George L. Maddox – 1925 – 2012

The Durham Rotary Club family is saddened this week by the loss of longtime member and friend to many, George Maddox. George was a Paul Harris Fellow and a member of our club since 1983.  Our deepest sympathies go out to Evelyn and their family during this difficult time.

– Don Stanger, President Durham Rotary Club


George L. Maddox

DURHAM — George L. Maddox, Ph.D., age 87, died on Thursday, August 9, at Duke Hospital.

Dr. Maddox was a pioneer in the field of aging who found his way from McComb, Mississippi to a lifetime of scholarship and advocacy for an aging society. He was at once a scholar and a teacher whose contributions spanned over several decades.

Dr. Maddox was born on July 2, 1925, in McComb, Mississippi. In high school, Dr. Maddox excelled in academics and as left guard on the football team, which won the Big Eight title and Toy Bowl in 1941, defeating a team that featured Doc Blanchard. He was active in music, participating in the high school band, winning medals for solo performances, and playing trumpet in a local dance band, the “Top Hatters”.

In 1943, Dr. Maddox volunteered for the US Army and served as a First Sergeant in an infantry company. He crossed the Rhine at the famous Remagen Bridge as a member of George Patton’s army. After the war ended in Europe, he was sent to the Pacific, where he served in the Philippines for the remainder of the war.

In 1946, George Maddox married Evelyn Godbold, his junior high school sweetheart. Both George and Evelyn attended and graduated from Millsaps College in Mississippi, where he began a lifelong commitment to civil rights. He earned a master’s degree in social ethics from Boston University in 1952, followed by a doctorate in sociology and labor relations from Michigan State University in 1956.

Dr. Maddox’s career as a professor and scholar began at Millsaps College, where he served as professor and chairman of the Department of Sociology. He accepted a fellowship at Duke University Medical Center in 1959. He subsequently joined the faculty of the Department of Sociology at Duke University, where he quickly rose to the rank of professor. In 1972, Dr. Maddox was appointed Director of the Duke University Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development. A decade later, he served as Chairman of the University Council on Aging and Human Development. During his years at Duke University, Dr. Maddox had sabbaticals and fellowships at St. Thomas Hospital (England), the London School of Economics, the University of Toronto, and Green College at Oxford University. He was named Professor Emeritus at Duke University in 1995, but remained active in aging research and policy until last year. And, until recently, he was a devoted volunteer at Lakewood Elementary School.

Dr. Maddox was a pioneer in the field of aging and received many prestigious recognitions and awards for his groundbreaking research on late life, his contributions to aging policy and practice, and his service to older adults. He was President of the Gerontological Society of America and recipient of their highest award for research on aging, The Robert Kleemeier Award. Dr. Maddox was a founding member of the National Advisory Council for the National Institute on Aging. He served as Secretary General of the International Association of Gerontology. Dr. Maddox was honored by the State of North Carolina with the Governor’s Long Leaf Pine Award, recognizing outstanding public service.

Dr. Maddox was a superb and devoted teacher. He received many awards for his teaching and mentoring of undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty. Among these was the Distinguished Mentorship Award of the Behavioral and Social Sciences section of the Gerontological Society of America.

Duke University honored Dr. Maddox with the Humanitarian Award in recognition of his work in civil rights, his service to older adults and the organizations that serve them, and his work improving educational opportunities in the Durham public schools.

Dr. Maddox’s strongest commitment was to his family. He is survived by his wife, Evelyn; his daughter, Patricia Maddox of Winter Park, Florida; his son and daughter-in-law, David Maddox and Marta Tellado of New York City; and his brother and sister-in-law, Robert M. Maddox and Lynn Maddox of McComb, Mississippi.

Arrangements are by the Cremation Society of the Carolinas, Raleigh. Gifts in remembrance may be made to the Durham Rescue Mission, 507 East Knox St., Durham, NC 27701 or TROSA, 1820 James Street, Durham, NC 27707.



Program Report: The People’s Channel – Chad Johnson

When Carver Weaver introduced Chad Johnson, the Executive Director of The People’s Channel and Durham Community Media, I admit that I was a little skeptical about the viability or necessity of “public access” television. The mission statement offered states that “For a democratic society to function properly, citizens must participate in their government, be educated to think critically and be able to freely communicate their ideas.”

Who could disagree with that? The trick is to combine and encourage all three. The technology of communicating has advanced so rapidly that any fool with a smart phone or an ipad, can shoot video, edit it, put it on YouTube and through sheer outrageousness draw more attention than really critical thinking. Besides, who’s teaching that?

The interesting thing about public access television though is the very openness of it. This runs counter to the trend in TV where channels focus on very narrow niches. In politics MSNBC has a devoted audience on the left and Fox News has a very devoted audience on the right. If you watched a half hour of one and then a half hour of the other you would think they were broadcasting to two different planets. There are channels for every niche, cooking, fashion, shopping, science, history, whatever. On the other hand Mr. Johnson described their motto as “First come, First Serve, First Amendment” which means you could see just about anything, anytime. [Read more…]

Taking Aim at Literacy: Rotary Reading Rangers

Hey Pod’na, I’m Todd Taylor and another old cowboy, President Don Stanger, asked me to herd you doggies into one of the most important missions we have undertaken in many a moon. So lets put the cowboy stuff aside for awhile and get down to business.

One of this year’s major strategic objectives for the Durham Rotary Club is taking aim on the issue of literacy inDurham.   Some studies show that 44% of Durham Students are illiterate; this is a significant social issue.

To begin tackling this issue, our club has partnered with the East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI), Bootstraps, Teach for America, Southwest Durham Rotary and local schools YE Smith Elementary, Neal Middle and Southern High School.  Our method is to start small and grow our participation.  Durham Rotary has formed Rotary’s Reading Rangers, volunteers to work with teachers and help students read.  We have begun with YE Smith Elementary School.  In the 2011-2012 school year, Rotarians volunteered to assist teachers in Kindergarten – 2nd grade by reading with students.  In the 2012-2013 school year,Durham and Southwest Rotary Clubs have secured a matching grant from the Rotary District to provide $3800 to the school library.  These funds will be used to purchase up to date non-fiction books to allow students to do current research and study.  In conjunction with the book purchase, the Rotary Reading Rangers will continue.  Our goal is to provide at least 4 reading partners per week.  Each Reading Ranger will read and work with a child or group of children for an hour per session.   Obviously the more volunteers we get, the more students we can assist.

This effort would serve as a basis to learn lessons on ways to inspire kids to read.  To encourage children, and ensure success, it is recommended that Rotarians invest some time reading to a child.  Taking an hour during the school day to read to a child, demonstrates that reading is important and the child is worth an adult’s time.  Many of the students at YE Smith do not have much one-on-one parental or adult interaction around reading.  Rotary’s Reading Rangers will provide that attention to the children.

  • Rangers would begin in September and will continue throughout the remainder of the school year.  If successful, we will look to organize something to keep up the effort over the following summer when children tend to ignore their reading skills.
  • Volunteers would be expected to read for at least an hour with a child.
  • Volunteers would communicate with the school coordinator to ensure the child’s work was documented: credit, star, vote, etc.
  • Volunteers would have to register online with Durham Public Schools as a volunteer.  The process takes about 2 weeks.
  • Volunteers are allowed to keep all smiles and goodwill from the children.

The growth potential will be evaluated as the program unfolds.  Interested volunteers will be given some basic training the methods and processes the school prefers.  We hope to expand the program to include some after school opportunities.  We understand the school day is challenging for many club members.  Additionally, we will strive to work with parents so the support network at home is strengthened.  Often the parents are insecure about their abilities to support the children and we hope to encourage and support the family unit as we grow the program.

The program is not limited to Rotary Members only.  If members have co-worker that is interested in helping, all they need to do is register with DPS as indicated above and they may participate.  This has the benefit of expanding the program outside Rotary to the wider community and showing the community some of the work Rotary does.  Time tables and opportunities will be clearly presented and communicated. 

We are proud of this initiative and look forward to taking aim on literacy and making a positive impact on our community and the future of these children.  Please consider joining the Reading Rangers in this important work.

Submitted by Todd Taylor

Paul Harris Fellow Plus 1 – George Deaton

George Deaton with the United Methodist Retirement Home  has been a club member since 2003 and a Paul Harris Fellow since 2006. At the August 6th meeting he was awarded a pin for achieving Paul Harris Fellow Plus 1 status. The presentation was made by Rotary Foundation Chair, Dallas Stallings.

In accepting the award George addressed the meeting: “It is my privilege to support the Rotary Foundation, an organization that works to bring good health and prosperity to all the peoples of the world. I am grateful for out club members who support the Foundation and am hopeful that we can attain 100% member participation in donating to the Foundation. Together we can help conquer poverty and disease.”

Congratulations to George for achieving this significant milestone.

Use the comments section below to offer George your congratulations.

Program Report: Senator Richard Burr

Bill Stokes got a big laugh when he made a point of introducing his wife, Lucy, as a liberal, just minutes before Republican Senator Richard Burr got up to speak.

Mrs. Stokes was not alone, certainly, but there was a buzz in the packed conference room that could be attributed to the big-name guest. (He asked to speak to us, not the other way around. We’re big time, y’all.)

Senator Burr laughed with the Stokes and the rest of us, then enjoyed the standing ovation he received on his way up to the lectern. But the laughing stopped once he started laying out what he sees as a looming deficit disaster.

For the second time in a month, we got a sobering reminder of how deep a hole our country is in financially.

Burr’s hope is that Congress will rally by the end of the year and pass comprehensive tax reform along the lines of what Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson have proposed. (Burr didn’t let the opportunity pass to point out that he’s now backing a plan devised by the man he defeated for his Senate seat. Burr noted that Bowles never would have had the chance to run the UNC system if Bowles had gone to the Senate. Bowles is quick to remind Burr that the senator wouldn’t have gotten the same opportunity had he lost.)

“Why should you be concerned [about the deficit]?” Burr asked. “Because it’s morally the right thing to do. There’s no way we can shove this to a generation we won’t even have a chance to know and feel good about it.”

His solution beyond tax reform was more general. He argued that Americans need to stop looking to the government for solutions, a common Republican refrain, though he wasn’t wrong to note that groups like Rotary are actively creating their own solutions to societal problems. [Read more…]

Paul Harris Fellow – Laura Solie

At our July 30 Rotary meeting, Laura Solie was honored with a Paul Harris Fellow award given to her by her father, Past President Guy Solie.  In making his presentation, Guy noted that his family had early on been a supporter of the Rotary Foudation and that this presentation merely carried on a happy family tradition.  Laura, who has been involved with the Teach for America program, will be entering UNC, Chapel Hill, this month working toward an MBA degree.  Congratulations to Guy for this wonderful way to honor his daughter and to serve the interests of the Rotary Foundation and to Laura for being so honored by her father.