Left to Right: John Wilkinson, Nancy Hause, Bob Swan
Three veteran Rotarians shared their stories with fellow members of Lawrence Central Rotary. Each found Rotary in an unusual way!
Nancy Hause joined Lawrence Central Rotary in 2014. Prior to that time, she was a member of Lawrence Jayhawk Rotary and Estes Park Rotary. Her loyalty to Rotary is long-lived, despite the fact that her grandfather, a Boulder, CO, businessman was not invited to join Rotary years ago. At the time he sought membership, the Boulder club assumed he could not be a part of the club because he was Catholic and they did not serve fish at their Friday meetings. Years later, her father joined the Brighton, CO, Rotary club and served as its president. Her mother was an active Rotary Ann, playing the piano for the weekly club meetings. Nancy’s husband Richard was invited to join Rotary in California and played the piano for that club for many years. Even though women were allowed to join Rotary by the mid-1980’s, Nancy didn’t become a Rotary member herself until after Rich’s death. After she and Rich retired and moved to Estes Park, Rich joined Rotary there. He dedicated his year as president of the Estes Park Rotary Club to Nancy’s father. When he died, the Estes Park Rotary invited Nancy to join their group. Nancy is a two-time Paul Harris Fellow. Nancy studied journalism at the University of Colorado, has worked as a writer and editor on newspapers over many years, and continues to do freelance work. She taught news and feature writing at Kansas State for fifteen years. She and Rich had four children and eight grandchildren.
Bob Swan joined Lawrence Central Rotary in 2009, but his first involvement with Rotary was in 1966 when he studied in Buenos Aires, Argentina as a Rotary Foundation Fellow.
Bob graduated from the University of Kansas in 1964 and, prior to his year in Argentina, was a KU Exchange Scholar to Reading, England. After his Rotary year in Argentina and South America, Bob ran for U.S. Congress in opposition to the Vietnam War, and wrote his Master’s Thesis on his symbolic campaign. His lifelong activism has been inspired in part by his opportunity to meet Dr. Martin Luther King in St. Augustine, Florida during the demonstrations that helped end the Senate Filibuster and ensure passage of the historic 1964 Civil Rights Act. In 2009 Bob joined Lawrence Central Rotary through encouragement from one of its founders, Ed Samp. In 2012-2013 Bob served as club president and focused on increasing membership and organizing a fundraiser for polio eradication, held in Lawrence and supported by nine other clubs of District 5710. Bob and his wife Irina from Moscow live in Lawrence where they now follow from afar the activities of Bob’s two daughters and Irina’s son and four grandchildren.
John Wilkinson joined Rotary in 1974 in Topeka and came to Lawrence Central Rotary in 2005. John grew up in Cherryvale, a small Kansas town of 2300 people. He began his career in 1941 as an entrepreneur with a paper route of 235 customers. He also carried luggage between the Frisco and the Santa Fe train depots for travelers. Delivering the paper—the Cherryvale Republican—John became aware of Rotary and was impressed with the community leadership of its members. “Rotary owned the town,” he observed. While attending Independence Junior College, John worked for a CPA firm where he had a chance to visit Rotary clubs. Once again, the comradery of Rotary impressed him. John attended the KU School of Business, did time in the U.S. Army in personnel, and graduated from law school on the G.I Bill. He joined a law firm in Topeka and practiced law for 42 years, spending time as clerk for both federal and state judges and serving as general counsel for the Federal Home Loan Bank for many years. John is past-president of the Topeka West Rotary Club. He has been married to Marianne for 59 years. They have three sons and five grandchildren.