History of our Club
 

Early History of the Rotary Club of Del Mar

Adapted from writings of Stu Green, Founder and Al Childs, 5th President

The Rotary situation in this area in the 1950's was very different. The nearest Club was in Encinitas. To the East was Escondido and to the South, La Jolla and San Diego. So there was a large empty space comprised of the towns of Del Mar, Solana Beach, Cardiff and Rancho Santa Fe with a population of maybe 8,000 without a Rotary Club.

Sensing this vacuum, out of the Vista Club came Hiram Walker, District Governor. He contacted Stu Green, the local pharmacist, who had been a Rotarian in Brawley, CA in the Imperial Valley. This contact in early 1953 began the chain of events that lead to chartering the Del Mar Rotary Club in May 1954.

Stu Green persuaded Frank Strauss to become the solicitor-organizer and first President of the Club. At that time Frank was a Vice President of NonLinear Systems, the predecessor company to KayPro of which Andy Kay was the President. No one knew what Frank did at NonLinear, but he seemed to have a lot of time on his hands. So it turned out that he was just right for the job. Together Frank and Stu persuaded 38 men in the area to join up. Most were in business in Del Mar, but in order to get enough to charter a club they reached into Solana Beach and Rancho Santa Fe as well.

The Club received its charter at the Hotel Del Mar, current site of L'Auberge, on May 4, 1954. Over 200 people attended the chartering ceremony.

Although the selection of officers is theoretically a democratic process in Rotary, for the next 20 years Stu Green wrote the script, choreographed and directed the whole operation. He hand picked the Board and the second President, Roger Woolley who was the Corporate Attorney at the time for NonLinear Systems. Roger was a good administrator and the Club prospered.

In the following year Stu Green picked himself to be President. He was the joke and storyteller of the period. With a captive audience of 30-40 Rotarians each week he couldn't resist the temptation to tell and retell his entire repertoire.

In attempting to carry out the object of Rotary, The Del Mar Club has participated widely in community affairs and contributed much time, effort and money on these projects. The most worthwhile projects in the first ten years were in the field of youth activities. The Club sponsored the Del Mar Scout Troop with Monty Woolley, Chuck Ayars and Doc Wheelock serving as Institutional Representatives. The troop met at the Episcopal Church in Del Mar, where another member, Matt Curry was the Rector.

In the 1961-62 year when Don Barley was President, the Club sponsored two VISA students, Lillian Dluhosch of Brazil and Barbara Miselli of Milan, Italy. who attended Palomar College and resided in the homes of Eddie Read, Frank Strauss, Andy Kay, and Guy Matthews, all Del Mar Rotarians at the time. Since then the Club has sponsored an annual scholarship for a deserving college bound student from San Dieguito High School.

Over a period of years, our Rotarians had worked closely with the Del Mar Chamber of Commerce which has been led almost exclusively by members of our Club. We have also been prominent in the administration of the new Del Mar City government with John Mamaux, Mike Shoulders, Lou Leeger, and lately, Tom Pearson and Paul Zimmer.

One of the most enjoyable events has been the Rotary Day at the Races as guest of the the Del Mar Turf Club, courtesy of Donald Smith, the General Manager of the Thoroughbred Club and Eddie Read, who was in charge of publicity.


Meeting Venues for the Rotary Club of Del Mar
 

1954-1955

Firepit

South end of Solana Beach

1955-1956

Hotel Del Mar, now L'Auberge

1540 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar

1956-1959

La Tienda, now El Fuego

1342 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar

1960-1961

Knight's Room (Firepit), now Poseidon

1670 Coast Blvd., Del Mar

1961-1968

Namara Inn, now Terraces Apartments

690 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar

1969-1970

Firepit, Del Mar; Whispering Palms;
Torrey Pines Inn; Jolly Ox, Solana Beach

1971-1993

Whispering Palms Country Club,
now Morgan Run Country Club

5690 Concha de Golf, Rancho Santa Fe

1993-1995

Del Mar Hilton

15575 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar

1995-2001

Arena Room, Del Mar Fair Grounds

2620 Jimmy Durante, Blvd., Del Mar

2001-present

St Peters Episcopal Church

334 14th Street, Del Mar