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Centennial Back-Flash, 03-28-2019
Silvester Schiele, The First Rotary Club President
Silvester Schiele First Rotary Club President
29 June, 1870 - 17 December 1945
 It was Paul and Silvester who met for dinner on Thursday evening, the 23rd of February 1905.
 
Silvester attended school in Terre Haute. Service in the military during the Spanish American war was followed by a move to Chicago. There Silvester involved himself in the coal trade, perhaps using contacts from the mining areas of Indiana.
 
The story has often been told about how in 1896, he found himself unable to recover 20 dollars which he had loaned to a friend. Passing by his coal office frequently was a young lawyer, and one day Silvester asked this young lawyer to help him collect the money.
 
The lawyer was Paul Harris and thus began a friendship between the two men which continued for the next 50 years. Schiele and Harris even shared a hotel room in those early years of the century when both were still bachelors. They often dined together at Madame Galli's where, on February 23, 1905, the 'gang of four' met to discuss the formation of what later became the Rotary movement.
 
In 1909, Silvester married Jessie MacDonald of Michigan who was to assist him throughout their life together. The two couples, Paul and Jean Harris, and Silvester and Jessie Schiele became great friends and neighbors as well as often holidaying together. In death the two men lie close to each other in the Mount Hope Cemetery.
 
It was Silvester who suggested to Paul that each of the members of the new club should give a talk about their business, thereby starting a tradition for new members which continues to this day. Silvester had become a successful and Christian businessman and was President of the Schiele Coal Company from 1902 until he retired in 1939.   Silvester Schiele became the first President of the Chicago Club and remained involved in Rotary throughout his life.
 
He did not take any international office until July 1945, when he was made International Treasurer. He was not to fill the post for long, dying in Chicago at the age of 75 on December 17, 1945.
 
Silvester set a great example for all the thousands of Rotary club presidents who followed him in the first century of Rotary’s growth and service to humanity.
We will honor him along with our own founder and the 99 other presidents who followed him, August 24, 2019, in “Celebrating a Century of Changing Lives in Marshall – and Beyond”
Cheerful Giving - Cecil Tomlinson
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.
 We encourage each of you to submit your own memorabilia, photos, anecdotes about these members and  projects to either the "Official" email of the Centennial Celebration committee, or leave a message on the dedicated phone number.
email: marshalltxrotary@gmail.com  ---  phone: (903) 471-8030 
Please contact your friends and family who have been a members of the Marshall Rotary Club and ask them to send us their email address, so that we can add them to this "Centennial Back-Flash" list, and share these stories with them as well
Russell Hampton
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