The third 25 years of Niles Rotary’s history is a work in progress right now. As our members are involved with important community service, international service and running the club, it takes some effort to complete these larger projects. We have included some cursory information from this timeframe, while we work on a more complete version. The history committee hopes to complete this project by year-end 2016. Please enjoy what we have compiled to date.
Jerry Haley (1988-89)
Bingo was still going strong and was a major part of Jerry’s $62,800 budget. The Rotary International Convention in Philadelphia was a victory celebration for the Polio-Plus program, by which time over $220 million was raised. Niles began serving “Meals to the Hungry” on the 5th Thursday of the month at Centerville Presbyterian Church; this service project continues to be provided by Niles Rotary.
Otis Highbaugh (1989-90)
The District 5170 “Day at the “A’s” baseball game, attended by Rotarians throughout the District, was a resounding success. Not only did the A’s win the game, but they went on to win the American League Pennant and the World Series against the S.F. Giants. The last two games were played after the Loma Prieta earthquake. It was also the last year of the fundraiser Bingo for the club. The money was great; it helped the $82,500 budget for Polio Plus and put $32,000 in the Niles Rotary Foundation, but the burnout of the dozen or so Rotarians who worked the game every Tuesday night was terrific.
Dick Aston (1990-91)
During Dick’s term, the Second Twenty-five Years history of Niles Rotary was printed and distributed. The first Niles Rotary Picnic in the Park was held, including the traditional “watermelon seed spitting contest.” Dick claimed himself to be the contest winner over Bill Armor. Some presidents do abuse the office! The fishing pier at Lake Elizabeth was replaced. After twenty years the ducks not only ate the algae growing on the plastic floats, they also ate the plastic and the pier sank. Rick King represented Niles Rotary at the newly formed Moscow, Russia Rotary with the special Niles Rotary Banner. Niles Rotary sponsored the Fremont Sunrise Club, the first morning club in the area, meeting at 7:15 a.m. Dick’s demotion was an elegant affair at the Doug and Lois Hill’s “estate” and the demotion chant was “Goodbye Dick, bring on the chick.”
Sandi Pantages (1991-92)
One of the first females in Niles Rotary became the first female president of Niles Rotary – boy, do we know how to pick em! The big community service event was the anchoring of the fishing pier undertaken in Dick’s year. Niles Rotarians manned 6 paddleboats, and towed the pier across the lake to its permanent location. Without a coxswain the boats pulled in all directions before getting to the anchorage and the waiting Brunelli barbeque. We also challenged Newark Rotary to a softball game. Some say Newark won – but who kept score? One hundred trees were planted at Ohlone College, one for each member of Niles Rotary, in memory of Rotarian Bill Collins, who had passed away in this year.
Paul Parhiala (1992-93)
Paul set a record for changing meeting places. He couldn’t make up his mind where he wanted to meet. The year started at the Niles Banquet Hall, moved to Hollywood Bar & Grill, then to Choices, back to Mission Gardens, and finally settled on the Century House on April 29, 1993. After all that moving, John Marlett and John Kimber put together a plan for the club to buy its own building. The club voted 2-1 in favor and the search began; however, in the long run the club did not purchase a building. Family picnics at Lake Elizabeth continued to be a great success. A Breast Screening Program in the Azores was developed by Harry Avila and John deSousa as an international project, in conjunction with the Rotary Club of San Jose, the Rotary Club of Horta, plus a matching grant from Rotary International; this project put a mammography unit in the Horta Hospital.
Craig Steckler (1993-94)
Another sports event took place when Niles challenged Newark Rotary to a basketball game at Fremont Christian High School. Niles trounced Newark 40-20 after a grueling game. Fortunately the paramedics were not needed! We joined Fremont Sunrise Rotary for their Oktoberfest at the Thunderbird Hotel. Out of the Oktoberfest grew the Great Rotary Chili Cook-Off, which continues to this day. The Puerto Peñasco, Mexico computer project was completed. Eight computers with Spanish keyboards and software were delivered and installed in a special room at the Puerto Peñasco High School. The year was saddened by the death of our founding President, Chuck Kraft.
Marv Goldberg (1994-95)
The club project was “Paint A House Day.” A home on Niles Boulevard was selected, whose owner was not able nor could afford to paint the house. This was a two-day job, prepping the house on Saturday, and painting it on Sunday. At least more paint got on the house than on the Rotarians! Marv was a national tennis referee but lost point this year when he was caught by a Niles Rotarian officiating on national TV not wearing his Rotary pin.
Nancy Farber (1995-96)
Rotary is not noted for its romantic nature. However, a new record was set in Nancy’s term when that old romantic Dick Crist, accompanied by a singing clown with several balloons and carrying a humongous diamond ring, got down on one knee and proposed to Beth Robinson. That pretty much broke up the program for that day! Another mammography unit was sent to the Azores in participation with the Rotary Club of San Jose. An Interact Club was formed at Fremont Christian High School; this was a second Interact Club to be sponsored by Niles Rotary in addition to the Washington High School Interact Club. We provided new irrigation and did some refurbishing of Niles Elementary School. In the winter at our Feed the Hungry program for the Centerville Dining Room at the Centerville Presbyterian Church, we also held a coat drive to ward off the cold from the homeless. Nancy promoted health issues, so we started a blood drive. Over the years Nancy has provided surplus medical equipment and supplies from Washington Hospital to our international projects. And, of course, we have never had a better meeting place or ate better than we are right now!
Charlie Gallagher (1996-97)
This year Niles Rotary was big on pepper steak sandwiches, serving them at the Fremont Arts & Wine Festival and at the Niles Antique Fair. Five thousand dollars was donated to the Fremont Police Department towards a new command vehicle. Some believe this was to replace the “Rent-A-Wreck” they were using. The club By-Laws were changed to allow direct election of the President by the club members rather than relying on the Board of Directors to make the selection from their existing board. The club also received the RI President Luis Giay’s Presidential Citation for Outstanding Leadership in the Four Avenues of Service.
Steve Barnett (1997-98)
Another house was painted as a community service project, and in the process Daren Young and others caught a peacock. There was no mention of a barbeque that night, though there was some question about the meat that was in the Niles Rotary chili at the annual Chili Cook-off. The Interact clubs’ Canned Food Drive, under the able guidance of several Niles Rotarians, collected more than 4,000 cans of food in two hours. The club won the Salvation Army’s Rotary Bell Ringing competition for the third year in a row (see what happens when you salt the pot). Russ Lloyd got us started on a food pick up program, and Rich Brunelli refined the program; we picked up and distributed $600,000 worth of food to the hungry and homeless.
Dick Crist (1998-99)
Dick, in his usual “one-upmanship,” topped Barnett’s Interact Canned Food Drive by collecting 8,000 cans of food! A Mentor Reading Program was started at Parkmont School – sixteen volunteer readers donated their time to read with students after school to help improve the students’ reading skills. Ten people, including four Interacters, went to the Thousand Smiles Program in Ensenada, Mexico to help perform cleft palate surgery on children. Dick managed to guide the club in its other community activities – Feed the Hungry, Paint a House, Fremont Festival of the Arts, and cleaning a portion of Niles Canyon in our Adopt a Highway project. The club netted over $21,000 at the 4th Annual Niles Rotary Raffle. (Don’t give Dick all the credit – he was smart enough to have Harvey Ulijohn chair the event).
Harvey Ulijohn (1999-2000)
This was the year of culture and esoteric words, sending us to the dictionary to understand Harvey’s “Hyperbole & Homilies from Harvey” articles in the Pinion. By the end of Harvey’s term we were all better, if not boring, conversationalists. Harvey had the honor and privilege of signing the official papers nominating Richard King to be President of Rotary International, and later that year Rick was elected as RI President for the year 2001-2002. Jack Rogers and Steve Barnett led a team to deliver heart monitors to two hospitals in Romania. Tony Boudames started another international project to send two ambulances to Lebanon. In addition to these major international projects. the club did the usual community service work such as Adopt a Highway in Niles Canyon, Feed the Hungry at the Centerville Free Dining Room, food collection for the Interact clubs’ Halloween food drive, sponsoring students Camp RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award), and working booths at the Niles Flea Market and the Fremont Arts and Wine Festival.
David Coon (2000-2001)
What can one say about David? Here’s a guy who spends his life collecting PEZ dispensers and shouting “YO, Niles Rotary Rocks” at the beginning of every meeting! David began a great tradition at Christmas time giving presents to needy children at “Breakfast with Santa.” It was probably a bigger treat for Niles Rotarians to see the joyful expressions on the children’s faces as they went up to Santa for their presents. Dave led 60+ Niles Rotarians to San Antonio to see Rick King sworn in as RI President in June 2001. The Corazon program attracted 19 Rotarians plus their families and friends to Mexico to build a house in one day – a very rewarding experience!
Rick Hood (2001-2002)
Rick led a great effort in rebuilding the offices and planting landscaping for the Tri-City Homeless Coalition; lots of hammer, nails, and paint got splashed around. 250 Rotarians and guests attended the meeting on August 2 when Rotary International President Rick King addressed the club. Even the Argus turned out to report on the event. Rick King told of the wonderful work Rotary was doing around the world and in the local communities. It was a very moving talk, and Morris Hyman was so touched that he donated $10,000 to Rotary. It was also a sad year for Rick Hood when he lost his father from a heart attack; Rick cherishes the moments he was able to spend with his father those last few weeks. Just before Rick came home, the Twin Towers in New York were destroyed and the world changed forever. Undaunted, the club started a new Interact club at Robertson High School, and we continued our community services, the Thousand Smiles Dental program, and a literacy program in Mexico.
Peter Jacobsohn (2002-2003)
When Peter returned from leading a contingency of Niles Rotarians to the Barcelona Rotary International Convention, he continued in truly international fashion by having his first meeting at the Thai Temple in Niles. It was especially fitting since Peter spent several years in Thailand as youth and was the architect in building the Thai Temple. Peter has lived in more countries than we can pronounce! Peter led the club in a dignified manner, something unusual for this club. The Breakfast with Santa was a huge success; Domino’s Pizza donated all the pizzas. The Chili Cook-off again donated $4,000 to the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation.
Tony Boudames (2003-2004)
Here’s another international personality. When it comes to international Rotary service, this club not only exports it, we import it! Tony collected 1,100 “shoeboxes” with toys, toothbrushes, and other sundry items for children in Iraq. It took more effort to pack and send the container than to collect the shoeboxes. The major community services project was joining with the other Rotary clubs in the Tri-City area to provide major funding for the Rotary BridgeWay East housing project for the Tri-City Homeless Coalition. This is a memorable event and one worthy of dedication for the 100th anniversary of Rotary International, celebrated in 2005.
Daren Young (2004 – 2005)
Daren’s pledge was to “kick things up a notch,” and he reflected New Orleans chef Emeril with “BAM” when things went well – Daren loves to cook. During Membership Month in August, he had Rotary International speakers Al Frumkin, Cliff Dochterman, and Rick King. And by September, there were 4 new members.
A sad time of Daren’s year was the death of past Niles Rotary president Dick Crist in November; Dick had been very close to Daren, and Daren dedicated the remainder of his year to the memory of Dick. Dick had been the one to tie and straighten Daren’s necktie before each meeting, and made sure Daren looked presentable at the podium, and he was Daren’s inspiration in many ways.
The highlight of the year was the Rotary Area 3 Centennial Dinner on February 11, 2005 at the Marriott, celebrating in Fremont the 100th anniversary of Rotary International. At this elegant dinner, with a sold out attendance of 500 people, a check from area Rotary clubs in the amount of $20,000 was presented to the Tri-City Homeless Coalition (now Abode Services) for the Rotary BridgeWay Apartments.
Community projects included painting and other work for the Rotary BridgeWay Apartments, Niles Community Park cleanup, Pizza with Santa, in addition to Feed the Hungry.
Events and socials included the annual elimination raffle, Yosemite trip, chili cook-off; in December 2004, checks of $5,000 each from the 2004 Chili Cook-off were presented to the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation, Washington on Wheels, and the Rotary Free Clinic.
The FUN Sunset Rotary club was chartered on March 17, 2005; it was the first evening club in the area.
In Rotary International’s polio eradication effort, there were 1,263 cases of polio reported in 2004, down from the over 350,000 cases in 1985 when Rotary began its polio immunization program.
At the end of Daren’s year, at the Rotary District 5170 Conference, Daren was presented with the Sid Mitchell Award, given to THE outstanding Rotarian of the year for the District; the major achievement that earned him the award was the hugely successful Centennial Dinner gala.
Jim Brunelli (2005 – 2006)
Jim said that he “became a Rotarian” (using Cliff Dochterman’s question) when he was the scoutmaster for Troop 2 at the California School for the Blind. Niles Rotary had sponsored this Boy Scout troop since it had moved, along with the School for the Blind, from Berkeley to Fremont.
Jim’s theme was “keepin’ the pedal to the metal!”
“What’s Cookin” social chair Daren Young kicked it up a notch with potlucks to focus on new members, Halloween party, parties with the Russian supermarket visitors, San Francisco walking tour, Polar Express train trip in Niles Canyon, holiday party, Reno train trip, Valentine social, fishing trip, Sharks game, DeYoung Museum visit, and a Yosemite trip.
International projects were support for a Bolivian Orphanage and for a science lab in India. The Serbian wheelchair project was begun, and the Majestic Evening of Hope fundraiser gala for the project planned for July 2006.
Two Interactors from Washington High School attended the Rotary International convention in Chicago, with financial support from Niles R.
Community service projects: BridgeWay apartments landscaping; Feed the Hungry (a project Niles Rotary began, to help out at the Centerville Free Dining Room, in about 1992); Pizza with Santa; Chili Cook-Off; cleaning Niles Park; Salvation Army bell ringing. The July 4 parade entry for the Area 3 Rotary clubs featured some of the snappy red wheelchairs from the Wheelchair Foundation. A new literacy project began, in conjunction with the Write to Read program at the Alameda County Library.
Eleven new members were welcomed.
Bob Mazza (2006 – 2007)
The Annual Chili Cook-off events were held at the Saddle Rack, under the leadership of Daren Young. From $20,000 to $25,000 was raised for the Alicia Ann Ruch Burn Foundation, Tri-City Rotary Clinic, and Washington on Wheels.
The Majestic Evening of Hope Fundraiser for the wheelchairs to go to Serbia was a stunning success. Chaired by Steven Lloyd, the event drew the Crown Prince and Princess of Serbia, and Steven also involved NBA basketball players from Serbia in the event. The international project continued with the request for District funds for the project, and then the delivery of the wheelchairs (from the Wheelchair Foundation) at a later date.
Community service: the project of painting the outside of the Tri City Homeless Coalition offices was done. Rotary International President Bill Boyd selected the Rotary BridgeWay Apartments and Tri City Homeless Coalition offices project as for a visit when he was in District 5170 in January 2007; the District had selected the project for Boyd’s visit because it was such a remarkable endeavor. Niles Rotarians served dinner to Winter Relief families at the Centerville Free Dining Room several times, under the leadership of Rose Evernden-Andrade; the Winter Relief program shelters families overnight in churches during the winter, with social services provided by the Tri City Homeless Coalition. Feed the Hungry continued, as did Pizza with Santa.
Niles Rotary hosted another group of Russian business professionals, as has been done in past years; the group this year consisted of restaurant owners. The hosting involves opportunities for Rotary fellowship and vocational exchanges.
President Bob (a banker) concluded his Pinion columns with the phrase “You can take that to the bank.”