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The Club celebrated Fran Turner’s 65th Rotary Anniversary at a party in his honor on June 14, 2015. The party was an afternoon informal barbecue at the Tunkhannock Moose Lodge attended by Club Rotarians, DG Carol Hemphill, DGE Barbara Belon, PDG Ray Wilmarth and his Rotarian wife Ruth, members of Fran’s family, his regular golf buddies, Kukuchka Funeral Home staff and members of the Tunkhannock American Legion Dennis Strong Post 457 (Fran is 2015 Commander of the Post).
Fran joined Rotary in 1950 and was a member of the Wellsboro Rotary Club. He was President and Secretary of the Wellsboro Club. When he moved to Tunkhannock, he transferred to the Tunkhannock Rotary Club where he has been an active member. He was President of the Tunkhannock Club in 1973-1974 and Club Secretary for 25 years (1984-2009). Fran is a Paul Harris +3 Fellow.
Although Fran is 96 years young, most years he still has perfect attendance at our meetings and takes part in all our parties, fundraisers and other Club activities.
He still plays golf almost every week when the weather is good.
He is currently Post Commander of the Tunkhannock American Legion and a member of the American Legion Honor Guard that pays tribute to all veterans who have died in the Tunkhannock area.
A variety of tributes were showered on Fran at this celebration:
  • PA Representative and Dallas Rotarian Karen Boback presented Fran with a Citation from the PA State Legislature.
  • Tunkhannock Rotarian and Judge John Hovan paid tribute to Fran and asked everyone to sign a book that he had bought for Fran.
  • DG Carol Hemphill saluted Fran’s years of Service and presented him with a “Light up Rotary” theme pin.
  • DGE Barbara Belon also noted Fran’s exemplary years of Service Above Self and pinned Fran with the new 2015-2016 “Be a Gift to the World” theme pins. She said that this message was clearly something that Fran had “got” a long time ago.
  • Tunkhannock Rotarian Norm Werkheiser gave an Armed Services Veterans Rotary pin to Fran from the Club.
  • PDG Ray Wilmarth from Montrose remembered the time that he had to arrange a Golf Tournament for District Conference but he knew nothing about golf. Golfer Fran came to his rescue and took care of it all.
  • Several others told humorous stories about Fran including Tunkhannock Rotarians Tom Kukuchka, Jeannie Brady, George Gay, Al Noble and Ron Flatness, as well as, American Legion member Frank Geaus (who also gave the before-meal blessing).

Fran and his Family. L to R: Nancy Denney, Susan Benninger, Fran Turner, Larry Benninger, Marianne Markunas and Rick Markunas
All those who knew Fran in Rotary, the American Legion or his family remarked that he inspired them to do more and to do good, be it in Rotary, their lives or their families.

Poster highlighting Fran’s 65 years of Service to Rotary for his party on June 14, 2015 (courtesy of Glenn Holcombe)