March 17, 2016

Minutes of the March 17, 2016 Meeting
The Rotary Club of Mobile
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 12:20 PM by Robby McClure, club president. Ariel Chavez offered the invocation and afterwards Larry Sindel led the club in song. Tom Martenstein welcomed members of guests and a visiting Rotarian.
Youth Merit Award: Ashleigh Neese, a senior at UMS-Wright was awarded the Youth Merit Award and said she plans to attend Birmingham Southern in the fall.
New Member: Jimmy Lyon, a principal in Exit Realty Lyon was introduced as the newest Rotarian by Dan McDaniel.
Announcements: Robby made the following announcements:
• A board meeting will take today after the meeting.
• If planning a visit to Mobile West at Briquettes on Montlimar Drive, please come before 11:45AM to place you order for lunch so that the program can be on schedule.
Program: Furnishing the Bellingrath Home: Did She Shop til She Dropped?
Tom McGehee, Museum Director for Bellingrath Gardens and Home presented a power point program highlighting some of the purchases made by Bessie Morse Bellingrath for her home at the center of Bellingrath Gardens which was completed in 1936. Among the treasures and their stories:
• A pair of marble and brass urns once owned by Admiral Raphael Semmes.
• A banquet table and chairs from the London estate of Sir Thomas Lipton who had founded his tea empire in 1890.
• A French display cabinet formerly owned by New York senator and attorney Chauncey DePew. One of his more famous quips: “I get exercise acting as pallbearer to my friends who exercise.” DePew died at the age of 94 in 1928.
• A pair of large sterling silver cups with covers purchased from the estate of the longtime president of Studebaker, Albert R. Erskine, a native of Huntsville. When he was relieved of his duties in 1933 following some very bad management choices, he put a gun to his chest.
• A pair of Sheffield silver wine coasters from the descendant of George Tuthill whose home previously stood on the north west corner of Old Shell Road and Tuthill Lane until a fire consumed it in 1897.
• A bronze Japanese vase was a gift from local nurseryman and Rotarian Tom Kiyona to Mrs. Bellingrath who had been one of his best customers. When war with Japan was declared his property was confiscated in Mobile and he was forced to go into a relocation camp. At war’s end he returned to Mobile briefly, a broken man. He died in Japan, a nation he had left as a small child.
Robby thanked Tom for speaking to the club and announced that in his honor a donation has been made to the Mobile Infirmary Center for Women and Children.