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Chautauqua Rotarians ‘make up’ missed meetings in Westfield

August 14, 2014
Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

Chautauqua Rotarians make up missed meetings with Westfield/Mayville Rotarians in Westfield every Tuesday, and they enjoy it every time, according to a few regulars.

Rotarians meet on a weekly basis and when one misses, he/she is on their honor to make up that absence by attending another Rotary club. Many Chautauqua Rotarians choose to take advantage of a short ride to the nearest village.

A few long-returning Chautauqua Rotarians are considered part of the "year-rounders" because they have made many friends and contribute to Westfield/Mayville Rotary activities. For instance, Jim Hall plays the piano and Paul Burkhart leads the singing.

Article Photos

Submitted photo
Chautauqua Rotarians who “make up” meetings away from home highly recommend doing so with the Westfield/Mayville Rotarians who meet every Tuesday for lunch, business and fun. They are, seated left, Paul Burkhart from Carlisle, Pa., and Jim Hall from Pittsburgh; standing, from left, Jim Mead, Westfield native now from California; and Bill Clark from Chapel Hill, N.C. Absent from picture is Steve Bethea from Atlanta, Ga.

A former Westfield resident who now lives in California in the winter and Chautauqua in the summer, Jim Mead celebrated his 50th year in Rotary four years ago with the W/M club. When he and his wife Jane lived in Syracuse a few years, it was there that Mead was Rotary district governor.

Many readers will associate Mead with the Westfield Republican, for which he was editor/publisher for 25 years. And, he says proudly, "We printed the Chautauquan Daily for many years, too." (And, his wife was the Daily editor several years ago.)

As for "coming to Chautauqua," the five Rotarians boast their years in double digits starting with Mead with 55 years. Next is Jim Hall from Pittsburgh, a former oral surgeon who served two terms on the Institution's Presbyterian Church board and counts 50 Rotary years, 23 of them at Chautauqua. Hall is the pianist who gets everyone singing in Westfield.

That's when Paul Burkhart steps in to lead the singing. A Carlisle, Pa. resident in the off season, he has been a Rotarian for 38 years and is a past district governor. As for Chautauqua, he has been attending there for years - a part-timer for 45 years and 23 of them all season. At the Institution, he has served two terms on the Presbyterian board, 43 with the Motet Choir and is a past commodore for the Yacht Club. "When I'm at Chautauqua, I come here," he said.

Coming from North Carolina is Bill Clark, an all summer Chautauquan since childhood, 52 years as a Rotarian.

A Chapel Hill resident, he says, "I thoroughly enjoy the Westfield/Mayville Club and recommend it to all (visiting) Rotarians."

A Rotarian for 38 years, Steve Bethea from Atlanta, Ga., who is a retired orthopedic surgeon, also was president of the Buckhead Atlanta diving Olympics. He's been coming to Chautauqua for 15 years, full time for 12 years and a few weeks this year.

"I love making up (attendance) at the Westfield Rotary Club," he said. "My grandkids love coming to Chautauqua."

It should be noted that both Mead and Bethea have perfect attendance during their Rotary years.

After recently enjoying the singing of four Chautauqua student vocalists whose scholarships were donated by the Westfield/Mayville Rotary, Mead, Hall, Burkhart, Clark and Bethea recommended that all Chautauquans who want to "make up" hometown club meetings should head for Westfield, a short distance from their summer home.



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