(The following narrative is a continuation of a series of how a member was introduced to the Foster City Rotary Club and subsequent memories. If you would like Rotary to be part of your life's story, please contact Joyce Cave at caveclan@yahoo.com.)


Deborah Wilder

Rotarian since June 21, 1997

December, 2020



I joined Rotary at the urging of Terry Shannon in 1997.  He had been bugging me for years to join, but my office was in San Francisco and it was just too much of a drive every Wednesday. I was already involved in a lot of volunteer opportunities and was not sure I could find time to add one more thing on my plate.  I was a little overwhelmed the few months after I joined.  There seemed to be a fundraiser or a project two or three times a month. Larry Zanata was the club president and gave me some great advice.  He told me to pick 3-4 projects that I was really excited about and participate in those and not go crazy about participating in project every 2-3 weeks.    

I just wanted to be a worker bee and not be in leadership.  My volunteer activities at the time included AYSO soccer, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and others.  When I was elected to the City Council, almost every evening had me at some committee meeting, including 2 years as mayor and chairing CCAG, the County Library Board and serving on Criminal Justice Council and the Airport Roundtable. Running my own business and raising 3 children was about all I could handle.   

Some of the best times I have had with club was working at the Art and Wine Festival with The Grants, Torgerson’s, Ollie and his cooking crew, helping out on many cooking events including several concerts in the park, a few dictionary donations with Rich Mozzini  and the 4th of July pancake breakfast with Larry Kavinoky and Ed Grohe.  Although, the very best times  were the years I spent hosting the  student exchange kids.  Agnes from Austria/Germany, then a short time stay with a young man from Mexico who was originally with the San Mateo Rotary club and then Nayeli- who I am still in touch with today.  Hats off to Greg Kuhl for all his hard work in making this happen. Lots of interact involvement those years and adding another kid to my house.  I remember making tamales, from scratch, with Nayeli around Christmas. It took us 2 days and we made over 300 tamales.. Somewhere in there was a trip to Manteca to repaint playground equipment with a van full of interact kids. 

Multiple years in helping with Safe Streets. I really miss that opportunity, it made Foster  City extra special. Then a year later I went to Mazatlan to help deliver wheelchairs. A great time to get to know some more  Rotarians just a little better.  Stopped by the orphanage and got to see Nayelli as she was about ready to graduate form High School.  They loved the clothes and treats we brought with us. 

Then there was the Rib Fest (which I actually chaired one year) and multiple bingo nights with us and the Lions clubs that I volunteered my time with. ALL good times.   One year I attended the Rotary International Meeting when it was in New Orleans and had a great time. 

In 2012, my husband and I bought a home in Grass Valley and began the transition up that way. It made attending Rotary a bit more challenging, but since my office was still in the Bay Area I probably was able to attend ½ the meetings in Foster City. When I was not in Foster City, I checked out 6 of the 7 Rotary Clubs in Nevada County …feeling welcome wherever I went. Attended a lot of good events and will most likely join the 49er Breakfast Rotary one of these days.  I gave up a lot of my Bay Area activities except for CERT (since 2005) and Rotary and filled my plate with volunteer opportunity up in Nevada County. 

I have been serving on the Endowment Board of Directors  with Linda Grant, Mary Bates, and Larry Lowenthal and am now currently the chair of that committee with Gil Guerin, Mark Watson Larry Lowenthal and seeing a lot of Marylou and Curtis. For Mark Watson’s year as President, I help coordinate groups that would be receiving checks at various meetings. I am chairing the High Tea, currently set for May 2021, and have agreed to be Cutis Chen’s Community Service Director (assuming everyone else continue to chair our fabulous events.). 

My time is still full as I currently have 20 employees with 3 offices and provide consulting in nearly 20 states. Before COVID, I was most likely traveling nearly every week. What I really love about Rotary is the variety of people I have met and the friendships I have made.   

I loved it when Tracy Aguilar became the Chief of Police as I remember her joining the police force right out of the academy when I was on the City Council.  When my husband and I decided to go to Argentina, Noemi Avram was fabulous if giving me lots of tips of what to see and where to eat. It was so great that so many former City Council members were also in the club like Marland Townsend, Rick Wykoff, Pam Frisella; then Jim Hardy and Kevin Miller  two of our City Managers. Kevin actually lives about 10 minutes away from me in Grass Valley. Therese Tahir, former City Clerk also retired to Nevada County and I see her from time to time. Matt Martel, now in Las Vegas, was another chief of police.  

I apologize for people who I did not mention your name. There are so many of you who have become friends, I was bound to run out of space to list you all. Rotary is just a great big family that will welcome you wherever you go. I am so glad I joined. 



Addendum on June 26, 2022:

My Fellow Rotarians,
It is with a saddened heart that I share this email with you and let you know that I will be leaving the Rotary Club of Foster City. Foster City has been my home since 1981 where my husband and I raised our three children, participated in community events, where I served on the City Council and spent more than 20 years as a Rotarian.
Many of you know that in 2008 my husband and I purchased a home in Nevada County with the intent to retire there. While we are still not yet retired, we have been  spending more and more time at that home. Covid made a huge difference and we spent the last 2+ years at that location.
I will say, there is not a Rotary Club like Foster City anywhere..  It is exceptional in so many ways. From the first big smile and hug I got from Ollie Pattum, to the International Exchange Students (3- Nayelli was the best!) I hosted- thanks to Greg Kuhl, to the International Wheelchair Trip to Mazatlán- thank you Jon and Linda Grant.
I could fill the entire page with the friends that I have made through Rotary and the great times that we have had together whether it was cooking or serving meals, or handing out food, or putting back the Foster City Art and Wine Festival after a windstorm blew down half the booths; bingo nights, spaghetti feeds, Halloween Safe Street, Rib Fests, Concerts in the Park, Christmas Tree Lightings, Superbowl parties as the Williams, auctions, raffles, coats, shoes, the Endowment Board, Community Service Director (the best job ever!!!!) and so much more.
Russ has already joined a local Rotary Club here and I will be transferring my membership to the Rotary Club of Grass Valley, 49er Breakfast Club before the end of June. The Club is the most active in the County and there is already a project  I can hardly wait to get my hands into. Rest assured that Russ and I are already up to our ears in service in this community. Between us we already serve on the boards of five nonprofits and volunteer for another 3 or 4 nonprofits  for special events; then there is always, Girl Scouts and Boys Scouts and Church.  I have been told that I should not retire as I will just fill my time with  more Community Service, as I always have…and is the Rotary way.
Former Foster City Rotarians Therese Tahir and Kevin Miller both are up here and I see them from time to time My email remains the same dwa@wilderlawfirm.com. While I will miss so many of you, please know that I am only 168 miles away and that my door is always open. 13332 Bass Trail, Grass Valley, CA 95945. 530-272-3535.
For the memories, good times and friendships
Yours in Rotary
Deborah Wilder