I was born in Salina and grew up in Wichita, went to KU where I met and subsequently married my wife, Mary Nell. My parents were her godparents and
her parents were mine, but we did not know each other until college. In 1963, we moved to Salina where I went to work for Kennedy and Coe.
war was going on and a speaker
from the Army recruiting office was invited to speak. He started describing how we were winning the war and suddenly Whitley Austin, the editor of the Salina Journal jumped up and shouted he had “heard enough of this BS”, threw down his napkin and stormed out
I joined Rotary in 1966 and was sponsored by Stu Horejsi, a client and friend. The club was not as liberal with membership then, and members protected their classifications somewhat. There was already a CPA in the club, so I was assigned the classification of Data Processing. I think John Ryberg was president and he did a great job.
We met at the old Hilton Inn. In 1969, the Viet Nam
of the meeting. The president nor the speaker could quite figure out what to do or say.
Ray Haggart, a longtime member played the piano for the club and one day as he was in the middle of the Star-Spangled Banner, he collapsed and died of heart failure. Never a dull moment in Rotary.
Rotary was managed by WW Waring, a retired school
administrator. Walt did all the administrating for the club, secretary, treasurer, club bulletin, etc. He was a teetotaler. No alcohol was allowed at any social gatherings until Bob Kastner persuaded Walt to liberalize his position.
I was elected to club board and served as president a few years after joining. I followed Kastner who was a very dedicated club member. We would go to District Conferences together as a board. Charlie Roth was on the Board, along with Harold Eagleton, Tom Poos, Kastner and me. We were by far the youngest attendees and most others had badges labeled “DG” for district governor, “PDG” for past district governor, and “DGE” for district governor elect. Charlie Roth coined a new badge label “JAD” for just about dead.
When we went to the District Conference, we would share motel rooms to save expense. Tom Poos was the youngest and newest member of the Board and we all knew that Kastner, an imposing personality, was a loud snorer, so we avoided rooming with him. Tom
drew the short straw. When we retired for the evening, Kastner fell quickly asleep and began snoring. He had left the TV on to some station that Tom didn’t like and so Tom started to change it. Bob awakened and shouted, “don’t touch that dial”. Tom jumped a foot and later reported that he did not sleep well that night.
Each year, a past District Governor from McPherson promoted his personal cause for our Rotary District to sponsor – a pink lapel pin in the shape of an ear, which he felt could be worn by every hard of hearing person so that others could identify them and “speak up”. Despite his persistent enthusiasm the District Conference never funded the idea.
My family has fond memories of the broadening experience of hosting a Group Study Exchange Team from India.
My personal reflections on Rotary are that it was where I learned to speak in front of a group, and where, as Paul Harris intended, I made many of the valuable associations in my career and personal life.