Orlando, FL, USA

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Service Above Self!


The Early Years[edit]

May 12, 1920 -- 18 of Orlando's Prominent Business and Professional Leaders Formed the Rotary Club of Orlando.
Bottom Row (L to R) C.G. Brown, W.L. Tilden, H.S. Wilson, J.P. Holbrook, J. Dean Adcock, Eugene G. Duckworth, Nixon Butt, Wm. M. Glenn
Top Row (L to R) C. DeWitt Miller, S. Walter Howe, Carey Hand, Mayor Vernon W. Estes, F.G. Rush, John S. McEwan, Sam Y. Way, Moses O Overstreet, Don A. Cheney, S. Kendrick Guernsey

The Rotary Club of Orlando is a member of Rotary International. District 6980 is composed of clubs in the counties of Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake and Sumter.

Rotary started in the Orlando area with the chartering of the Rotary Club of Orlando on May 12, 1920. The club was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Tampa in what was then District 8.
The Orlando club sponsored the Rotary Club of Sanford in April 1921; Eustis (now known as Lake County Golden Triangle in January 1922; Apopka in May 1927; and Winter Park in April 1947.

A small group of business and professional men led by John A. Turner of Tampa, representing District Governor Truman McGill of Selma, Alabama traveled the narrow winding red brick road to Orlando for the charter night banquet of the Rotary Club of Orlando. Delegations from St. Augustine, Ocala, Palatka, Lakeland, Tampa, Jacksonville and Gainesville attended the installation day event at the Board of Trade building, the former Rosalind Club. In honor of the birth of this new club, all inductees came dressed as babies.

The Rotary Club of Orlando Lives the Service Above Self Motto
In its first year, the Rotary Club of Orlando made a significant contribution not only of money but of individual time to support its community. Some of these accomplishments in 1920 included:

  • Petitioned the State Legislature to increase the appropriation for the University of Florida
  • Initiated action to resolve the water and light utility problem that resulted in municipal ownership of the Orlando Utilities in 1922.
  • "Big Brother” idea adopted by Orlando Rotary
  • Proposed permanent City Planning Commission
  • Orange General Hospital
  • Orlando Country Club
  • Petitioned State Legislature to secure better salaries for public school teachers
  • Red Cross Christmas Seal Drive
  • Orlando Public Playground Activities


Paul Harris Plants Friendship Tree[edit]

March 3, 1937

Paul Harris and Orlando PP plant a Friendship Tree on 3 March 1937 at Lake Eola. Click to enlarge.

The Paul Harris’ were frequent visitors to Florida and there is a black and white photograph of Paul Harris and a little boy planting a tree. Two men stand nearby watching. The original picture in the Orlando Club files is captioned: "Paul Harris, Founder of Rotary International, frequently spent the winter months at Clermont, Florida and visited the Orlando club several times. Here, on March 3, 1937, he is shown planting an oak tree at Lake Eola off Osceola. Assisting him is John T. Branham, Sr. President of Orlando 1936-37, and a little namesake “Paul Harris" of Apopka."

The 2010s[edit]

Gary C.K. Huang Dedicates Friendship Tree[edit]

The dedication of a tree in Orlando, FL by RIP Gary C.K. Huang 2015 March 13. Lake Eola at Osceola Street. Click to enlarge.

Rotary International President Gary C.K. Huang dedicated a Friendship tree to replace the tree planted by Rotary Founder Paul Harris at Lake Eola, Orlando, FL, USA. The tree dedication held March 13, 2015 was arranged by the Rotary Club of Orlando.

Societal Contributions[edit]

Community Service[edit]

  • Awards multiple scholarships annually for college-bound high school graduates
  • Sponsors the Interact Clubs
  • Supports Cub Scout Pack
  • Sponsors students to Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), focusing on citizenship and leadership qualities in high school students (2014-awarded students and provided Rotarian leadership

International Service[edit]

  • Contributes to worldwide service projects as Paul Harris Fellows (2014-30 members)
  • Supports the Rotary International Youth Exchange program--(2013-)
  • Supports the Rotary International Group Exchange program--(2015-)
  • Donates to Rotary International’s PolioPlus program that has nearly eradicated of polio worldwide

Club Service[edit]

1992 Convention Trophy Plaque

Rotary International District 6980 served as the Host of the 83rd RI Convention June 14-17, 1992. There were 19,111 Rotarians in attendance under Rajendra K. Saboo, of Chandigarh, India.


Orlando President 2014-2015
1920-1921 J.P. Holbrook 1921-1922 S.Kendrick Guernsey 1922-1923 Dewitt Miller 1923-1924 Wilber Tilden 1924-1925 Henry Leu
1925-1926 William Branch 1926-1927 Newton Yowell 1927-1928 Guy Ramsey 1928-1929 George Nash 1929-1930 Victor Powe
1930-1931 Nixon Butt 1931-1932 Samuel Way 1932-1933 Coite Hill 1933-1934 W.R. Woods 1934-1935 Holman Cloud
1935-1936 J.C. Robinson 1936-1937 Jack Branham 1937-1938 Ben Carpenter 1938-1939 William Glenn 1939-1940 Linton Allen
1940-1941 Harry Voorhis 1941-1942 J.A. Mooneyham 1942-1943 Horace Jacobs, Jr. 1943-1944 Whitney Spiegel 1944-1945 Milton Fergowe
1945-1946 James Pittman 1946-1947 Paul Stine 1947-1948 Gus Lawton 1948-1949 William Dial 1949-1950 William Lawrence
1950-1951 Alex Robinson 1951-1952 James Keith, Sr. 1952-1953 Robert Robertson 1953-1954 Dr. Frank Pyle 1954-1955 J. Stanley Bumby
1955-1956 W.A. McCree, Jr. 1956-1957 C. Howard Sweatt 1957-1958 Richard Lawrence 1958-1959 Herbert Haack 1959-1960 Dr. W. Dean Steward
1960-1961 Doyle Darnold 1961-1962 Eames Gertner 1962-1963 Robert Neel 1963-1964 William Mercer 1964-1965 Harry Bull
1965-1966 Francis Auger 1966-1967 Joel Wells, Jr. 1967-1968 Byron Thames 1968-1969 Loren Ward 1969-1970 Henry Parker
1970-1971 Joseph Guernsey 1971-1972 William Beardall 1972-1973 Walter Pharr 1972-1973 Walter Pharr 1973-1974 Dr. Truett Frazier
1975-1976 Walter (Buckie) Allen, Jr. 1976-1977 Thomas Denmark 1977-1978 Clyde West 1978-1979 Jon Stine 1979-1980 Stanley Hand
1980-1981 L. Howard Chadwick 1981-1982 Ormund Powers 1982-1983 Eugene Minietta 1983-1984 Claude Edwards 1984-1985 Leon Handley
1985-1986 Steve Bechtel 1986-1987 David Crowson 1987-1988 Grant Clarke 1988-1989 Alton Nolte, Jr. 1989-1990 Patrick (Pat) Knipe
1990-1991 Edward Carr 1991-1992 Robert Blackford 1992-1993 Scott Johnson 1993-1994 Edward Baranowski 1994-1995 Dorsa McGuire
1995-1996 Britt Lovett 1996-1997 George Huffman 1997-1998 Larry Fegebank 1998-1999 Robert Ford 1999-2000 Mary Ann Dean
2000-2001 Stephen Dieter 2001-2002 Douglas Doudney 2002-2003 Raleigh (Sandy) Seay, Jr. 2003-2004 Darrell Shea 2004-2005 Charles Shuffield
2005-2006 John Garceau 2006-2007 James Stowers, Jr. 2007-2008 Lawrence Kirkwood 2008-2009 Heidi Isenhart 2009-2010 Dann Pottinger
2010-2011 Carter (Curley) Bowman 2011-2012 Linda Rolf 2012-2013 Roger Jacobson 2013-2014 Robert Ford 2014-2015 Danielle Krise
2015-2016 Richard McCree 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020

Meetings and Information[edit]

Please join us at our weekly meeting!
Thursday of each week at 12:00 noon
Sorosis House
501 East Livingston
Orlando, FL 32803 USA

Contact us at Rotary Club of Orlando
P.O. Box 0388
Orlando, FL 32856-0388 USA

Email the Club


District 6980

Club Virtual Presence[edit]

Club Website

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