When Jack Faber was a young dermatologist and surgeon in the small town of Neenah, Wisconsin, (pop. 25,500), he joined the Rotary Club of Neenah in 1969. He was 31. Yesterday, the Rotary Club of Farragut celebrated a huge milestone at Milestones of all places. The celebration was for Dr. Faber’s 50 years of perfect attendance as a Rotarian.
The club normally meets each Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. at Fox Den Country Club. But due to a scheduling conflict, the meeting was moved to Milestones, which is part of Rotarian Larry Click’s Click Funeral Home. Under the heading of there are no coincidences, Faber’s milestone fit perfectly with the venue – Milestones.
Also, Rotary clubs meet weekly save for the major holidays.
After he retired in 2008, Faber and wife Jeanne moved to Knoxville in November 2009 to escape the brutal Wisconsin winters. They live in Hardin Valley with their son David and his wife and two of the Faber’s five grandchildren, who moved with them from the far northern reaches.
October 2019 is special in another way. He turns 82 on Halloween, Oct. 31.
“We got home from the meeting and Jack had tears in his eyes,” Jeanne said. “He was really moved by all of this and what the club did for him. He was really surprised. He absolutely loves Rotary and going to the meetings to see everyone.”
He’s a man of few words and after the meeting all he said was: “Rotary has always played a big part in my life.”
Dr. Faber has multiple sclerosis (MS), something he has been living with since his first year of medical school at Northwestern University in Chicago. The MS has not slowed him down much. He still drives. Save for a slight speech problem, you would not know he has MS.
When Faber joined the club, the Rotarians who populate what is called the “Infamous Back Table” adopted him as one of their own. When president Staci Wilkerson escorted Faber from the table to the dais yesterday to be honored and presented with his 50-year certificate and pin, the back-table guys were the first to stand and lead the ovation. Each club member held a fan with Faber’s face on the front.
His back-table buddies are Bill Nichols, the Rev. David Bluford, Sam Mishu, Terry Kerbs, Ron Lawrence, Sam Taylor and sometimes Bettye Sisco joins the guys. It’s an invitation-only table.
Farragut is Faber’s fourth Rotary club. Besides the Neenah club, he also has memberships in the Rotary Club of Beaver Dam (WI) and the Rotary Club of Columbus Fall River (WI). When they return to Wisconsin each June, Faber attends at least two Rotary meetings a week to see his buddies there. They come back south in early October.
Jack and Jeanne have another passion as well. Neenah, where he practiced for 40 years, is only 40 miles from Green Bay. They love their Green Bay Packers have two season tickets to every home game. He bought them in 1969.
The club of 102 members has 34 members who were honored for perfect attendance yesterday. Others included past president (PP) Joan McIntee, 31 years; PP Ron Lawrence, 29 years; Sgt. at Arms Jim Dodd, 28 years; Patty Daughtrey, 24 years; PP Fred Martin and Jeff Reed, 19 years; Stephanie Myers, 17 years; and Doc Pratt, 16 years.
If you’re interested in exploring membership in Farragut Rotary, drop me an email at email@example.com We meet at 12:15 p.m. each Wednesday at Fox Den Country Club. You also can call me at 865-659-3562.
Tom King has served at newspapers in Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and California. He started writing for KnoxTNToday in 2017.