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Bob Lind, Published March 23 2013

Lind: Ladies of Lunch going strong after nearly 50 years

It was a Wednesday when the four women first got together for lunch.

That was 49 years ago. And those women, plus several others, all from the same Fargo neighborhood, have been having lunch together virtually every Wednesday since then.

Forty-nine years. That’s meant a lot of lunches, a lot of laughs and certainly a lot of talk about their common denominator: their kids and now their grandkids involved in sports.

The four original members of the group were Betty Cantler, Sue Huguelet, Joan Mogck and Kathleen Andrews. All four had sons playing hockey.

At first they called themselves the Wednesday Lunch Bunch. But one of the husbands thought that wasn’t classy enough and renamed them the Ladies of Lunch.

The group grew, reaching 13 at one time. But some have moved away or died.

Today the Ladies of Lunch have grandchildren who are participants in a variety of sports for different schools.

And the Ladies continue to meet in restaurants or in their homes. About the only times they haven’t met was when a holiday fell on a Wednesday.

They’ve taken trips to other towns, both to try restaurants and to see the sights.

And once they celebrated a royal wedding.

A supportive group

Members of the Ladies of Lunch are a close-knit group, according to Joan and Sue.

“We have shared the joys and the sorrows that come along during all these years,” Joan says. “We have supported each other through divorce, surgeries, cancer treatments and deaths of a spouse. We have rejoiced with each other at weddings, births of grandchildren and of great-grandchildren.”

Sue and Joan list the Ladies:

Four have died: Audry Lakudak, Ione Hegre, Barb Kreig and Desilee Rudrud.

Jan Harrison came from Canada and now is a U.S. citizen. Bernice Pavek was a Concordia College instructor; her late husband, Les, taught at North Dakota State University.

Betty Gillerstein works with the Fargo Youth Commission; her late husband, Phil, owned Chub’s Pub. Betty Cantler is a retired cosmetologist; her husband, Ron, has had two heart transplants and a kidney transplant.

Sue Huguelet is a retired Jefferson Elementary School teacher; her late husband, Joe, taught at NDSU. Kay Hegland met her late husband in Tulsa, Okla., where they both worked for Douglas Aircraft. they lived in Germany before returning to Fargo.

Joan Mogck is retired from The Village Family Service Center, Fargo, where she worked with the Big Brother/Big Sister program; her husband, Arlyn, is a retired auditor for Cenex. Kathleen Andrews works part time as an English as a Second Language teacher in West Fargo; her late husband, Connie, worked for Bell Telephone. Pat Solberg is married to Wayne Solberg, former Fargo city attorney.

Getting a little crazy

The women love to take in their grandkids’ sporting events. And they get fired up.

Joan admits she gets “a little vocal” at the games. “I’ve been known to question an official’s eyesight,” she says.

Yes, the Ladies, Sue admits, “sometimes get a little crazy.”

“Nothing the matter with that,” Joan says.

What they call one of their “craziest outings” was to celebrate the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. They met in Lindenwood Park, Fargo, and had a picnic while wearing white gloves and what they term “outrageous” hats.

The Ladies’ trips have been to Minneapolis, Winnipeg, and, in North Dakota, to Casselton, Kulm and Jud.

When home, they try a different restaurant every Wednesday. “We have threatened to write a ‘Dining Guidebook,’ but we are too busy going out to lunch,” Joan says.

One last thing: Are husbands ever allowed to join the group?

Just twice, when the group got together for Christmas.

Otherwise, sorry, guys: These gatherings are strictly for ladies: the Ladies of Lunch.

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