Magnolia Ruritans mark 60th

Published 8:40 pm Saturday, July 16, 2011

George Winslow, left, 2003 Ruritan National President, presents Harrell Jory, current president of Magnolia Ruritan Club, with an old photo from the Suffolk News-Herald showing members of the club.

The Magnolia Ruritan Club gathered Thursday night to commemorate its 60th anniversary.

About 40 people, including members, their families and guests from Ruritan National, gathered at the clubhouse on Nansemond Parkway for the celebration. The club was founded June 12, 1951, at Magnolia Methodist church.

“There are a number of clubs that have been founded since then and are no longer in existence,” club president Harrell Jory said.

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George Winslow, the 2003 Ruritan National President, presented the club’s history, gleaned from the club’s minutes throughout the years. It was the seventh Ruritan Club founded in Nansemond County, the birthplace of the organization in 1928 in Holland.

After the Magnolia club’s founding with 43 charter members, members went right to work. The minutes show the first fundraiser, a dance in the fall of that year, netted the club a whopping $21.16.

That hasn’t stopped members from continuing to raise money with variety shows, turkey shoots, honorary mayor elections, crop-raising programs and more.

“Wherever a dollar could be raised, this club was willing to work,” Winslow said.

The money raised has gone to a wide range of community projects, including streetlights, sidewalks and scholarships, Christmas packages to the needy, sponsoring a Boy Scout troop, youth baseball teams, Girls’ State sponsorships and more.

“You had good times, but by golly, you worked,” Winslow said. “These guys were go-getters. You’re can-doers.”

The club built its current clubhouse and began holding regular meetings there in 1960.

“It brings back some fond memories,” Jory said of listening to the club history. Several descendants of charter members were in the Thursday night gathering.