Club History

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The "roots" of the Newark Rotary Club go back to the formation of the Niles Club and its chartering in 1937. The Niles Club at that time included all of Washington Township in its territory.


Following World War II, rapid growth took place in the Township. When three towns-- Centerville, Niles and Irvington--were incorporated in what had been a rural farm area, it was deemed wise to divide the Niles Club's territory.


Twelve members of the Niles Club were engaged in business activities in Newark, primarily in the industrial plants. These members transferred to the Newark Club and with the recruitment of 12 new members with a variety of classifications, formed a charter group of 24 members. The new club was ably assisted in its formation by a committee from the Niles Club under the Chairmanship of Chuck Kraft.



The Newark Club Charter President was S.M. Cimino, left. Earl Jackson, center, was the Niles president, and Chuck Kraft did the groundwork in spinning off the Newark Club.



Among the members transferred from the Niles Club were Dick Micklasson, a past president of the Niles Club, Jim Estep, Clarence Lesser, Fred Stoltz and Alan Woodhill. Among others who became Charter members when the Newark Club was formed were Jim Black, Jack Gonsalves, Irv Hird and Niels Nielson. Jim Estep and Niels are still active as honorary members to this day.


On June 27, 1961, a charter was formally presented to the new Newark Club at a charter night dinner held at the
el Campo Country Club. Approximately 200 guests attended the dinner, headed by District Governor Dr. Melvin Henningsen and Past District Governors Charles Glick, Eldo Ewert, Adam Patterson and Otto Hieb.


The original club officers were: S.M. Cimino, President; Alan Woodhill, Vice-President; James Mulkey, Secretary; James Golden, Treasurer; Richard Nicklasson, Elmer Marks and Lauran Kanninen, Directors.


The Newark Club chose to meet Tuesday at Noon at the el Campo Country Club. Shortly before the Charter Night Dinner the Niles Club had lost its regular meeting place when the older International Kitchen burned down. At the Charter Night Dinner the new Niles President, Richard Brunelli, announced that the Niles Club would also meet at the El Campo Country Club at noon on Thursdays. Hence the two clubs had a close association during the following months. The Demotion Party in 1962 was a combined affair for the two clubs, following the general theme of "throwing out the 'Fascists'" -- Richard Brunelli and S.M. Cimino.


In late 1962 the club moved its meeting place to the Colonial Kitchen. In 1971 the club returned to its original location, now renamed the Silver Pines Country Club. This arrangement came to an abrupt end in 1972 when the club house burned to the ground, taking with it the Newark Club's equipment, mementos and banners. Fortunately, the secretary's records and the treasurer's books plus the club albums were not in the fire and remained intact.


After meeting briefly at the Lido Faire Bowling Alley the club moved to the Newark Pavilion at the corner of Thornton Avenue and Cherry Street. This was intended to be a temporary meeting place, but proved so satisfactory with its catered lunch (and its own bar ably handled by two volunteer bartenders, Irv Hird and Joe Brown) that even though several new restaurants had been established in town, the club remained at the Pavilion.


The Newark Club maintained its objective of service to the community in a variety of ways. Some of its better known projects included a work party that improved the
Ash Street Park and provided equipment for it. The club also provided the money to equip Schilling School with playground equipment. Financial aid and professional counseling were provided to the Second Chance Drug
Abuse Program.


The club sponsored Boy Scout Troops, Little League Teams and a boxing club. Each year funds were given for Camperships so that children from needy families could attend summer camp.


A Business and Industrial Conference that included executives, teachers, parents and students was sponsored by the club for several years and proved very popular. A Vocational Guidance Program was set up and provisions made for graduating high school students to spend a day in offices, stores, banks, shops and plants in order to help them choose their life's work.


Each year the club contributed heavily to the Vocational Scholarship Fund for graduating high school students. An art show was held each year to give local young artists recognition for their work.


In connection with the Alameda County Health Department a Blood Bank was set up. Members gave blood which would be drawn upon if needed. Several members or members of their families made use of this blood. Blood not needed by members was donated to the Alameda County Blood Bank for use by others.


John Denney, later club president, was the first blood donor chairman. John worked hard on this project for several years and was so enthusiastic about it that his fellow members named him "Count Dracula!"


One of the unique features of the early Newark Club was its annual Sveadal Weekend. Sveadal -- which means Sweden Dale --was a resort in the Santa Cruz Mountains where homes were owned by people of Swedish descent or birth. Through the kindness of Dick Nicklasson, each year its facilities were made available to the Newark Rotarians and their wives for a weekend in October.


The Newark Rotary Club awarded Paul Harris Fellowships to the following members for their outstanding work for the club:  Dick Nicklasson, Jack Gonsalves, Niels Nielsen, Irv Hurd and Jim Black. Bob Jaeger's Paul Harris Fellowship was awarded posthumously. The club had two sustaining Paul Harris Fellows -- Dick Collet and Dr. James Sheltraw.


The Newark club engaged in two very important projects in its early years. The first was Rotary International's Health, Hunger and Humanity Program, a new venture to improve health, alleviate hunger and enhance human social development all over the world. The second important project was the "Jaws for Life" Program. The club raised money to buy equipment to make fire and police rescues of people trapped in automobiles, trucks and by machinery quicker and easier.


Early Presidents of the Newark Rotary Club

  • 61-62     Mike Cimino
  • 62-63     James Black
  • 63-64     Irv Hird
  • 64-65     Don Pennell
  • 65-66     Jim Chambers
  • 66-67     Tom Vail
  •               Jim Estep
  • 67-68     Dick Nicklasson
  • 68-69     Alan Woodhill
  • 69-70     Jack Gonsalves
  • 70-71     Hal Deutschman
  • 71-72     Walt Pickthall
  • 72-73     John Denney
  • 73-74     Dick Collet
  • 74-75     Dick Turnluind
  • 75-76     Bob Jaeger
  • 76-77    Jerry Haley
  • 77-78    Harry Gardiser
  • 78-79    Mac Young
  • 79-80    Carl Pierce