Category Archives: Club History

Celebrating 90 Years of Service

The organizational meeting for a new Rotary Club in Monrovia was held on June 22, 1922 at the offices of the Southern Counties Gas Company, 114 E. Lemon Avenue in Monrovia. This historic location still exists in Old Town Monrovia. This was after it had been determined that there was a sufficient level of interest in a new club and enough individuals who would qualify as charter members. Application was made to Rotary International for a new club in Monrovia, and the Rotary Club of Pasadena was the sponsor. The application was approved by Rotary International, and the club’s charter was issued October 24, 1922. Monrovia Rotary was Club #1269 in the Rotary World. The first president was Walter E. Keefe, District Manager for the Southern Counties Gas Company. The last surviving charter member, Dr. William G. Barks, died November 24, 1967 after being a member for forty-five years.

Over the years, Monrovia Rotary has been honored to provide two district governors for our district: George Carlson and William “Billy” Ryan. The former is now memorialized with an award presented annually to a member of the club who has provided outstanding contributions to the betterment of the club, while the latter is memorialized with a scholarship presented annually to an outstanding scholar-athlete at Monrovia High School.

The fist civic project attempted by the Club was the erection of a band shell in Library Park in Monrovia. The band shell was constructed during the 1927-1928 Rotary Year. While it has been moved from its original location, the band shell still serves its intended purpose in the park. New signage to be installed in October of 2012 will now prominently identify the band shell’s Rotary origins. Also during the 1927-1928 Rotary Year, the Monrovia club sponsored the formation of the Rotary Club of Arcadia.

The next notable civic project of the club was the conversion of an abandoned reservoir site at the corner of Lime and California Avenues into an attractive neighborhood park. The vacant land was landscaped, and playground equipment was purchased and installed by the club. The renovated corner has been known since 1969 as “Rotary Park”

Responding to a desire to honor those from Monrovia who gave their lives in the Vietnam conflict, the club under the leadership of President Rob Hammond provided the funding for a memorial in Library Park bearing the names of those who perished. The monument was dedicated May 27, 1996.

The construction of a new public library in Monrovia inspired the Club under the leadership of President Mary Ann Lutz to establish a fund for the purpose of helping to furnish the new building once it was completed. Several years of fundraising activities allowed the Club to assist with the innovative furnishings of the “Cozy Corner” in the children’s wing of the new library. The area has been a favorite of young library patrons since the library opened in 2009.

While not visible to the general public, “Fort Rotary” at the Trask Scout Camp in the mountains above Monrovia enhances the camp experience of those scouts who spend time there. A joint venture with the Rotary Club of Arcadia, the project was designed and constructed by Rotary volunteers.

Additional civic projects include a drinking fountain in the alley of the 600 Block of S. Myrtle Avenue, and the scoreboard at the Mary Wilcox Youth Center.

Monrovia Rotary has participated in several international service projects in addition to local projects: a water well in Africa, construction at Valle de Las Palmas in Mexico, a house for a deserving family in Tijuana, school supplies for children in South Africa, and wheelchairs for those who cannot afford them in Mexico. The project with the broadest scope has been participating in Rotary International’s goal, with the assistance of the Gates Foundation, of eradicating polio throughout the world. Members of the Monrovia Club have given generously to this ongoing project, and the goal is now within reach. All Rotarians would like to see polio join smallpox as a disease banished from the face of the earth.

There has always been a strong relationship between Monrovia Rotary and the students in Monrovia’s public schools. In addition to providing academic achievement awards to deserving students at Monrovia’s two middle schools, the Club provides numerous scholarships to graduating seniors at Monrovia High School as well as Canyon Oaks and Mountain Park Alternative Schools. Monrovia Rotary also supports the Monrovia Adult School with financial assistance for specific areas of vocational training.

Rotary’s motto has been “Service above Self” almost since 1905 when Rotary was founded in Chicago. The members of the Rotary Club of Monrovia are grateful for ninety years of service to our community and for the dedication of individual club members that has made our service projects possible.

Steve Baker
Executive Secretary
October 10, 2012

Rotary Club May 12, 1925

Wilbur A Treadwell, Pres Monrovia Rotary,George Carlson – June 29, 1957 (Milton K. Bell Photographer)


Pictured at right: C.F. Davis, W.G. Banks

Steve Baker to be 2011 Cathy Hotchkin Humanitarian Awardee



Steve BakerOur own Rotarian Steve Baker is being honored by the Santa Anita Family YMCA on Thursday, Sept 29th as the 2011 Cathy Hotchkin Humanitarian Awardee!
Steve will be honored at the 3rd Annual Red Envelope Gala to be held at the Embassy Suites Arcadia on Thursday, September 29, 2011.  A silent auction reception will be at 5:30pm and dinner will be served at 6:45pm.  Tickets are $75 per person and go to the Santa Anita Family YMCA.
If you are interested in attending the event please contact Cheryl Reynolds at 626-359-9244 or

In Loving Memory of William Earl “Bill” Faith: April 9, 1920 – Jan. 4, 2011


 Bill was born in Sargent, Nebraska, but moved to Los Angeles after graduating from high school. He attend Occidental College and upon graduation Bill taught physical education at Gage Junior High School. While working full time he attended night classes at Loyola University School of Law, earning a JD degree in four years. After practicing law for a short time in Pasadena, Bill relocated his practice to Monrovia where, eventually, as a name partner in the firm of Patten, Faith & Sandford, he completed more than fifty-five years in the active practice of law.


While at Oxy Bill met Ruth Knudson, and they were married on August 23, 1942. Ruth passed away October 11, 2000, but Bill is survived by his sons, Eric (Martha) Faith & John Randall (Carol) Faith; his daughter, Shelley Faith, also by five grand children and ten great grand children.


Bill was an active and beloved member in his community, serving on the boards (and often as the chair) of many local organizations. These included United Way, Lions Club, Jaycees, YMCA, Foothill Bar Association and the Monrovia Rotary Club. He was for many years an active Elder in the Monrovia Presbyterian Church where he sang a beautiful tenor in the choir.


Bill died January 4, 2011 in Arcadia at the age of ninety.


A memorial service celebrating Bill’s life will be held at 2:30 on Sunday, January 30, 2011 at Monrovia First Presbyterian Church (corner of Myrtle and Foothill). In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to the City of Hope or Occidental College.

Joseph B. Ragsdale dies peacefully at the age of 99

 Ragsdale, Joseph Benjamin “Gentleman Joe” was born in Martin, Tennessee on September 2, 1911 and died peaceful in his sleep October the 9th.  He was preceded in death by his parents May Bell and John Adam Ragsdale, his son Joseph Benjamin Ragsdale, Jr. and his wife of 47 years, Doris “DeeDee” Walter Baxter Ragsdale. He is survived by his brother John Adam Ragsdale, Jr. of Highland, California, daughters, Billie Dahl of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Virginia “Ginger” Anderson of Laguna Woods, California, Linda Mueller and son-in-law Jim Mueller of Flagstaff, Arizona, Daughter-in law Sherry Ragsdale of Whittier, California, Stepson John Thurlow Baxter of Prescott Arizona, 14 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and 15 great, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

He moved his family to California during World War II when he was hired as a procurement officer at Norton AFB. After the war he went to work with Sherwin Williams Paint Co. in Monrovia where he managed the store for 30 years. Not quite ready to completely retire when Tom Adams offered him a position with Century 21 he did not hesitate as real estate was something he had always shown an interest in.

Mr. Ragsdale was a long standing member of the Rotary Club of Monrovia, serving as its President in 1955/1956.   Joe was very active in the board of Santa Anita Family YMCA and served with distinction during the time when it gained its independence from Pasadena in 1999. He was involved in organized real estate for many years receiving his real estate license in 1972 and continuing on until recognized as a “Life Member” of the California Association of Realtors .  At the age of 95 Joe received a standing ovation from over 800 attendees at the Century 21 Regional Awards Dinner for achieving membership in the Masters Awards Club for that year. He is a life member of the Elks and past member of the Kiwanis . He was a long time member of the Monrovia Tennis club where he played tennis into his early 80’s. He was a member of the Monrovia Dance Club. He and his wife DeeDee were outstanding ballroom dancers. He was also active in the Monrovia Chambers of Commerce.

Joe was recognized as someone of integrity. Music was a large part of his life and always in his home. He began playing the piano when he was 7 years old and later put together a band while he  in college. For many years he was involved in the musical productions at Royal Oaks Manor. Joe loved house boating, camping, and fishing with family and friends and traveling the world with his wife DeeDee. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends and the community which he so dearly loved.

The Celebration of life for Joseph B. Ragsdale will be Friday, October 29th at 6:30.  The location will be at the Monrovia Historical Museum at 742 E. Lemon Ave., Monrovia, CA 91016.  Donations may be made to the Santa Anita Family YMCA at 501 S. Mountain Ave., Monrovia, CA 91016