Vaughn Davis Bornet
Club Member Since 1963
This is a publication of the Thursday Noon Rotary Club that meets at Wesley Hall, United Methodist Church.
It would be hard to find an organization with more diversified leadership than the Ashland Rotary Club chose for itself during eight decades of the 20th and 21st Centuries. Glancing at the presidential list for the early 2000s, for example, there is an artist, financier, business woman, elementary school educator, contractor, TV commentator, surgeon, university official, restaurateur, school system administrator, bed and breakfast proprietor, and insurance agent.
This list of all of the past presidents of a small but vigorous community service organization is so very astonishing, one is nearly persuaded to create an occupational breakdown for the entire group just to see what a sophisticated analysis by profession of the whole group might show. But it’s not that simple. Some individuals are noteworthy for offices held in the greater community. It may suffice to observe generally that our presidents included a dozen professional persons, a dozen educators, persons from finance, and over thirty leaders from the world of business (including bankers and attorneys). Some were ostensibly “retired” when elected Club president. Many served on the City Council, some as Mayor, others with the Chamber of Commerce, and many as members of volunteer committees associated with the local Hospital or elsewhere.
All in all, this is an identification of our presidents, complete with some perfunctory indication of why they earned notable standing in the greater community—before or after serving. The organization is a bit unusual: The leaders are listed in chronological order of presidency within decades. (History often is said to unfold by ten year periods, decade by decade.) The reader will be starting at the beginning of each decade and will move forward from there to decade’s end. This is akin to the manner in which historical events are often identified: year-by-year then decade by decade. Always we are in the Southern Oregon community of Ashland—located north of the Siskiyou Pass and south of Medford, Phoenix, and Talent.
This project was carried through initially as part of the Ashland commemoration of the statewide Oregon Sesquicentennial which took place in the year 2009.
It is anticipated that persons unfamiliar with Rotary will not realize the responsibility that goes with being in the office of president. There are manuals on presidential duties to be mastered, along with meetings with officials at several levels that guarantee that procedures during the president’s year will be appropriate. It is, above all, a Service position.
There is a possibility that a Club member with literary interests will someday convert this document into a much longer essay that will incorporate the accomplishments of the Club during many of the presidencies mentioned here. The resulting history would feature such activities as scholarship programs, aid to local school athletic teams, help to the city after disasters (floods in particular), sending young people overseas for many rewarding months, hosting similar teenagers from many continents, feeding and housing guests, that is, much interaction of Club members with Rotarian teams from remote parts of the globe.
These seventy-nine presidents helped greatly to implement our venerable slogan “Service Above Self” during the years 1941 to 2020. Somewhere “out there” are many developing leaders who will serve in decades to come. And a president elect awaits her turn to serve!
BEGINNING THE “MODERN ROARING TWENTIES", 2020-2030
Gary Plano 2021-2022, Retired public school superintendent who spent 40+ years in education serving youth and families; today Gary current serves as C.A.S.A. (court-appointed-special-advocate) for youth who are in protective custody with Oregon Department of Human Services.
A NEW CENTURY UNDER WAY, 2010-2020
Deedie Runkel 2010-11 Operator of Ann Hathaway Cottages and former Peace Corps staff member in Belize; developed many interests in the City of Ashland.
David Lively 2011-12 The Former Manager, Independent Retirement Living, Inc. and advisor.
Brian Conrad 2012-13 Manager of an Ashland Branch of State Farm Insurance. The President carefully selected to serve during the year 2012-1
Tim Simonsen 2013-14 For several decades general manager of Litwiller Funeral Home in Ashland and friend of the bereaved.
Lynn Thompson 2014-15 “Retired” big city attorney and active vice president of our Club.
Paul Nicholson 2015-16 Longtime General Manager of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, who increased its stature and reputation.
Barbara Patridge 2016-17 Frequently a board member, versatile and active, an educational administrator.
Elisabeth Zinser 2017-18 Former Southern Oregon University President; director on nonprofit boards; Distinguished Fellow in the Association of American Colleges & Universities; avid hiker.
John Karns 2018-19 Former Ashland Fire Chief, then Ashland City Administrator
Alan Harper 2019-20 Land Use Consultant; former partner at Honecker Cowling LLP, Former In-house Counsel for Dutch Bros. Coffee; traveled around the world with his family (2017-18) to 41 countries.
Emile Amarotico 2020-21 General Manager, Ashland Food Co-op; Former General Manager of Medford Food Co-op, and Co-founder and General Manager at Standing Stone Brewing Co.
BEGINNING A NEW CENTURY 2000-2010
Sid Field 2000-1 An artist with the camera whose large color photographs have often been posted in Ashland Community Hospital corridors and viewed on its walls.
Jeff Monosoff 2001-2 A financial planner with an office in downtown Ashland. An effective fund-raiser for Rotary International, the Club’s foundations, and other causes.
Gloria Thorpe 2002-3 An early female member (along with Barbara Allen, Ellen Schwab, Loretta Skepikos, Ginger Baggett, and Janet Meulemans), she ran a motel for years and in time became a regional importer of French wines.
Bill Rupp 2003-4 Popular grade school principal and hobbyist aviator; an unusually popular figure.
Jim Green 2004-5 A friendly local builder and contractor who specializes in remodeling.
Pete Belcastro 2005-6 Regional broadcaster well connected to matters athletic at both Southern Oregon University (SOU) and the high school level. He pioneered in community television interviewing and programming and always said “yes” when asked.
James Dunn, M.D. 2006-7 Founder of a spine and pain clinic and a back surgeon who profoundly impacted local treatment of injuries, without surgery, in his medical facility.
Ron Bolstad 2007-8 The Vice President for Administration and Finance for years at Southern Oregon University.
Michael Donovan 2008-9 Became the owner of Chateaulin Restaurant, who subsequently converted to Sales Manager of Roxy Ann Winery in Medford.
Juli DiChiro 2009-10 Ashland Superintendent of Schools. Her “honorary Rotarian” musician husband, Bob DiChiro, has been helpful in Club affairs.
The NINETIES (1990-2000)
Bill Cobb 1990-91 Agent for State Farm Insurance Company and deeply interested in picturesque old automobiles, which he appraises.
Dennis Sweet 1991-2 A long time veterinarian with offices that are recessed well back from Ashland Street. Generations of dogs and cats are in his debt.
Robert A. Johnson 1992-3 A banker with a career that involved posts at several different Ashland banks, including First Interstate Bank.
Barbara Allen 1993-4 A very successful realtor, she became the Club’s first female member and later a very active president.
Dennis Cooper 1994-5 One of several CPAs who served as president, he was long affiliated with an accounting firm bearing his name. His wife Kathy succeeded him as president.
Kathy Cooper 1995-6 A dynamic leader, she specialized in the new digital photography, artfully recording members singly and in groups for posterity.
Tim Bewley 1996-7 For a time a paint store manager, his business and cable TV career came to be augmented by years of service to the physically handicapped overseas. A Past District Governor!
Lenny Friedman 1997-8 Affiliated at the time with a beverage company, he made the considerable break to public school teaching for a second career.
Michael Gibbs 1998-9 A professional restaurant operator (the Winchester Inn), he hosted many Rotary functions at his establishment.
Jac Nickels 1999-00 An architect in the Commuity who designed many a project, “Crazy Jac” guided the Ashland Rotary Foundation as it grew and disbursed ever increasing sums over the years.
THE EIGHTIES (1980-1989)
Ray Jackson 1980-1 Founder of an attractive Main Street men’s clothing store that eventually relocated in downtown Medford.
BJ. Holland 1981-2 For decades he was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church and friend to all. He was non-denominational in his vast service to the community.
Bill Holmes 1982-3 A Southern Oregon College Physical Education faculty member and basketball coach who made many friends.
Tom Howser 1983-4 Local attorney who was elected president of the Oregon State Bar Association, a feat almost unheard of for a Southern Oregonian.
(Rotating Chairpersons served in 1984-5) Sometimes things just don’t go according to plan, and you “make do….” We got through the year when a number of members stepped volunteered their services.
Greg Williams 1985-6 Long a wholesale flower and plant seller; had general greenhouse operations near and across Bear Creek; also an eco-housing developer.
Tom Smith 1986-7 An active travel agent who in a sense practiced what he preached by going to remote places on the globe. Tom was chosen as the Team Leader for the Group Study Exchange Team to Sri Lanka in 2001. "It was one of the highlights of my life in Rotary!"
Jim Matteson 1987-8 A career Army officer. A Club leader who rose to the District Governorship. His wife Betty was a beloved fixture at our meetings and an honorary Rotarian. He evaluated real estate.
Al Carver 1988-89 Founded Big Al’s restaurant on Main Street, and his tennis tournament has endured as a major feature in the greater community.
Tom Reid 1989-90 A CPA who has been part of a prominent firm of accountants, and is past publisher of the Ashland Tidings.
THE SEVENTIES (1970-79)
Aubrey Hill, M.D. 1970-71 A prominent family physician in Ashland and author of several innovative books on aspects of male sexuality.
Lormer C. Ireland 1971-72 Local rancher and an active realtor serving Ashland.
Esby C. McGill, Ed.D. 1972-73 Dean of the Faculty at SOU and a powerhouse aide to its long time President Elmo Stevenson; he rose to the District Governorship.
Bob Bennett 1973-74 Associate Dean of Students at SOC, who directed foreign student affairs. He attended innumerable international Rotary conventions.
Marvin Woods, D.D.S. 1974-75 Local dentist who remains associated in people’s minds with his physician father Harvey Woods (president in 1959-60).
Bob Bernard 1975-76 Manager, First National Bank and long a community figure.
Hank Hampton 1976-77 An attorney and developer.
Gary Prickett 1977-78 Chairman and later the Dean of the Business Division at SOC, he was mayor of Ashland, 1975-80.
Joe Sayre 1978-79 An Ashland Community Hospital pharmacist who reached 50 years of service in 2005. One much praised for his helpfulness in many matters.
Gordon Medaris 1979-80 Co-owner of M & M Paints and a very popular mayor of the City of Ashland from 1981 to 1988.
THE SIXTIES (1960-69)
Richard Cottle 1960-61 Municipal judge in Ashland, 1960-65 and City Council member; a leader who taught business and legal subjects full time at SOC and SOU.
Archie Fries 1961-62 Branch Manager, U. S. National Bank and Mayor of Ashland, 1973-1974. His wife was an unusually active club member in Ashland.
Walt Hoffbuhr 1962-63 Manager of TID and a recognized authority on water in Southern Oregon. A frequent volunteer for local causes.
Gaylord Smith 1963-64 Snuffy Smith was Principal of Ashland High School and highly regarded SOC football player as well as a recognized baseball figure.
Richard Isaacs 1964-65 Manager, First National Bank.
Robert O’Harra 1965-66 Partner in the insurance firm of Reinholdt and O’Harra. His wife Marjorie is the author of Ashland histories.
Earl T. Newbry 1966-67 An orchardist and Oregon Secretary of State. A central figure in his day, both locally and statewide.
Frank Haines, Ph.D. 1967-68 Professor of History at SOC who taught courses on American History, especially on the development of the Northwest. Member of the City Council.
Dom S. Provost 1968-69 Furniture store owner on Main Street. An ardent and talented golfer who played successfully in Rotary tournaments.
John Billings 1969-70 Owner of the Billings Ranch northwest of town who filled city offices. John had perfect attendance at our meetings, often leading the singing of God Bless America. A District Governor. His son-in-law Kim Lewis is an active Rotarian.
THE FIFTIES (1950-59)
Phil Stansbury 1950-51 Municipal Judge and mayor of Ashland, 1951-53. An insurance man.
Jim Busch 1951-52 Ashland’s Ford Dealer for many years. A highway patrolman early on.
John C. Cotton 1952-53 A community minded citizen, owner of Cotton Mills in Ashland.
Jean F. Eberhart 1953-54 Hardware store owner and SOC coach. Well known and popular in his day.
Bob Reinholdt 1954-55 A partner in Reinholdt and O’Harra--a large insurance agency—who served as president of the Shakespearean Festival.
Bob Ingle 1955-56 Pioneer druggist on the corner of Second and Main Street.
Ed. H. Singmaster 1956-57 Partner in an insurance agency; his name was synonymous with Jackson County Republican politics and the Lincoln Day Dinners.
Dave Fortmiller 1957-58 Co-owner of a department store near the Varsity theater and member (with Reinholdt and Cottle) of the Firehouse Five, staple of Ashland’s July 4th celebrations.
John L. Thompson 1958-59 Rector, Trinity Episcopal Church who became Bishop of the Northern California Archdiocese.
Harvey Woods, M.D. 1959-60 A general practitioner of medicine who was a fixture as physician for local football teams. Father of Marvin Woods, later a President of the Club.
THE FORTIES (1941-1949)
Ted Norby 1941-42 Superintendent of Schools who became Ashland Rotary Club’s first president!
Art Hardy 1942-43 A local grocery store owner and father of Bob Hardy (a member of the national champion University of Oregon basketball team).
Gerald H. Wenner 1943-44 Manager, Ashland Branch of the First National Bank.
Walter Redford, Ed.D. 1944-45 Genial President of Southern Oregon College of Education from 1932 until after World War II when Elmo Stevenson succeeded him.
John Daugherty 1945-46 The co-owner of Fortmiller’s Department Store on Main Street.
Will Dodge 1946-47 Furniture store owner and funeral home director. Will Dodge Way is named for him.
Orson N. Wray 1947-48 Owner of an appliance store in downtown Ashland.
Elmer Biegel 1948-49 Then Ashland City Public Works Director; one who kept track of everything and was considered by many to be the “crown” of the City.
Bob Hardy 1949-50 Living in Ashland, he commuted in a private plane to and from his Ashland home to Happy Camp, where he operated a lumber mill.
This publication was generated by Club Member Bornet, who carried it through with occasional help with yesteryear identifications from several decidedly senior Club members.
The Ashland Rotary Club is in District 5110. It meets Thursday noon in the Wesley Hall of the First United Methodist Church in Ashland, Oregon, USA.
The hope with such publications is to serve our own members, Club members from this country and overseas, and our visiting students from abroad as they try to get oriented to us. Whether or not this particular form of guide to past presidents is unique within Rotary International is not known. Our purpose in distribution is to honor those dedicated and hardworking—and selfless--officers, if only slightly, and to guarantee them our attention and respect as long as possible. VDB