Club History  


Our Kiwanis Club of Kern, Bakersfield had its beginning in early 1948 when several farsighted members including President George Henderson of the Kiwanis Club of Bakersfield decided to start the second club in Bakersfield after being the only club in town for 26 years.

The club's official anniversary date is May 27, 1948, and Robert Krause was elected as the Charter President. We list below the names of the 44 charter members. None are still active as indicated with an asterisk (*):

John F Altstaetter

Irving E. Lane

Laurence N. Baker

Willard Gold

Lafayette Banes

Clarence C. Gerrard

C. Gilbert Bishop

Jack Lockwood

Harry A. Bishop

George I. Lammon

Herbert L. Blackburn

Dr. S. H. Montgomery

James Chadwick

Forrest C. Newburg

Eldon A. Estes

James W. Ogle

Harold A. Ferguson

Lindsay M. Pryor

Les D. Eveland

Norman Read

Mayo B. Carrington

Rex E. Reed

W. L. Funk

Lowell A. Reynolds

David L. Harrison

Laurence J. Robin

Arthur R. Hitchcock

Paul B. Rose

Gordon L. Howden

Fred H. Scheible

Elmer Jackson

Lloyd C. Snider

W. Raymond Kitts

Ben F. Stinson Jr.

Robert Krause

Harry Stickler

John T. Isberg

Donald B. Suydam

Benjamin H Greene

Ivan N. Tarr

Z. C. Landes

Philip S. Urner

Gottleib Koch

John B. Young

All those attending the "Organizational Meeting" were listed as Charter Members. John Boydstun's name was not on that list. However, John (President 1961) was brought into the club prior to the Charter presentation, and was later up-graded to Charter Member status by action of the Board with approval of Kiwanis International.

Buster Ball (President 1962) was the first "new member" of the club but missed the date of the Charter presentation.

The club met at the original "MOTEL". The Tomerlin's, owners of the motel, coined the word "MOTEL", and was later involved with the "EL ADOBE MOTEL" (on South Union Ave.) in a bitter law suit over the use of the word and to resolve this suit they changed the name to BAKERSFIELD INN". The EL ADOBE MOTEL became the "HACIENDA" which is now CASA ROYALE! The BAKERSFIELD INN had a fire in 1964 (Les Carpenter's year). We were forced to move and hold meetings in several locations before "landing" at the HILL HOUSE where we have been for over 33 years.

The first weekly bulletin was nothing more that a "penny postcard", and published by the Secretary. Later to be joined by Buster Ball as co-editor who gave its name - KERN KLUB KLARION.

From our club's 68 Past Presidents, nine have served as Lt. Governors: Division 18 - Phil Urner (1953) and Ralph Zellers (1960); Division 33 - Ken Hastin (1967), Wendall Kinney (1973-74), Les Carpenter (1980-81), Willis Lazelle (1988-89), John Stephenson (1993-94 Super Distinguished), Phil Field (2000-01) and Fuchsia Ward (2007-08 & 2013-14).

In 1951, President W. L. Funk moved and Phil Urner completed the year. Two Presidents died in office: 1983-84 - Don Soelberg who was replaced by Bill Lee (President 1981-82); and 1991-92 - Dewey Landon who was replaced by John Stephenson (President 1989-90).

Our club has helped organize four clubs of the eight clubs in Bakersfield: Kiwanis Club of East Bakersfield (August 6, 1957 during Joe Mooney's year), Kiwanis Club of Westchester (June 12, 1961 during John Boydstun's year), Kiwanis Club of Rosedale, Bakersfield (December 22, 1992 during Rev. Don Shelton's year) and Kiwanis Club of Golden K Rosewood-Kern City (July 27, 1994 during David Moore's year). With the Rosedale Club, John Stephenson was the KIAR and New Club Building Chairman. With the Golden K Rosewood-Kern City Club, John was Lt. Governor. In 1993, we co-sponsored in Japan the Wakayama Club with seven members in attendance.

On May 27, 1998, VP Tammy Lodermeier arranged a wonderful 50th Charter Night at the Bakersfield Country Club, 6:30 p.m. Both Cal-Nev-Ha District Governor Reid Allen and Div. 33 Lt. Gov. Rudy Arambula were present to welcome seventeen Past Presidents for the class picture: 1960 John Boydstun, 1963 PLG Wendall Kinney, 1966 Ed Wilson, 1968 PLG Frank Sweder, 1969-70 Charles Anspach, 1974-75 Jim Ware, 1976-77 Ron Rohmiller, 1977-78 PLG Willis Lazelle, 1979-80 Walter Heisey, 1980-81 Cal Wilson, 1984-85 Ralph Rudie, 1985-86 Dr. Steve Montgomery, 1989-90 & 1991-92 PSDLG John Stephenson, 1990-91 Ken Wainwright, 1993-94 David Moore, 1994-95 John Wagner, 1995-96 Rueben Perttula. A special moment when President Phil Field presented Life Member Status to the following: Charter Members Dr. Steve Montgomery and John Boydstun, Secretary Emeritus (22 years) & Honorary President Paul Willhide and PSDLG John Stephenson. PSDLG John Stephenson (Kern Club) and PP John Wagner (Community) presented "A Moment in Time" history by decades.

Stating our 69th year, the Kiwanis Club of Kern, Bakersfield has 42 members including 5 members from our Setellite 3-2-1 Club. No charter members with the loss of John Boydstun on August 31, 2016.

The Club's achievements and accomplishments have increased in the community; of this we can be proud. Our projects have included: 43 years of Junior Baseball All-Star games, 22 years of Junior Miss programs, 16 years of Pheasant Hunts and 12 years of Million Dollar Hole-In-One Shootout, we have added: Fireworks Stand (1992-14) and Celebrity Golf Tournament (2005) replaced by the Golf Classic Tournament (2006-10 & 12-14).

As 9/30/10, Kern Kiwanis Club was 86th of 8,327 Clubs worldwide in WSP1/IDD, and it was 3rd of 543 Clubs in the Cal-Nev-Ha District with $74,430 that will help 1,488,600 kids not have IDD. Chair PSDLG John Stephenson has purchased 6 Hixsons & 1 Tablet of Honor, and KIF named him a "Benefactor" on August 2, 2005 and a "Honored Benefactor" on September 2, 2008. On May 25, 2006, Clint Douglass became our 2nd "Benefactor" with his purchase of 7 Hixsons. The Stephenson & Douglass Families has helped 280,000 kids in the total above. To date, we have 69 Hixsons (54) & Diamond Levels (15), 3 Tablet of Honor, 7 Dunlaps, and 7 Life members.