A Brief History by Club Historian Jim Harward updated 8/13/2013
In 1986, Allan Purdy Geddes had moved to the Williamsburg area and, having been a Rotarian for many years in Illinois, began attending the Williamsburg Rotary Club as a guest. The Williamsburg Club, founded in the 1930's, met every Thursday night for dinner. Allan anticipated joining the Williamsburg Club, but felt that a second Club in the area, meeting at a different time of day, might be a beneficial addition to the community. He asked several friends, among them, Pres Layfield, Loy Collingwood and Jim Chase, if they might be interested in helping to form such a Club and the idea for the James City County Club was put in motion. Following Rotary practice, The Williamsburg Club, as the nearest existing Club, was asked to "extend" this new Club, meaning that they would sponsor the fledging group and assist in its formation, development and growth. Kenneth Axtell, then president of the Williamsburg Club, acted as coordinator and attended most of the James City Club's early meetings.
The first meetings of the provisional James City County Club were held at the Kingsmill Golf Clubhouse in the Riverview Room where the Club still meets, beginning in the fall of 1986. Membership grew as meetings were held at 7:00 am on Tuesday mornings. A minimum of 20 members were necessary for Rotary International to grant a charter and this number was reached and exceeded in the fall of 1986 when membership reached 32. This charter was applied for on November 11, 1986 and a letter from the President of Rotary International, M.A.T. Caparas, dated February 5, 1987, welcomed the new Rotary Club. The actual charter was received in March of 1987, having been delivered earlier to the District Governor, who had been unable to present it. With that, the Club was official, with Allan Geddes being elected as the first president.
The 32 member names on the December 23, 1986 roster and assumed to be the same 32 names submitted with the November 11, 1986 charter application were: John Akers, John Austin, William Brauer, Ron Campana, Jim Campbell, James Chase, Loy Collingwood, Peter Evans, Jeff Fairbanks, Gary Fields, Julian Fields, Allan Geddes, Charles Glazener, Jim Hess, George Jeffries, Ken Johnston, Ira Krams, John Lanzalotti, Preston Layfield, Jim Lukaszewicz, Alan MacDonald, John Mincks, MD, Dwayne Moore, Jack Murray, Ed Overton, Ron Piland, Jack Poland, Alan Robertson, Vincent Sutlive, Robert Ware, Larry Wilkinson, Bill Wood.
The January 23, 1987 roster added the name of Gordon Chappell (33rd ).
The February 10, 1987 roster added: Steve Blanks, Bob Bradshaw, Frank Spayth, David Teasley, Buzz DeHaven, Al Gotthardt & Jim Harward, and deleted: Jack Poland, Dewayne Moore, & John Austin (33 members, add 7 & delete 3 = 37).
At the Board meeting of February 16, 1987, the Board confirmed that the 37 members on the February 10, 1987 roster were in good standing and shall be considered Charter Members.
Charter Membership was 37 when the charter was received. 2 of the above 37 are still (at 8/12/13) active in the club, both have served as president.
The presidents of The Rotary Club of James City County have been: Formation to June 30, 1987 Allan Geddes July 1, 1987 to June 30, 1988 Allan Geddes July 1, 1988 to June 30, 1989 Jim Chase July 1, 1989 to June 30, 1990 Loy Collingwood July 1, 1990 to June 30, 1991 Bob Ware July 1, 1991 to June 30, 1992 Pres Layfield July 1, 1992 to June 30, 1993 Charlie Glazener July 1, 1993 to June 30, 1994 Al Gotthardt July 1, 1994 to June 30, 1995 Tom Shriver July 1, 1995 to June 30, 1996 Dave Ledbetter July 1, 1996 to June 30, 1997 Michael Lanning July 1, 1997 to June 30, 1998 Julian Fields July 1, 1998 to June 30, 1999 Jack Clark July 1, 1999 to June 30, 2000 Bob Magnusson July 1, 2000 to June 30, 2001 Jerry Fields July 1, 2001 to June 30, 2002 Bill Brauer July 1, 2002 to June 30, 2003 Bud Robeson July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2004 Mike Lucier July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2005 Gary Chenault July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006 Victor Holman July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007 Dick Gillem July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008 Jodi Fisler July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009 Ron Lynde July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010 Wayne (Skip) Yohe July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011 Jim Nicholson July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012 Steve Hibbitts July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2013 Nancy Carter July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014 Brian Tenney
Member Allan P. Geddes served as District Governor for District 7600 during 1993-1994 Member Bob Magnusson served as Assistant District Governor from 2001-2003 Member Jack Clark served as Assistant District Governor for the year 2003-2005 Member Jerry Fields was District Governor for the year 2004 –2005 Member Victor Holman was an Assistant District Governor for the year 2007 - 2008 Member Gary Chenault was an Assistant District Governor for the year 2009-2010
Known Deceased members: John Harbour Frank Spayth James Chase Bill Files Oren (Buzz)DeHaven Dave Hiester Mac McCormick HenryDorris Loy Collingwood Jim Love Jim Palmer Mike Lucier
Board meetings have been held at the Kingsmill Golf Clubhouse upstairs lounge, the Virginia Power (then Vepco) training building (Ware, Layfield and others), the Kingsmill Sales Center (Glazener, 92-93, Gotthardt, 93-94), the offices of Precision Software (Shriver), Bush Construction offices (Lanning, Fields, Clark) and the Ukrop's Grocery Store Community Room (Brauer, Robeson)
The Club has always had its regular weekly meetings in Kingsmill facilities, except during the Golf Tournament week, when meetings have been held at, for example, the Days Inn near Water Country, the Kingsmill Marriott Courtyard and at the Ramada Inn East (now the Sheraton Four Points on York Street near Pocahontas Trail). For periods of time, the Club met in the Kingsmill Sports Club restaurant, in the Fairfax meeting room in the Conference Center (which is no longer there, due to the Center's expansion), and occasionally in a downstairs corner meeting room in the Conference Center. Other meetings have been held at member's workplaces and involved tours, such as Busch Gardens (Keith Kasen), Flight International (Mike Lanning), and Williamsburg Community Hospital's expansion (Les Donahue). David Kent led an after-breakfast tour of the late Gene Chismer's home under construction in Kingsmill. There was a tour of the Anheuser Busch Brewery. Bob Ware arranged a late afternoon visit to the Virginia Power Surry nuclear plant on May 19, 1987 and on June 9, 1999.
Early fund raising activities included the Rolympics, in 1987 and 1988, which was a combination of two tournaments, in golf, tennis, and, in 1988, a third, gin rummy. Two bowl-a-thons were held. Paint-your-heart-out in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and is planned for 2002. Entertainment Books have been sold in 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001. Poinsettias have been sold at Christmas time as a fundraiser each year since 1996. Two pancake suppers were held at the Colonial Pancake House in 1997 and 1998. In recent years a Charity Auction and a series of Charity Concerts have been very successful.
Charities supported have been Polio Plus (some of which was from Paul Harris Fellowships), Eastern State Hospital, scholarships for Lafayette High School seniors and later for Jamestown High School, beginning in 1999, the Malcolm Kerr scholarship, the Jabbo-Kenner Boxing Club, the Salvation Army, Virginia Co-operative Extension Service, 4-H, FISH, Avalon (battered Womens' Shelter), First Night of Williamsburg, Model UN, Big Brothers & Big Sisters, Williamsburg Community Hospital Christmas Baskets, and the Wilbur Wallace scholarships. For many years, the Club hosted foreign exchange students during the Summer Student Exchange Tour .
In 2009-2010 the club has generously given over $27,000 in donations to: FISH, Avalon, Boy Scouts of America, Court Assisted Special Advocates(CASA), local third grade dictionaries, Salvation Army, Olde Towne Medical Center, Williamsburg Regional Library, Kenya Water Project, Meals on Wheels, Haiti Relief, Hospice Support Care of Williamsburg, JCC Rescue Squad, Water for People, Rita Welsh Adult Literacy, Lackey Free Clinic, Grove Christian Outreach Center, Rotaract Club Foundation, Rotary Foundation Polio Plus, Williamsburg Youth Baseball and four high school senior scholarships.
Selected Highlights from the first years of the Rotary Club of James City County
1986 (Rotary year July 1 to June 30 of the following year) On November 11, 1986, an application for a charter in District 760 was submitted for the new Rotary Club of James City. The officers and directors were shown as: Allan Geddes - president, Jim Chase - president-elect, Jim Lukaszewicz - vice president, Vince Sutlive - secretary, Ken Johnston - treasurer and Ira Krams - sergeant-at-arms. Directors were: Bill Brauer, Bob Ware, Jack Poland, Ron Piland and Dwayne Moore. Annual dues were stated at $460 per year. A $45 initiation fee was adopted (but was deleted on January 19, 1987). The application declared that there were 32 charter members (the minimum being 20). It was signed by Ken Axtell, of the Williamsburg Rotary Club, serving as "special representative." A $200 fee accompanied the application.
1987 A letter from the President of Rotary International, M.A.T. Caparas, dated February 5, welcomed the new Rotary Club. There was a Valentine's Day dinner at the George Washington Inn on February 14. Friday, March 6 was the Charter Night dinner. The District Governor visited on March 31. In May, the Club established a no-smoking policy at meetings. The Surry Nuclear Power Plant trip was late afternoon on Tuesday, May 19 and included dinner there in two railroad cars, located on the site and used for training rooms. An inter-Rotary Club Rolympics golf tournament was held in October, with the winner's prizes of $4,000 donated to the Polio Plus project. Bob Fleming was the 87-88 District Governor. On June 10, the IRS assigned the Club's tax identification number 54-1416043. On June 11, Rotary International wrote to inform all Clubs that the U.S. Supreme Court had upheld a California decision that Rotary Clubs could no longer exclude female members and that Rotary International would abide by that decision. RI had earlier revoked a charter of the Duarte, California Club, which had accepted a woman member. Membership at June 30 rose to 49, with 15 having been added in the 87-88 year and 3 having been lost.
The Tuesday, July 7 meeting was canceled due to the KM golf tournament. A Pig-Pickin' social was held on July 19 at the Mounts Bay Recreation Center in Kingsmill. The Club banner was designed and ordered. The Club worked with Housing Partnerships. There was a tour of NASA on October 23, 1987. The Club sponsored a team in the Southeastern Virginia Youth Soccer Association.
On February 17, 2007, the James City County Board of Supervisors issued a proclamation designating that day as James City County Rotary Day. This proclamation recognized the exceptional services of the James City County Rotary Club for quietly and consistently donating its time, effort and skills for the betterment of the James City County Community, as well as the pursuit of international aid and understanding, for two decades. County Supervisor Bruce Goodson presented the proclamation to the club membership at a party celebrating the 20th anniversary of the founding of the James City County Rotary Club.