Club History – 1970s

Stew Harris (1970-1971)

Stew Harris

Stew Harris owned Sunshine Cleaners and led Newberg Rotary as it began its youth exchange program. The first student to participate in this program was Chris Jordan from Sydney, Australia. He stayed with Stew Harris and his family for a portion of his time in Newberg as well as in the homes of two other Rotarians. Debbie LaShana and Liz Bartell were chosen to participate in the youth exchange program in the following year. They planned on traveling to Quebec and Argentina. Other visitors to the Newberg club included a group of six young men from Finland. These business and professional men came to the US through the Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange project which the Newberg club would participate in for many years. The Newberg club was responsible for housing and entertainment, as well and business and industry tours. The men from Finland were in the US for two months and spent two days in Newberg. The relationship with Canadian Rotarians continued as Newberg hosted a group from Vancouver, British Columbia.

Charitable donations included three more dental units which were sent throughout the world and participation in a blood drive in which the club gave a total of 125 pints of blood.

As usual, the club was able to hear from some interesting speakers this year. One of these speakers was Harry Glickman. He was responsible for bringing the Buckaroos, a professional hockey team to Portland. He presented to the Newberg Rotary club in September before his new basketball team, the Portland Trailblazers, played their first game that fall.

Ken Austin (1971-1972)

Ken Austin

Ken Austin owns A-Dec Dental Manufacturing which produced the Rota-Dent units that have been sent throughout the world. In addition the the advancements of the dental program, while Ken was president, Newberg Rotary also exchanged groups of Rotarians with a club in Canada, hosted a student from the Philippines, and carried on with the pancake feed, fruitcake sale, and other traditions such as the joint meetings with the Kiwanis club for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Rotary supported several young men as they traveled to Finland to exchange business ideas. Other exchanges included David LeShana, who went to Bangladesh to study the needs of the people there with a group of 50 others.

Newberg Rotary assisted the community as it helped with Operation Crime Stop. The Newberg Police started the program in an effort to decrease crime. The goal was to educate people about what they could do to prevent burglaries and thefts. Multiple clinics were held in Newberg and McMinnville. The Newberg High School Key Club held a canned food drive to help local families and invited Newberg Rotary to help. Rotarians, along with other service clubs in the area, participated by donating various food items. It was also during Ken’s presidency that the Newberg Rotary Foundation was established. This foundation is separate from the Rotary International Foundation. The Newberg non-profit raises money that primarily helps the youth of the community.

Ken’s commitment to Rotary continued even after his presidency. His devotion to the club would eventually lead him to assist in the formation of the Newberg Early Bird Club, a Rotary Club that meets in the morning instead of at lunch.
Ken credits Rotary with much of his business and personal success. The Four Way Test influenced him to create a method for making ethical business decisions. Known as the A-dec Way. Ken’s method included 15 principals and ends in a six way test.

Ray Simonsen (1972-1973)

Ray SimonsenRay Simonsen worked as a vice principal and principal at various schools. While he was serving as principal he was encouraged by Stew Harris to join Rotary. He was introduced to the club by bringing the school’s student of the month to Wednesday meetings. When he was asked to help with the March of Dimes event he ended up joining the club.

There were many exchange students during Ray’s presidency including Dorothy Weber who came to Newberg from Altdorf, Switzerland. John Belanger and Hans Matchukat were the exchange students from Newberg who traveled to Mt. Isa, Queensland, Australia and Altdorf, Switzerland. The Newberg Rotary Club assisted in sponsoring Paul Keinenon as he participated in the Cultural Exchange Wrestling Program in Japan. The club also assisted George Fox College as it helped with the research Dr. George Moore who designed a program to teach vocabulary and linguistic concepts to pre-linguistically hearing impaired children. While keeping up the relations with Canadian clubs, Newberg Rotary conducted the installation of the 1973-1974 officers in Nanimo, Canada.

The club held two sales activities this year including the fruitcake sale. For some reason this sale did not seem to be very popular with the club. Some members thought the cakes made good doorstops. Even if the cakes were not very good, the fundraiser was still a success. Enough money was raised to offer a student 350 dollars for a scholarship.

Club fun continued as the Rotarians engaged in another pumpkin contest. Certain Rotarians always seemed to win these contests, causing other members wondered if they were honestly growing them or somehow enhancing them. Pumpkins grew to enormous sizes and since the club was meeting at Bowman’s Restaurant, they had to be carried all the way to the basement. Another event enjoyed by all was the Valentine Party. The RotaryAnnes joined for this one.
Outside of his time as president Ray helped his oldest granddaughter start the Interact Club at the high school. This gave students an opportunity to learn how to serve.

Wyn Stuckey (1973-1974)

Wyn StuckeyAs the youth exchange program continued, Jan Erickson traveled to Celaya, Mexico and Jose Hernan Dorado visited from Trinidad, Bolivia. Newberg Rotary raised quite a lot of money this year with funds coming in from the pancake feed, the sale of Christmas fruitcakes, and a new rose sale. The rose sale alone brought in $495 and the total amount of money raised was $1,555. The club was able donate money and made contributions to both the Levi Pennington Scholarship Fund and the George Fox College Student Help Investment Program. In honor of Levi Pennington Newberg Rotary held a Community Recognition Banquet. The dinner was quite a success with excellent speakers and attendance from many of Dr. Pennington’s friends. Senator Mark Hatfield joined the celebration along with past presidents of Pacific College and Rotarians and community members from McMinnville, Vancouver, and Portland.

International travels brought a group of non-Rotarian men to Japan through the Group Study Exchange program. The club presented an anomaly this year and did not hold the annual pumpkin growing contest.

Milt Robins (1974-1975)

Milt RobinsMilt Robins became the president of the Newberg Club after another president had to resign. Archie Mathias had been elected president for the 1974-1975 year but shortly after stepping up to his duties he was informed of a work related transfer. On August 7, 1974 Milt was elected president along with Ted Reschke who took the place of secretary.

The meeting place of Newberg Rotary moved this year. The club had been meeting at Bowman’s Restaurant, but began to gather at the Riverwood Golf Course clubhouse in January. This move seemed to cause a drop in attendance. As members tried to keep attendance up they made up meetings at various locations throughout the world. The Newberg club kept up long running traditions such as the fruitcake sale, club auction, rose sale, the pancake feed, and the youth exchange program. The club also became involved with a local program called Three Squares which provided meals and a social outlet for people over 60 years of age. The meals were free with a suggested donation. Since there was no set price the organization was running low on funds and asked Rotary for help. Newberg Rotary donated a new freezer to the organization and helped serve and prepare some meals.

Times of celebration and sorrow came to club this year. In February, 1975 the club celebrated the 70th anniversary of Rotary International. In March, Rotarians and the community mourned the loss of Levi Pennington.

Stan Kern (1975-1976)

Stan KernStan Kern’s presidency started off with an installation dinner that did not go exactly as planned. Stan had planned on an outdoor barbecue dinner but since the event was held in Oregon, there was plenty of rain which forced everyone indoors. There were about 80 people in attendance and all of them had to gather in Stan’s home. Stan said that there were people in nearly every room of the house and on the covered porch. Even with the rain and less than adequate space everyone still seemed to have a good time.

Other meetings were also moved as the decision was made in July to hold regular club gatherings at J’s Restaurant. Even after this decision, the problem of finding an adequate meeting space was still debated and the club eventually moved to the Chehalem Park and Reccreation District Hall in March of 1976.

Even though finding adequate meeting space was sometimes difficult, finding adequate speakers and fellowship at meetings wasn’t usually a problem. The club was able to hear from Oregon Senator Edith Green and had fun presenting pumpkins from the pumpkin contest.

Another club tradition at meetings was singing. Stan said that the club prided itself on its singing and that men would even sing different parts. On one occasion in March of 1982, while the club was singing the National Anthem, a Rotarian passed out. Stan was able to perform CPR and transport him to the hospital. Fortunately the Rotarian survived this surprising event.
As the club persevered with its fundraising endeavors, the fruitcake sale saw some changes. It had been recommended that the sale be discontinued but instead its structure was changed. Members had previously been required to purchase or sell a certain number of cakes each. This year the club as a whole purchased a minimum of 100 cakes. All of them had to be sold by the end of the fundraiser but it did not matter who sold them. Other changes to the club included the introduction of Fireside meetings. Everyone was encouraged to attend at least one during the year. In addition to the fruitcake sale, the pancake breakfast was held to help raise money for the club. In order to raise some money, the club held a small auction at a Wednesday lunch meeting. This idea grew and eventually became the successful auction that is held at the Allison today. Other community service projects included work in local parks. Time was spent cleaning and improving Hoover Park specifically.

Rotary’s international focus was seen in Newberg as the club hosted youth exchange students and a Group Study Exchange from England. The club also sponsored a young Vietnamese girl so she could attend kindergarten. A portable dental unit was sent to the Fiji Islands.

In the year before his presidency, Stan and his family had the pleasure of hosting the youth exchange student for part of her time in Newberg. Maria Ines DeAguirre was from Argentina and developed a wonderful lasting relationship with the Kern family. Stan’s family is still in contact with Maria today and they have even visited each other recently. This is just one example of how significant Rotary’s international relationships can be.

George Alexander (1976-1977)

As President George took office he had some specific goals for this year. At the first club assembly of his presidency he made it known that he wanted to greatly improve attendance this year. Throughout the 1970s the club seemed to struggle with attendance, at one point in 1975 the Newberg Rotarians had the lowest attendance record in the district. The overall goal for the club in 1976-1977 was to have an average attendance of 85 percent for the whole year. An attendance committee became responsible for making sure Rotarians showed up to weekly meetings. Fines were implemented for missing meetings and if enough were missed consecutively the committee could cite the guilty party before the board of directors and recommend his removal from the club. As the 1976-1977 year progressed, attendance did greatly improve. President George also wanted more club members to participate in various projects. He wanted to plan a project which required participation from the entire club in order for it to be a success.
As regular projects such as the pancake feed and the auction continued to be successful, the amount of money given to the scholarship program was increased. Other club donations included a dental unit and chair that were sent to the Simla India Rotary Club. This donation to India not only provided dental care but also helped build a relationship between the Simla and Newberg Clubs. Money was also given to the Chehalem House for the purchase of a new refrigerator, to the high school for a new speaker system at the football field, as well as to the Junior High Music Department and the Hoover Boy’s Club. Rotarians showed their appreciation for teachers as they served them coffee and donuts at the beginning of the school year. Another accomplishment of this year was the naming of Ken Austin as the club’s first Paul Harris Fellow. The club’s major fundraising project for the year was the St. Paul Rodeo Barbecue Stand. This project seemed to fulfill the goals of the club this year because it required effort from every member to complete. The stand was ready to go for the Fourth of July Celebration after six months of preliminary work. Beef sandwiches were sold at the rodeo as a fundraiser for Newberg Rotary.

In the 1976-1977 year the Newberg Rotary club was able to hear from some notable speakers. The Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, the Secretary of State, and the Governor were just a few of the outstanding people who spoke at the club.

Art Moffatt (1977-1978)

Art MoffattBank manager Art Moffatt held the first barbecue at St. Paul. He also presented a display of the A-dec dental unit at the District Conference.

Local contributions included a recycling center that was set up the Publishers Paper building. The center collected newspapers and used bottles. The pancake breakfast was continued along with other ongoing projects.

Bruce Huffman (1978-1979)

Bruce HuffmanWhile Bruce Huffman was president, Walt Tucker became the club’s second Paul Harris Fellow. Club members spent the Fourth of July weekend working at the St. Paul Rodeo. Other traditions such as the pancake feed and the youth exchange program continued. The club also made a generous pledge of $5005.00 to the Newberg Community Hospital. Some smaller projects included the support of a Babe Ruth baseball team and a carnation sale.
Newberg Rotarians joined in some fun with other nearby clubs as they passed a trophy from club to club. The Southwest Portland Rotary club designed and donated a trophy which was first passed to the Tigard Club, then to Lake Oswego, and then to Newberg. Each club had twelve days to pass the trophy on or they faced a fine of ten dollars a day for each extra day the trophy was held. If a club lost the trophy they faced a 100 dollar fine. Newberg Rotary planned to pass the trophy to a club that was as far away as possible.
More international connections were made as the club hosted an exchange student from the Philippines and six Indian businessmen through the Group Study Exchange Program.

The club had to say goodbye to one of its charter members this year as Doug Dickie moved to Deerfield, Florida. Doug was the last charter member who was still active in the club. He had a record of 37 years of perfect attendance and was awarded a plaque when he left the club.

Martin Bleifernich (1979-1980)

Martin Bleifernich led a fun filled year that included a Christmas party with the local Kiwanis club and a Valentines day party in addition to other traditional Rotary activities. Some of his goals for the year were to increase membership by ten percent and to install a program that would meet the club’s expanding financial expectations. By the end of his presidency, enough new members had joined Newberg Rotary to meet the goal of an additional ten percent.
Newberg Rotarians joined with the Southwest Portland Club to celebrate Rotary International’s 75th anniversary. Other fun events included a Road Run and Racquetball challenge between the SW Portland and Newberg clubs. The annual Fireman/Policeman basketball game was sponsored by Newberg Rotary. The proceeds from the event were donated to a local charity. This event was quite a success with a victory by the Firemen.
At the international level this year, District 510 was matched with District 417 in Mexico. The Newberg club was then matched with a specific club from District 417 which gave Rotarians the opportunity to help clubs in other parts of the world. The club in Mexico was in need of athletic equipment in order to start start youth sports programs.
The Newberg Club supported the local community through projects like the pancake feed and by deciding to give 500 dollars annually to the Herbert Hoover Boys Club.