Angela Chamness Merk

A Theta Connection Stays Strong Throughout the Years

At first glance, you would have never thought we would become friends. I was only 15, and she was already a grandmother. I had applied for a job during spring break and thought it would be a temporary gig to paint the outdoor pool and catch some rays. Instead, it turned into an office job (part-time during the school year and full-time during the summer) that lasted until I graduated from college.

Marjorie Glass Conly (Gamma/Butler) is a Theta legacy who knew the value of her membership. We had a connection through church and my extended family, which helped us bridge the age gap from the start. I worked with her on a consistent basis for several years but did not think much about our friendship or connections. She was always friendly and helpful, and probably viewed us young girls in the office as a little crazy. Several of us staffers were in high school and college, and we enjoyed our summers with the rest of the club staff.

When Marge offered to write me a reference for Theta, I did not think much about it. I was vaguely familiar with Greek groups, but not determined to be a member. Recruitment was a great experience for me, and Theta was an easy choice. I often thought of Marge’s recommendation as a little push to broaden my horizons. One evening during spring semester freshman year, Marge and her husband, Morris, came to campus and took me out to dinner. Honestly, I can’t remember if she sent me a note, called on the hall phone or how this dinner was planned (1986 was a different time!), but I do remember how nice it was that they took the time to come see me. Maybe they were on their way home from somewhere else, but it didn’t matter. During our dinner, she gave me a Dyer plaque with the Theta coat of arms that still hangs in our home office today. She did not have a Theta daughter to pass it down to, and I was lucky enough to receive it! Over the years, we continued to keep in touch through brief conversations or quick waves in the hall after church.

As a member of Fraternity staff, I remember the day Noraleen Young, project archivist, showed me a scrapbook that had been given to Theta’s archive. When she told me the name of the member who donated it, I about died – Marjorie Glass Conley! It was a treat to look at some of her Theta memories and learn more history about her time at Butler University.

This got me thinking about how Marge really started my membership and how important Theta has been over the years. Knowing that the Fraternity recognizes members at their 75-year anniversary, I looked up her initiation date to learn when she would be recognized as a 75-year honoree. When the time arrived and we found out she was able to attend the luncheon this past May, I honestly was not sure if she would remember me or not! Well, that fear was unfounded because she was as sharp as ever and carried on a conversation like it was 29 years ago. She even had on pansy earrings! What a treat it was to be there with her on that special day.