Farragut Rotary says goodbye to ‘Mother Rotary’

Tom KingFarragut

A packed house of Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Farragut, joined by 13 members of the Rotary Club of Tellico Lake, said goodbye to its “Mother” yesterday – Joan McIntee – lovingly known as “Mother Rotary.”

It was bittersweet as the club celebrated Joan and husband Jim as they prepare to move to Ohio later this month. Health is forcing them to sell their Vonore home and move in with one their six “kids” just outside of Columbus, Ohio.

It was “Joan McIntee Day” at both Farragut Rotary and the town of Farragut on Wednesday.

Farragut Mayor Ron Williams read the proclamation for “Joan McIntee Day” in Farragut. And, as the Rotarians love her, so do those in the Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce. Joan was the chamber’s first “Diplomat” many years ago and also won its prestigious “Presidential Award.”

She’s a 30-year member of the Farragut club with perfect attendance, joining in 1990, and was elected its first female president in 1994-95. The club today has 103 members and more than a third are women; she was their pathfinder.

During the celebration before a packed house at Fox Den Country Club (the club’s most well-attended meeting of the year), presentations and honors included:

  • Her Rotary membership badge – Badge No. 1 – framed and presented to her.
  • A Lifetime Honorary Membership in Farragut Rotary.
  • President Staci Wilkerson recognized Joan with her Paul Harris +8 pin with two rubies, which means she and husband Jim have contributed more than $9,000 to the Rotary Foundation and Polio Plus.
  • The Tellico Lake club, which she helped found, presented her with a special plaque and a diamond going-away gift. It was presented by president Ron Randle.
  • A beautiful plaque from the Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce was presented by its former executive director, Bettye Sisco (a Farragut Rotarian), and club secretary Julie Blaylock, who now runs the chamber.
  • On a humorous note, longtime member Gene Wessel, known as “Legs” for wearing shorts to meetings and for hitting the golf course after meetings, presented Joan with a pair of his golfing shorts. Also, Wessel is known in the club as “Father Rotary” for his 48 years as a Rotarian. They have always sat together at the weekly meetings.

There’s more about Joan and Rotary. She also served as an assistant district governor when former Rotary International president John Germ was District 6780’s governor. She also was the club historian for more than 20 years, served on the district conference credentials committee for 10 years and was its chair for four years, and held multiple district-level chairmanships. She also was a longtime faculty member of the District 6780 Leadership Academy.

Joan and her husband have also attended four Rotary International conventions.

In her spare time, she has taught Tenerife embroidery and written two books – “Tenerife Embroidery, Vols. 1 and 2.” She also is a member of the Tennessee Authors Guild.

Farragut Rotary President Staci Wilkerson presents Joan McIntee with her Lifetime Honorary Membership. (Photo by Arlene Weinstein)

“It is a bittersweet day – to celebrate Joan McIntee and to know that this is her last meeting with us,” said club past president Tom King, who was the emcee for this special event. “Bittersweet may not be what it is at all. She has graced us with her presence, her energy and her leadership through all of these years, but all of us will forever hold special places in our hearts and souls for Joan. She will always be a part of this club and of us.”

And we’ll miss her humor. During the introduction of guests yesterday, she was asked to introduce her husband. “This is my first husband, Jim,” Joan said, adding they’ve been married for 65 years.

Mother Rotary will be missed!

If you’re interested in exploring membership in Farragut Rotary, drop me an email at [email protected] 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 and has been the editor of two newspapers.

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