RCO Beginnings

Chartered in 1937, the Rotary Club of Orangeville has served our community with energy and dedication. Rotarians are people from all walks of life, living in and around Orangeville, united in our commitment to serve our local community.

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The year 1936 found Orangeville without any sort of service club.

Although there had been some discussion of creating an organization here, it took Douglas Howland, a devoted Rotarian from Calgary, Alberta, to finally put the wheels in motion after his arrival in December of that year.

In short order, two or three informal meetings were held. One at least, was in the Department of Agriculture office at which representatives of the Toronto club, namely Alex Ross and William Cairns were present, and another at which George McNab and others from the Guelph club lent their assistance.

Finally on December 15th 1936, an organizational meeting was held in the council chamber, at which it was moved by Will O.C. Ahern, a banker, seconded by Fred Kingshott, a creamery operator, and carried, that the organization of a club be completed. The constitution and by-laws recommended by Rotary International were gone over and adopted on motion of Sheriff Tom Slack, seconded by Dr. Charlie Scott. A motion to apply for a Charter was sponsored by Frank Anderson and Will Ahern and duly carried. A slate of officers which had been prepared by a committee was then presented. On motion of Dem Baltzer, a hardware merchant, seconded by Norm Trower, a service station operator, the nominations were closed and the report of the nominating committee adopted. The men who were thus entrusted to pilot the new venture through its early experience of finding it place and its purpose in its own community had been chosen. The Orangeville Rotary unit had now become a part of a widely spread international company of highly placed men. The slate of officers were as follows:

President…………………….Jack Aiken

Vice-president…………….Dave Evans

Secretary………………..…..Bill Ahern

Treasurer……………………Frank Anderson

Directors…………………….Alex McKitrick, Allan Marshall & Charlie Scott

The time and place chosen for the weekly meetings were Monday 12:15 at the Grand Central Hotel.

The twenty men who were banded together in this new crusade for “Service Above Self” and to whom must be ascribed the honour of starting the club on its career of notable achievements, are listed alphabetically in the secretary’s earliest book as follows:

Bill Ahern, Jack Aiken, Frank Anderson, Dem Baltzer, Jack Beatty, Dave Evans, Nels Evans, Al Grigg, Fred Kingshott, Allan Marshall, Alex McKitrick, Bill Price, Charlie Scott, Tom Slack, Bain Stewart, George Thompson, Norm Trower, Norm Wardlaw, Sam White, John Woodside.

The first regular meeting was held on January 4th 1937, on which day a letter from the International Secretary Chesley R. Perry confirming the admission of the Rotary Club of Orangeville to membership in Rotary International as Club 4096 was dispatched form Chicago head office.

After many weeks of planning and preparation, came the Charter Night, April 19th 1937. Fourteen clubs from the surrounding area sent delegations ranging from one to thirty one, totaling nearly two hundred in attendance on that memorable night. The gathering convened in St. Mark’s Parish Hall where the ladies of he church guild had prepared a splendid banquet. The programme opened with toasts to the King and the President of the United States, and the singing of the national anthems of both countries. President Jack Aiken then extended a formal welcome to District Governor George Barber of Batavia, New York and all visiting Rotarians. It should be noted at that time our club was truly part of an international district with clubs on both sides of the border and with the governor, an American one year and a Canadian the next.

And so began the journey of the Rotary Club of Orangeville, still serving the community with passion and commitment.  Service Above Self.



Past Presidents


1st Decade

1937-38   Jack Aiken

1938-39   Dave Evans

1939-40   Alex McKitrick

1940-41   Charlie Scott

1941-42   Bain Stewart

1942-43   Allan Marshall

1943-44   Frank Anderson

1944-45   Doug Fendley

1945-46   Dem Baltzer

1946-47   Al Grigg

2nd Decade

1947-48   Norman Wardlaw

1948-49   Bill Price

1949-50   Nels Evans

1950-51   George Thompson

1951-52   Jim Dods

1952-53   Boris Parkinson

1953-54   Art Gillespie

1954-55   Norman Trower

1955-56   Bruce Matheson

1956-57   Barc McGee

3rd Decade

1957-58   Gordon Bredin

1958-59   Orme Sharpe

1959-60   Jack Grigg

1960-61   Keith Hunter

1961-62   Lloyd Thomson

1962-63   George Judge

1963-64   Maurice Cline

1964-65   Jim Clancy

1965-66   Don Douglas

1966-67   Elgin Laughlin

4th Decade

1967-68   Veryle White

1968-69   James Wardlaw

1969-70   Jack (Doc) Gillies

1970-71   George Dods

1971-72   Wallace Gallagher

1972-73   John Russell

1973-74   James McLauchlan

1974-75   Robert Burnside

1975-76   Edward Ferns

1976-77   John Nieberg


5th Decade

1977-78   Bert Reeve

1978-79   Glen Ledlow

1979-80   Archie McLachlan

1980-81   Ronald Coles*

1981-82   Peter Parkinson

1982-83   Bob McLellan

1983-84   Peter McNair

1984-85   Bob Fowler

1985-86   Charlie Fergus

1986-87   Clem MacLean

6th Decade

1987-88   Gil Gillis

1988-89   Harold Carey

1989-90   Carl Graham

1990-91   John Kallay

1991-92   Lloyd Foley

1992-93   Fred Hill

1993-94   Ronald Coles*

1994-95   Bill James

1995-96   Bob Holden

1996-97   Ken Kerr

7th Decade

1997-98   Lorne Ebel

1998-99   Gerald Cornelisse

1999-00   Doug Harkness

2000-01   Jim Fleming

2001-02   Bert Gauthier

2002-03   John Clarke

2003-04   Don Voisey

2004-05   John Meek

2005-06   Bill Elliott

2006-07   Larry Dee

8th Decade

2007-08   Chris Parkinson

2008-09   Cherryl Harvey

2009-10   Kathleen Meek

2010-11   Cory Jones

2011-12   Steve Cavell

2012-13   Sally Slumskie

2013-14   Ingrid Sproxton

2014-15   Susanne Zbinden

2015-16   Knut Holmsen

2016-17   Fred Murphy

9th Decade

2017-18   Scott Hughes

2018-19   Dave Proctor

2019-20   Richard Delongte

2020-21   Taunya Bailey

2021-22   Taunya Bailey*

2022-23  Charles McCabe

2023-24 Ingrid Sproxton*

(* indicates multiple terms as President)


Want to Join RCO?

Are you ready to serve?  Thank you for your interest!

If you’d like to become a member of Rotary, contact us and let us know.  We’ll invite you to attend one of our club meetings so you can learn more about Rotary and your membership options.

New members are welcome!

RCO 1937 to 2021. 84 Years serving our community.