A Short History of the
Kiwanis Club of
By John Peterson
The organization and member recruitment for the Kiwanis Club of Grantville—yes the original name was Kiwanis Club of Grantville—was started in July of 1960. The Kiwanis Club of Old San Diego was our sponsoring club.
The Charter Night Banquet was held on September 17, 1960 at the Purple Cow Restaurant at 6160 Mission Gorge Road. Forty local business and professional men were inducted as Charter Members. Bill Geisinger, Manager of the Allied Gardens branch of the First National Bank, was the first President. Meetings were held on Wednesday at noon at the Purple Cow.
The first service project of the new Grantville Kiwanis Club was sponsoring the dedication of the new Grantville Post Office, which was located across the street from the Purple Cow.
Grantville Kiwanis met at the Purple Cow until October of 1963 when the Purple Cow was closed. After a succession of meeting places, including the Chuck Wagon on El Cajon Blvd, the club moved in September 1964 to what has been our home for over 46 years, the Allied Gardens Recreation Center (AGRC). Meetings were changed to a Thursday morning breakfast. Along with the move we were honored to have found Julia Bohe, always "Grandma Bohe" to our members, who served as our terrific cook until her death in 1998. Thirty six years of devoted service, what a wonderful lady.
In January of 1965, the club’s Board of Directors voted to change the name of our club to the Kiwanis Club of Grantville-Allied Gardens. Over the years there have been attempts to change our name to something shorter and easier to remember. The moves were always defeated, led by the resistance of the old time members, especially Bobby Frankhouser. We retained our Grantville identity. Over the years we gradually became known as GAG Kiwanis.
Over the past 50 years many community and youth service projects and activities have been undertaken. Many of the projects and events and sponsorships are ongoing to this day. These include:
- Sponsorship of Cub Scout Pack 928, first involvement 1964, ongoing project.
- Collected books for the Benjamin Library, 1965.
- "Harvey" Awards for academic excellence to students at Lewis Middle School, started in 1967,
- Allied Gardens Little League sponsorships, started 1967, ongoing sponsorship.
- Pancake Breakfast fundraiser, 1968-1988
- Flag display on Waring Road on national holidays, started 1970, ongoing project.
- Chartered Key Club at Patrick Henry High School, 1969, ongoing service project.
- Sponsored Easter Sunrise Service in Allied Gardens Park, 1970-1979.
- First "Student of the Month" awards 1972, ongoing activity.
- First remodel of our meeting room at AGRC, 1972.
- First Christmas Party for children at Hillcrest Home, 1972. Event now called "Breakfast with
Santa" and is held at AGRC for special needs children, ongoing activity.
- Became official sponsor of SDSU Circle K in 1972. Ongoing service project.
- First community flagpole at Waring/Zion triangle, 1976 bicentennial project.
- Sponsored a new Kiwanis Club, Tierrasanta Kiwanis, 1976. They are still going strong!
- First "Family of the Year" award, the Don Teemsma family, 1978.
- Donated money to purchase aluminum bleachers for the new Allied Gardens swimming pool,
- First Easter Egg Hunt at AGRC, 1980, ongoing activity.
That's just the highlights of the first 20 years! Literally hundreds of other youth projects such as sponsorship of Bobby Sox teams, Babe Ruth Baseball teams, Pop Warner teams, soccer tournaments, track meets, financial aid to Boy Scout Eagle projects and Girl Scout Gold awards, donations to youth and community projects, tree plantings, community clean-up campaigns, teen dances, work parties for needy residents, many joint projects with our sponsored youth organizations, Key Club, Circle K, Builders Club and K-Kids.
Our community service projects include the second remodeling and enlargement of our meeting room at AGRC in 1985, remodeling the AGRC kitchen and donation to the City of San Diego of a new lighted flagpole at the Waring/Zion triangle when the Allied Gardens Median project was completed. In 1980, we became the sponsor of a "Meals on Wheels" route in Allied Gardens and Del Cerro. This is another ongoing project. Several members have also become RSVP volunteers.
In 1984, we started awarding financial scholarships to deserving members of our sponsored youth organizations at Patrick Henry High School and SDSU. Many thousands of dollars in scholarships have been awarded in the past 26 years and we are proud to have helped many deserving students continue their education.
In 1986, we began a project to collect money for Children's Hospital by placing donation jars for Miracle Mile of Quarters in local businesses. The first year we collected $110. Now, 24 years later, we are able to donate over $3000 each year to Rady Children's Hospital.
Our third sponsored youth organization, Builders Club, was chartered in 1987 at Lewis Middle School. Phil Morgan was our first Kiwanis Advisor. Also in 1987, we inducted the first woman into our club. Ann Stombs, who later married another Kiwanian, Dave Wright in 1995, became our first Lady President.
1988 was a landmark year. GAG Kiwanis opened our first Kiwanis Christmas Tree lot. Because of the great support from our community we were able to discontinue pancake breakfasts and rummage sales as fundraisers. Over the years, we have sold Green Candles, fruitcakes, peanuts, light bulbs, apples, grapefruit, See's candy and Entertainment books as fund raisers. We manned refreshment booths at the Brown Field Air Shows, Thunderboat Races and the Aerospace Museum. It was a lot of work, but all to fund our community and youth services activities.
GAG Kiwanis began its involvement with Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp in 1989. We sponsor a luncheon each year for about 300 people including about 100 youngsters in wheelchairs from ages 5 to 18 who attend a Sports Camp and learn to participate in sporting activities such as wheelchair basketball, archery, water skiing, dancing, etc. The luncheon includes camp instructors, staff and family members.
We are proud to have sponsored the first few years of SpringFest, starting in the year 2000. Sally Madaffer, a GAG Kiwanis member at the time, volunteered to form a committee to hold a community celebration including a parade and SpringFest was born! Eventually SpringFest grew to a point where it is now its own organization and a great community event.
The Grantville-Allied Gardens Kiwanis Club will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary, September 11, 2010 in the Bay View Restaurant at MCRD. We will be re-visiting the old, original Purple Cow Restaurant with a purple themed party. The highlight of the evening will be the honoring of our 50 year Charter Member, Bobby Frankhouser. Bobby was our third President in 1963 and was honored in 1965 as our first Kiwanian of the Year. He presently serves as Chairman of the House Committee where he rules with the authority earned by his 50 years of community service. God Bless Bobby!
Written Sept. 2010 for the 50th Anniversary of The Kiwanis Club of Grantville-Allied Gardens.