Club Executives & Directors
Welcome to the Rotary Club of La Conner!
November 1, 1918 to June 14, 2016
Imagine that it's 8am on a cold windy Saturday in February and you are entering LaConner to do your “duty” at Smelt Derby. But before you can get to Derby Headquarters, traffic is stopped by frail Octogenarian Fred Martin selling raffle tickets; now that “duty” became less onerous because you won’t be outside as long as Fred nor in the middle of the street and you have become more inspired to “serve” at Smelt Derby.
The Monday night before Smelt Derby you might have been inspired by a short talk from Fred telling us how Smelt Derby was founded to raise funds for scholarships. You may have laughed at the story of the year as Mayor when Fred ordered the Derby shut down due to too many participants in the 10 cent beers. Followed with a smile when told the Derby was skipped for a year and the merchants missed the crowds and demanded it return.
But the story of Fred’s life was inspiring long before World War II, after years in the Seattle Children’s Home orphanage and teenage years on an Orcas Island Farm. He returned to high school at age 18 and was about to graduate as valedictorian when the war broke out. So he enlisted in the Navy serving as a Pharmacist’s Mate in the South Pacific where he met Eleanor Roosevelt on Guadalcanal.
Fred continued to want more schooling and got his Pharmacy degree at the University of Washington, just in time to be called up for the Korean War. After the war, he married Margaret, bought a drug store and moved to LaConner. Now, he really began his “Service Above Self”. He served on the City Council, as Mayor, a founder of EDASC, the Economic Development Association of Skagit County, many other Boards and of course 60 years in Rotary. He even worked on painting the Rainbow Bridge orange.
As a Rotarian, Fred had few equals, he had decades of perfect attendance. When the club changed its meeting time from 7 to 6PM, we almost didn’t do it because he kept the Store open until 6PM. He encouraged us to make the change and his on-time record improved.
Whenever a program speaker touched upon local education, economics or political subjects Fred had pertinent comments and questions, right up to the end, as long as he could hear the speaker.
Fred mentored generations of Rotarians and was a wealth of Rotary and community information. We are proud to name our club Outstanding Achievement award the Martin Light award after Fred Martin and Aaron Dee Light another wonderful Rotarian. More recently we encouraged the town to name a new gazebo after Fred and Margaret Martin. Plus we have named a scholarship the Fred Martin Academic Scholarship. His good community work is now entrusted to us and we all intend to inspire others to follow Fred’s example.
FRED MARTIN YOU WILL BE MISSED!
La Conner Rotarians Martin Howard, Jerry Willins, Dave Tracey, Lee Carlson, John Milnor, Dick Johnson, Thomas (member Patsy's son) and Susan Macek worked dilligently on Saturday, September 12 pressure washing the parking areas, gutters, replaced front door lightbulbs, trimmed the tree out back and cleaned out the garden patch below it, took all the weeds and limbs to the compost station. Many hands made for a quick clean-up!
The Town of La Conner then came in and repainted the parking space stripes and the handicapped parking spaces!
Recent gifts totaling $6,726 from the Rotary Club of La Conner benefitted the both La Conner Regional Library and the La Conner Library Foundation.
Two grants totaling $1,726 from La Conner Rotary and Rotary District 5050 funded three homework help databases for school students and other patrons. World Book Online Reference, American Indian History Online and A to Z USA, from World Press Media provide accurate information for school reports and support lifelong learning as well, according to Library Director Joy Neal.
Rotary also awarded a $5,000 grant to La Conner Library Foundation for the new library building fund.
"The Rotary Club of La Conner is pleased to support the library foundation’s campaign for the new La Conner library,” said Marge Milnor, 2014-2015 president. “We look forward to continued support for this important project that will provide much needed space and expanded programs for the benefit of everyone in the community. We have a proud legacy of hard work that makes it so rewarding to be able to contribute to the vision of a new La Conner Regional Library.”
Pictured are Joy Neal, Richard Wisnewski (La Conner Regional Library Foundation President), Marge Milnor and Susan Macek
On Monday, March 16, 2015, the Rotary Club of La Conner made a donation to the new Conner Park project that is in beginning stages to the Parks Commission and the Town of La Conner as the Club's commitment to the Town of La Conner and local projects.
The new park will be located on a scenic, grassy stretch of town-owned waterfront property just south of Rainbow Bridge.
"The Rotary Club of La Conner is pleased to support the first phase of development of the new waterfront park with a contribution of $5,000," said President Marge Milnor. "These funds represent the dedicated efforts of our La Conner Rotarians who have a long history of supporting our community. We have a proud legacy of hard work that makes it so rewarding to be able to give back to this new park. It's a wonderful vision that will provide much enjoyment for children and families in the years to come."
Pictured are John Doyle, Town of La Conner Administrator; Ollie Iversen; Marge Milnor, President Rotary Club of La Conner;
Ramon Hayes - Town of La Conner Mayor