U.S. Naval Hospital, Balboa Park

On December 3, 1925, fifteen San Diego Navy doctors’ wives gathered to form a social group that concentrated on friendship, sewing, and bridge. Initial meetings were in members homes, but soon the group had grown such that the gatherings began to be held in local cubs and hotels. In September 1926, the group formally organized as the Wives of Navy Doctors Club and elected Mrs. C.N. Fiske as the first president. 

The Club continued in the social vein until 1931 when charitable work began through the local Community Chest. With depression gripping the States and many husbands being ordered if the Civilian Conservation Corn, the Club went bankrupt. In 1934, solvent again, a benevolence fund was established with the proceeds from a Bridge/Tea Benefit. An annual fund raising event became tradition with the WNDC, with proceeds assisting numerous Navy medical and relief agencies. 

The 1940’s brought continued growth of the WNDC. Throughout World War II, members gave their time and talents to the Naval Hospital. The Red Cross, the U.S.O., and the Navy Relief. Regular monthly meetings continued throughout the war years. Nursing scholarships were first presented in 1955.

From the first byławs, written and adopted in 1935, changes were fashioned as the Club grew. In 1981, membership eligibility was expanded by inviting all spouses of Naval Medical Department Officers to join. A 1983 amendment changed the name to the Oakleaf Club. And in 2019, we official became the Oakleaf Club of San Diego.

After seventy years, from the original group of fifteen, ten times that amount of medical department spouses the Oakleaf Club carries on the banner of the oldest service club in the San Diego area.