Rotary Minute: Bill Stokes

rotary 8 10 15 002 Stokes Minute)webBill Stokes echoed what others have said about the 4 Way Test and the opportunities for service and fellowship that Rotary provides.

Bill than launched into what I think makes these “Minutes” interesting, that is, a compressed biography. Bill was sponsored by his father in 1988, which was the same time I joined Rotary for the first time, but I still learned a lot about Bill that I didn’t know before.

He has been married to Lucy Gardner Stokes for 25 years and they have two children, Will and Emily, who will both graduate from college in two years. Both of their families go back to the 1800’s in Durham. Lucy’s grandfather was E.K. Powe. His grandfather, A.H. Stokes, married Mary Angier (Ben Duke married the “other” Angier daughter.) Bill’s first father in law was baseball legend Enos Slaughter.

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Rotary Minute: Ernie Roessler

ErnieRoeslerMinutewebErnie and I have a few things in common. We both came to Durham and were interviewed by Bill Burns and Ed Back and got jobs at CCB when it was the hometown bank back in the eighties. Bill Burns originally proposed both of us for Rotary membership and both of us left the club when our careers took us elsewhere and were proposed again by someone else when we could make meetings in the area again. In Ernie’s case Guy Solie proposed him, the second time around.

Ernie’s designation in our directory is “Banking-Operations.”  However, as he mentioned in his Minute, he took his father’s advice to learn finance because it was the basis of all business and when Ernie came to Durham from Mellon Bank in Pittsburg with a brief stop in Chicago, he came as the head finance guy and the dark horse candidate to succeed Bill Burns as president at CCB. He received that education in finance at Dartmouth and Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. Those skills prevailed when Bill moved up to Chairman and Ernie became President.

In 2000 CCB was absorbed by National Commerce Financial Corporation of Memphis and Ernie took the reins of that organization until his retirement in 2003 which was prior to NCFC being absorbed by SunTrust. The old CCB headquarters is now a boutique hotel and memories of the bank are fading, but Rotarians Bill Burns and Ernie Roessler made it a highly profitable local institution that employed thousands. That success made it inevitable that it would be an attractive target during that era of consolidation in the banking industry.

Ernie is a Paul Harris Fellow and now splits his time between Chapel Hill and another home in Florida with his wife Connie. It is always a pleasure to see him at meetings when he is here in the Triangle.

Submitted by Jay Zenner

Program Report: Celebrate 2014-2015


The stars twinkled on a great Rotary night as we celebrated the end of one Rotary Year and the beginning of another.  Many things happened and your intrepid communications committee was caught short handed. In the next couple of weeks we will try to catch up and give each of these milestones they’re due on the website.

Outgoing President Vandana Dake and her Vice President Todd Taylor orchestrated the show and a series of toasts to all the accomplishment of the Rotary year along with several significant recognitions. Review the Power Point below for a great sense of the event and the pictures below for additional looks. A pdf version of the Power Point is available here.

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Rotary Minute: Lois Deloatch

LoisMinuteSanPauloReportWebPresident Elect Lois Deloatch used her second Rotary Minute to reflect a little on the impact of the Rotary International Conference from which she recently returned. To learn a little bit more about the woman who will lead us next year, her original Rotary Minute is at this link Below are her reflections on the conference in her own words.

At the Rotary International Conference in São Paulo, Brazil, Former President of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Laureate, Dr. Oscar Arias, said that Rotary is a fellowship like none other. He noted there are more countries with Rotary Clubs than there are countries represented in the UN. He reminded us that our clubs have incredible impact, influence and reputations for collaboration, leadership, and achieving results in challenging environments and dire circumstances. Rotary makes a difference!  [Read more…]

Rotary minute: Susan Miller


In her own words, Susan Miller’s Rotary Minute:

When Guy Solie approached me and asked me to do my Rotary minute, after cringing a wee bit, and having my life flash before my eyes, I said sure.  Guy said to me “Were you there for Charlie Steel’s Rotary minute?   It was fantastic!   Do something like that.”  Charlie told a tale of a life changing event.  Upon reflection, I discovered my life changing event was simply moving here.

I grew up in Central PA, Pennsylvania Dutch country, in a small town called Mifflintown.  Not very close to Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, it was located about an hour South of Penn State.  Just a few highlights:  After living my first 7 years in an old stone farm house where we had sheep, pigs, a horse and a handful of cows, my father designed & built a Passive Solar home.  This is where I spent most of my formative years – and it wasn’t just any solar house.  I’m not talking about solar panels and photocells on the roof.  It was a home of 18’ foot ceilings, water ran down under glass, along the front of house, was warmed by the sun and then (somehow, don’t ask me how) was used to heat the home.  Needless to say, a unique place to live in the midst of dairy farms and Amish buggies.   And it was while living here, in the mid-80’s, that our TV broke.  And my parents did not immediately buy a new one.  I recently asked my mother how long we went without a TV, because at the time it felt like for-ev-er.  She said probably several years, and that’s what I thought.  So, when everyone else was asking “who shot JR?”, I hadn’t a clue what they were talking about.  I was introduced to MTV at my friends’ homes, heard time and again “you don’t have a what?”   But, without a TV, it meant I read.  And read.  And read.  The local library knew us well.  And I believe that has served me well.  To this day, I prefer a room without a TV in it, and if there is one, I prefer it off.

Around 1985 my parents read the writing on the wall about the PA economy and picked up a magazine that said “best places to own a small business” and Asheville, NC was somewhere high on the list.  They informed me that we would be moving as soon as I graduated high school.  I was the youngest of 3 and my 2 older brothers were already out of the house and on their own.  Fine by me to move – and true to their word, 2 days after graduating H.S., we moved South and never looked back.  As my boss Phil Hutchings would say, that makes me not just a Yankee, but a Damn Yankee.

What I’ve found is that we moved from a small town only to find the same salt-of-the-earth people here as the ones we left behind.  Not so very different at all.

I attended UNC-Asheville, GO BULLSDOGS, and earned a Mathematics degree after a detour into thinking I might want a Chemistry degree (until falling asleep in Inorganic Chem).  I moved to Durham, NC in 1992 after getting married, and landed a data entry job at a local CPA firm and the rest of my career was set.  I had to go back to school, at nighttime at NC State, GO PACK, to earn my CPA certification, and finished that in 1999.  My entire career has been spent within a 5 square mile radius within Durham.    I have been with Hutchings & Hutchings, CPAs for over 9 years, doing individual and business tax planning and preparation.   And each year as I update my license, I sign a pledge of conduct and ethics.  Not only on a professional level, but also one to maintain high standards of personal conduct.  The message is clear:  you can’t be a part-time CPA.  You are one all the time, for better or worse.

I now live in Hillsborough, and am no longer married, but have watched Durham reshape itself since attending my first Durham Bulls game at the “old” park before the DBAP’s first brick was ever laid.  What an amazing, and proud, transformation.

Thus why I am here now.  Several years ago I realized not only did I have the time and the wherewithal, but also the inclination to give back to my community.   I had done a little Habitat volunteering.  I had given to charities.   But I hadn’t really been involved.  I thought about my own family’s story of “giving back” while writing this Rotary minute, and what I found was a lifelong example of solid values.  Work hard, and as Coach Cutcliffe said last week, “always leave a place better than you found it”.  I heard that exact same thing time and again.   But now I found I had time to give.   And, I know this will astound you, the moment I said “I’m looking to do something…” the opportunities came.  I am on the Board of a Helping Hand, a local nonprofit which offers companion and transportation services to folks to assist with ‘aging in place’.  I also have joined the Board of our local NC Red Cross chapter, with Rotarian Stan Morris as Executive Director, and also Rotarian Emilee Collins as our in-coming Chair.  Joining that Board has not only opened my eyes to all the things the Red Cross does, including responding to every house fire in our area, but it also recommitted me to donating blood on a consistent basis…. though that’s had mixed results so far, I’m tweeking the process (i.e. eating enough) with a goal of it becoming as uneventful as possible to stop by and give blood.

And now there’s Rotary.  I joined the club 2 and a half years ago, I became your club’s Treasurer this year, with a commitment to serve at least 2 more years.  (And if Don Stanger had his way, it would be more like 5 or 6.)  Rotary has opened my eyes to all the things so many people do, in giving, in time, in commitment, to help others.  It humbles me on an almost weekly basis, and I thank you for considering me as part of this family.

Rotary Minute: Danielle Kaspar

DanielleMinuteWebIn her own words below is Danielle’s Rotary Minute.

Thank you for allowing me to tell you a little bit about myself. I’m originally from Miami, Florida…lived there for 4 years, then moved to Columbus, GA, but have lived in Durham most of my life (since 1988). I attended Durham Public Schools (Pearsontown, Githens, and Jordan High School) then went to NC State graduating with a BS in Business Management. While at NC State, I was an active member of Chi Omega Sorority and the Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity. [Read more…]