Long before the world had invented TV, radio or anything that resembled mass media, there was still a human thirst for stimulating information and knowledge. For many generations of Americans this thirst was partially satiated through gatherings of various kinds, including religious and other social functions. This led to some talented persons earning their living by traveling from place to place in order to share their musical, theatrical, educational or entertainment skills. Often, these gatherings were enhanced by sharing a delicious meal. In Kansas City this led, in 1898, to the establishment of the city's first “Dinner Club.” Their activity stimulated the 1947 creation of the Independence Knife and Fork Club.
That means that the Independence Knife and Fork Club has been an important forum, usually numbering in the hundreds, to enhance the culture of our city. Its leadership has included such historic civic luminaries as Roger T. Serman, Mayor of Independence; Rev. Harold Hunt, Pastor of the First Baptist Church; Frank Rucker of the Independence Examiner; and George C. Carson, founder of the Carson Funeral Home. Without a doubt, the Independence Knife and Fork Club has been one of the City's most influential organizations for the past 66 years.
But, as competition from the mass media and other forms of communication and entertainment has grown, the membership in the Knife and Fork Club has dwindled. This has led to the announcement recently to its membership from Karen Beverstock, the Club's present President, “I am sorry to tell you that dwindling numbers shows us there is no way we can sustain even another Knife and Fork meeting.” She also announced that the programs for the rest of the year have been amicably cancelled and that there will be a prorated refund of membership dues.
Beverstock also noted that their club had been the longest continuous client of the 106-year-old Laurel Club and complimented them for their consistent fine meals.
The Club's Membership Committee Chairman, Bill Newton, sadly noted the coincidence that Gerald Winholtz, one of the Club's respected members who was in attendance at the Club's Inaugural Dinner, passed away this past September.
- James A. Everett