Preceptor Beta chapter of the Beta Sigma Phi sorority will be dissolving effective June 30.

According to a news release from the organization, the decision to close the chapter of 20 members was a difficult one. Many have been members since 1956. The original Rockland Beta Sigma Phi, Nu Chapter, was founded in 1945 at a chapter night ceremony held at the Thorndike Hotel. Elzada Barstow was the first president. This group disbanded around 1950. Mrs. Olive Murphy, of Bath, reorganized the group in 1956 with Signe Kelsey as president. With member progression, Preceptor Beta was formed four years later. Signe Kelsey Gardner is still an active member. She was instrumental in starting the pancake breakfast at The Lobster Festival that the chapter held for many years.

Health issues and age have been major factors for this decision, the release said.

The release continued, "We have so many fond memories of the numerous activities we performed through the years, the number of charities we have assisted, and more importantly, the friendships we have made. We have grown as a group and stayed continually on the path of Life, Learning and Friendship. We wish our Beta Sigma Phi International continued growth. We also wish to thank Rockland, Thomaston, Camden and all the surrounding towns for the support you have given us over the years, assisting in our fundraising and many projects. We thank our former members for your contributions to our sorority and we remember all our members who have passed away with kindness."

The chapter will donate any monetary funds in its treasurer to the following charities or organizations. Meals on Wheels, Sussman House, Maine Lighthouse Museum, ALS, Homeless Coalition, Rockland Historical Society, One Less Worry and the Rockland District Nursing Association.

Those interested in reading more of the group's history in Beta Sigma Phi, are invited to see the member story on Knox Villagesoup.