Tampa African Violet Society was organized April 1970 at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Warman by James Rubottom, Pat Yon, Dora Lee Dorsey, Myrtle Warman, Mrs. V. O. Lowery, Alice Moore, and Mrs. Edward O'Donnel. By 1971 there were fourteen additional members. Initially meetings were held in members’ homes, but later the Club was permitted use of a classroom at Seminole Heights United Methodist Church. In 1973 the move was made to Seminole Heights Garden Center. In 2009 we had to find alternate meeting space because of renovations being made at the Garden Center.
1976 our first show -- a sort of dress rehearsal -- was staged in preparation for our 1977 Standard Show when we received a Green Rosette under National Judges and was held at the Seminole Garden Center. By 1978 our show was much improved and we received the Blue Rosette. TAVS has sponsored shows every year during the last weekend in February: In 1982 we had our show at University Square Mall and for several years thereafter. East Lake Square Mall then hosted our shows until that mall closed. Westshore Mall was our show venue until 2002 when we moved to our current show home, the Farm Bureau in Valrico, Florida.
On January 14, 1978, TAVS hosted the charter meeting of the African Violet Council of Florida, of which Lucille Chester is a Charter Member. TAVS members served in many leadership roles when the Florida Council had its show in Tampa in the fall of 2009. Several of our members have held office in AVCF. Mary Lou Harden, JoAnne Martinez and Lynne Wilson have served as president. Mary Lou, Lynne and Therese Lynam have all served as secretary, Therese has also served as treasurer, and Jim Boyer has served as First Vice President.
In 1987 TAVS played a significant role in hosting the AVSA Convention which convened at the Sheraton Twin Towers in Orlando, Florida. Again in June 1997, when the State of Florida hosted AVSA'S fifty-first annual convention at the Tradewinds Hotel on St. Pete Beach, our club members handled many important aspects of the convention. Jo Anne Martinez was TAVS President and served as the AVSA Show Chair and Mary Lou Harden was Convention Chair.
TAVS members continue to bring honor to us by serving in leadership roles in our sister societies:
1) African Violet Society of America, Inc. Lynne Wilson has served AVSA as its Affiliate Chair as well as its Publication Chair, and Mary Lou Harden has served for many years as Bylaws Chair, and has just concluded a 3-year term as a Director.
(2) Dixie African Violet Society. Our Club served in many important roles when the Dixie Convention came to Tampa in March 2001. Mary Lou Harden continues to serve as editor of The Dixie News, quarterly publication of Dixie, and Lynne Wilson is currently serving as its president.
(3) Tampa Bay Gesneriad Society and the Gesneriad Society. Several TAVS members are also members of the Gesneriad Society and the Tampa Bay Gesneriad Society. Charles Fisher, JoAnne Martinez, Barbara Matthews and Nancy Kast have served as officers of TBGS.
TAVS continues to be a pacesetter in providing financial support and awards to AVSA and our sister societies and councils. We optimistically enter each new Club year, mindful of our motto..."Forward and upward to a bigger and better year!”