Write Again … ‘Service above self’ — a history

Published 9:41 pm Monday, October 29, 2012

When my parents moved here to Little Washington in 1936, my father joined the local Rotary club.
Pop was a member continuously until the late 1980s. I came up from Manteo at what was, unbeknownst to him, the last meeting he would attend. He was being honored as a Paul Harris Fellow.
Before the next Thursday meeting came around, he fell and broke his hip. After surgery in Greenville, we took him to the Beaufort County Nursing Home to convalesce. Not so very long after, he was able to go home.
Things were never really good at home anymore after that. He had difficulty just getting around. My mother was in the last, the final, stages of cancer that took her away in September of 1989. She was a brave woman, for she first encountered that despicable enemy in 1960. That she lived 29 years after the first — of many — cancer battles is a testament to her strong spirit. Those years took a real toll on her physically and emotionally. I choose to believe that she’s in glory now, and truly at peace. I know my father is.
I meander. Rotary. Yes, that’s the topic.
Rotary International is a global force for good. Most non-Rotarians can’t imagine the scope and impact in service to humanity that Rotary has all over this earth.
Anyway, my longtime and very good friend Jim Hackney, also a member of the Class of 1957, passed along to me via cyber space an interesting overview of Rotary, for the years 1920-54.
Such history that specifically focuses on the Washington Club I found exceedingly interesting and truly of archival value. The piece also tells of the beginnings of Rotary in Belhaven, which was initiated with leadership from the local club.
In fact, I had occasion to visit the Belhaven club fairly recently. Its membership is small, but it seems active. It is a fine group of men and women.
There was far too much information contained in the 24-page document on the Internet to cover here.
Let me, however, leave you with two separate lists you might find interesting. Well. I guess I’m mostly referring to any “old” Washingtonians and/or their children.
These lists cover the period from 1920 through 1954.
Meeting places — Washington Collegiate Institute, Presbyterian Church, Pythian Hall, country club*, Jack-a-Lantern Tea Room, Morton’s Restaurant. *(Note: Not today’s WY&CC.)
Parish House, Louise Hotel, Methodist Church, Elks Club and Knotty Pine Inn.
Club presidents — 1920, Charles A. Flynn; 1921,Junius D. Grimes; 1922, Maynard O. Fletcher; 1923, Jack Isanogole; 1924, John G. Bragaw and T. Harvey Myers; 1925, T. Harvey Myers; 1926, Elijah Mixon; 1927, Mack Waters; 1928, Carl Richardson; 1929, Edmund Harding; 1930, Carl Goerch; 1931, Wm. B. Rodman, Jr.;
1932, Dr. Zeno Edwards; 1933, Frank Cox; 1934—John Rodman; 1935, Dr. Walton Carter; 1936, Dr. Lewis H. Swindell; 1937, John G. Bragaw; 1938, Guy Harding; 1939, Stephen Gardner; 1940, E. Frank Ruble; 1941, Jack Oden; 1942, Wm. R. Roberson; 1943, Jacob A. Lindsay;
1944, Harry Gurganus; 1945, Ralph Hodges; 1946, Norman Winslow; 1947, Dorsey Welch; 1948, Colon McLean; 1949, Herbert Cox; 1950, Fred Arthur; 1951, Henry Harding; 1952, Paul Waters; 1953, Bartow Houston; 1954, John S. Leach.
And that’s the way it was, a long, long time ago.