Famous Honorary Rotarians

Famous Honorary Rotarians

Edgar "Daddy" Allan

Clinton P. Anderson

Aesgeir Asgeirsson

Francoise Barre-Sinoussi

Eduard Benes

Friederich Bergius

Clarence Birdseye

William Jennings Bryan

Richard E. Byrd

Jean-Claude Chermann

William O. Douglas

Diane Feinstein

Gerald R. Ford

H.E Soleiman Frangieh

Sir Nigel Gresley

Edgar A. Guest

Karl Gullers

Joyce C. Hall

Warren G. Harding

Joel Chandler Harris

Mark O. Hatfield

Luther H. Hodges

John Jakes

Duke Kahanamoko

Sir Harry Lauder

Franz Lehar

Richard Lugar


Thomas Mann

Guglielmo Marconi

Jan Masaryk

Konosuke Matsushita

Dr. Charles H. Mayo

"Connie Mack" McGillicuddie

Wayne Morse

Lennart Nilsson

Norman Vincent Peale

J.C. Penney

Emilio Pucci

Whitcomb Riley

Sigmund Romberg

Carlos P. Romulo

Charles 'Chic' Sale

Harlan Sanders

Gordon Selfridge

Jean Sibelius

Tris Speaker

Adlai E. Stevenson

J. Millard Tawes

Sidney "Charlie Chan" Toler

Charles R. Walgreen, Jr.

Sam Walton

Earl Warren

William Allen White

Jack Williamson

Orville Wright


ROTARIANS attending the 1931 RI convention in Vienna, Austria,

were thrilled by a performance ofFranz Lehar's "The Merry Widow" operetta

conducted by the composer himself.

Local Rotarians took extra pleasure in the performance, for Lehar was an active member of the Rotary Club of Vienna.

Flag A


Other Rotarian composers have included Jean Sibelius, once a member of the Rotary Club of Helsinki- Helsingfors, Finland; and ...

J. Sibelius

Sigmund Romberg (the operetta, "May time"), a former member of the Rotary Club of New York, New York, U.S.A.

autographs for sale

Rotarians have been, and are, prominent in other areas of the arts. 

German novelist Thomas Mann was an active member of the Rotary Club of Munich. 

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1929


U.S. poet James Whitcomb Rileywas a member of the Rotary Club of Indianapolis, Indiana. 

James Whitcomb Riley

Edgar A. Guest (a frequent contributor to THE ROTARIAN) was also a Rotarian in Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. 

Edgar Guest

Joel Chandler Harris, Jr., son of the author of the "Uncle Remus" stories, was an active Rotarian, and a district governor and member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. 

Admiral Richard E. Byrd, the intrepid Arctic explorer, was a member of the Rotary Club of Winchester, Virginia, U.S.A. (See a flag presented to Paul Harris)



Science fiction author Jack Williamson comes down to earth to meet with the Rotary Club of Portales, New Mexico, U.S.A.

His fellow writer, John Jakes – author of an extremely popular series of novels about U.S. history – is also a Rotarian.

Sir Nigel Gresley. There are probably few if any Rotarians who have had a mainline railway steam engine named after them. A founder member of the Doncaster Rotary Club, he was elected as one of the first two Vice Presidents.

Friederich Bergius, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, was born on October 11, 1884, in Goldschmieden near Breslau, and died on March 31, 1949, in Buenos Aires, Argentine.


Many of the illustrious figures in world affairs have been and are Rotarians.  Royalty and elected political officials have been drawn to Rotary's ideal of "Service Above Self." 


Another "Real Rotarian" was U.S. President, Warren G. Harding - Member Washington D.C. Rotary Club since December 10, 1920. See The Rotarian March, 1921 Vol. XVIII No. 3.

Portrait of Warren G. Harding

U.S. President, Gerald R. Ford -Grand Rapids, MI since 1966

Portrait of Gerald R. Ford

Adlai E. Stevenson, U.S. Ambassador to the UN and governor of Illinois, was a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield in that state. 

Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.


 Associate Justice William O. Douglas.

Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

Wayne Morse, former U.S. senator from Oregon, was a past president of the Rotary Club of Eugene. 

Mark O. Hatfield, former governor of and present U.S. senator from Oregon, was also a member of the Eugene club. 

J. Millard Tawes, former governor of Maryland, was a charter member of the Rotary Cub of Crisfield. 

J. Millard Tawes


Former RI president Luther H. Hodges (1967-68) served as governor of North Carolina and U.S. secretary of commerce.

Clinton P. Anderson (1932-33) achieved levels of importance in U.S., served as U.S. secretary of agriculture and U.S. senator from New Mexico.

Carlos P. Romulo, Rotary Club of Manila - Philippine Brigadier General in WWII, Ambassador of the Philippines to the US, Permanent Representative to the UN, President of the 4th session of the United Nations 1949 and Past Director of Rotary International. (speech by Romulo at UN page)

Guglielmo Marconi inventor of the wireless, was an active member of the Rotary Club of Bologna, Italy


Aesgeir Asgeirsson, former president of Iceland, charter member of the Rotary Club of Reykjavik. 

Jan Masaryk, former president of the former Republic of Czechoslovakia, and ...

Eduard Benes, former minister of foreign affairs for that country, were members of the Rotary Club of Prague. (Then RI District 66) (Today, according to the Rotary International Directory 2005-2006 - District 2240 there are some 40 clubs in The Czech Republic and 11 in The Republic of Slovakia.

 Joyce C. Hall, founder of Hallmark Cards - Rotary Club of Kansas City

JC in front of Hallmark card display


There is royalty in Rotary.

Italian politician and couturier Emilio Pucci, is a member of the Rotary Club of Florence.

Marchese Emilio Pucci di Barsento a Cavallo

Many of the world's leading industrialists and businessmen are Rotarians. 

Sam Walton, 1953-54 president, RC of Bentonville, Arkansas, USA. Founder of Wall-Mart

Sam Walton by Mike Wimmer


Duke Kahanamoku, Olympic gold medalist. Regarded as the father of surfing. Member of RC of Honolulu


Konosuke Matsushita, president of Japan's Matsushita Electric Company was a member of the Rotary Club of Osaka.

J.C. Penney, founder and chairman of the board for the J.C. Penney stores, was a member of the Rotary Cub of New York, New York, U.S.A.

J.C. Penney

Charles R. Walgreen, Jr., chairman of the board of the Walgreen Drug Company, is a member of the Rotary Club of Chicago, Illinois, USA

Charles Walgreen


U.S. baseball player Tris Speaker

Cornelius "Connie Mack" McGillicuddie, U.S. baseball player

1910 Connie Mack baseball card




Dr. Charles H. Mayo, co-founder of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.A., is a member of that city's Rotary club.

Dr. Charles H. Mayo

Francoise Barre-Sinoussi along with her partner Jean-Claude Chermann(right) isolated the aids virus at the Pasteur Institute

They are both PHF of "La Rochelle-Aunis D1690"  The first publication of the discovery of AIDS Virus was in 1983.

PHOTOS Pierre Belujon PP-PHF

La Rochelle - Aunis d1690

The Kentucky Colonel, Harlan Sanders belonged to several Rotary Clubs, early in Rotary's history. more...


Clarence Birdseye - Gloucester, Mass, USA - Developer of a process for quick freezing food. - TR December 1935 p. 27


H. E. Soleiman Frangieh, Republic President of Lebanon, 1969-75, founding member of  RC Tripoli - Tripoli,  Lebanon, January 1950.

Provided by PAG Dr. Michel P. Jazzar RC of Zgharta-Zawié

One of Lincoln Rotary’s best known members was William Jennings Bryan.  He became an honorary member when he moved his residence to Florida.

Aviation pioneer Orville Wright was an active member of the Rotary Club of Dayton, Ohio, U.S.A.


Author, minister, and lecturer, Norman Vincent Peale, a former member of the RI public relations committee, belonged to the New York, New York, U.S.A., club. 

Photo of Norman Vincent Peale

Influential and internationally famed editor of the Emporia (Kansas, U.S.A.) Gazette, William Allen White, was a Rotarian

Gordon Selfridge, Store Owner, London #50

Vanity Fair Print - Gordon Selfridge 1911

Swedish photographers Lennart Nilsson ("Behold Man") andKarl Gullers are Rotarians. (Lennartis a member of the Rotary Club of Stockholm.)Karl, who was profiled in the April 1975 issue of THE ROTARIAN, is a Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A., Rotarian.

nilsson at microscope


Diane Feinstein, U. S. Senator, RC of San Francisco

Richard Lugar, U. S. Senator, Indianapolis #58

U.S. Senator Dick Lugar

Gerald Walcan Bright, by now at the top of his profession, joined the London Rotary Club

Charles 'Chic' Sale, Writer, Film, Performer, Scarsdale, NY


Sir Harry Lauder, Vaudeville Comedian, Glasgow, SC #60

Also see "Music in Rotary"

R. G. Knowles, RC London. This Canadian born artist was a popular and clever entertainer.

Another member of the London Club between the wars was Arthur Prince. Prince was born in 1881 in London and died in 1948.

Harry Tate, Senior, was another London Rotarian with the classification of 'Comedian'.


Bransby Williams, an entertainer, became member number 298 of the London Rotary Club

Emmanuel "Manny" Dapidran Pacquiao, world champion professional boxer and politician, RC Manila 101, Philippines 

Sidney "Charlie Chan" Toler. 1874-1947 In the 30's & 40's Toler starred as "Charlie Chan" in more than a dozen movies. He has an interesting connection to our Club. Between 1914-17 Toler, an American, was living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, working as an actor and playwright. He joined the Rotary Club of Halifax #81 and was a member in the year his club sponsored the Rotary Club of Charlottetown. Toler left Halifax & went on to became a Broadway star. In the 1930's he took on the role for which he is most remembered: Charlie Chan.

Sidney Toler

Edgar "Daddy" Allan 1862-1937
Founder of the Easter Seals organization dedicated to helping people with physical disabilities. He was first an honorary member, then an active member, of the Rotary Club of Elyria, Ohio. His organization got underway when he convinced several Rotary clubs in Ohio to fund-raise to help address the needs of the many children physically devastated by polio. His organization was the first grant recipient of the Rotary International Foundation.

Side view portrait of Edgar Allen

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