2010.01.06 Tim Decker: Remembering Kiwanians

Written by David Green.

Remembering our friends and the gifts they shared with us


I was sitting at a good friend’s funeral the other day and I couldn’t help but reflect on his smile, sense of humor and his giving nature. I was also impressed by how many people took the time to come and show their respects to a good man.

I began to think of some other friends who passed this last year and remember the gifts they shared with all of us over the years. Some of these gifts will remain here to benefit our community and our children for years to come. I can’t mention all the good people who have passed, but as the president of the Morenci Kiwanis Club, there are three people I believe deserve some special recognition.

Dr. Keith Whitehouse

Doc was a very special person to me. I have always admired his love for the community. His life was always so visible to most, but one thing he did that hasn’t been as renowned is that he and a number of exceptional Morenci citizens planted a seed in 1952 and started the Morenci Kiwanis Club. The rewards Morenci has realized from this initial venture have been magnificent.

Dr. Whitehouse was the first president of the club and except for a short period of time during his professional life, he remained a member until he passed this last year. Doc set a standard of giving that will be almost impossible to match.

Curtis Kime

Curtis was always a silent member of the club. He was proud to be a Kiwanian and took part in every activity we had. He was a very good man and gave whenever he could.

Curtis never missed a meeting and when asked to help, he jumped right in. He actually would feel bad when we would have an activity he would not be able to take part in for whatever reason. He gave a lot of himself to the club and to Morenci.

Roger Ries

Roger was not just a good Kiwanian, but I was very close to Roger and his wife, Phyllis. Roger was a past president of Kiwanis and was involved in every activity we had. He was always a bright light at the activities, and he looked forward to our meetings and in participating in all our activities.

Roger delivered Meals on Wheels when he probably should have been receiving them. He did everything from standing in the street selling Kiwanis nuts to selling Duck Race tickets, running Farmers’ Day, building and driving floats for parades, working at the Rex Riley Scholarship dinners and participating in our annual golf events. I believe this is the first year Roger was not able to help with the Wishing Tree program since its inception by the Kiwanis Club. Roger served for years on the Rex Riley Scholarship board where over $100,000 in scholarships have been given to local children since its inception. I could go on and on, but I won’t.

It hurts to reflect on the loss of these good people, but it also reminds me why my friends in the Kiwanis Club, Morenci Athletic Boosters, Stair Public Library board and so many other local charitable organizations do what they do. Now our numbers are shrinking and there are big shoes to be filled. So as you think of a New Year’s resolution, and if you like to help others, please consider joining one of the local organizations that serve our community so diligently.

– Tim Decker

Morenci Kiwanis Club president

  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.grieders
    ONE-TWO PUNCH—Morenci’s Griffin Grieder saved his best for last, running his fastest time ever in the 110-meter high hurdles at the state finals Saturday in Grand Rapids to finish first in the state in Div. IV. His brother Luke, a junior (right), claimed the state runner-up spot. Bulldog junior Bailee Dominique placed seventh in the 100-meter dash.
  • Front.sidewalk
    MORENCI senior class president Mikayla Price leads the way Sunday afternoon from the Church of the Nazarene to the United Methodist Church for the baccalaureate ceremony. Later in the day, 39 members of the senior class received diplomas in the high school gymnasium.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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