Club Chartered May 1, 1921

Rotary Club of Norristown, Background

The Rotary Club of Norristown was chartered on May 1, 1921 with 24 members, the second oldest club in Montgomery County. Rotary is the oldest service club in the world. Rotary Club members represent a cross-section of the community's owners, executives, managers, political leaders, and professionals - people who make decisions and influence policy.  Today more than 1.2 million people call themselves Rotarians. 33,000 Rotary Clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas share the ideal of Service above Self. The mission of Rotary International, a worldwide association of Rotary clubs, is to provide service to others, promote high ethical standards, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through its fellowship of business, professional, and community service.

The sponsoring club for the Norristown club was the Philadelphia Rotary Club whose President Ed Bartlett was presented the charter. The first president of the Norristown Club was Joseph K. Ranck, an industrialist.  In 1924, the Norristown Rotary Club sponsored the Lansdale Club and in the following year the Phoenixville Club.

Membership has stayed at approximately 65-75 members throughout the club's history.

Rotarian Magazine 1921 Announcing Club # 909

In the early years, the club met every Thursday at noon at the former Norristown "Valley Forge Hotel' and then "Plymouth Country Club. Currently meetings are every Thursday at noon at the Westover Golf Club on Schuylkill Avenue.

The club's first project, established in 1923 was the Crippled Children's Program. The members contributed funds to help needy crippled children obtain orthopedic care as well as braces and special shoes. The club has made many contributions to a long list of local non-profit organizations which include the Elmwood Park Zoo, the Salvation Army, Laurel House, the Pathway School, the Montgomery County Norristown Public Library, Montco SAAC and the Montgomery County Cultural Center to name a few. In addition, they have worked with Habitat for Humanity, the Preschool Intervention Program at the Central Montgomery Mental Health/Mental Retardation Center, the Head Start Program, Advocates Against Hunger, and Aclamo Family Services. The Club also provides Thanksgiving dinners to nearly 70 needy families each year, collect perishable foods for the local food cupboards and diapers and wipes for children being placed in foster care.  Over the years the club has raised funds for victims of disasters in Sir Lanka, Haiti, New Orleans and now Japan. 

Additionally, in our support of literacy, the Club supplies dictionaries for all 3rd graders in the Norristown Area School Dist. And the Club honors high school seniors from three local high schools with Student Achievement Awards and provide funding for scholarships and interest free loans so these students can go to college. Over the 27 years, the fund has granted over 772 loans totaling $ 631.750. To celebrate Rotary International 100th year in 2005, the club created a children's learning center to combat illiteracy in the area at the Montgomery County Norristown Public Library. In 2006, the club raised funds to renovate the bathrooms at the Hospitality Center in Norristown for the Homeless.

On the international front, the club continues to support Shelterbox® relief efforts and the Rotary Foundation® and its projects which include Rotoplast (surgical missions to put smiles on the faces of children with cleft palate and cleft lip), eradicating Polio. One of Rotary's highest objectives is to build goodwill and peace throughout the world while maintaining the highest ethical standards.


Past Club Presidents

                                                           * Deceased
David Shoemaker 2019-2020  Robin Parker (2years) 2017-2019
 Mark Call 2016-2017  Scott Wright 2015-2016
 Paul Catrambone 2014-2015  Dr. James Nutt III 2013-2014
 John Rule  2012-2013    Denise Ashe  2011-2012
 Jay Jameson  2010-2011    Brett Wells  2009-2010
 Brian Johnson  2008-2009    Francis (Bud) Denner *
 Robert L. Schmidt *  2006-2007    Guido J. Martinelli  2005-2006
 David Rhode  2004-2005    Dr. James Holton *  2003-2004
 James Williams  2002-2003    Frederick W. Reichert  2001-2002
 John Geers  2000-2001    Dr. Michael J. Herman  1999-2000
 Robert Stevenson  1998-1999    William A. Kirkpatrick  1997-1998
 Donald J. Tornetta  1996-1997    William J Lobley, Jr  1995-1996
 Gregory D. Stratoti  1994-1995    Dr. Max J. Herman *  1993-1994
 James L. Sayre *  1992-1993    John E. Heyser  1991-1992
 Donald J. Arbaugh *  1990-1991    Thomas J. Casey  1989-1990
 Donald O. Black      1988-1989    Dr. David K. Burns *  1987-1988
 Joseph E. Price  1986-1987    John R. Boyer *  1985-1986
 Dr. James V. Ganley *  1984-1985    W. James Wynn *  1983-1984
 Donald L. Kimmel *  1982-1983    Nicholas J. Geers  1981-1982
 William E. Lessig  1980-1981    William C. Spangler *  1979-1980
 James L. Hollinger  1978-1979    George K. March Jr. *  1977-1978
 Joseph J. Tornetta *  1976-1977    Dr. Marvin Maser *  1975-1976
 Harry W. Firth  1974-1975    Dr. H. Tom Tamaki*  1973-1974
 Morgan R. Barker  1972-1973    Matthew T. Welde *  1971-1972
 Merrill A. Bean *  1970-1971    William H. Heyser *  1969-1970
 Wilford P. Moll *  1968-1969    Nathan H. Wolf *  1967-1968
 Louis E. Mullin *  1966-1967    Robert T. Glass *      1965-1966
 Edwin M Markel *  1964-1965    Harold T. Prentzle *  1963-1964
 Harold W. Spencer *  1962-1963    Dr. William Brown *  1961-1962  
 Thomas S. Ellington *  1960-1961    Phillip Q. Kershner *  1959-1960
 Russell Troutman *  1958-1959    Samuel D. Miller *  1957-1958
 George C. Niblo *  1956-1957    Russell E. Crawford *  1955-1956
 Wilbur G Steinbright *  1954-1955    John M. Brecht *  1953-1954
 H. Ernst Thompkins *  1952-1953    Kenneth E. Neiman *  1951-1952
 Elwood A. Geiges *  1950-1951    Hugh McIlwain *  1949-1950
 Ralph R. Rhodes *  1948-1949    Ralph L. Haney *  1947-1948
 John O. Stoddart *  1946-1947    Isaac J. Sheppard *  1945-1946
 Theodore A. Grey *  1944-1945    Louis V. Drop *  1943-1944
 William N. Powell *  1942-1943    John C. Dettra *  1941-1942
 Wilbur M. Evans *  1940-1941    Henry P. Friend *  1939-1940
 Walter A. Knerr *  1938-1939    Renolds D. Lindermann *  1937-1938
 Clinton D. Smith *  1936-1937    Fred D. Swanson *  1935-1936
 George S. Housman *  1934-1935    Dr. Francis T. Knutsen *  1933-1934
 Rev. James N. Niblo *  1932-1933    Frank C. Parker *  1931-1932
 Robert B. Taylor *  1930-1931    Samuel R. Park *  1929-1930
 Lewis Y. Smith *  1928-1929    B. Brooke Barrett *  1927-1928
 William N. Easton *  1926-1927    Alvin D. Beyer *  1925-1926
 Herbert H. Ganser *  1924-1925    Abram T. Eastwick *  1923-1924
 Frank L. Wright *  1922-1923    Joseph Ranck *  1921-1922

Celebrating Our 95th Anniversary
The celebration was held on April 28th, 2016 at Meadowood Retirement Community in Worcester.  There were more than 70 attendees including members, their guests, former members and past presidents.  President-Elect Mark Call presided, in attendance were District Gov Doug Cook and his wife (and Collegeville Club Pres) Mary Cook. And Assistant Governor Bruce Dearnley.

Here are our officers and board directors during the 95th Year.
Front row L_R.. Viviann Schorle, Denise Ashe (Treas), James Nutt(Past Pres), John Rule (Secy), Mark Call (Pres Elect)
Back Row Scott Wright (Pres), David Beach, James Wiliams, Louise Zawadzki, Tim Meyers, Fred Hagglund (2nd VP), Angus Murray

Here members with more than 25 years service are awarded service anniversary certificates.
Front L-R Dr David Burns(38yrs), James Hollinger(43yrs), Douglas Shank(38yrs), John Bown(28yrs), Caesar Gorski(31yrs), Nicholas Geers(53yrs)
Back L-R John Geers(31yrs), John Heyser(46yrs), Donald Tornetta(32yrs), Dr James Nutt III(35yrs)

 We had a large representation of club past presidents recognized for their service.
Front L-R John Geers(2000-01), Brett Wells(2009-10), James Hollinger(1978-79), Nicolas Geers(1981-82), Dr David Burns(1987-88), James Williams(2002-03), Guido Martinelli(2005-06)Donald Tornetta(1996-97), Donald Kimmel(1982-83)
Back L-R Denise Ashe(2011-12), Harry Firth(1974-75), Robert Schmidt(2006-07), John Heyser(1991-92)
Dr Michael Herman(1999-00), Dr James Nutt III(2013-14)

Veterans War Memorial in Elmwood Park Dedicated 1922
                                      click picture to enlarge

WWI                                                                                            1914-1918
The Rotary Club of Norristown, at the dedication of this memorial in 1922, 
planted 46 "Tribute Trees" in memory of the 46 service men from Norristown who died in World War 1.
We are renewing our tribute to these men in 1994 by rededicating the remaining trees.
Rotary Club of Norristown

This memorial was rededicated in 1994.

And the top plaque was added in 1995 in honor of Vietnam veterans.

In Memory
Residents of Norristown who died from hostile action or missing in action during Vietnam War
CPL. Michael A. Baranowski 
SGT. Dennis W Hippo 
SPEC. Walter Baratash 
SGT. Joseph R Hudson 
CPL. Daniel W Brady 
LT. William F Jeffers 
SPEC. Anthony J Cabot 
SPEC. Willie L. Jones, Jr. 
SPEC. Wallace S Carter 
CPL. David B Le Fever 
PFC. Robert M Childress 
PFC. Gregory Littlejohn 
PFC. Daniel P Dillon 
PFC. Jimmy L McMorris 
PFC. Vincent Di Domenico, Jr 
PFC. William R Reese 
PFC. Nils A Drennen
PFC. Fred L Richard, Jr 
 PFC. John R Foley
MAJ. Robert F Ronca 
SPEC. Nicholas J Fulmer 
PFC. John E Sheetz 
LT. Richard L Giambrone 
PFC. James A Watson 
PFC. Stephen A Guardino 



click to enlarge

Norristown Rotary Club 1924 Picnic

 Adolf Muller's nursery on August 28, 1924

Video of the Norristown Rotary Club 1937

Norristown Rotary 1937

Times Herald 90th Anniversary Announcement