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Club History

History Bulletin:

The Modesto Kiwanis Club is only seventy-five years old in 1998. In a human life span, this might be termed as ‘over-the-hill, but our Club shows no sign of age. In fact it is looking younger and more vigorous every day. Maybe a few of the members are showing their age, but not the Club itself. Rather, it has built upon the personal ideals, vision, values and efforts of many dedicated members over the past years so that it remains actively in tune with today’s world. Members apply the cumulative experience of these years with enthusiasm and vigor to meet our community’s ongoing need for service.

Although we have not attempted to build our club to a tremendous size (membership has ranged from 58 to a high of 110), in keeping with our motto, we have "Built" by establishing new clubs. We co-sponsored with Fresno a club in Merced. We helped found the Oakdale, Greater Modesto, Northwest Modesto, Turlock and Ceres clubs. We also helped found a club in Canada and the Key clubs at Modesto and Davis High Schools.

We are proudest of our accomplishments in the areas of community service. Our emphasis has always been towards serving youth, but through the past years we have also directed some of our effort towards the needs of senior citizens. We have donated milk funds for needy families with school-age children, scholarships to students at MJC and the YMCA, and sponsored a dentistry program. We have assisted the Salvation Army, Red Cross, Boy Scouts, the Boys Band of Stanislaus County, Girl Scouts, Laura’s House and many more.

The Modesto Kiwanis Club is a cross section of society, encompassing many types of members. We have those who are outgoing and entertain us all while doing their good works. Then we have those who, in their own quiet way, contribute much and take equal satisfaction in the jobs we have accomplished. We need them all. It is the ability of our leadership to meld together the talents of our members to get the job done. Throughout the years we have had great leaders and have accomplished much. But there is still much to do...

1923 A meeting was called on March 22, at the Hotel Modesto, CA, by Frank Kean, of the International Kiwanis Club for the purpose of starting a club in the city of Modesto. Members of the Stockton Club were present. A committee for application for charter was formed. Jurisdiction of the club to be radius of 6 miles including Salida & Ceres, and also using the Court House of Modesto as a point of radius. An organization meeting was called on April 4,at the Hotel Modesto, Leslie Floyd, Chair. Officers slate presented. Membership totaled 59 men: William P. Andrews, Jr., L. R. Barnett, Chas. Bashor, I. K. Beard, W.W. Bloom, Roy 0. Bordner, E. J. Bondey, F. L. Bradt, Rev. H. M. Bruce, Luigi Catalano, Earl E. Clark, Howard G. Cleaveland, F. B. Collier, E. Grant Davenport, J. F.Dickinson, R. Chester Dozier, William Falger, A. A. Fields, Lesslie K. Floyd, Henry Ford, Clyde Foster, William D. Fuller, Louis R. Gallegos, George R. Golvin, Carl A. Hansen, L .H. Hathaway, Max J. Hunter, J.D. Jewell, Chas S. Kerr, Leonard Latz, Lewis A. Love, Gee. T. McCabe, F. W. McCarton, Ross McDermott, Teddy McMahon, L. C. McMillan, Dr. E. R. McPheeters, Delbert D. Manross, Fred J. Marshall, Dr. R.D. Maxwell, Leroy Meeker, CS. Morris, Lou T. Moss, Dr. A. J. O’Connell, Steve Osthues, A. H. Rauhof, Herman Rice, A. A. Utterback, George Voight G. M. Voorheis, Jesse Wallace, J. R. Word, Norman West, Charles Wherry. Club charter as received on June 16. Nearest Kiwanis neighbors were Stockton and Fresno. Only three other service clubs were in the Modesto area at the time.

1924 John Philip Souza was the speaker at a January meeting. June 16, an All-Kiwanis Night Party held at the Hotel Modesto. The "Zero Hour" program was held nationally for all clubs simultaneously across time zones. Program included dinner and songs. Club members wanted the Wednesday noon meetings moved to the Hotel Hughson, citing poor lunches and noisy service. Set up underprivileged children committee.

.1925 June 3, a joint banquet and program was held with the Lions Club of Modesto. The whole affair was very enjoyable and meant much in the cementing of bonds of good feeling between the two clubs." Members installed signs in several parks in the city so visiting Kiwanas might find them easily."

1938 The fact that fifteen members (1/3 of the membership) maintained an attendance record of 1000/0 shows well the individual enthusiasm that was maintained throughout the year." Two golf tournaments held during the year with trophies presented to the winners. Ladies invited to a May meeting with a Mother’s Day theme. Sent three boys to summer camp. Gave toys at Christmas to poor children. Sponsored a Boy Scout troop. In March, Earl Warren, District Attorney of Alameda County, later Supreme Court Justice, was a program speaker.

1946 Youth Services committee met at the Hotel Covell and paid a $10.18 bill from Dr. M. Kirschen for optical services for Miss 0. Rolfe, a needy high school girl. Dr. Kirschen charged the club only for the actual cost of the materials for glasses, plus laboratory fees. A letter was sent to the Dr. thanking him for his cooperation. The Model Airplane Club met once a week. Ex-servicemen members helped approximately 20 boys make and fly models. $2500 was raised for youth services that year. Supplied books on vocational guidance to the public library. Furnished playground equipment to parks. Thirty members attended the annual Christmas party at County Hospital to sing and distribute gifts. Supplied pure bred Berkshire gifts to the 4-H Club. A standing room only crowd attended the lunch meeting when Rev. Billy Graham was the speaker.

1956 Hosted a Key Club convention in Modesto. Attendance: 525 Key Clubbers, 28 adults.

1957 Club meetings held in the Hotel CoveIl, Fable Room. Population of Modesto, 37,500. Ninety-four active members. Sang "God Save the Queen" and had lectures on U.S./Canada good will during U.S. & Canada Good Will Week. Took 35 San Francisco High School students on a tour of Stanislaus County packing plants. Arranged air tour of county for 250 farmers .Built tables and benches for Y.M.C.A. summer camp. Annual "Aunt Jemima" breakfast netted $1300. Joined with League of Women Voters and Greater Modesto Kiwanis in sponsoring a public lecture on the refugee problem in Europe. Took care of dental problems of 18 children. Sponsored Sea Scouts. Took 27 Key Club boys to Long Beach convention. Conducted Youth in Government Day.

1960 Established Kiwanis Club of Cowichan Lake, Canada, as a brother club. Tape recorded a message of welcome by 25 members of our Club and offered assistance.

1961 Contributed $50 to the support of Radio Free Europe "in endorsement of the International Kiwanis policy of supporting this important weapon in anti-communistic activities." Worked with local dairymen to take 1 cow and 2 calves to each of 14 elementary schools in Modesto for milking program. At the end of the exhibition, provided 6,000 cups of ice cream to children.

1962 Outstanding service project--sponsored Key Club in new Grace Davis High School. Contributed $3000 to Y.M.C.A. campaign to raise funds for purchase of land and improvements fees for construction of new building. Vocational Guidance committee members spoke to high school students--Dr. Beck, veterinarian; Larry lnwrought, pharmacist; Frank Denny, C.P.A.; Carlos Badger, lawyer; Mario Fovinci, C.P.A.; Mrs. Allen Buckley, RN

1967 Combined installation of officers program with Modesto Kiwanis, Greater Modesto kiwanis, and Metropolitan Kiwanis at McHenry Mall. G. Dale Smith, the M.C. and entertainment by the Stanislaus County Banjo Band and the Harmony Belles.

1970 Supported 4-H and FFA. Played host to the Dairy Princess. Judged annual Christmas lighting contest and provided money for prizes. Met with Council of Churches to consider program for low income hunger problem. Made magazine subscriptions available to foreign libraries.

1971 Purchased clothing for underprivileged blind children. Cosponsored rodeo program with blind and near-blind students in Modesto schools. Donated $1200 to new Salvation Army Red Shield youth center. Assisted in formation of two Pop Warner football teams. Continued MJC scholarships and supporting Sea Scouts. Participated in county-wide Land Use Conference Members held seats on County-wide Drug Abuse Council.

1972 Kids Day Pancake Breakfast - 50gallons pancake mix, 500 dozen eggs, 100 pounds ham, 25 gallons orange juice. 1000 man hours. Yield: profit of $2500 to benefit underprivileged children, plus understanding and camaraderie for club members.

1973 Golden Anniversary May 15, Hotel Covell Fable Room. John Jennings, President, Bob Beck the MC. Cecil Plummer past Lt. Governor.

1974 Mexican Orphanage adopted. Club meetings held at the Chuck Wagon. Chicken Fry held at the Old Fisherman’s Club. Helped fund and worked on Mellow House restoration project.

1978 Annual Pancake Breakfast income $2600.

1983 Oldest Kiwanian Dr. E. L. Gilson, 92, and youngest Kiwanian Luis Vargas, 21, recognized in Modesto Bee. Diamond Anniversary Party at Elks Club on May 7. Cal Moorad and Al Menshaw were MC’s. Dale Smith gave 60 years of club highlights. Einar Fredericksen Kiwanis Foundation established to carry out good works in the community.

1987 First woman member joined.

1988 Annual Pancake Breakfast served1212 people. Net profit $5,072

1991 Northern Mid-Winter conference hosted by Modesto Area Clubs.

1992 April 24, 70th Anniversary Celebration at the Elks Club. Don Berg was the M.C, Hal Conkey gave 70 years of highlights. Total number of lunch meetings held since 1923 were 3640; total of all meetings attended by members through the years, 6,800.

1993 Einar Fredericksen Family Living Center at Memorial Hospital dedicated. With $60,000 donated from the Modesto Kiwanis, a room was built with a kitchen and living area which allows patients and families to be together in a relaxed atmosphere during cancer treatment.

1995 Nan Cohan Jacobs, first woman president.