Federal Judge William P. Gray became interested in Friends Outside because of his daughter, Robin Frazier. Robin was involved with Friends Outside in Contra Costa County.

Rosemary Goodenough, Founder of Friends Outside, suggested that Judge Gray persuade someone to host a luncheon for women in the Los Angeles area who were interested in the work of the organization. Mary Dean Armstrong, the wife of then Superior Court Judge Orville Armstrong, agreed to host the meeting. Amongst those in attendance were Mrs. Armstrong’s good friend and neighbor, Martha Jane Dowds, whose husband was also a Superior Court Judge.

By then an “empty nester,” Mrs. Dowds was looking for something meaningful to do during the next stage of her life. With assistance from Mrs. Armstrong, Mary Meyer, Lorraine Wilson, and Babs Jenkins from the San Marino Community Church (who all attended the meeting), “Martha Jane” started Friends Outside in Los Angeles in 1972 from her home in San Marino.

The first request for services was from someone wanting to know where Soledad State Prison was located. Because Mrs. Goodenough had stressed the importance of bringing the wives of the inmates together for support, Mrs. Dowds began to invite the families to her home where the children in the families swam in her pool. For many years, the chapter’s primary services were a “Wive’s Club” and the provision of information and referral services.

Our Founder’s favorite quote:

I dreamed that life was joy.
I awoke and found that life was service.
I discovered that service was joy.Rosemary Goodenough