Sarasota, FL, USA

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Service Above Self!

Sarasota Club Foundation Image

The Early Years[edit]

The Rotary Club of Sarasota is a member of Rotary International and organized under Zone 34 in District 6960 is composed of clubs in the seven counties of Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, Lee, Collier, DeSoto, and Hendry. Rotary started in the Sarasota area with the chartering of the Rotary Club of Sarasota on the 12 April, 1926. The club was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Ft. Myers in what was then District 8.

The Sarasota club sponsored the Rotary Club of Sarasota Bay, Sarasota Keys, Sarasota Gulf Gate, Sarasota Sunrise, and Longboat Key.

History of the Rotary Club of Sarasota, Fl Preface By Walter C. Kennedy (Until his death in 1971; the historian(s) after 1971 are unknown, but most likely were Joe Scheb and Peggy Williams.) (Transcribed from 2003-04 yearbook by Jim Henry.)

In compiling the context of this History we have relied upon our memory and upon information contained in the available minutes of the club. It is regrettable that the data for a considerable period is missing. I wish to gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Arthur E. Esthus, who obtained photographs of past presidents and secretaries of the club and to Christodulo Constantine, who furnished a copy of the Charter Night Program. In late 1924, and 1925 through the efforts of three men – J. C Hughey, city ticket agent at the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, a former member of the Rotary Club of Columbia, Tenn.; Harrison E. Barringer, a local attorney, formerly of Jacksonville, Florida and Ben Kagay, a former member of the Rotary Club of Kankakee, Ill., who conducted a real estate business here – the District Governor, John B. Orr, of Miami appointed a committee to make an official survey of Sarasota. The committee was composed of members of the Rotary Clubs of St. Petersburg, and Fort Myers with Ora Chapin of the Fort Myers Club being especially responsible for the organizing. Also serving on the committee with the original three men were Homer Dickson, L. H. Thompson and Walter C. Kennedy. The Provisional Rotary Club of Sarasota was organized February 17, 1926 and the application for membership in Rotary International was filed with the district governor, at a meeting held at the Rendezous Restaurant on the south side of Main Street between Palm Avenue and Five Points. About 75 persons, including representatives of other civic organizations of Sarasota and visiting Rotarians, as well as the 24 Charter members (listed below) attended this meeting.

CHARTER MEMBERS Homer H. Dickson, J.C. Hughey, Walter C, Kennedy, Silas S. Juliar, Thomas Hilditch, Jr., Harrison E. Barringer, Ben F. Kagay, Joe Tatum, Cosmo L. Williams, Harry B. Ivers, Christodulo Constantine, James B. Riley, Voltaire B. Sturgis, Lloyd H. Thompson, Joseph Ness, D. B Kimball, Edward Morgan, Fletcher E. Lewis, Henry H. Moore, J. Claude Turner, David R. Kennedy, John L. Keeley, John S. Woolard, A. Benson Smith. Robert R. Walden, president of the Rotary Club of St. Petersburg, acted as the special representative of the district governor, John B. Orr, in presenting the charter to the club on April 12, 1926, at a meeting held in the Paul De Marcay’s Café, located on the second floor of the Archibald Building, on Main Street, one block West of the County Court House. An outstanding feature of the evening was a concert by a Czechoslovakian band which was brought to Sarasota by John Ringling. One of the earliest projects of the Rotary Club of Sarasota was the organizing of the Boys Band of Sarasota in 1929. For several months, a Rotarian volunteered his services as the director of the band and the club purchased the band’s first instruments and uniforms. The following year, the club succeeded in interesting he Board of Public Instruction in taking over the band and in offering instrumental instruction as part of the regular curriculum of the high school and it became known as the Sarasota High School Band. In the early 30’s during the depression years, the club purchased school books and supplies for needy children.

Meetings were in various places during the early years of the organization. On one special occasion, the club was guest of John Ringling. The Sarasota Herald reported on February 2, 1928, that the Sarasota Rotary Club met in the mess hall of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus quarters for a lunch meeting. Fried chicken and porterhouse steaks were served to the 74 Rotarians and their guests. According to the Herald, "It was far from a luncheon, being more on the order of a meal served a wheat threshing crew in the olden days." Cooks at the show grounds were not expecting such a turnout of club men and when the fried chicken ran out they filled in with two-inch thick steaks. Joe Miller, in charge of the cook house at the circus quarters, was voted a first-class chef and the Rotary authorized the president to draw up resolutions expressing the club's thanks. After the dinner, the guests went over to the elephant house, where the animals were taken out to be used as a background for group pictures, as shown in the above photograph.

The education of the youth and related youth activities have always been of primary importance. Scholarships have been constituently awarded year after year and have been set up to be partly self perpetuating. Since 1930, when the first ‘seed money’ of $700 was raised, the fund has grown steadily and has provided helpful financial assistance to many young men and women. In June of 1983, a total of $9,500 was awarded to nine high school graduates to enable them to further their education. That total includes a special $1,500 outright scholarship gift in honor of one of our charter members, Walter C. Kennedy, a past president and a past district governor, who served our club for over 50 years.

In 1939, the club initiated a program for visiting Rotarians and appropriately called it “Adopted Sons.” When a visiting Rotarian attends four consecutive meetings or our club, he becomes eligible to be an “Adopted Son.” The club presents him with a certificate, and a permanent name badge distributed from a special “Adopted Son” badge box. There are, of course, no initiation fees or dues involved. The members of the “Adopted Sons” group have been of considerable help to our club in completing numerous projects.

Rotary’s Boy Scout troop became permanently housed in their own building in 1941 when the building was erected at a cost of $2,000 with actual construction being done by members of the club.

In 1944, a very successful Charity Ball was held and the Rotary Club turned over $5,000 to the City of Sarasota from the proceeds. The money was used to remodel the operating room and the kitchen of the Sarasota Hospital.

Subsequent Charity Balls were used for many years to fund club projects. The following year, 1945, the club learned of the dire straits of the Sarasota-Manatee Clinic for Crippled Children and Adults. Due to the woefully inadequate facilities and only $2 in the treasury, it was on the verge of closing. Through the club’s efforts, several thousands dollar’s worth of materials and labor were contributed, and a cash gift of $1,700 was made from our club’s treasury. From that time forward, a substantial part of the year’s proceeds from the Charity Balls went to the benefit of the clinic, which later became known as “Happiness House.”

In 1947, the club sponsored a new club in Venice Florida. . . in territory released by the Rotary Club of Sarasota. This was but the beginning of a series of similar territorial relinquishments in order to make way for more Rotary clubs within the territory originally assign to our club.

In 1958, we sponsored a second Rotary club in the City of Sarasota, the Rotary Club of Sarasota Bay. Two years later we sponsored the Rotary Club of Sarasota Keys. In 1974, it was the Rotary Club of Sarasota Gulf Gate. Then in 1981 it was the Rotary Club of Sarasota Sunrise – the first Rotary breakfast club in our area. Thus Rotary Club of Sarasota became the parent of all these clubs by taking an active part in not only sponsoring them but also assisting in the organization as well.

While much of our history deals with contributions aiding needy causes with operating or capital funds, our members have always been particularly generous when special leadership talents in their particular fields of endeavor were needed to aid a floundering organization a cub project. A list giving names of organizations to which our club contributed would read like a page from a directory . . . some are 4-H (Agriculture) Scholarships; Sunny Land Council for Boy Scout camp improvements; Old Folks Aid Home (the Black community) welfare home for the aged); Little League Baseball Clubs; Children’s Haven) a day school and workshop for retarded children); Happiness House Clinic and School for physically handicapped, and countless other organizations including United Appeal agencies.

Rather than allow our club to become a mere instrumentality fundraising, Rotary prefers to encourage members to assume positions of leadership in worthwhile civic groups. The board of directors of many of the more well-known community service organizations have always been made up of many of our club members. Three of the better known organization for example are: The Salvation Army; Goodwill Industries; and Sunnyland Council, B.S.A.

Another form of involvement which has been traditional over the years has been supporting the Salvation Army Christmas Fund by actually manning the kettles as well as contributing funds on an individual basis. Testifying to our effectiveness in this endeavor we have been a fairly consistent winner of the “Bell” (a symbol for the Bell Ringers) given as a trophy, competing against our “Arch Rival” the downtown Kiwanis Club. For all Rotarians who take a turn at hell ringing it is an unforgettable experience.

During the year 1959-60 the “Four Way Test” was adopted by the City and County of Sarasota, Memorial Hospital, and the county schools by resolution.

Personal involvement took on a new meaning in 1969-70 when three members flew to Merida, Mexico, and with the cooperation of the Merida Rotary Club started a project which made profound changes in the nearby village of Dzitya. Electric power was extended to the village, and in return, we contributed an electric-powered wood lathe, replacing an antique foot-powered one used by the natives in their principal industry.

Later in 1970-72, encouraged by the international aspects of the Mexican project, our members sought out a project in the interior of Honduras where we had personal contacts with members of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara. Our project turned out to be helping to secure supplies from many of the hospitals in our area which were in the process of remodeling or replacing equipment. We transported them to Santa Barbara where there was an urgent need in floundering T-B hospital. This project later developed into a district-wide project which included a new addition to the Santa Barbara Hospital with the Rotary symbol attached. Many of our members and their wives visited the almost inaccessible area, enjoying the friendships which ensued, and spreading much international good will. Because of its scope and the international aspects of this enlarged activity, “Project 696” attracted national attention. 1972-73 President Perry Snell, in recognition of his leadership with this project, has an athletic field in Santa Barbara named after him.

By the year 1972-73, our members felt the need for a new and different fundraising vehicle to replace the once popular Charity Balls. The “Haunted House” was inaugurated, co-sponsored by the Junior Welfare League. This year, President Perry Snell received the District Rotarian of the Year Award from DG Dr. Joe Seldon.

Our club’s annual Pioneer Day picnic was initiated in 1974-75 for the purpose of recognizing the pioneers of the Sarasota area. With the cooperation of Coast Federal, this joint effort has grown from an initial 35 invitees to over 1,000 in attendance in 1983. One of our members, Dale Brye, was publicly honored for his leadership in developing the heart-warming community project. This was also the year that Ralph Noel was honored by being named District 696’s Rotarian of the Year.

Rotary year 1975-76 became a landmark year when we celebrated our 50th anniversary with a special donation to the Selby Library in which our member, Glen Pratt, played an active role. A bronze plaque was installed in a room area commemorating the occasion and the special gift.

Sarasota Rotary Club became a “Sister City Club” to Taxco, Mexico Rotary Club when an organized group of our members and their wives visited them in Rotary year 1976-77. The visit was returned with many of their members coming to Sarasota in the year following. The inspiration and encouragement for the great fellowship that developed between these two clubs came from M. E. (Russ) Russell, a member of our club for 44 years. The Russells maintained a villa in Taxco and Russ took art in the activities of the Taxco club when they were in residence there.

Another first-time event occurred in 1977-78 when George Cobb served as a group leader to a District Study Exchange composed of five area businessmen who spent six weeks in Finland.

A second trip to Taxco was a feature of the 1978-79 Rotary year. Fellowship continued to reign supreme and a second delegation of Taxco Rotarians returned the visit a year later. IT was the year of the activation of the “60/40 Club” – and the last Haunted House project. It was also the year that saw the passing of Charter Member Walter Kennedy and the Past Secretary Ken Tutin who served the club from 1954 to 1971.

Bob Perkins, another past president of our club, became Governor of District 696 for the year 1978-79 Rotary year. Bob has continued to serve the cause of Rotary not only locally and in the district but he also distinguished himself by serving Rotary nationally and internationally. He led a Group Study Exchange to Japan in Rotary Year 1978079 and was honored by being the first to be awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship give by this club.

A new annual fund raising project was initiated during 1979-80, the year of Ed Pierce’s presidency. It received considerable cooperation from our members. It was called “The World’s Largest Garage Sale.” It was also the year that District 6960 honored Bob Reinert by naming him Rotarian of the Year.

In 1980-81, the year of President Dave Bowman, Bob Reinert was singled out to become District 696’s Rotary of the Year again because of his outstanding participation in the district and in our own club. An irrevocable trust was established in this same year with numerous pledges being received. The inspiration for the trust came from Past President Sam Idelson who introduced the club to the “60/40” project. It is the hope that the fund will gain in support from bequests and other sources so that it may someday be able to finance our club’s operating expense.

In 1982-83 a new project came into being with our club handling the parking concession at the L.P.G.A. Sarasota Classic Golf Tournament annually. In addition to providing funds for our projects, it also provides an outlet for a large group of our members to work together in a worthwhile community project.

Past President Ralph Noel was named Rotarian of the Year for a second time in 1981-82 and was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship by our club in Rotary Year 1982-83. Ralph was president in 1978-79. His accomplishments include dedicated leadership in all phases of this club’s activities in addition to being made an active member of District 696 committees for many years. The award was made at the Installation Banquet in June, 1983. IT was the second Paul Harris Fellowship provided by our club.

In the previous year, the Downtown Kiwanis Club managed to remove the symbolic bell from our possession by garnering more contributions that we did in 1983. Ross Hunt really made them pay. Not only did we beat Kiwanis but Ross also managed to collect over $5,000, which in the most ever collected by a Civic Club for Salvation Army in Sarasota.

In cooperation with Coast Federal our Pioneer Picnic was a huge success again in 1984, and more Pioneers than ever before attended. It continues to be the one event that each Pioneer looks forward to from one year to the next. As a worthwhile community project it has no equal, and will be carried on by future club leaders.

Again this year we were responsible for the parking at the L.P.G.A. and a large number of our members and adopted sons participated. This event added $3,000 to our club treasury. Ralph Noel handled our concession trailer, dispensing soft drinks, donuts, orange juice, and hot clogs to our members. This year everything when very well, even the weather.

A Presidential Citation was awarded to club president Chuck Kessler in recognition of outstanding and exemplary efforts of our members in fulfilling the objectives of the 1983-84 Presidential Citation Program. “Share Rotary – Serve People.” It was signed by William E. Shelton, President of Rotary International, and J. Welch Whitesell, Governor of District 696.

At the Installation Banquet held on June 2, 1984, Joe Scheb became the third member of our club to be honored with a Paul Harris Fellowship which was provided by the club. Joe first became a Rotarian in 1952, and his been active in many of the club’s projects in addition to serving as “Rotary Smile” columnist for many years. He was president in 1969-70 – the year of our first international project.

Early in the Rotary year 1984-85 we had the visit by the DG and were informed by him of his plans and goals for this year. The DG, Jack Imperatore, Jr. was probably one of the youngest DGs in Rotary history, but he was well-qualified and truly involved in the ideals of Rotary.

Our Community Service Projects include participation in Little League, Ringling Redskins, Survival Swim, and our Pioneer Day. The Pioneer Day is set aside each year to better those residents in Sarasota who have lived here for 50+ years. This year we entertained over 1,100 and were rewarded by the pleasure and enjoyment they had on their day. A first-time project for the five Rotary Clubs in Sarasota, also a first time for complete cooperation between the clubs, was a joint scholarship of $4,000 to be awarded a student of one of the five Sarasota High Schools who intends to pursue a career in music. The five clubs have also agreed to continue with the scholarship and to accept applicants from other fields in the future.

We hosted members of a Group Study Exchange Team from Thailand and helped to select members fro our team to go to Thailand in 1986, a team to be led by our own member, Jim Henry.

From this point forward, each club president was asked to write a summary of their year.

1985-86 – Donald Nolt, President George Cobb became the fifth member of our club to be honored with a Paul Harris Fellowship award for his meritorious service to Rotary. The format of the Yearbook was change into a pocket-sized publication and for the first time in many years was distributed at the Annual Installation Banquet. The year was highlighted with $8,000 being raised for Salvation Army Kettle; new projects included the Pro-Am Golf Tournament and “Quarter Cards” placed on luncheon tables weekly. Handling the parking for L.P.G.A. Tournament with help from Rotary Anns produced $3,000; the Blood Bank was restocked with 100 pints of blood donated by our own members – a significant record. The Rotary Foundation was the recipient of a $21,500 gift from Edwin Allen Trust Fund earmarked for scholarships…this year $10,900 was awarded to worthy students. Jim Henry was named group leader for the District Study Exchange Team which travelled to Thailand for six weeks; Paivi Sorsa, an exchange student from Finland was hosted by our club during the school year; leadership and financial assistance went to many local organizations during the year.

1986-87 – Geoffrey Monge, President

 	Gorge H. Cobb, II, an active member of our club since 1970 and a past president, was nominated and approved as a District Governor Nominee at the District Conference held at Cypress Gardens.

He was elected later at the International Convention in Munich, Germany. Pioneer Day was celebrated with nearly 1,500 enthusiastic 50-year and longer residents of this area in attendance: the Pro-Am Golf Tournament raised $1,600 for the Foundation; parking cars in L.P.G.A. and Chrysler Cup Tournaments with Paul Corbridge chairman of both events raised more funds for our scholarships and charitable giving. Past President Chuck Kessler received District 696 Rotarian of the Year award at the Annual Assembly held in Punta Gorda and was again honored along with Past President Perry Snell when each received a Paul Harris Fellowship Award in honor of outstanding service to Rotary.

1987-88 – Charles L. Fernandez, President Charlie became the second son of a Sarasota Rotary Club President to lead our club. Ray Skinner, Jr. was the first. Pioneer Day picnic continued to grow with 1,600 Sarasota area Pioneers in attendance at Robarts Sports Arena. Jim Henry spearheaded another successful ProAm Golf and Tennis Tournament at the Meadows with the proceeds earmarked for Polio Plus. The District Conference was held in Sarasota with a theme honoring Paul Harris Fellows and highlighted with two District Paul Harris Fellowship awards. The annual Christmas-time bell-ringing for the Salvation Army put us ahead of rival Downtown Kiwanis Club with our club receiving the cherished Christmas Bell Trophy. Bob Wands started another fund-raiser selling ‘license plates’ imprinted with Rotary symbols; L.P.G.A. Sarasota Classic and Chrysler Cup Tournaments were again staffed with our Rotarians earning money for scholarships. Our weekly “Smile” received 2nd Place Honorable Mention in competition with other club bulletins at the District Assembly in Ft. Myers which our incoming leaders attended a training session under the direction of District Governor of George Cobb. A new Rotaract Club was chartered and we welcomed Sarasota Sunset Rotary Club which will meet Mondays at 6 p.m. at Doctors Hospital. Scholarships awarded to nine local high school seniors this year amounted to $8,500.

1988-89 – James Henry, President “A person who not only rose to but dressed for the occasion.” Rotary year 1988-89 was a historic year of the Rotary Club of Sarasota. Here are this year’s highlights:

	Polio Plus pledges nearing the $26,000 mark.
	The first women members brought into the club.
	The election of Vice President by popular vote of the club.
	The establishment of a Sarasota Rotary Foundation Board.
	The designation of April as Sarasota Rotary Foundation Month.
	Honoring the Club’s 3 District Governors with rings.
	Honoring Hank Gay’s 27 years of service with a watch.
	The Foundation Board establishing the Sam Idelson Scholarship.

1989-90 – Preston Tramel, President In the spirit of service above self and the concern for humanity sent approximately $3,000 to the Charleston area to aid Hurricane Hugo victims. On Pioneer Day we hosted approximately 1,200 Sarasota pioneers for a day of visiting, enjoyment and food. Our tennis tournament was a smashing success. We hosted a delegation from the Soviet Union at one of our meetings. We were able to help the Salvation Army by bringing in approximately $9.000 by “ringing the bell” and we won back the trophy bell! This is the most we have ever raised with this project. Parking cars at the Tournament of Players was another success. Even though it did involve many hours of work, the fellowship was great and the money earned went for scholarships to deserving students. Rotary Rose Day was a wonderful opportunity to expand our cooperation with other Rotary clubs and make the community more aware of Rotary. There is better co-operation and association between Rotary clubs in the area than ever before.

1990-91 – Paul Corbridge, President Several younger member of the business community were added to the club. The Pioneer Picnic was the biggest and best ever. The year was one of the best we have had for unrestricted gifts to the International Foundation and an outstanding year for the creation of Paul Harris Fellows. Additionally, we once more became truly the “Downtown” club, as we were forced to make a move to the beautiful Marine Ballroom on Palm Avenue. Several “firsts” were part of the year, among them: $2,900 for the “Scouting for Food” program of the Boy Scouts. We furnished the collection bags with Rotary of Sarasota emblazoned on them and 42 tons of food was collected for the needy. $3,000 for the Heart Village program, to train those to help the third world countries in basic needs, was another “first.” Others included exhibiting Pioneer Day and the Honduras Project at the District Conference, starting the Happy Dollar program to assist our fund raising, honoring local citizens raised in Sarasota who returned to Sarasota to success and community service, entering the Rotary Float in the Circus Parade and collecting and sending several thousand dollars’ of goods to our Desert Storm troops. Finally, our Scholarship Program awarded over $8,000 with the first-time emphasis on those in need, in addition to those exhibiting academic excellence. Our first Auction raised more than $8,000 for our Foundation.

1991-92 – John McCue President Because of the strength of our club we had a good year. As usual, our annual Pioneer Day Picnic did well, feeding approximately 1,200 people. Even better, we had two sponsors who funded virtually the entire affair. Our second annual auction, where a lot of people had fun while helping others, raised over $10,000. We decided to concentrate on just a few youth-related charities rather than spread our funds around, so primary beneficiaries were Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Sarasota Education Foundation. A new fund raising project, the Citrus project, was started. We offered to broker wholesale citrus shipments for northern clubs who want to sell it as a fundraiser themselves. We only had one customer, but other interest was shown and we will continue our efforts next year. This year saw the re-introduction of some functions purely for fellowship. We had several golf outings, tennis affairs, a boat trip, and a catered New Year’s Day bash. We also participated in a Vocational Day program, a true “Rotary” meeting where club members met at other members’ businesses to tour them and learn about what goes on there. Each of these functions was enjoyed b all who participated.

1992-93 – Stephen F. Ellis, President Once again, service to the community was paramount, as we served over 1,200 Sarasota pioneers on our annual Pioneer Day Picnic; participated in “Scouting for Food”; bell ringing for the Salvation Army, and relief for Hurricane Andrew victims; we held a Christmas Party for the underprivileged children and raised about $5,000 during a successfully renewed “Rotary Rose Day” effort. Our total budget of fundraising allowed us to distribute over $10,000 to the Sarasota Rotary Foundation, which gave its funds to Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Sarasota, the Sarasota Education Foundation, Little League, Girls Scouts, and a variety of other local needs. Our international outreach continued with our sponsorship of a foreign exchange student from Belgium and hosted a GSE Team from Columbia and sent Lee En Chung on our district Group Study Exchange team to Columbia. Our fellowship activities included our annual tennis tournament and our Fall classic LeBarge trip, this year with exotic entertainment. Our catered New Years Day party hosted by the McCues was a great success. Finally, this was a year of change. Although many reasons were cited, our Club decision to relocate meetings to the Brass Parrot in downtown Sarasota came in response to a simple need for change and rejuvenation.

1993-94 – Arthur H. Schomp, President This year we enjoyed fellowship in the annual LeBarge cruise, a hockey trip and a New Year’s Day party, community service including Pioneer Day serving 1,200 guests and hosting a Christmas Party for over 100 young people with the Police Athletic League. As fun raisers, we sold more roses than last year and enjoyed a successful first effort with a benefit preview performance of an Asolo Theater play. Our GSE team came from Bombay, India and shared our LeBarge cruise. We initiated an Interact Club at Sarasota High School and began the process of another at Cardinal Mooney. Interacters participated in The Human Race for the benefit of our Foundation.

1994-95 – Richard C. Rehmeyer, President We adopted two Sister Clubs, the Rotary Clubs of Oruro, Bolivia and Makati, Philippines. With help from RI and the Makati Rotary Club, we were able to equip the operating rooms of a mobile eye van serving the poor in the Philippines. Community efforts included purging non-native plants at Oscar Scherer State Park; manning Student Voter Polls during elections’ cleaning North Lido Beach three times per year, quarterly Blood Bank donations; helping paint the All Faith Food Bank; organizing Rotary’s support of the PAL Bowl sponsoring the first Rotary Golf Challenge to benefit the United Way Foundation. Vocational efforts included an interesting Vocational Exchange Day. We presented a Distinguished Vocational Service Award for lifelong vocational service to others. We helped an Interact Club develop at Cardinal Mooney High School and strengthened the one at Sarasota High. Our club earned the Presidential Citation for community concerns and the Rotary Foundation’s Citation for Meritorious Service Award was presented to our member George Cobb. George is only the fourth Rotarian in District 6960 to ever receive this great honor for service to the Rotary Foundation. (Last year member Robert Perkins was the third.)

1996-97 – Gary E. Jackson, President The Sarasota Rotary Foundation underwent major reorganization and adopted written policies for various types of funds, investment strategies and giving. Donations via the club or Foundation were given too many local youth organizations. Fund raising included restructuring the Pioneer Picnic to be self-supporting and publishing and selling a collection of Ed Pierce’s Piercing Remarks. 60/40 was replaced by a jackpot. Involvement with Interact soared to new heights with a total of four clubs now in our local high schools. Our Ambassadorial Scholar candidate, Jennifer D’Amica, was chosen to receive a full year’s scholarship to the University of Cape Town in Rodenhosch, South Africa. The club was promoted in area newspapers for its service to the community with the Financial Lectures. Bob Perkins, Past President, Past District Governor, Past District Secretary and District Treasurer, was awarded h Golden Century Award for membership development at the International Assembly in Anaheim, CA. At the District Assembly, where Bob was also honored, our weekly bulleting, the SMILE, was judged best in District 6960 for content and presentation. Finally, the year end brought the Presidential Citation award for club excellence.

1997-98 – Suellen Field – President Our prime focus for the year was children. Through the Sarasota Rotary Foundation, which this year surpassed the goal of $100,000 in the Endowment Fund, we supported many local projects involved with children. Two new events were a fundraising garage sale and a picnic at Mote Marine for the visiting foreign District Governor Nominees and all Sarasota Rotary clubs. Pioneer Picnic once again brought out hundreds of Sarasota pioneers. A workday was held at Tallevast Community Center where we joined with the South Manatee Club in painting, scrubbing, and sweating. The second annual financial seminar was held at Selby Library and members staffed a voting precinct assisting children as the voted—142 children did. Bob Perkins was again honored by RI. He was chosen by President Luis Vicente Giay to give a presentation titled, “Selecting and Orienting Ambassadors of Goodwill” to the International Conference of the Rotary Foundation. Caridad Santos was presented Rotary Volunteers Certificate of Recognition.

1997-98 – Richard J. Cacchiotti, President We began our year with our annual Pioneer Day Picnic held at Robarts Arena. The Rotarians of our club helped over 850 Pioneers of Sarasota renew friendships with their fellow Saratsotans and enjoy a wonderful meal. We rang the bell for the Salvation Army at Christmas, raising almost $3,000 and raised over $10,000 in the Christmas Angels project to help children in Sarasota have a brighter Christmas. We held a blood drive each quarter this year and maintained our section of Lido Beach in the Florida Clean-U campaign. Two successful food drives benefitted the All Faiths Food Bank. Three students were sponsored for the S4TL program held in Lakeland and money was raised for nine programs for Junior Achievement. We were able to fund three dental chairs and over 20 hospital beds which we shipped to Haiti in an International Project, and we once again participated in Rotary’s youth exchange program, hosted Ester Bano from Spain and sending Sarah Lieving there in her place. Tallevast Community Center benefitted from a new computer system, and our Sarasota Rotary Foundation was able to provide funding to educational mini grants, to Kenny Langford for a handicap-equipped van, and other community projects. Drew Adams was selected as Rotarian of the Year for service to the club and community.

1998-99 – George Percy – President Throughout the year fellowship was prominent. Baseball and hockey games, golf very Thursday afternoon, opera, ballet, parties for Octoberfest, holidays, St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo along with Happy Hours every month built friendships and vocational spirit. In between fun and frolic, we worked in the community with High School Interact Service Day at Cardinal Mooney and Girls Inc, Pioneer Picnic, ringing the bell for Salvation Army, raising funds for the Christmas Angels, Al Faiths Food Bank, St. Vincent de Paul, Kids of Kosovo, Habitat for Humanity, Girls Inc., Boys and Girls Club, Little League, and Redskins Football; two beach cleanups at Lido, three mini-grants for the Education Foundation, Blood drives’ providing a sound system for Fruitville Elementary Choir; and best of all raising $43,000 ($18,000 from a Children’s Grant, $12.500 from our club and $12,500 from our Foundation) for the Rotary Kids Kitchen, (later called Kids’ Café.) Internationally the grants committee worked hard and sent medical equipment and supplies to Haiti, obtaining a matching grant from RI to raise $25,000for an electrical generator for Haiti. In addition, we sponsored two Group Study Exchange team members for Italy and our nominee for an Ambassadorial Scholar was selected. Dick Rehmeyer was selected Rotarian of the Year for his spectacular grant work. Bev Halstead was made Booster of the Year for here work with Cardinal Mooney Interact and Lynn O. Matthews received the non-Rotarian Vocational Service Award.

1999-2000 – President William North Our primary goal for the year was two fold: 1) continue the fun and frolicking which has made ours a special club and 2) increase membership by 10%. We accomplished each of these goals. One highlight was the celebration of Paul Harris with our keynote speaker the General Secretary of Rotary International Aaron Hyatt. His message of personal experience in India and how The Rotary Foundation is bringing help to the millions of needy made us proud to be Rotarians. We had our most successful Pioneer Picnic ever, with sponsorships that put our treasury in the black. The Rotary Kids’ Café at the Newtown Unit of the Boys and Girls Club is proceeding well and should be running soon. Through the efforts of Dick Rehmeyer, who was District Governor in 2001-02, we increased annual giving to The Rotary Foundation to 86% of club members and to our own Sarasota Rotary Foundation to 75%.

2000-2001 – Myra Monfort – President This, the seventy-fifth year of the Rotary Club of Sarasota, was marked by Club and Foundation grants to local organizations in excess of $75,000. At the Anniversary Gala April 25, 2001, attended by over 300 Rotarians and friends of Rotary, a check for $30,000 was presented to the Selby Pre-School of Children’s Haven to build a playground for developmentally delayed children. During the year Rotarians had painted and mulched at the Selby Pre-School. A parade of Club Presidents from the past 25 years, the presentation of the Rotary Club of Sarasota Family Recognition Award to Ray Skinner on behalf of the Skinner family, three generations of dedicated Rotarians, coming a new motto – “Make Rotary a Family Tradition” – and the marks of Rotary Hank Brown, President of the University of Northern Colorado and a former Congressman and U.S. Senator, were highlights of the event. Contributions to the Rotary Foundation exceeded $13,000 for the year. With funds from the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International and the Club and the Club’s Foundation, the Rotary Kids’ Café at the Newtown Unit of the Boys and Girls Club, three years in the design and construction phase, was completed. The dedication ceremonies held on Jan 10, 2001, received wide media coverage. This project represented an unusual community partnership among the Boys and Girls Club. In preparing hot meals for the children and families of the immediate neighborhood, “at risk” youth are being taught the culinary arts and guaranteed jobs upon completion of the program. Not only was this project featured in The Rotarian magazine of June, 2001, it earned the club the Rotary International Significant Achievement Award, the only one ever awarded to District 6960 this year. The Annual Pioneer Picnic provided barbequed beef, hush puppies and swamp cabbage to over eight hundred Sarasotans who had been in the area for more than 50 years. The success of the event enabled the Club to provide a check for $2,500 to the All Faiths’ Food Bank. This year we also presented scholarships to the Mote Marine, the Boys and Girls Club and to a student at Sarasota County Technical Institute to complete her studies in the horticultural department. Monthly vocational Happy Hours continued. A host of members attended the Bai Masque on October 30, 2000, in costume. The Christmas party set the tone for the Holidays and the New Year. Members of the Club traveled to Orlando to see Cirque de Soleil, gambled in Biloxi and joined other Rotarians in the District to have cocktails and dinner with International President Frank Devlyn at the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. The Club hosted the Group Study Exchange Team from Ecuador and with a Cinco de Mayo Luncheon buffet. Rotarians from Ecuador and Honduras visited the Club and presented proposals for matching grants. Speakers were outstanding throughout the year which may explain the net increase of thirteen new members for a total membership at year end of 110. Or perhaps this growth in membership can be attributed to the fact that, for the first time in ten years, the Club sang at its meetings.

2001-2002 – Lynn Hathaway-Howe – President This year will always be remembered by the date, 9-11. We found new heroes and learned more than ever about what Rotary does and means around the world. James Mattera, our own Sarasota firefighter through chance found himself at ground zero. We shared a grief through his words that was echoed worldwide. We made James honorary Rotarians. The annual Pioneer Picnic taught us all where swamp cabbage comes from and how to make it. Sarasota history on film and the giving of gold, silver, and bronze medallions to the oldest citizens as a highlight. We continued our monthly Happy Hours but added a few more events, the birthday table, Spanish table, and Rotarian of the month award. Our excursion to Sly Gardens was a Saturday afternoon retreat. Let’s not forget the Biloxi trip, Bai Masque, Holiday party, and Valentine’s Day. Throughout the year giving came easily, not only monies but time as well. Clearly the event for the Childhood Enrichment Center touched all of us; the children with autism will now have new computers. Other benefactors are the Food Bank, Kids’ Café, PAL, Yes You Can, the Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center, Tallevast Community Center, Children’s Haven, Sarasota-Bradenton Children’s Zoo. Including International and other community projects not mentioned we have given in excess of $30,000 this year. Receiving the Presidential Citation again this year was a tremendous challenge, but yet made. More than ever fellow Rotarians are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

2002-2003 – Larry Lieving – President The 2002-2003 Rotary year was another great year, giving us interesting new members, informative programs, and rewarding projects. Internationally, we participated in two matching grant projects. One was with the Rotary Club of Sogamoso, Columbia, for a drinking water system, and an upgrade for a school in a rural community. The second was with the Rotary Club of San Francisco, Argentina. This grant provided eyeglasses for needy children and adults in that area. We sponsored two members to the GSE team that went to Australia. Tom Hedge and Jill Keene were outstanding representative for the United States and Rotary. The Australian team presented an informative and delightful program for one of our meetings. More than ever we realize the value of this Rotary International program. We also hosted five Open World Program team members from Russia, and our Brazilian Exchange Student, Marina Palmero Butolo, experienced Rotary Hospitality attended Riverview High School for the 2002-03 school year. Locally, we were recognized as an “Adopt-A-Beach” organization for Keep Sarasota Beautiful. We continued to expand the number of Pioneers participating in our recognition picnic. Our Vocational “Happy Hours” program continues to remind us of the many successful and talented members in our club. As in every year, busy but dedicated Rotarians continued to give blood, ring bells, donate food, pickup garbage, support numerous projects, attend meetings and receive fun and satisfaction as the reward. Members also enjoyed h quarterly social functions beginning with our Halloween party, then Holiday, Tax Relief, and ending with a Cinco de Mayo party. Along with the other area Rotary clubs, we finalized the 2005 Centennial Project for Rotary International. Our joint project will be the specialized needs playground at Oak Park School. We initiated a new program called “Introduction to Rotary” specifically for new members and their Rotary Partners. The President, along with several officers and board members hosted these gatherings to help new members and their Rotary partners have the opportunity to be better acquainted with Rotary. We are extremely proud to be recognized by the district as having 100% member participation in the PolioPlus program to eradicate polio. Rotarians continue to “do good things.”

2003 -2004 – Joel Walters – President Fellowship was a primary reason Rotary was started in 1905 and it continues to be a key aspect of our club today. Fellowship activities this year included: holiday parties; fishing and golfing outings; professional sports; Opera; an Independence Day cruise; and an improv comedy show at a cabaret club. Rotarians in the club continued to make their workplaces available to other members for vocational happy hours, including a joint happy hour with the Latin Chamber of Commerce, and for a Vocational Exchange Day that was held in lieu of a regular meeting. Club Rotarians should be proud of the level of service provided at both the community and international levels. The club, either directly or through its foundation, assisted numerous children's programs and charities including: Interact, S4TL, Rotary Camp Florida, The Education Foundation, Children's First, Christmas Foster Angels, Boy Scouts, Kids Across America, Boys and Girls Club and the Police Athletic League. The Benefit for Autism that was sponsored by the club generated in excess of $27,000 for the autistic children who attended the Childhood Enrichment Center. Community service included quarterly Lido Beach clean-ups, Salvation Army bell ringing, Pioneer Picnic, Dictionary Day, food collection for the All Faiths Food Bank and a work day at the Helen Payne Day Nursery. The club actively supported international programs including a matching grant application to provide five deep wells for drinking water in Nigeria; a matching grant application to provide 326 pairs of eye glasses for the needy in Argentina; the purchase of shelter boxes that were deployed to provide shelter and relief to earthquake victims in Iran; a matching grant to provide cataract surgeries in India; and an individual grant for Caridad and Ramon Santos to provide cataract surgery and free eye glasses in Bolivia. The ponytail of President-Elect Bill Jotham was auctioned off to raise funds to send needed building materials to the Dominican Republic. For its efforts this year, the club received both the Governor's Citation and the Presidential Citation. The club also proudly displayed the District Governor Home Club banner in recognition of the service of District Governor Jim Henry.

         Club Exchange Students

1970-71 Laurel Newton Australia 1971-72 Topio Piotkanen Finland 1972-73 Jyrke Pitkanen Finland 1976-77 Candy de Miranda Brazil 1977-78 Mike Kohn Germany 1978-79 Eeva Lajunen Finland 1979-80 Riitta Uusitalo Finland 1981-82 Pirkko Vappula Finland 1982-83 Satu Lehtinen Finland 1983-84 Kay Schuhr Germany 1984-85 Anu Rajala Finland 1985-86 Paivi Sorsa Finland 1986-87 Minna Heikkonen Finland 1987-88 Kirsi Kosonen Finland 1988-89 Sandy Zingg Switzerland 1989-90 Tuija Venermo Finland 1990-91 Sophie Goubet Belgium 1993-94 Paschal Lameroy Belgium 1994-95 Pili Chaves Columbia 1997-98 Esther Bano Spain 2001-02 Vanessa Jordan Bolivia 2002-03 MariPalmero Butolo Brazil

Societal Contributions[edit]

Community Service[edit]


The Rotary Club of Sarasota funds and maintains its own [Rotary Club of Sarasota Foundation] EIN 59-6153330 State Registration CH24846 THE FOUNDATION'S MISSION: Helping The Rotary Club of Sarasota Build a Better Community and World Through Humanitarian, Educational, and Charitable Endeavors.

Our Community Impact since 2008

  • 2013-$15,000
  • 2012-$ 8,750
  • 2011-$15,500
  • 2010-$26,650
  • 2009-$20,700
  • 2008-$13,500

Community Support[edit]

  • Awards multiple scholarships annually for college-bound high school graduates
  • Sponsors the Interact Clubs
  • Presents the Sarasota RotaryArtFestival raising funds for all charitable endeavors.
    Sarasota Rotary Art Fest Logo
  • Supports Sarasota's [Food Insecure Students]
  • 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 with total of 55 PHFs)
  • Supports the Rotary International Youth Exchange program--(2013-India)
  • Supports the Rotary International Group Exchange program--(2015-Taiwan)
  • Donates to Rotary International’s PolioPlus program that has nearly eradicated of polio worldwide


President Name, 2014-2015
1926-1927 Ben F. Kagay 1927-1928 John S. Woolard 1928-1929 Voltaire D. Sturgis 1929-1930 J. Claude Turner
1930-1931 Louis E. Hall 1931-1932 Walter C. Kennedy 1932-1933 Charles L. Eislander 1933-1934 Harrison Barringer 1934-1935 Chris Constantine
1935-1936 John W. Davis 1936-1937 William A. Lillycrop 1937-1938 Walter N. Munroe 1938-1939 William E. Evans 1939-1940 Thomas R. Culler
1940-1941 Lee C. Hazen 1941-1942 A.W. Knapp 1942-1943 Jerry Van Orden 1943-1944 Thomas R. Culler 1944-1945 George A. Foster
1945-1946 M.E. Cox 1946-1947 Ernest C. Sears 1947-1948 William M. Harmon 1948-1949 Arthur E. Esthus 1949-1950 Francis H. Walpole
1950-1951 Clarence L. McKaig 1951-1952 Harry Wolstenholme 1952-1953 Walter R. Thompson 1953-1954 Werner Kannenberg 1954-1955 J. Don Self
1955-1956 J.Wyman Hallowell 1956-1957 Charles L. Wackerly 1957-1958 Raymond F. Skinner, Jr 1958-1959 S.F. Sloan 1959-1960 John W. Schaub
1960-1961 Warren P. Kemp 1961-1962 Edward A. St.Phillip 1962-1963 James H. Archibald 1963-1964 M.E. Marable 1964-1965 H.E. Swain
1965-1966 Marty J. O'Neill 1966-1967 Nicholas D. Poulos 1967-1968 Emil A. Adomat 1968-1969 A.G. (Tony) Fernandez 1969-1970 Joe. E. Scheb
1970-1971 William E. Getzen 1971-1972 Perry G. Snell 1972-1973 William E. Robertson 1973-1974 Thomas E. Danson, Jr. 1974-1975 Robert E. Perkins
1975-1976 Raymond F. Skinner, Jr 1976-1977 Sam Idelson 1977-1978 Parker C. Banzhaf 1978-1979 Ralph R. Noel 1979-1980 C.E. (Ed) Pierce
1980-1981 David G. Bowman 1981-1982 Robert F. Reinert 1982-1983 Ray Bruce Humphrey 1983-1984 Charles A. Kessler 1984-1985 George H. Cobb, II
1985-1986 Donald L. Nolt 1986-1987 Geoffrey Monge 1987-1988 Charles L. Fernandez 1988-1989 Jim Henry 1989-1990 Preston Y. Tramel
1990-1991 J. Paul Corbridge 1991-1992 John E. McCue 1992-1993 Stephen F. Ellis 1993-1994 Arthur H. Schomp 1994-1995 Richard C. Rehmeyer
1995-1996 Gary E. Jackson 1996-1997 Suellen Field 1997-1998 Richard Cacchiotti 1998-1999 George Percy 1999-2000 William E. (Bill) North
2000-2001 Myra Monfort 2001-2002 Lynn Hathaway-Howe 2002-2003 Larry Lieving 2003-2004 Joel Walters 2004-2005 William Jotham
2005-2006 Richard Crawford 2006-2007 Tom Zahn 2007-2008 Gary Smith 2008-2009 Joe Formella 2009-2010 Ken Torrington
2010-2011 Rick Hughes 2011-2012 Jim Henry 2012-2013 Robert J. (Bob) Stone 2013-2014 Dr Tim Herring 2014-2015 Judy A. Bennett
2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020

Meetings and Information[edit]

Please join us at our weekly meeting! Wednesday of each week at 12:00 noon
Marina Jack 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, FL 34236 USA

Contact us at Rotary Club of Sarasota
P.O. Box 2766
Sarasota, FL 34230 USA
Email the Club


District 6960

Club Virtual Presence[edit]

Club Website

Web Master: Jim Henry

Categories And Links[edit]