.

In the words of her children, “This special Ada award is particularly special to us, her children, in-laws and grandchildren because it is given to the kindest, most self-sacrificing person we know! The O’Donnell/Holmes family is forever indebted to the women of Fullerton Assistance League® for their countless gifts of love to our family, treasured friendships to our mother and selfless service to the community

Shirley Scholle – 2013 Award Recipient

More to be published soon

Betty Clarke – 2012 Award Recipient


Betty Clarke 2012 ADA Award Recipient

Betty demonstrates the spirit of Assistance League membership by her participation in all of our activities from fundraising to hands-on help with the children of the community we serve. The ADA Award is given to those in the organization who serve behind the scenes without recognition. Betty characterizes that personality trait. She has been a member of our chapter since 1986. In the early years of her membership, she served as Vision Screening Chairman several times, Building Manager, Newsletter Chairman, always working with Operation School Bell, Membership Committee, Assistant Treasurer, and year after year after year, working in the Bargain Box marking room.

Betty was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, where she lived until 4 years old when her family moved to Nashville, TN. When she was 8, her family brought her here to us in CA. She met her best friend (and future husband Bob) when she moved into the same neighborhood as his family. They remained good friends until he was a junior at USC when their relationship became seriously romantic. Betty and Bob have been married 50 years – a marriage that has produced three wonderful children and 2 beautiful grandchildren.

Around our Chapter, Betty is affectionately called the “Queen of Ads” for her faithful gathering of the most ads each year for the “Taste of the Town” program book. We are so lucky to have her as a member! Congratulations Betty!

Patricia Kent – 2015 Award Recipient

Patricial Kent and Helen McCoyPat was born in Cleveland Ohio to parents who had emigrated from Italy; she was the oldest of four. An accomplished performer she tap danced her way through her early childhood and the family soon moved to Hollywood to pursue Pat’s dream of stardom. While continuing to train and perform she also attended St. Francis Assisi Catholic School, Immaculate Heart High School and College. She graduated with a degree in teaching and began her career as a Home Economics Teacher. It’s here where Pat’s true legacy began while teaching students the secrets of perfect entertaining. In 1959 Pat married Don and they made a home in Burbank where she focused on their four children, Michael, Robert, Donna, and Brian. In 1967 the whole family moved to the East Coast when her husband Don was transferred with the Bell System to New Jersey. Those cold winters not only brought thoughts of returning to sunny California but it also produced two more children Christopher and Suzanne. They finally returned to Southern California in 1974 and settled in Orange County.

Pat has been a member of Assistance League of Fullerton since 1996 and was honored for all of her hard work behind the scenes. She was presented with the Ada Edwards Laughlin Award at the Founders Day Luncheon by longtime friend Helen McCoy and president, Sue Emmons. Pat regularly makes sure the chapter house is ready for meetings and luncheons, helps plan events and gives many hours to the annual Taste of the Town fundraiser. In addition to the Assistance League, she and husband Dan support the local Boys & Girls Club and the Brea Rotary. Pat was among the hostess of the Assistance Leagues’ recent first fundraiser tea and fashion show. Congratulations Pat!

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