Editor’s Note: In preparation for its 100th year, the Marshall Rotary Club is remembering its history through “Backflashes” through its near century of existence.
This flash back into the past requires that the stage be set. World War II had ended May 8, 1945, but the war in Japan was still raging.
A little over a month later, in the Sunday, June 17, 1945 edition of the Marshall News Messenger, Marshall club president Gordon Boone announced that several members of the Marshall and Center Texas Rotary clubs had met for the first meeting of the new Rotary club in Carthage on Friday, June 15.
The special representative responsible for forming the new club was PDG Roy E. Smith of Tyler. The club was officially chartered June 18, 1945, as the newest club in District 128 (now D-5830).
The Charter Banquet was held Sept. 27 at the high school gymnasium in Carthage. Five members of the Marshall Rotary Club were in attendance. They were Lon Green, Martin Hirsch, the Rev. William H. Everton, Dr. S. E. Smith and Warren Keys.
Presentation of the charter was made by the Center Rotary Club and a plaque inscribed with the four objects of Rotary was made by the Marshall club.
The club was founded by as a cooperative effort of the Marshall and Center Rotary Clubs of District 128, and by District Governor R. E. Jackson, professor of Texas State College in Denton, but was the result of the efforts and support of far more clubs and Rotarians in other cities far and wide.
It was also one of the few clubs charted during the World War II, which is in itself significant because during the war, thousands of active Rotary clubs were disbanded as they were overrun by the Germans, some of which ultimately fell under Soviet control in May of 1945 because they no longer met the constitutional requirements of the Rotary organization as Non-Governmental(-controlled) Organizations (NGOs).
This caused a large number of clubs to be lost at the very time that the humanitarian services of Rotary clubs were so desperately needed.
But even more relevant than that is the fact that Judy Guthrie is the district governor of District 5830 this year, and she was the first female member of the Rotary Club of Carthage, having joined in February of 2004.
Guthrie earned her way to the top, serving as club president, secretary and treasurer, as well as chairing the dictionary project and the RYLA, Foundation and Scholarship committees.
At the district level, she chaired the 4-Way Speech Contest five times, is a member of the Paul Harris Committee, was the District Foundation CPG chair and Assistant Governor for three years.
With the founding of Carthage Rotary Club and induction of District Governor Guthrie, it can be proudly said that the Marshall Rotary Club and its members in 1945 had a part in starting the Rotary Club of Carthage, and that will be long remembered when we honor them Aug.24 at the Marshall Convention Center in Marshall.