We might call Bob Whatley the Grand Master of the Blowing Rock Rotary Club, since we are celebrating his thirty-year anniversary this month. But Bob quickly notes that Lisle Snyder has been a member longer than he.
A past President of our club, Bob reports that his best experience in Rotary was building Broyhill Park. Now that we are improving the Pavillion, an extension of that project, he is one of the few Rotarians who remember it from the beginning.
Bob was born in Saginaw, Michigan, where his father had a custom tailoring business. He lived in East Lansing, Michigan, the home of Michigan State University, and graduated there with a degree in accounting.
In 1969 Bob became a Certified Public Accountant. He graduated from Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. He has been a CPA in private practice and in banking.
Bob and his wife Kathleen celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary in June. They have four children.
As to wasting time, Bob says he enjoys watching college basketball and football, especially MSU and the Big 10. As to whether that is a waste of time, you must ask someone else. He also enjoys listening to music and using the internet. He still wants to improve his skills and become still more computer literate.
While they lived in East Lancing, Bob and Kathy had season tickets for football, basketball and hockey. They went to the NCAA finals in Salt Lake City, when Michigan State and Magic Johnson defeated Indiana State and Larry Bird for the national championship.
Bob joined Rotary his first year in Blowing Rock, sponsored by Bob Gibson and Giles O’Neal. He had bought a CPA firm here because he and Kathy wanted to move south, but not into intense heat. He became Rotary President for the 1988-89 year and attended the Annual Convention in Philadelphia.
Bob had a large part in publishing Village Tapestry, the definitive book about Blowing Rock. Its success led to the Broyhill Park project . In perhaps the most successful fund raiser of all time, the $10,000. goal for The Village Tapestry swelled to $500,000 and produced Broyhill Park. We will hear more about this achievement as we embark on our Pavillion Project. Bob believes this achievement led to the growth of the club and its involvement in the community. Prior to that time the club was quite small and not very active in fundraising and community action.
Bob’s favorite charities besides Rotary are the Blowing Rock Library, where his wife is Librarian, and BRAAC, the organization responsible for the flowers in our town.