Years 1912 - 1922
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George W. Hardee - 1918-1919

George W. Hardee, sixth President of the Rotary Club of Jacksonville, was born in New Orleans, La., December 29, 1872. He attended the city public schools there and the Christian Brothers School at Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, and later Tulane University. He was in the U. S. Government Engineers service and was once connected with the British Consulate in New Orleans.

George Hardee came to Jacksonville as manager of Gonzales and Sanchez Company, cigar manufacturers, in which company he acquired an interest. The author of this history remembers him as one of the best dressed and best poised men in Jacksonville. About 1922, the Chamber of Commerce appointed George Hardee, W. E. (Ted) Arnold and Henry L. Covington, all Jacksonville Rotarians, to formulate a plan of organization for conducting a Mardi Gras type of celebration in Jacksonville. George had lived in New Orleans and knew about these things. They organized, first, the April Follies in which a queen rode on a float in a street parade and, after a year or two, they organized the Revellers which has an annual ball and elects a king and queen; and which has continued as a principal social event in Jacksonville.

Ted Arnold remembers that George Hardee once took a memory course, following which he called each Rotarian by name and classification very quickly, to the entertainment of the club. George W. Hardee had served as a director from 1914 to 1918 and was elected president to serve from July 1, 1918 to June 30, 1919. He was elected to honorary membership in the club in 1929. He died on August 21, 1943 in Baltimore, Maryland. He was survived by his wife, Mrs. Elvina G. Hardee. He was a devout Catholic.

The club had a Philanthropic Committee in 1918-1919 with Captain A. B. Potter as Chairman. Several appeals for money to finance local, civic and charity projects were referred to this committee. Also, William D. Jones was chairman of the Fraternal Welfare Committee. This committee, accord¬ing to the Directors' meeting of August 18, 1918, had started work on the financing of the Florida Preserving Company and had requested an audit be made of that company. On October 26, 1918 the Committee reported that the club should not undertake the financing of the aforesaid company.

On November 1, 1918, the Board of Directors voted to cooperate in a campaign to raise $50,000.00 for the Children's Home Society of Florida. At the same meeting, President Hardee appointed a committee, composed of Ralph Payne, Myron Howard and Ansel Elliott, to cooperate with the United War Work Campaign Committee.

In January, 1919, William L. Whitehead of the Publix Theater Cor¬poration; Roy A. Benjamin, Architect; and Lance C. McCubbin, Plumbing Supplies, came into the Club and remained in the membership for several years, Whitehead dying in August, 1935.
President George W. Hardee appointed, on January 17, 1919, commit¬tees to serve in organizing work preparatory to erecting a proposed me¬morial to soldiers and sailors who had given their lives in the war. The gen¬eral chairman of these committees was Morgan V. Gress. For the commit¬tee on Design and Site for the memorial were: George W. Clark, Chairman, Harry B. Hoyt, George B. Hills, R. N. Ellis, Jr. and W. H. Mouser. Named to the committee on Names and Records of the soldiers and sailors were: L. W. Josselyn, Chairman, W. Ansel Elliott, W. R. Carter, J. M. Braxton and Telfair Stockton. A committee on Subscriptions and Finance was com¬posed of: A. P. Anthony, Chairman, Marcus C. Fagg, J. Thomas, R. V. Covington and W. H. Riggle.

The Memorial Committee reported to the Board of Directors on March 21, 1919 that the site selected for the war memorial was the present Me¬morial Park on Riverside Avenue. The records do not relate any of the details of the election of Loren H. Green as president for the 1919-1920 year, but the minutes of the Board of Directors on May 16, 1919 indicate that the election had already been held and that he presided over the Board. Apparently he took office immediately upon his election to the presidency. The Board appointed: R. T. Arnold, secretary; Myron L. Howard, treasurer; Ralph L. Payne, sergeant-at-arms. At this meeting, John H. Gay and A. Betts Potter were appointed delegates to the International Rotary Con¬vention to be held in Salt Lake City, later in the year. Morgan V. Gress was appointed alternate delegate to the convention. On May 29, 1919, the Directors of the club authorized the expenditure of one hundred dollars toward a dinner to be given the business men of Jacksonville on June 10, 1919, by the "Committee of Fifteen."

John H. Gay, who had been president of the club in the 1916-1917 year, was elected Governor of the Eighth District of Rotary Interna¬tional, for the 1918-1919 year. This District, which has several times since been divided into districts, comprised Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Cuba. John H. Gay was one of the early governors of the District and the first from the Jacksonville club.
The Gainesville, Florida Rotary Club, organized in August 1918, was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Jacksonville. The delegation that officiated in the organization meeting in Gainesville consisted of: Governor John H. Gay, President George W. Hardee, R. V. Covington, John A. Futch, Fred W. King, Frank O. Miller and Giles L. Wilson.

During 1918-1919 the club lost one member by death. John W. Sackett died in July, 1918.