Some TV evangelists thrived and prospered for decades by urging their flocks to “give till it hurts”, others suggest “give, and it will be given to you”.  Now, the internet is rife with charities, appealing to our sensibilities and our checkbooks.
Marshall Rotarian, Cecil Tomlinson, on the other hand, was a lifelong proponent of cheerful giving.  His signature smile was disarming and captivating.  He was unassuming and irresistibly compelling; a worthy role-model and mentor to all who knew him.
Cecil and his wife Pauline moved to Marshall in 1978, when he was named president on Southwest Meter.  He joined the Marshall Rotary club in February of 1980, six months before I did, yet I hardly ever saw him at the meetings.  Years later I learned why, when he told me about how he was talked into joining the club. 
I remember his grin to this day as he related the story. He had resisted joining Rotary because his job required much travel, so he didn’t think he could meet the attendance requirement.
But a cunning club member suggested that he should have no problem with that, since Rotary-other-club make ups, counted as attendance at his own club.  At that he enthusiastically agreed to join.
Cecil traveled to various cities with a new purpose. Now he planned his schedule so that it coincided with a Rotary club meeting, to which he would invite his customers to have lunch.  He returned to the club after a few weeks with a dozen, or more “Makeups”.
His grin got even bigger as he continued the story.  He learned that only two of them counted.  When he learned that, he made the necessary adjustments and maintained a perfect attendance from then on.
Cecil became president of the Rotary club in 1984, went on to become District Governor in 1987, the year in which he instituted what was, at that time, the largest fund drive in the history of the East Texas Rotary District 583, to eradicate POLIO. 
I was to be a part of that drive and feeling pretty good about having raised a little over $5,000 towards the final total of almost $200,000. 
When I brought my money in to Cecil, he looked at me with that “irresistibly compelling” grin and said: Jim, if you would just add another thousand dollars to that, you would be a six-stone Paul Harris Fellow.  You know the answer to that was yes, I will.
I did not know this at the time, but he had made The Rotary Foundation a beneficiary of his estate in the amount of several thousand dollars.
But Rotary was not his only interest.  He was president of the local Chamber of Commerce, Citizen of The Year, in 1987, and President of the Marshall-Harrison County Industries for years.  He led dozens of fund-drives for everything from Shriners to Boy Scouts.
Only recently did I find out that he was a seaman on board the Battleship USS Maryland in Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, when Japan attacked. He gave of his “extra time” that God had given him that day, cheerfully and well.
Cecil will be remembered when we “Celebrate a Century of Changing Lives in Marshall – and Beyond”, August 24, 2019, at the Marshall Convention Center.