Rotary Club of Waterbury - Serving the Communities of Waterbury, Prospect and Wolcott

Mary Zasada
2023-2024 President
Imagine Rotary
Rotary Club of Waterbury Centennial

On April 26, 2017 Waterbury Rotary joined the Rotary Clubs of New Haven and New London, also chartered in 1917, in celebrating 100 years of service.  A video was made for the Centennial Gala honoring the three clubs, highlighting just some of the great service by each.

Rotary Club of Waterbury History

Chartered on April 1, 1917, the Rotary Club of Waterbury has been serving the Greater Waterbury area for over 100 years.  Thanks to our numerous members over the years we have helped a great number of people and organizations throughout the area.

List of The Rotary Club of Waterbury Presidents from 1917 to Present

In August 1914 George S. Green of Waterbury, CT contacted Rotary International requesting information on organizing a Rotary Club in Waterbury. Mr. Green was given the information he needed and was tasked by RI with organizing a club.

Almost 3 years later on February 9, 1917 the first meeting was held of the Rotary Club of Waterbury, CT with 57 charter members. Although the club had yet to officially submit application to RI this was considered the first official meeting and the District Governor was in attendance.

On March 3, 1917 the club filed an Application for Membership with Rotary International and was chartered on April 1, 1917.

At this time in RI history sponsorship of a new club was either by an existing club or by a special representative appointed by an established club to help organize the new club. According to RI records the organization of the Waterbury club did not follow this procedure. Essentially the club was self organized.

The first officers of the Rotary Club of Waterbury were:

  • President: Charles A. Templeton
  • Vice President: George S. Green
  • Treasurer: Theodore Lilley
  • Secretary: Harry C. Post
  • Sergeant-At-Arms: Robert F. Worden

The first Board Of Directors included:

  • John R. Hughes
  • Edward Beach
  • Fred J. Lyon
  • Edward L. White
  • Francis T. Reeves
  • Almon C. Judd
  • Samuel R. Kelsey
  • Ralph E. Gerth

The first Tuesday of each month was an evening meeting, the remaining Tuesdays were lunch meetings at 12:30 pm.

We remember...

"Waterbury Scholarship Fund"
Submitted by Ken Carter

Since we just awarded $11,000 in scholarships to Waterbury area students at our Installation Dinner, I thought a short history of the fund would be in order.

The Rotary Scholarship Fund began in 1927 as a student loan fund. Loans at that time averaged between $200 and $400. The loans would be re-paid after finishing college at a 4% interest rate. It was originally financed by contributors from the Rotary membership. Between 1923 and 1952 more than 70 individuals were helped.

In 1953, the fund was changed to the present Waterbury Scholarship Fund. Various forms of assistance were given to students and for a period, only college students were considered. Then, in 1980 only graduate students were considered. However, for the past 15 years we have settled on a schedule where we give up to four (4) $2000 scholarships to Waterbury area high school graduates and several $1000 scholarships to individuals at college who had been participants in the high school scholarship program. Number of scholarships depends on the amount of money the fund has available.

Submitted by Ken Carter

The life blood of any organization is its membership, both in quality and quantity. Unless this is maintained or improved the organization will quickly fade or die. We like to feel that the Rotary Club of Waterbury is a living and active organization. Due to deaths and resignations, our membership is falling. We have had some excellent additions but more are needed. There are many young men in town who would make outstanding members (*). Unless they are asked to join they are apt to be lost to other organizations.

We have numerous open classifications that are unfilled and new classifications can always be added.

It behooves each and every one of us to see to it that our organization maintains its high level.

We are asking the help of all members. There is no limit as to the number of new members any member may introduce.

We are reintroducing the five for one plan and dividing the club into groups of five. We are asking each group to bring in the name of at least one new member during the coming year.

Please do your part: If there are any other suggestions, they would be most welcomed.

Submitted by Dr. Joseph Sklaver

This committee report was written by our current member, Dr. Joseph Sklaver. According to Ken Carter's research, sometime in the early 1970's. This is as true today as it was 30 years ago. The following current Rotarians were members of that five for one membership drive: Ellsworth Candee, Clif Cotter, Anthony Durso, Doug Heaven, Ted Martland, Dr. Don Rogers, Ed Cookson, and Jim Lee.

(*) There would obviously be one change today - It would read "Many young men and women"!!

"1950 thru 1960"
Submitted by Harry Bartlett & Ed Cookson

We remember when the Waterbury Rotary Club:

  • Met at the Grand Ballroom of the Elton Hotel
  • Had 135 members and Gene Oviatt played the piano during the lunch meeting
  • Had three waitresses and they knew exactly what each member wanted for and lunch was $1.50
  • Raised $6000 to build the recreation/dining hall at the Boy Scout Camp in 1948. Also going on to add other projects following that.
  • Member Clyde Jennings, manager of the Elton, walked the streets whistling and could be heard for blocks away.

"1950 thru 1960"
Submitted by Harry Bartlett & Ed Cookson

We remember when the Waterbury Rotary Club:

  • Had a "Sub-Rose Club" whose members met each Tuesday at the King's Kitchen Bar downstairs and were often late getting to the meetings.
  • Was involved in a pseudo feud between Frank Hess and Bob Stevenson over the fur coat stored in Frank's cold storage vault. Every fall out came the tattered coat and they argued over who paid for what.
  • Members Ed Cookson, Sr. and Clarence Bartlett, who may have been the two shortest members, were very active and always willing to help the cause.
  • Editor of the Critique, Harry Beardsley, gave a Rotary Pin with a ruby in the center to an "Editor of the Week" if he thought you did a good job.
  • Members Oscar Warner and Fred Smith were the world travelers and always had great slides to show the club.

"Memory Lane... 1950 thru 1960"
Submitted by Harry Bartlett & Ed Cookson

We remember when the Waterbury Rotary Club:

  • Was forever entertained by the stories and poems of Fred Faust.
  • Members had to always be ready for the pranks and jokes orchestrated by Andy Gilmore.
  • Had baseball games with other service clubs and the scores were not strictly kept and always happened to be in unbelievably high double figures.
  • Joined with Scovill Manufacturing to sponsor the Annual Rodeo Day in Wolcott and every member was there to help. Even to sell hot dogs!
  • Had small signs printed for us to hang in our offices that read: "Tuesday is Rotary Day - I make no appointments between 12 noon and 1:30 pm. This time belongs to my community."

Health Lodge at the Boy Scout's Camp Mattatuck


In 1961, The Rotary Club of Waterbury helped to fund and build the Health Lodge at the Boy Scout's Camp Mattatuck.

Donated by the family of John Reymond




The Rotary Club of Waterbury visits the Reymond Baking Co., Waterbury, CT.


May 26, 1936

The Rotary Club of Waterbury visits the Reymond Baking Co., Waterbury, CT.

Donated by the family of John Reymond