Closing ceremonies for the Rotary Club of Madison’s (RCM) centennial year commenced as strolling centennial singers serenaded club members with greatest hits from the 1910s and ‘20s. The belated birthday party was called to order with a champagne toast. Dick Lovell led a rousing rendition of Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight, also performed at the club’s first meeting. A birthday card in the form of a mayoral proclamation was read. Steve Goldberg introduced historic guests with original lyrics sung to the tune of “Baby Face.” Special guests John and Mary Ann McKenna, along with Jerry and Ann Nickles were introduced as descendants of our club’s 1913 founding members.
Past-President Juli Aulik (pictured here on right with Club President Renee Moe) opened and closed the program by encouraging club members to: “reflect on the thousands of RCM members who have made an impact locally and internationally” and to ask one another “what are we going to do next?”
Living histories were presented by club members John and Kip Frautschi, two of the club’s four generations of Frautschi family members dating to 1917, described the call to service voiced by Emil Frautschi (president 1936-37). Rob Stroud and Susan Schmitz reflected on the multiple members of their families who informed their enthusiasm for Rotary. Rich Lynch reviewed the business offspring of John Findorff (member 1913) who spawned three generations of Rotarians along with a culture of Rotary participation that
continues today for Findorff Construction leaders. Kristin Euclide’s research revealed that many Madison Gas & Electric officers and board members follow in MG & E president John St. John’s footsteps to Rotary meetings. As 1914-16 club president, St. John is credited with focusing the RCM on service as the new club’s mission. Leslie Howard concluded by reviewing, connections between Rotary and the United Way of Dane County and Madison Community Foundation. Each of these nonprofit community pillars has attracted leading Madisonians to service. Leslie concluded with the words of former Rotarian Manfred Swarsensky: “The best way to honor the history of those who went before is to live our lives most fully.”
The birthday bash was directed by Petie Rudy, Gail Selk and Kathleen Woit featuring a cast of talented volunteers who honored the past and looks forward to a bright future of Service Above Self.
Our thanks to our Centennial Singers; to each Rotarian presenter; to Bob Dinndorf for this review article; and to John Bonsett-Veal and Valerie Johnson for photography.