Member Profile: A.B. Pearson

Alden Bryan Pearson, “A B”, was the Rotarian few Rotarians knew.

A quiet, observant man, he held back when Rotarians bantered across the room and “all talked at once.” Distinguishing the individual comments challenged his hearing. Few things challenged his mind.

A B enlisted in the US Navy directly out of high school in 1946. He emerged with the designation Honor Man.

Soon he accepted a football scholarship to Duke, where he majored in economics and played in the last game Wallace Wade coached. A team picture from 1950 shows number 82, defensive end, “a hunk” as his widow, Skip, describes him.

Upon graduation A B worked for Marathon paper in Wisconsin. There he felt the call to the ministry and enrolled at Princeton Theological Seminary.

He later wrote Princeton to thank a professor for teaching him to speak before a crowd, something he said he never learned at Duke.

In Wisconsin A B led three small Presbyterian churches as minister in charge of everything. He fished and ice skated but found the life lonely for a single man.

A B returned to Duke, earning a Master’s Degree in International Relations. He taught at Duke and then at The University of Alabama at Huntsville. At a Southern Historical Society meeting in 1969, he was introduced to Skip. Her father did the introducing. Skip was a widow with sons 6, 9 and 11. A B championed raw oysters and jazz and that’s what the couple enjoyed that weekend. Skip says she abandoned her previous plans. The couple were married within three months and A B became father to the three boys.

A B remained at Huntsville, head of the International Program, until he and Skip moved to Concord, NC, to start an executive search firm, Management Recruiters International. Silicone Valley and Microsoft were in their ascendancy and AB placed clients there and with international companies.

Knowing Skip liked old houses, A B bought a once-elegant 1905 structure with a sinking ceiling. Together the couple restored the house, ran the company and travelled.
In 1985 A B joined Rotary in Concord.

After twenty-two years A B sold the business and retired at 78. He and Skip traveled extensively, once staying in a twelfth-century French castle on a surprise trip he had planned.

They began coming to Blowing Rock because A B loved to hear Jim Stuart preach at Rumple.

A B was a smart man–Skip says “brilliant”–who read history, religion and maps. He was reputed to be able to get anybody from anywhere to anywhere. We wish we could have traveled with him longer.

Meeting Report: July 11, 2016














Kendra Sink and Sandra Ruppert provided some interesting and disturbing statistics in their presentation to the Blowing Rock Rotary Club members at their noon luncheon.

  • 31.3% of Watauga county residents live below or at the poverty level.
  • Watauga County Schools currently have 1,767 students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program. Four of the schools have more than 50% of their students in this program.
  • Of the nine schools in Watauga county, not surprisingly, Blowing Rock schools have the least percentage (22.51%) while Mabel Elementary has the most (61.38%).

The Back 2 School Festival was founded on the belief that every child deserves to start the school year feeling confident and prepared. After all, a child the feels confident is more likely to succeed.

Last year, according to Sandra, they tried to give each ”family” a gift card for a pair of shoes or a gift card to Goodwill. This year their goal is to provide a gift card to each “child” attending the festival. If a pair of shoes costs $30 and we are to provide to 1,000 students there will be a need to raise $30,000. for shoes! Shoes are the biggest request from school counselors and social workers throughout the year.



  • 1000-1” binders
  • 1000-1½” binders
  • 400-2” binders
  • 10-Calculators
  • 1000-packs of Cap Erasers
  • 1000-packs of Chunk Eraser
  • 100-Clip Boards
  • 600-Colored Pencils
  • 2000-Composition Books
  • 600 -Crayons
  • 800-Dry Erasers Markers
  • 900-Index Cards
  • 800-Markers
  • 1000-Notebook Paper
  • 300-Paint Sets
  • 100-Fat Pencils
  • 2000-Pencils
  • 700-Pencil Bags/Boxes
  • 500-Black/Blue Pens
  • 500-Red Pens
  • 500-Glue Sticks
  • 700-2 pocket Folders



Basil presented to Jim Clabough the Rotary International Avenues of Service Award which include: Club Service, Vocational Service, Community Service, International Service and Youth Service.




Cullie auction off several items at Monday’s meeting for the auction. We desperately need for every member to solicit contributions and to bring in at least three items to be auctioned off!

Citizen of the Year



Wendy Estes, Rotary’s Citizen of the year pictured here with Scott Fogelman. Wendy was presented with this most significant award for her outstanding performance as a member of the Blowing Rock Community. Living with a debilitating disease, Gastroparesis, Wendy exemplifies the model citizen. In spite of her illness she’s able to continue with one of her life’s passions Operation Mama Gaye, in memory of her late mother, Gaye McDonald. Operation Mama Gaye has provided free books for students and teachers at the Blowing Rock School since 2006. A recent article in the Watauga Democrat quotes her: “Just because I don’t look sick doesn’t mean I am not. I might have been up all night nauseated and not have eaten for days. But I still try to keep a smile upon my face.” And smiling through all that pain is what she does best ! Congratulations and best wishes to Wendy Estes, Blowing Rock’s Citizen of the Year!

Rotarian of the Year

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ROTARIAN OF THE YEAR AWARD Chuck Canady, President Elect and last year’s recipient, presented to Art Scurlock (left) the Rotarian of the Year . “I am quite honored to have been selected for this award. There are those in this club who have done much more than I and for me to be selected is an honor I will never forget. I am thankful for the faithful assistance of Virginia who edits the bulletin before being sent out to the members.”

Meeting Report: June 27, 2016





Ray Pickett, President



Charles Canady, right, President-Elect



Kenneth Wehrmann, left, Vice President



Billy Leahy, Treasurer


Chip Eidel and Foundation Chair Virginia Vanstory pose after Virginia presented Chip with his first Paul Harris Fellow pin for exceeding $1,000 in contributions to the Rotary International Foundation.

Chip Eidel, left, Secretary



Basil Kuzyszyn, left, Immediate Past President

Meeting Report: June 20, 2016


Lou Zeller, Executive Director of BREDL, discusses noise pollution as a serious issue.


Lou Zeller, Executive Director, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL), was the featured speaker at Monday’s meeting of Blowing Rock Rotary Club. He explained that the organization, founded in Glendale Springs, North Carolina in 1984, has chapters as far east as Valdosta, Georgia, as far north as Charlottesville, Virginia, and as far south as Scottsboro, Alabama.

BREDL functions as a “watchdog” of the environment, monitoring issues and holding government officials accountable for their actions. BREDL sets standards for environmental quality, and awards individuals and agencies who uphold these standards in practice.

Today’s program centered on “Noise Pollution”, which has become a hot topic for the neighborhoods close to the race track at the old fairgrounds. Decibel ratings in the 90 dB
range were recorded recently from the front porch of one the neighbors affected by the noise emanating from the track. One couple said they had to vacate their premises when racing is being conducted. Zeller gave a demonstration of the noise that was recorded and when he turned on his iPad, the sound was so loud it would have been impossible to carry on a conversation.

BREDL has worked with these neighborhoods to try to shut down the operation of the track at this location or any other location that imposes a threat to the health and well being of the residents of those communities. Lou explained that “Noise Pollution” has been associated with several adverse effects such as disturbed communication, disrupted sleep, impaired cardiovascular function, interference with teaching and learning, reduction in productivity, damaged interpersonal relationships, unwanted violent behaviors, and increased rate of work-related accidents.