The Union City Rotary Club, made up of 140 members representing
a variety of local businesses and professions, has established itself
as an organization whose ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise
has benefited the community since its beginning. Union City Rotarians
encourage and foster the development of acquaintance as an opportunity
for service; high ethical standards in business and professions;
the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations; the
necessity for each Rotarian to dignify his occupation as an opportunity
to serve society; the application of this ideal of service by every
Rotarian in personal, business and community life; and the advancement
of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world
fellowship of those involved in business and the professions united
in the ideal of service.
Union City rotary club charter member Gus White's previous history
of the organization notes that the group was established in 1936
under the sponsorship of the Jackson and Trenton Rotary Clubs. Thanks
to the efforts of Rotarians Happle Hunt and Gale Fawcett of Trenton
and Bond Wilkinson and Sam Franklin of Jackson, business and professional
men in Union City who had previously been associated in a local
organization known as the Union City Civic Club became part of the
In August of that year of that year a group of potential members
met at the old City Hall to organize the Union City Rotary Club.
The first meeting of the new group took place August 28 in that
building's assembly room.
New members elected Gus B. White, Jr. president: Cecil Grigsby,
vice president, Carl J. Timm, secretary: and Walter J. Mayes, treasurer.
Those formed the first Board of Directors, along with Walter G.
Reynolds, Cyrus B. Dement, Walter Howell and Franklin Yates.
A few months later on December 4, at a dinner hosted at City Hall,
the Club was presented a charter by District Governor C. P. Daniel
of Kingsport. Edgar Hudgins gave the welcoming address and Joe Davis
of Fulton, a fellow Rotarian, was speaker for the occasion. A response
was forthcoming from President White. All 30 charter members were
in attendance for this session, according to Club records.
Among the 30 well-known citizens who made up the new Rotary Club
were James Rippy, Sr. and Tom Elam. Others whose names are on the
first roll include Will Andrews, Embrey Beck, Clem Burdick, Bryant
Edwards, Hunter Elam, Ellis Carnett, Carlos Elkins, Leon Evans,
Noel Glover, Charley Haskins, Walter Phillips, Cecil Mathis, Phil
Morson, Hugh Sitton, Frank Kimzey, Ken Woodruff, Howell Bransford,
Don Kerr, and Dr. R. G. Latimer.
The Union City organization was given the club number 4017 and
recognized as part of District 6760.
Letters of congratulations from Rotary Clubs around the world soon
began to arrive. President White found it necessary to seek the
assistance of some local teachers and citizens fluent in foreign
languages to interpret some of these missives.
Rotary currently meets at noon Friday at The Hampton Centre'. In
the past, the meetings have been called to order at the former Davy
Crocket Hotel, The Grill, Lexington Café, Red Top Inn, Park
Café, Biltmore Motel and Bonanza Restaurant.
The 2003 Rotary Club currently includes on its membership roll
third generation local Rotarians. The White family's association
extends back to the first Union City Rotary president, Gus White.
His son, the late (former president) Barry White, and his grandsons,
former president Bart White and Skipper White. Bart White and Skipper
White are current active members of the Club. The Critchlow family
was first represented by the 1950 president Ed S. Critchlow. His
son David G. Critchlow, Sr. and his grandsons, David G. Critchlow,
Jr. and Scott Critchlow are now on roll. Walker Tanner saw his son
E. B. "Buzz" Tanner, and his grandson Congressman John
Tanner, join him as Rotarians, as past presidents and as Paul Harris
Two district governors have risen from the ranks of the local Club.
Carl Timm was elected in Trenton for the 1972-73 term. Gus B. White
received the honor in 1961 in Murfreesboro and was serving when
his son became local Rotary president in 1962. During the terms
of these outstanding Rotarians, the district conferences, under
the chairmanship of Barry White, were distinguished with the largest
attendance in the history of the district organization. Many current
members may recall that a young and relatively unknown Barbara Mandrell
provided musical entertainment for the conference held during Rotarian
Robert A. "Fats" Everett, a favorite son who represented
this Congressional District for many years in Washington, was made
an honorary member. The only other honorary member is James Harris
who has led a regional awareness campaign for ALS (Lou Gehrig's
As the Union City Rotary Club looks to its second century of service
to the community, members can recall with pride the group's many
contributions. These include such diverse outreach efforts as donations
to the Crippled Adults Hospital of Memphis - An early beneficiary
of Rotary's efforts: Sheriff's Youth Town; student and citizen exchange
programs that contribute to understanding between cultures; Rotary
Relays, a program to promote competition in high school track and
field; and impressive college and technical school scholarship that
has won attention far beyond the local level, and sponsorship of
a book program for youth from birth to age five named "Obion
County Reading Railroad".
The Union City Rotary Club promotes Rotary International's "Four
- Is it the TRUTH?
- Is it FAIR to all concerned?
- Will it build GOODWILL & BETTER FRIENDSHIP?
- Will it be BENEFICAL to all concerned?
Members of the Union City Rotary Club continue to actively practice
the motto, "Service Above Self",
which has defined the group's purpose for more than a half a century.
In so doing they validate the comments of the Club's first president,
who praised the group and the individuals in it as "a hub for
the forward turning wheel of advancement in this community".