GFWC-New Hampshire: Inside Out with Phyllis Appler

August 26, 2016


by Laurie Jasper

Hudson’s Phyllis Appler may have retired after 30 years of teaching in 2013, but she certainly hasn’t slowed down.  In fact, it seems she is busier than ever!  During those 30 years, she instilled her own passion for biology into countless students at Alvirne High School, stating, “Biology is life.”  One of the components for honors biology students, which continues today, was volunteering in the community, which is another passion of Phyllis’s.  On Aug. 8, Phyllis was officially installed as the General Federation of Women’s Clubs New Hampshire president.  GFWC-NH Board of Directors met at Rodgers Memorial Library to hear its new president’s plans for 2016-2018.

True to her devotion to nature and the environment, Phyllis chose as her platform, “New Hampshire Inside Out.”  “I didn’t really mean to copy anybody else’s programs or projects with the name, I want to help people get outside and enjoy New Hampshire and all that we have to offer,” said Phyllis, referring to the popular moniker.  One of her main goals for GFWC-NH is to update a project that was started by the GFWC in 2002 at the Seacoast Science Center in Rye that offers an audio trail tour called “Footprints in Time.”  “The wands have fallen in disuse, and the trail needs some work to coordinate the audio tour with the trail.  There will be three choices for people, including general information, people and history information and our natural world information, and it will all be accessible by wheelchair,” shared Phyllis.  GFWC-NH’s Fall Field meeting will be held on Oct. 22 at the Seacoast Science Center, when much of this will be accomplished.

Phyllis has been a member of GFWC Hudson Junior Women’s Club since she and her husband, Dr. David Appler, moved to Hudson in 1975 and has actively participated in the club’s many community efforts.  In addition, she has been a member of the Main Street United Methodist Church for over 40 years, serving as Missions Chairman since 1983.  The United Nations refugees come based on critical need.  “We hosted a family of refugees from Cuba back then.  More recently, about eight or nine years ago we hosted Burundi refugees.  They have moved on to become homeowners, are getting their education and are United States citizens,” Phyllis said with pride.  “It’s very rewarding to help people and it’s amazing for them to arrive in New Hampshire from Africa in November,” she said.

GFWC International Convention was held in Baltimore, Md., this year, and a strong New Hampshire contingent joined Phyllis to be a part of her official installation as 2016-2018 GFWC-NH president.  However, Phyllis had to leave the convention early to be with her ailing mother in Blacksburg, VA., and was unable to participate in most of the activities.

Sadly, Phyllis’ mother Beulah Margaret Longacre Kline passed away on July 8, just before her 99th birthday, with Phyllis by her side.  Despite her grief, Phyllis has wonderful memories of her mother, from whom she obviously received her love of teaching and volunteer work.  “She was always very, very busy and involved, not in a women’s club but very active with international students,” said Phyllis.  Beulah taught first grade until her retirement in 1979; her husband Ralph taught Ag Economics at Virginia Tech.  They also were host family to dozens of Virginia Tech international students and active members of their church.

Outgoing GFWC-NH president Tina Smith, from the Concord Contemporary Club, presented Phyllis with the president’s pin at the Aug. 8 Summer Board of Directors’ meeting, making her two-year reign official right here in Hudson.  Phyllis will be travelling a bit more now as New Hampshire president, but will also continue as an active Hudson member.  Not to shirk her duties, Phyllis was quick to include that September is the perfect time for new members to become involved.  “Hudson has two clubs, GFWC-Hudson Junior Women’s Club and GFWC-Hudson Community Club.  We do a lot of things together for the community,” Phyllis said.  The Community Club’s first fall meeting will be Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 7 p.m. at Checkers Restaurant at Alvirne.  “New members are always welcome; this will be a potluck salad supper.  Bring a friend and a salad,” announced Phyllis.  The Junior Woman’s Club meets Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. at Rodgers Memorial Library.

GFWC-Hudson club members work hard for our town, whether at the Benson Park Butterfly Garden, annual Bunny Breakfast, Candidates’ Nights or town, state and federal elections, to name a few examples.  “This year will be the 40th annual Holiday Craft Fair hosted by GFWC-Hudson, and I have been there for all of them!  The first one was at Alexander’s Market,” Phyllis recalled.  Hudson’s two clubs, GFWC-Hudson Junior Women’s Club and GFWC-Hudson Community Club team up to run this popular annual fair, where only hand crafted items are sold.  “The fair is always the first Saturday in December at Hudson Memorial School, so this year it is Dec. 3.

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