Rohrersville Ruritan Club celebrates 60th anniversary

August 22, 2012
  • From left, Ruritan national representative Dennis Barthlow, oldest Rohrersville Ruritan Club living charter member Richard Haynes and Rohrersville Ruritan Club President J.R. Smith.
Submitted photo

On July 7, 1952, the Rohrersville Ruritan Club was organized, sponsored by the Keedysville Ruritan Club.

It was chartered on July 30, 1952. The charter members were the Rev. David Rhodes, president; E. Leon Easton, vice president; William Hovermale, secretary; Richard Haynes, treasurer; and Horace Mullendore, John D. Keedy and Harold Smith, directors.

Members were Ronald Crowl, H.E. David, Paul Fink, Homer Grimm, Cecil Haines, Ralph Kretzer, Clarence Miller, Reginald Norris, Charles Reeder, Herbert Renner, Francis Shaffer, Paul Showe, D. Albert Smith, Harry Smith, Charles Spielman Jr. and Clayton Violet.

On July 14, the club celebrated its 60th anniversary with a dinner at the old Rohrersville Schoolhouse, its regular meeting place.

According to club history, compiled by Haynes, the oldest member of the club and the only living charter member, the first fundraising event was a shooting match. Other fundraisers over the years have included donkey baseball games and chicken barbecues, with the first being held Aug. 20, 1954.


The annual strawberry festival began in 1958, and except for an interval of several years, has continued until this day, with a tractor pull added in the last several years. In 1963, the first carnival was held with big-name performers. It was held for 25 years.

In September 1978, the club acquired the Rohrersville school building, which closed in June 1978. The club’s first turkey, ham and oyster supper was held in the schoolhouse. After 34 years, the club has served about 65,000 meals at 200 suppers.

The club sponsored the Brownsville/Gapland Ruritan Club in 1954, which is now the Pleasant Valley Ruritan Club. They have sponsored Little League teams, Boy Scouts, Red Cross blood drives, Easter egg hunts and Christmas caroling in nursing homes. Along with area churches, the club has sponsored vesper services at Gathland State Park.

In 1958, the club spent $3,000 for an eight-acre field across from the schoolhouse, which became Rohrersville Community Park. It is now used by several soccer teams and there is a public tennis court.

The club awards scholarships each year to high school graduates.

In  1996, the club welcomed women, who have become an important part of the organization.

Haynes said the club has “a good foundation to build on and good will within the community certainly has been achieved.”

The anniversary program began with the singing of “America,” led by Haynes, and prayer led by Chaplain Duke Jeffries, the traditional Ruritan Club meeting opening.

Bethany Norris, 10, who recently portrayed Annie in Washington County Playhouse’s performance of the musical “Annie,” entertained the audience with several numbers.

Guests included Ruritan District Gov. John Lovell, Lt. Gov. Donald Foster and Zone Gov. Nancy Reeder, and representatives from area clubs who all extended congratulations to the club.

Dennis Barthlow, national representative, who filled in for Potomac District representative Glenn Davis, presented certificates to Haynes and J.R. Smith, club president, from Ruritan National President Phyllis Lewter in recognition of the “unselfish service in making their communities a better place to live.”
Officers are J.R. Smith, president; Bob Tonetti, vice president; Cindy Smith, secretary; and Terry Lerch, treasurer.

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