2010.01.06 Tim Decker: Remembering Kiwanians

Written by David Green. Posted in Letters

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

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