Years 1912 - 1922
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John Henry Gay - 1916-1917

John Henry Gay was elected president of the club for its year begun on July 1, 1916 and ended June 30, 1917. He had been the club's vice president in the preceding fiscal year and had been on the Board of Directors in 1913. He was born No¬vember 26, 1863 at Sharpsburg, Cowita County, Georgia. He was a member of the Riverside Baptist Church, Treasurer of its Sunday school and a Deacon. His hobbies were hunting, fishing and dogs. He was formerly superintendent of the Southern Bell Telephone and Tele¬graph Co.
Mr. Gay was president of Dozier and Gay Paint Company with store and office at 46 West Bay Street. This company enjoyed a wide and enviable reputation, as it still does, for paints of its own manufacture. The company was organized in 1901 and has retained its good name in paints over much of the State. Its office and factory is presently located at 2245 Main Street in Jacksonville, and our own Rotarian Linwood Jeffreys is its president. It might be well to refer here to Mr. Gay's election to Governor of the Eighth District of Rotary International in the fiscal year 1918-1919, having come into membership of the club in June, 1912. Mr. Gay died June 16, 1946 at the age of seventy-seven years. His wife died on February 26, 1961 at the age of ninety-one years.
The report of the club election held on May 8, 1916 showed that on the first ballot Mr. Gay received thirty of seventy ballots cast, being more than any one of several others voted for. On the second ballot, he received forty votes and Giles L. Wilson received thirty votes, electing Mr. Gay. Other offices elected were: for vice president, Giles L. Wilson; for sergeant-at-arms, R. L. Boyd (reelected); for secretary, R. T. Arnold (reelected); for treas¬urer, M. L. Howard (reelected); for director for two year terms; Messrs. Horace Drew, F. C. Groover, Finley Knight; Marcus C. Fagg; for one year term to replace Mr. Wilson who was elected vice-president, George E. Leonard.
At the meeting of August 7, 1916, reports on the International Conven¬tion in Cincinnati were made by President Gay and Horace Drew, Marcus Fagg, A. B. Potter, Ralph Payne and George E. Leonard, all of who had attended the convention.
At its meeting of September 16, 1916, the Board approved for member¬ship: Telfair Stockton for the classification of Clay Products, manufacturing; R. R. Meyer with classification of Hotels, with John E. Kavanaugh as his associate; Thomas B. Hamby, real estate; and Fred C. Hedrick, concrete manufacturing.
Since many of the club members today remember the Windsor Hotel, it is of interest to note that the "Rotary Service", the club's bulletin, carried an item in its issue of December 18, 1916 about the remodeling and redeco¬rating of the hotel at that time. Great praise was lavished upon Messrs. Meyer and Kavanaugh who operated the Windsor and who, more than incidentally, were members of the Jacksonville Rotary Club. John E. Kava¬naugh joined the club in September, 1916 and has been a member since. We quote a paragraph from the rather lengthy account of the changes in the hotel:
"They couldn't move the park over to the hotel because the trolley wires were in the way so, b'gosh, they built the hotel over to the park — or leastwise it seems that way when you sit in the spanking, brand new Terrace Dining Room, on the second floor porch and drop your cherry (or olive) down in the park for the birdies."
Although no attempt has been made, heretofore in these pages, to men¬tion the names of all of the members of the club, it seems well to say that during this Rotary year, Jack Kavanaugh entered the club in September, 1916, with the classification of Hotels, and has since been a member; William Marcy Mason entered in February, 1917, with the classification of Lumber, served as president in 1948-1949 and remained a member until his death on September 9, 1952; William E. Ross, M. D. entered the club in March, 1917 and remained a member until his death on May 17, 1959. Only Rotarian Cecil Willcox died during the year.
The District conference was held at the Aragon Hotel in Jacksonville on November 13 and 14, 1916. One of the features of entertainment was an oyster roast. The Board of Directors, on January 26, 1917, appropriated the sum of five hundred dollars from the treasury of the club for the support of a public brass band to play in Hemming Park. At the Board's meeting on February 2, 1917, the following designations were made: February 6 as "Good Roads Day"; February 13 as "Military Service Day" and February 20 as "On to Atlanta Day." A topic for discussion suggested for February 13 was: "How we can best help the Military Service Club out of their financial troubles." On to Atlanta referred to the International Rotary Con¬vention to be held there later in the year. On May 17, 1917, Giles L. Wilson and Marcus C. Fagg were named delegates to the convention in Atlanta and Ralph Payne and John H. Gay were named alternate delegates.