The Catalina Rotary Club, the 2nd oldest in Tucson, was chartered February 5, 1948 with 23 members. District Governor Al Lent, his representative Bob Morrow, and Tucson Rotary Club President Jack O’Dowd were the principal organizers. Catalina is believed to be one of the first “second clubs” in the world, having received its provisional charter immediately following enactment of RI legislation permitting more than one club in any given community. The first club president was Brick Storts. Roy Long took over on July 1, 1948.
Elbert Gump, Catalina’s third president, attended the Rotary International Convention in New York City. Since then, each incoming president has attended the international convention.
The charitable arm of Rotary International is The Rotary Foundation. The foundation is funded through contributions by Rotarians and helps finance service projects around the world. A portion of the membership fee paid by each new Catalina Rotary Club member is sent to The Rotary Foundation as part of the the club’s continuing support. To date, current and former Catalina Rotarians have generously produced over 300 Paul Harris Fellowships (a level of giving over $1,000.00).
The Catalina Rotary Club continues to serve the community and the world while promoting projects and activities that enrich the lives of its members and their families. Club members think big, have fun, and get stuff done – with a particular focus on changing the lives of young people in need. The club won the Horace B. Griffin Award six times for being the outstanding club in its district. In 1998 the Griffin Award was replaced by the Presidential Citation Award presented by the President of Rotary International. The club has received this recognition nearly every year since that time.
Catalina has seen nine members become District Governor: Elbert Gump (1955-56), Hank Egbert (1956-57), Fran Coffey (1971-72), Don Ownbey (1973-74), Matty Schuler (1983-84), Dick Palmer (1988-89), Gene Crandall (1998-99), Al Chesser (2002-03), Ron Goodsite (2004-05), Frank Presson (2015-2016) and Kirk Reed (2017-2018).