Columbus, GA, USA

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Service Above Self!

Columbus Members 1919 at the old Columbus Hotel

The Early Years[edit]

The Rotary Club of Columbus is a member of Rotary International. District 6900 is composed of clubs in the Columbus, Georgia, USA area in Zone 34.


The Rotary Club of Columbus was organized by fourteen men who met at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, November 15, 1915 at the Ralston Hotel. By classification they were a minister, a baker, an undertaker, an attorney, a hotel manager, an office supplies dealer, an osteopath, a railroad manager, a soft drink manufacturer, a coal dealer, a grocer, a merchandise broker, and two insurance brokers. The group received a charter on February 1, 1916 as Club 200 of Rotary International. Charter members in addition to the founders were a telephone manager, a telegraph manager, a theater owner, and a seed dealer. (per Michael Herndon)

For the 100th year anniversary of the club, Columbus is the 34th largest club in the world. It has almost 350 members.

Charter Members 1915[edit]

G.C. Shackleford, Retail Druggist; J.B. Everidge, Baker; L.C. Wells, Industrial Insurance; W.W. McKenzie, Life Insurance; C.P. Bush, Hardware; C.L. Torbett, Undertaker; R.J. Crane, Retail Grocer; Howell Hollis, Attorney; C.A. Johnson, Hotel. P.R. Puckett, Office Supplies; J.C. Smith, Seedman; L.R. Christie, Minister; C.E. Lorenz, Osteopath; J.F. Pou, Coal Dealer; Dan Joseph, Broker; C.A. Sears, Soft Drink Manufacturer; James Johnson, Theater; Hans Mozwn, Telephone; Thomas W. Peters, Light & Power; L.L. Dozier, Telegraph.

Founding Officers[edit]

  • L.R. Christie -- President
  • C.A. Johnson -- 1st VP
  • Hans Mozen -- 2nd VP
  • Thomas W. Peters -- Secretary
  • L.C. Wells -- Treasurer
  • P.R. Puckett -- Sgt. At Arms
  • Founding Board of Directors -- J.R. Everidge, C.A. Sears, Howell Hollis, J.F. Pou, J.C. Smith, C.E. Lorenz, W.W. McKenzie, R.J. Crane, and Dan Joseph.

Read more here:

How We Got Here[edit]

Clubs formation in Georgia- Rotary Club of Atlanta - 1913; Rotary Club of Augusta - 1914; Rotary Club of Savannah - 1914; Rotary Club of Columbus - 1915

Between March 15 and the end of 1916 the Club inducted 27 new members, a first-year increase of 150%. One of those inducted on March 15, 1916 was James B. Key, who served as president of the club in 1920. Later presidents included son Jack B. in 1935, grandsons James W. "Billy" in 1965 and Jack B. Jr. in 1976, and great-grandson Jack III in 1997, five presidents in four generations of the Key family.

The vision and enthusiasm of those first members attracted others like them, and The Rotary Club of Columbus was soon composed of the area's business and professional leaders. Our 2007 membership ranges between 335 and 340, and includes descendants of eleven of those members of 1916. An early accomplishment of those early Rotarians was to bring the annual Georgia-Auburn football game to Columbus, where it was played from 1916 through 1958. Since 1949 our club has played a key role in the establishment and growth of Columbus College, now Columbus State University.

Our club's close relationship with Fort Benning began in 1917, when a committee of Columbus Rotarians was instrumental in the establishment of a U.S. Army camp here. The installation was named "Camp Benning" in response to a 1918 Rotary Club resolution recommending the name. Benning's commanding officer has been a member of our club since 1919, since joined by the Chief of Staff, the Chief of Chaplains, the Public Information Officer, the Chief of Protocol, and the Commandant of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. George C. Marshall was an active member of our club from 1927 to 1932, while he was Assistant Commandant of the Infantry School. We are fortunate to have a number of retired military members, including six general officers.

We take particular pride in our 94% attendance, the best of all clubs of our size in Rotary International, for which there are three primary reasons: fellowship and the pleasure we take in each others company, interesting programs, and Executive Secretary Mary Reed. Our speakers through the years include General George Patton, Coaches Bobby Dodd and Terry Bowden, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, Dean Rusk, Dale Murphy, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, General Alexander Haig, and numerous other luminaries. A particular honor for us was the attendance of Rotary founder Paul Harris at a club meeting.

Our club supports the Objects of Rotary through a number of local efforts and projects in Central and South America and Eastern Europe. Our president has represented us at every R.I. Convention since 1916. We have sponsored four new clubs: Fitzgerald in 1937, Warm Springs in 1947, East Columbus in 1965, and Muscogee in 1991. Five of our members have served as District Governor. The club has produced 475 Paul Harris Fellows and 81 Will Watt Fellows, and a number of current members are sustainers in both programs. There are 7 Major Donors and 10 Paul Harris Society Members. We have sponsored a foreign student under Will Watt's Georgia Rotary Student Program for the past 56 years.

The Rotary Club of Columbus has a long history of service, and we look forward to carrying our heritage and traditions into the future.

Last updated: July 14, 2008.

Societal Contributions—Avenues of Service[edit]

Community Service[edit]

  • 1917 - Camp Benning established, name recommended by Columbus Rotary Club
  • 1937 - Columbus Rotary sponsors Fitzgerald Rotary Club
  • 1947 - Columbus Rotary sponsors Warm Springs Rotary Club
  • 1965 - Columbus Rotary sponsors East Columbus Rotary Club
  • 1991 - Columbus Rotary sponsors Muscogee Rotary Club

International Service[edit]

Club Service[edit]

Vocational Service[edit]

Youth Service[edit]

  • Clubs sponsored
    • Rotaract Club
    • Rotaract Club
    • Interact Club
  • Dictionary Project


1915-1916 L. R. Christie 1916-1917 C. A. Johnson 1917-1918 Dan Joseph 1918-1919 J. Homer Dimon 1919-1920 G. Gunby Jordan
1920-1921 James B. Key 1921-1922 Harry L Williams 1922-1923 A. Howard Bickerstaff 1923-1924 Charles M Woolfolk 1924-1925 Paul K McKenny
1925-1926 Laurens H Crowell 1926-1927 George B Philips 1927-1928 Abe Illges 1928-1929 Josiah Flournoy 1929-1930 James H McDuffie
1930-1931 Milo B Clason 1931-1932 H Dixon Smith 1932-1933 Frank H Naylor 1933-1934 Pierce Harris 1934-1935 Charles W Weeks
1935-1936 Jack B Key 1936-1937 Knowles D White 1937-1938 Carl C Colbert 1938-1939 Maynard R Ashworth 1939-1940 Theo G Reeves
1940-1941 J Quentin Davidson 1941-1942 Tom B SLoan 1942-1943 Paul Munro 1943-1944 W C Pease Jr 1944-1945 Fred H Schomburg
1945-1946 Joe W Blackmon 1946-1947 M G Murray Jr 1947-1948 Bryan W Collier 1948-1949 J Arthur Lynch 1949-1950 Cliford J Siwft Jr
1950-1951 Ralph I King 1951-1952 John R Kinnnett 1952-1953 George S Murray 1953-1954 George S Murray 1954-1955 Rupert A Triplett
1955-1956 Henry Y Reeves 1956-1957 Frank W Thompson 1957-1958 Hugh McMath 1958-1959 Oscar L Betts Jr 1959-1960 R L Rudolph
1960-1961 Novel R Boyd 1961-1962 Henry B Pease 1962-1963 J Tom Morgan 1963-1964 William H Zimmerman 1964-1965 William t Miller
1965-1966 James W 'Billy' Key 1966-1967 I W Gregory Jr 1967-1968 J Dan Reed 1968-1969 Lee Henkel Jr 1969-1970 T A Hamby Jr
1970-1971 Harry C Jackson 1971-1972 Jac H Rothschild 1972-1973 J Steverson Knight 1972-1973 Wilson M Camp 1973-1974 Jack L Riley Jr
1975-1976 George C Trussell 1976-1977 Jack B Key Jr 1977-1978 Lovick P Corn 1978-1979 Louis T Kunze 1979-1980 Edward W Neal
1980-1981 W E Gross Jr 1981-1982 Thomas B Buck Jr 1982-1983 E H 'Bud' Ruffner 1983-1984 Mathews D Swift 1984-1985 J Norman Pease
1985-1986 Otis B Burnham 1986-1987 T Earl Taylor 1987-1988 J Thomas King Jr 1988-1989 William J Cunningham 1989-1990 Michael N Herndon
1990-1991 Brown Nicholson Jr 1991-1992 Robert George 1992-1993 Frank Brown 1993-1994 William J Smith 1994-1995 Thomas Flowers
1995-1996 Ben Williams Jr 1996-1997 Dan Parker 1997-1998 Jack Key III 1998-1999 Ronald E King 1999-2000 J Ronald Mullins
2000-2001 Philip T Schley 2001-2002 Ccil M Cheves 2002-2003 Joy Loudermilk 2003-2004 Carole Rutland 2004-2005 George G Flowers
2005-2006 J Edward Sprouse 2006-2007 George E Wade III 2007-2008 Carmen Cavezza 2008-2009 Mallon Faircloth 2009-2010 J Robert Jones
2010-2011 Betsy Covington 2011-2012 Jimmy Elder 2012-2013 John D Allen 2013-2014 Greg Camp 2014-2015 Ryan Clements
2015-2016 Michael Silverstein 2016-2017 Elizabeth Barker 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020

Meetings and Information[edit]

Please join us at our weekly meeting!
Wednesday of each week at 12:00 pm
Convention & Trade Center
801 Front Street
Columbus, GA 31901
Contact us at Rotary Club of Columbus
P.O. Box 1138
Columbus, GA 31902


District 6900

Club Virtual Presence[edit]

Club Website
Club Facebook

Categories And Links[edit]

1905 Timeline
Rotary Global History Fellowship