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Kiwanis Club Will Celebrate 60 Years

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Kiwanis Club will celebrate 60 years

MAY 91981

Sixty years of community service by the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor will be celebrated at a birthday party May 15 at the Kiwanis Activities Center.

Officially chartered May 13,1921, the organization’s founding was sponsored by the Ypsilanti Kiwanis Club - one month its senior. Sixty members made up the charter group; two are still active members of the club, Bob Norris and Jim O’Kane.

Six years after its founding, the club began an Ann Arbor tradition - the Kiwanis sale. One of the original “garage sales,” the three-day extravaganza grossed over $50,000 this past February. Smaller versions of the larger sale are held in August and December.

At first the sale was co-sponsored by a church guild and held in vacant city stores. The two most recent locations have been the Armory and the KAC, its current spot since 1968.

Through the years the club has used the proceeds to purchase a library bookmobile, fund wading pools at city parks, and to contribute substantially to the construction of the Ann Arbor “Y” and Salvation Army Buildings.

Members also complete a daily “Meals on Wheels” route each weekday, visit the Maxey Boys Training School at Christmas and staff the Salvation Army kettles during the holidays.

The club began a program now conducted statewide by Kiwanis: the funding of the hospital school at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. The late Ashley Clague, club president in 1938, was instrumental in establishing the Forney W. Clement Foundation, named in honor of the district secretary (1930-42) who resided in Ann Arbor. The foundation assures that children (and now adults) can continue their education while hospitalized.

Internationally, the club believes its combined total of 777 years of Kiwanis service by its 16 senior members to be a record. As of October, 1980, 22 club members had 20 or more years of perfect consecutive attendance.

In the area of leadership, three of its members have held the top state Kiwanis office of governor - Lewis Reimann, George Bowler and Ralph Keyes. Keyes also reached the level of international trustee. Several others have held local elective office, including present city councilmen Cliff Sheldon and Lou Velker and Washtenaw County Sheriff Tom Minick.

Another niche was carved when the group purchased its own building in 1967. The Kiwanis Activities Center, Washington at First Street, is a three-floor structure that serves as the home of the sale and hosts the club’s 160 members at their weekly meetings.

Current officers of the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor are Clarence Dukes, president; Robert Nichols, president-elect; Jerry Brown, vice president; J. Michael Forsythe, treasurer and Lyman Bittman, secretary.



Purchaser hauls away a full-sized refrigerator from the annual Kiwanis sale.