Washington Women's History Consortium
Women's Clubs and Organizations
Helen Sutton, President, Wapato 1953-1955
Washington State Federation of Women's Clubs
Mrs. Milton F. Sutton, the thirty-first president of the Washington State Federation of Women's Clubs, was born Helen Geneva
Cox, in 1915 in Oneida, South Dakoka to hard-working parents. At an early age, Helen worked picking fruit on an apple ranch,
driving a horse drawn spray wagon, thinning apples and many other types of farm work.
The Cox family moved to Lewiston, Idaho, when Helen was in the ninth grade. Helen graduated from Lewiston High School and Lewiston Normal School. She received a B.A. degree in Physical Education from Washington State College. She graduated with honors in 1933 at the age of 19, and later did graduate work at the University of Washington.
Mrs. Sutton's first teaching position was in Wapato, where a year later she met Milton Sutton, who was a PE teacher and coach.
They were married August 14, 1938.
While she taught in Wapato, she became a charter member of the Wapato Wohele Junior Woman's Club. "Wohele" stands for work, help,
The Suttons have one son, William Milton Sutton, who was born in 1945. He is a dentist in Auburn, WA.
After serving in many capacities in Federation, she served as state president of the junior organization from 1942-44. At that
time she was a member of the Century Juniors.
Mrs. Sutton was 38 years old when she became president of WSFWC in 1953. There were over 14,000 members at that time. Helen had
served as club extension chairman of Washington State Federation. The extension committee had a goal of 50 new clubs for that
administration. The committee worked hard and so did the clubs and districts. They were overjoyed as they reached their goal
through the diligent efforts of all the members.
Helen was installed as president on June 18, 1953 in Longview at the Hotel Monticello.
The fall state board meeting was in Port Angeles November 1-3, with junior department and division and standing committees
participating in the conference.
Sears Roebuck Foundation offered $2,040 in the third Community Service Contest.
The annual WSFWC convention began on May 17, 1954, at the Cascadian Hotel in Wenatchee. Many awards were received by clubs
and districts. The programs were good and the entertainment well-received.
Carol Lane of the Friday Club received the National Traffic Safety Award from the National Safety Congress in Chicago for
outstanding achievement in Safety.
Due to the trouble in Formosa, the Civil Defense programs were stepped up to encourage our club members to participate in home
protection. The State Civil Defense Office emphasized the importance of the evacuation of target areas. A conference on Civil
Defense was in Seattle on March 3, 1955.
The Washington Clubwoman was praised by GFWC chairman and past presidents saying "Congratulations on your Federation Magazine.
I consider it one of the best which comes to my desk." The paper came out monthly.
The 50th annual convention of WSFWC was in Yakima on May 9-11, 1955. The theme was "Shadows Fall Behind Us As We Walk Into The
Light." Dr. Allen Stockdale of New York, noted lecturer, was the principal speaker. His subject was "Meeting the Modern
A reception honoring Mrs. Sutton and General Federation guests Chloe Gifford, second vice-president and Marion T. Weatherford,
GF chairman Conservation of Natural Resources, followed in the parlor of the church, after the evening session.
The third annual Artists Exhibit featuring the works of women artists living in the state of Washington was shown throughout
The Juniors hosted a tea honoring all clubwomen in the parlors of the church.
The general assembly convened at the Methodist Church. Bill Sutton, son of the president, led the Pledge of Allegiance, which
was a high point of the day for Helen.
The Central Singers from Central Washington College of Ellensburg presented a beautiful concert. The installation of new
officers was done by Mrs. Albert Kulzer, past president of WSFWC.
In closing, members sang "Blest Be the Tie that Binds."
Members looked forward to a Conservation Workshop planned for August 22-24 at the Rustic Inn, Snoqualomie Pass planned by
Mrs. Jack Yearout.
Helen went on to serve federation for over forty years. Her interest in conservation remained strong and she chaired the
Federation Forest Committee for many years.