For Imogene Doub, life has been remarkable journey

November 29, 2007|By GLORIA DAHLHAMER

Editor's note: This is one in an occasional series of profiles of area residents who share the stories of their lives and experiences.

Just like the movie classic, Imogene Doub says, "It's been a wonderful life."

A few months shy of her 90th birthday, the Williamsport resident can look back at a remarkable life journey that has run the gamut from riding a motorcycle across Texas to riding the waves in Europe and the South Pacific.

In-between travels have been art classes, leadership roles in the Washington County Council of Homemakers Clubs, and all-night sessions making doughnuts at her church.

All of this has been in addition to her primary role of 40 years: being the biggest booster of Williamsport High School sports coached by her late husband, Richard Doub. Doub, who initiated much of the sports program at Williamsport High, taught and coached every sport for boys and girls at the county school.


"I went to every game," Imogene says, "even when our sons were babies."

A native of San Angelo, Texas, she came to Williamsport as a bride. During World War II, her husband was stationed in San Angelo with the U.S. Army Air Force, teaching meteorology to bombardiers. "He came to our church and Sunday school class with a friend, and then invited me to go bowling on a double date. The rest, as they say, is history."

In her native Texas, Imogene owned and operated a beauty salon for 13 years. She was active in a motorcycle club, but, she says, "I actually did more riding than driving."

She had friends, family, job and plenty of dates. There were even a few proposals, "but Richard was the only one I said 'yes' to."

Coming to Williamsport was a big change, she says. Richard brought her back to the Doub family farm along what is now Governor Lane Boulevard, and to a father-in-law and brother-in-law who had been living as bachelors in the farmhouse for a couple of years.

"I lucked out," she says. "I married into a family of nice people. I never felt left out or alone."

Imogene joined Richard's family church - Zion Lutheran in Williamsport - and has remained a member for 60 years. "We never missed church," she says, "so that's how I met so many people."

"The second thing I did after coming here was join the Williamsport Homemakers Club," she says. "Catherine Taylor invited me to a club meeting and I joined that night."

She remained a member for 75 years, until the club disbanded due to dwindling membership.

A program offered by the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service, Homemakers clubs were popular in the mid-20th century.

"There are still some clubs today," Imogene says, "but they're not like when I was in. The times were different then. We concentrated on homemaking skills - cooking, sewing, canning. Not so many women worked outside the home then. We learned crafts, we studied music, we promoted farm safety.

"And we wore hats and gloves to the meetings," she adds. "Women didn't wear slacks then, we wore dresses."

In fact, she reminisces, the Homemakers offered classes in hat-making, "and I made 15 or more hats."

"I took all the sewing classes offered by the Extension Service, and later I taught sewing classes in the county."

Imogene Doub served as president of the Williamsport Homemakers Club and in 1966-67 was elected president of the Washington County Council of Homemakers Clubs. She worked closely with Extension home economists Adele Miller and Ardath Stouffer, both of whom she praises as "grand ladies."

Every summer, the state Extension Service offered a week of classes for Homemakers, fondly known as Short Course, on the University of Maryland College Park campus.

"I went every year until they closed down," Imogene says. "That was five great days every year for me."

She was the last woman elected president of Short Course, an honorary position for those who "graduated" after four years of attending classes. As president, she led the graduation processional. "I remember I made my own dress for the occasion," she says.

As an active Homemakers member, she also taught crafts at the various clubs in the county. "We made cornhusk roses and ribbon roses and angels, so many things I can't remember," she says.

Later in life, she taught the same crafts for nine years to the Williamsport Senior Citizens Club. As a volunteer club leader, she says, she was allowed to hire an art teacher for those seniors interested in painting. The late Lola Abel and then Joan Hull taught the classes, "and I learned right along with the seniors," she remembers. "I never in this world thought I could paint a picture. I'm not really an artist."

But she painted for 20 years, has a houseful of original works, has sold some of her paintings, and has won some awards.

While her husband was still living, the Doubs traveled the United States from coast to coast. After Richard's death, Imogene traveled with other family members and friends to the British Isles, eleven countries in Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand and the Fiji Islands.

"Travel has been another wonderful thing in my life," she says. "I enjoyed every bit of it, except changing U.S. dollars for foreign currency. That always confused me."

She has volunteered at Washington County Hospital and with the American Red Cross Bloodmobile. She has taught kindergarten at her church, directed the children's choir, and made those Lenten season doughnuts which sold for one dollar a dozen. "I enjoyed that time," she says of the latter. "You really get to know people when you work together in a kitchen."

She is the only living charter member of Friends of Ravenwood auxiliary at Ravenwood Lutheran Village, and she still puts the church newsletter together every month.

"I just wish I could do more," she says.

"I've enjoyed everything I've done. I'm blessed."

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