Mayor Glen Stewart presents the Paul Harris Award to Madeline Finnerty on Tuesday during the 90th anniversary celebration of Ashland Rotary at Ashland University’s John C. Myers Convocation Center.

Rotary Club of Ashland on Thursday celebrated 90 years of service locally, throughout the country and abroad.

Club members and their spouses gathered at Ashland University to take a look back at club history and activities over the years and honor members who have made significant contributions in the past year.

Ashland Rotary was founded May 1922. The club met for its first meeting at Hotel Otter. Charter members included Phil Myers of F.E. Myers pump company, John McDowell, a former Ashland City Schools superintendent and namesake of McDowell Auditorium and J.L. Clark of Hess and Clark and founder of Samaritan Hospital.90yj


The club's philanthropic efforts have varied over time. In the early years, the club sponsored various programs for children including those for "wayward and homeless boys." They worked with the Red Cross to send boxes of food, supplies and tobacco to troops and sponsored youth exchanges.

Today, the club still participates in some similar activities, emphasizing programs for young people, including scholarships and exchange programs. The club also has an annual nut sale, which supports Shelter Box USA, an international relief program that delivers emergency shelter and supplies to people affected by disaster. And Rotary's funnel cake stand is a staple at the county fair.

The group on Wednesday viewed a slideshow with images and history gathered by Jan Archer, Lindsey Gasche, Seth Gasche and AU archivist Dave Roepke. Archer led the effort to compile the Ashland Rotary's visual and written history.

Also on Thursday, Rotarians honored this year's recipients of the Paul Harris Fellowship. The annual award recognizes the work of individual Rotarians. Madeline Finnerty and Jerry Strausbaugh are this year's recipients. Finnerty is the immediate past president and 2006 recipient of the award. Strausbaugh is director of Appleseed Mental Health.

Members took a moment to recognize Rotarians who died this year. Bob Studeny passed away in 2011 and Henry Chalfant in 2012. Studeny served with Rotary for 54 years and Chalfant, 45 years. Both of their wives were in attendance at Thursday's event.