Linda Kottmeyer, Ch AM
2137 Brook Highland Ridge
Birmingham, AL 35242-5871
A little country farmhouse nestled in western Pennsylvania’s gently rolling hills some twenty miles outside of Pittsburgh was the scene of my early childhood home. Our friends & neighbors were farmers and nursery men on one hand, and on the other, research engineers who worked for Westinghouse, G.E., Alcoa or the steel industry like Dad did at Mellon Institute. Growing up in such an environment, I was destined to be a “child trichotomy”:
1/3 COUNTRY GIRL: Wore my brother’s hand-me-downs; gathered eggs; tended peeps; worked gardens; climbed trees; caught fire flies, minnows & tadpoles; played church softball; ice skated on ponds; roamed fields with my dogs; adopted a never ending stream of barn kittens.
1/3 CITY GIRL: Wore pristine hand tailored mother/daughter outfits to fashion shows, teas, concerts & lectures; shared Mom’s passion for interior design & fashion; shopped Joseph Horne’s & Kaufman’s department stores; learned about haute couture, flat pattern design, tailoring and to identify fabric content by touch.
1/3 GEEKY GIRL: Wore custom made shoes with steel reinforced toes, glasses with safety goggles over them, and a slide rule on my belt; spent countless hours asking Dad questions in his laboratory and foundry; explored every inch of the Carnegie Museums & Library; read hundreds of books.
February, 1961, began a year of major life changing events: Dad accepted U of A’s offer to become Head of the Metallurgical Engineering Department; Mom was initiated into P.E.O. Chapter F, PA; we relocated to the Tuscaloosa suburbs. By February, 1962, Mom had dimitted into Chapter I, AL. I was twelve. From that moment on, I had the best role models ever as I quite literally grew up in P.E.O., surrounded by “aunts” & “uncles” who were everywhere in my daily life: church, school, Girl Scouts, even next door…not to mention most of my professors at U of A, including my interior design major’s the only professor!
I was graduated with an HEC B.S. degree in 1972, and set off for Jorpeland, Norway, to design Stavanger Steel’s display for the world’s largest maritime trade show: The International Ship & Machine Exhibition, Hamburg, Germany. Afterward, I traveled Western Europe…on $5.00/day. November 13, 1972, within days of returning home, I was initiated into Chapter N, Tuscaloosa’s & Mom’s “new" chapter. Two months later, I began work in residential design in Birmingham only to discover I really preferred commercial design. At that time, the additional education I needed to be successful in that field was unavailable in Alabama.
Winter Quarter 1974, P.E.O. granted my ELF loan to cover the out-of-state tuition for my M.S. degree at UT, launching me on an amazing 40 year career path where I designed, consulted, professionally lectured, owned my own firm, achieved the state’s and nation’s highest levels of professional certification in design, received numerous awards and honors, and, most importantly, gave back to my profession serving its professional organizations in many capacities including state president, advisory member on various state and national boards, curriculum adviser to several Universities and adjunct teaching.
I’m in my 48th year of P.E.O., and have been a member of and have served on numerous committees of Chapters N, P, T, and AK, was granted permission to seek Charter for Chapter AM, and have been P’s corresponding secretary, T’s recording secretary, T’s & AK’s vice president, and president of both T & AM. Additionally I’ve served on and chaired both the State Finance & Credentials Committees.
To serve on the P.E.O. Alabama State Board walking the same path as so many of my P.E.O. mentors including my mom, being given the same opportunity they had to reach back and pay forward, is my greatest honor. As I eagerly embark on this journey, I do so with the support of my wonderful BIL, John…who had no idea what he was getting into when we married fourteen years ago!
And as John will verify, I’m still a trichotomy: digging in the dirt looking like something one of our three adopted cats dragged in; holding close my passion for interior design & fashion; exploring museums, visiting manufacturing plants, reading various science magazines and a book a week.
Board Buddy to: M, P, U, V, AE, AL & AN
Board Buddy to: E, H, O, W, AB, AF, AI, & AJ
Denise Williams, Ch U
1401 Fairway Drive, SE
Decatur, AL 35601
"Laissez les bons temps rouler!" I was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and was greatly influenced by the Cajun cuisine and French/American culture. I graduated from Louisianna State University with an undergraduate degree in Liberral Arts and a Master's degree in Public Administration. After working for eight years for the Louisana State Board of Regents, my husband and I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2004.
In 2008, our family relocated to Decatur, Alabama. I was initiated into P.E.O. in 2011 in Chapter U where I have served as President for the last two years. My hobbies include all forms of artwork such as oil painting, tooling leather, carving gourds, and learning how to crochet. John and I have been married for 20 years and have three beautiful children; ages 15, 7, and 5.
I am excited about serving on the Alabama State Board and am looking forward to interacting with all P.E.O. sisters around the state. It will be an honor to promote our philanthropies and share the spirit and sisterhood of P.E.O.
Wendy James, Ch C
1552 Monterey Place
Mobile, Alabama 36604
Born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana, this Cajun girl was raised by a Cajun father and a British mother, where my summers were spent with relatives in London, England and Eunice, Louisiana. My BIL, Bill, and his architecture career sent us to Honolulu, Hawaii where we lived for over 14 years. Bill designed and built 40 story high rises and I traveled the pacific rim as a manufacturers representative. In 2002, grandchildren began to arrive so it was on to Mobile, Alabama to be closer to our growing family. We purchased an old Victorian and opened The Kate Shepard House Bed and Breakfast. For over 15 years we have greeted guests from all over the world and shared our journey of the rare documents found in the attic. I also sell real estate with Keller Williams. (Know anyone that would like to buy or sell a house?) Our five grandchildren, 2 year old godson, Trinity Episcopal Church, our beloved Chow Chow, Beaux Bear, along with my sisters of P.E.O., round out our blessed life.
In 2010 I was introduced to P.E.O. and honored to be asked to be a sister of Chapter C. I have served as Recording Secretary, Vice President and was President for three years. I have served on the State Membership Committee and will be Chapter C Membership Chairman for the third year in a row. My sisters of Chapter C exemplify our objects and aims and it is their love and support that has encouraged me to serve on the state board. I feel privileged to be part of the legacy of Chapter C as we celebrate our 7oth anniversary and the 150th anniversary of P.E.O. in 2019.
Board Buddy to: A, B, D, F, K, R, T, & Y
Board Buddy to: I, J, L, S, Z, AA, AH, AG, & AK
Cindy Fry, Ch AL
22898 Cog Hill Drive
Athens, AL 35613
Born and raised in Columbus, GA, it never dawned on me that there was a world outside of there. That is, until I met my future husband, Chris. He introduced me to the military and we lived 21 years traveling all over this beautiful world. I was blessed to be able to be a stay at home mom and be involved in every opportunity that arose with my 3 children, which included but was not limited to being a home room mom, volunteer coordinator, PTA, band boosters, etc. We retired from the military, moved to Madison in 2002, and began our “civilian” life.
Shortly after arriving, I met several women who seemed to have a special something. I couldn’t put my finger on it but knew that when I was around them, they brought out the best in me. They loved, they laughed, they cared, they listened, and they were accepting of my faults. They were P.E.O., living out our Objects and Aims.
I was given the gift of P.E.O. through these women and was initiated into Chapter Z, Huntsville in 2006. I happily jumped in with both feet and have never looked back. Founded on friendship and aligning with my belief in our God, P.E.O. is my happy place. In chapter Z, I held offices of Recording Secretary, Treasurer, and Vice President. I served on many chapter committees. For the State of Alabama, I have chaired the E.L.F. committee and worked with Auditing as well the Committee to Approve Minutes.
My biggest joy came in 2013 when I helped charter Chapter AL, Madison. Introducing new women to the “special something” which had drawn me to P.E.O. so many years earlier was very important to me and I knew this special gift should always be shared. Holding the office of President for these amazing women allowed me to receive the love and encouragement that P.E.O. exemplifies.
Outside of P.E.O., my other passion is a small church in Montana that ministers to a Native American reservation. For the past 6 years, I have taken an annual pilgrimage there to share the gospel and to shower God’s love on these children. Their world is very dark and hopeless and I am honored to have been called to do something as simple as smile and laugh with them.
So, who is Cindy Fry? I consider myself a Christian, a wife, a mother, and a P.E.O. I love P.E.O. It’s foundation, ideals and mission excite me and I love sharing it with those around me. I love to laugh, to learn, to share, to listen, and to comfort those who share with me. I love to be organized yet am always up for something spontaneous. Family is VERY important to me. I play golf, enjoy travelling, and have a yappy dog.
I am thrilled to be a member of the Alabama State Board. My AL sisters encourage me every day as well as shower me with their love. I hope to bring this same love and encouragement to all of you. My wish is that P.E.O. is your happy place as it is for me. Let’s search our hearts and take this journey together to make this happen.
Elaine Bassett, Ch AF
108 Deerfield Drive
Troy, AL 36081
An only child, I was born in Columbus, Georgia, but moved to the country in Barbour County, Alabama, when I was twelve. There I spent wonderful years living next door to my grandmother, who taught me to cook, sew, grow vegetables, work hard, take care of people, and love Jesus. Even as a young girl, I knew I wanted to be a teacher, so when I finished high school, I headed to Troy State University to get an education degree. I finished my master’s degree and was invited to stay on as an instructor, and I discovered that I absolutely loved teaching composition and grammar to college freshmen. I also discovered that I absolutely loved one of the other instructors at the University, a cute linguistics professor named Marvin Bassett. Luckily, he felt the same, so we got married!
I took some time off from teaching to raise a family, two precious girls: Katie (who is now my sister in Chapter AF and who gifted our family with her precious husband, Kevin) and Mellie. Definitely, the best job I have ever had was being mama to these two. After they were both in school, I went back to Troy University and continued teaching. After a few years I moved to the Writing Center and served as its director for almost twenty-five years. I was involved in many academic organizations and honor societies, but nothing ever influenced me as much as my involvement with a small group called P.E.O.
One of my church choir buddies, who was a founding member of Chapter AF, told me about P.E.O., and I was intrigued. After meeting other members, I was sure I wanted to be a part of this special group. I was initiated into Chapter AF in 2005 and have enjoyed serving the chapter in almost every officer position and committee. You can imagine my delight when I found out that I would also be able to serve on the state level. I am beyond excited.
In addition to P.E.O., I am active in the Troy First United Methodist Church where I sing in the choir and teach Sunday school. I also work with the Troy University Foundation as chair of two scholarship committees. I think everyone, especially women who face their own unique set of challenges, deserves the opportunity to improve his/her life through education. If I can help someone succeed in that endeavor, then I also have succeeded.
I have a good life. I’m still in love with my husband after forty years, and we are still each other’s best friend. My children live close by, so I get to see them often, and they even still enjoy coming to see mama and daddy! I am also GaGa to a grandson, Ben, who always lifts my heart and makes me smile. I have been blessed with much love from my family, my friends, and especially my sisters in P.E.O. I love God and trust in His loving care for me, and I see my job in life as sharing that love with others. Life has not been without its troubles, heartaches, pain, and grief, but it has also given me much joy, love, and fulfillment, and for that I am very thankful.
Board Buddy to: C, G, N, Q, X, AC, AD, & AM