Northampton Country Club served as the venue for our birthday celebration. Terry Pundiak opened the festivities with a rousing version of Rotary Jingle Bells played on his harmonica-shaped Martin guitar. Assistant Governor Jean McGill introduced the Rotary dignitaries. District Governor (and Past Easton Rotary President) Bill Palmer addressed the crowd and reminded us of how things have changed since 1915 when stamps cost $.02, Cornell was the champion college football team, and Audrey Munson inaugurated a new era in film making. District Governor Elect Bill Jahn presented the Club with proclamations from Senator Bob Mensch, Northampton County Council, and the City of Easton.
Past President Mike Dowd introduced a series of individuals who recalled their experiences with Easton Rotary. Jack Bennett’s Rotary career began in 1951 and his perfect attendance streak has never been interrupted even though his first son was born at 11:40 AM on a Thursday! He recalls heavy contingents of Easton Rotarians attending District Conferences in Atlantic City, selling 2500 American Flags to commemorate the bicentennial in 1976, and the annual industrial and farm visits.
Past President Annette Landes recalls how it took a while before she was inducted but it was well worth the wait to experience Rotary with people like Dave Slick, Carl Veit, and Ray Mahaney. She recalled working with Harry Campbell and John Giardiniere at the sausage stand at Meuser Park and the unusual flavor of Charlie Tang’s special Chinese shad. A Rotarian since 1989, she knows that every Thursday will bring something new into her life. Marnie Barefoot has enjoyed the fellowship of Rotary. She remembers the pancake breakfasts and the ice cream stand and she misses all those guys in kilts. The youth exchange program has played a large part in her life and she is still friendly with the students they hosted.
Donna Mulholland became Easton’s first female member in 1987 and she recalls being politely welcomed (with one notable exception). She spoke of working at the sausage stand with Joanne D’Agostino, learning from the program speakers, and the esprit de corps at the weekly meetings. Rotary membership was a big part of her career but it has been an even bigger part of her retirement. Spending much of her time in Florida, Rotary provided her with instant access to friends and has led to social activities as well as involvement on community boards of directors.
Past President Mike Dowd recalled how he felt 35 years ago when John Bassett coerced him into going to lunch with a bunch of OLD guys. At that lunch Ted Pierce read the news from the podium including a stunningly disastrous stock market report. The awful news elicited a scream from the balcony and a thud was heard as a body suddenly landed on the meeting room floor. Mike looked up at the balcony only to see Joe Conroy and friends laughing hysterically after having thrown the mannequin over the edge to top off their elaborate gag. Mike lost his father early in life and recalled finding mentors in people like Charlie Roseberry, Joe Conroy, and jack Bennett. He remembered the changing meeting locations including Hotel Easton, The YR Club, and the “not-so” Quality Inn. He remembered bringing women in to Rotary and vying with Phillipsburg over the Golden Bedpan golf trophy. He noted how we hoped our Club Foundation could reach $75,000 and it is now valued in excess of $300,000.