Rotary Club of Torrance

About Our Club

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***UPDATE: The Rotary clubs of Torrance and Del Amo have merged to become the Rotary Club of Torrance Del Amo as of 7/1/2016***
 
Currently in our 92nd year
 
Edited by BW, 1/27/2017
 
Even though the records of the first thirty years of Torrance Rotary were destroyed by fire, past-president Stu Marsee set upon recording the early history of our club. Fortunately, charter member Charlie Jones was still a member of our club in 1974 when Stu set out to write the 50-year history of Torrance Rotary.

Torrance Rotary was chartered on November 6, 1924 with 21 members. Jim Hines, a banker with the State Exchange Bank and later the Bank of America, was our first President.

Sponsored by the San Pedro Rotary Club. The attended many meetings and even fined themselves to put money into our treasury. The San Pedro club met at the California Yacht Club and all of their affairs were formal. All of the Torrance members had to buy tuxes for their "high-falooting" parties. Torrance members represented many retail and service industries, not unlike today, including: service station owner, dentist, real estate, banking, lumber, oil industries, plumbing, hardware, groceries, Chamber of Commerce, and printing.

Torrance Rotary was the first service club in Torrance. Our first meeting was in a store on El Prado next to the drug store. Ladies from one of our local churches served our dinners. We moved to a church hall until they kicked us out for smoking too much. We moved to the American Legion Hall on Carson Street until an earthquake shook us out. Harold Kingsley, the editor of the Torrance Herald (later the Daily Breeze) was our second president and an outstanding speaker. The secretary, Carl Hyde, became the third president.

Charter member Sam Levy served as President in 1930-31 and sponsored the Hermosa Beach Club. Charlie Jones, also a Charter member, was president and sponsored the Avalon Club in '36-37. We have sponsored 7 Rotary clubs: Avalon, Hermosa Beach, Del Amo, Manhattan Beach, Hollywood Rivera, Lomita and the South Bay Sunrise.

Past President Wallace Post, a banker, was president in 1929-30. His son, George Post, a banker, was president in 1960-61. The Torrance City Council, bestowing upon him a citizenship award, the highest honor given by the city, is honoring George Post this month for his years of service to Torrance.

Membership varied from a low of 13 during the depression years to over 100 in 1985.

Past President Dr. George Shidler, 1927-28, and again in 1935-36 is considered the one president who saved the Torrance Rotary Club from going under during the depression years.

We started a Boy's Week that placed boys and girls as heads of City Departments, businesses and industrial plants in Torrance. On the last day they had a wiener roast in which 1800 franks were served.

In 1928 we built Scout Hall, a frame and sided building 20 by 40 feet. Rotarians raised the money and swung the hammers to get the job done.

Also remembered is Jack Koch, an honorary member, who donated $1000 through our club to the Rotary Foundation in the 30's when it was founded.

Jack Schmidt and John Tweedy were instrumental in starting the Torrance Rotary Educational Foundation in 1984. For longer than anyone can remember, Torrance Rotary gave scholarships to deserving students graduating from our high schools. Funds were raised by projects each year and unfortunately some years were much leaner than others. Jack and John decided it was time to start the Foundation with a goal of raising $10,000 during that first year. No one thought we could raise that much - the most successful projects would raise about $5,000 at that time. At a Board meeting John and Jack said they would donate $1000 each. We staged a special program at our regular Wednesday meeting to talk about our Foundation and the benefits that the students will receive. With Jack and John seeded at specific tables during lunch, Jack suddenly stood up and said that he would donate $1000 today. Across the room John stood up and said he would commit $1000 to the cause. Then Al Avoian stood up and said, "Hell if they're donating a thousand, I will too!" We collected over $12,000 in cash and pledges in one day.

Torrance Rotary divides its service between the following committees:
Club Service
Community Service
Vocational Service
International Service
Youth Service

President Linda Edwards (1999-2000), our first female president, was proud to represent Torrance Rotary during our 75th Anniversary.

Torrance Rotary emphasis over the past 85 years has been to help the community. We have built playgrounds, painted community buildings, fed & clothed needy families, provided summer camp for our youth and donated thousands of dollars to needy, local causes.

Torrance Rotary, on an International level, has sponsored hundreds of students in exchange programs, vaccinated thousands of children in our Polio-Plus program, and supported many aid programs for Mexico and countries around the world.