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Rotary Club of Tiburon-Belvedere

Fellowship and Service

Address: 1600 Mar West Street
Tiburon/Belvedere, CA 94920
Phone: 415-789-0161

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Saluting Joe Lavigne

The purpose of life is not
to be happy. It is to be useful,
to be honorable,
to be compassionate,
to have it make some difference
that you have lived and lived well.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Rotary Club of Tiburon-Belvedere and members of the community recently remembered Joe Lavigne, an extraordinary Rotarian and a friend to everyone.

“Joe Lavigne was a prince of a guy.” He was president the year before current president Jon Rankin’s previous term and “He ran a good meeting, he was a good dude in the community,” said Jon.

Elizabeth Ury places a crown on Joe’s head on “Joe Day” in 2015.

“Joe is the reason I’m here,” said Marianne Strotz. She explained that her late husband Gus was a member and believed one Rotarian per family was enough. “When I’m dead, she can step into my shoes,” he said. Joe went to Marianne at Gus’ funeral and told her that it was time to fill Gus’ shoes. She became a Rotarian the following Wednesday.

“He was our best and biggest recruiter,” said Jon.

”We had the privilege of living two houses away,” said Joan Bekins. “He was the kindest, gentlest man.”
Dave Hutton recalled that Joe served on his board. “One word to describe him was leader. He had ethics, morals, and he was one of the most loyal people you’d ever want to meet,” he said, adding that he was grateful for his help.

“Joe always brought compassion to the table,” said Lata Setty. She met him at the Boardwalk, and within 24 hours, he invited her to attend a Rotary meeting. She met Angelo Capozzi there, and that led to her meeting her husband Brian Walker.

“We lived on the other side of Joe. He was such a sweet, kind, generous, beautiful man,” said Cheryl Haley. She recalled that George Von Bozzay built a hummingbird feeder because Joe wanted Maria to see the hummingbirds, but none came.

Angelo Capozzi took over the position of membership chairman from Joe, and he subsequently discovered that Joe had three computers and was adept at using every one of them. He visited Joe often, and said, “Joe never lost his sense of humor or his smile. He was a great individual and will be very missed.

“I just remember his smile. It was within,” said Lynn Fox. She also recalled his success in the drawing. “He was always winning,” she said, and that’s because he bought lots of tickets.

Skip “Skipper” Henderson reported that over the course of years, he and Joe saw a lot of each other. Joe was a partner in a restaurant, and he was very quiet—truly a silent partner. Skip and Joe started meeting every Thursday morning for breakfast, and the advantage was that it’s very quiet at the back, and nobody knows you. He saw Joe many times after his stroke, and he tried to find out how he wanted to be remembered.

One day, a smile came slowly to his face, and he said, “I’d really like the Rotary club to celebrate my life.”
“He was my guru on my computer,” said Don Bekins, who was Joe’s neighbor for 30 or 40 years. He reported that Mike Jurs was friends with Joe even longer. “We couldn’t have had a better neighbor” he said.

Chris Morrison was the Rotarian who was tapped to take over the presidency, when two presidents-elect got sick. “Joe helped me. I’m the only president who never went to PETS,” he said. “You have at least 10 presidents here. The presidents will help you,” he said, urging someone to come forward and take on the leadership of our club. “Get yourself a president, we can all help you,” he said. “Yesenia has the best caregiver group I have seen,” he added, explaining that they treated Joe and Maria like a king and queen.

President Jon Rankin recalled an individual in the community who was using a device that wasn’t satisfactory to help her walk. H wanted to raise money, and so Joe said he’d pay for it and gave him $50 for a walker. He got a nice one that was used, and she refused it. He was unable to find someone else who could use it, and it’s still in his office.

Peter Herley has been a member for 25 years. He was a member of our club first, and then moved to the San Rafael club. “Joe was a mainstay of this club. He wasn’t only a gentleman, but a gentle man,” he said. He got people to do whatever he wanted, and he reminded him of one of the founders of this club, Joe Giacomini. He was quietly persuasive and epitomized everything that Rotary is and what Rotary should stand for. “It’s a loss not only for Rotary but for everyone,” he said.

(l. to r.) George Landau, Joe Lavigne and Charlie Oewel celebrate the season at the holiday party in 2016.

“During Joe’s reign, we had almost perfect attendance. … Joe was a real class act,” said George Landau. “He continued in that mode until the very, very end. He never wavered in his enthusiasm and optimism.”

“He was the ultimate Rotarian, with a capital R,” said Michael Heckmann, recalling that he was involved in a lot of projects. Joe Lavigne and Joe Giacomini visited Michael to tell him about Rotary, and he decided to join the same day. He brought a memory book that he passed around.

“Joe would be so sad if this club doesn’t make it because of the lack of a president,” said Marilyn Nemzer. “There are so many people will help you,” she added, that in addition to members of our own club, members of Tiburon Sunset club and former ADG Nancie Bottmeyer would help. “Nobody ever tells you that it’s fun. You can do it a different way and make it work for you,” she said.

“Joe and I shared the same coffee shop 20 years ago,” said Cynthia Shaver. “He listened to my stories about my children. What parent wouldn’t think that was wonderful?” she added. He invited her to visit Rotary, and she joined and was a member for a period of time. She and her son Robert visited Joe a few weeks ago, and Robert offered to carry her down the 82 steps. She didn’t want to go down the steps, however, so she sent Robert down with a bag of candy, and Joe gave his wonderful smile.

Mike Jurs knew Joe and Maria for about 40 years and said, “They certainly enhanced my life. I’m very grateful. I’ll never forget them.” He also thanked Yesenia Murcia for the wonderful care she gave Joe.

“Thank you so much,” said Yesenia. She has been with Joe and Maria for almost four years and recalled Joe’s beautiful smile. “For me, Joe and Maria are a family,” she said.

Earl Johnson got to know Joe through the PC (computer) group. They had an investment group and worked together for 20 years. “If I hadn’t known Joe, I wouldn’t have been able to send my kids to Ivy League colleges,” he said, adding that he and Joe were both Rotarians but members of different clubs.

(l. to r.) Joe and Elizabeth Ury, winners of the Best Costume contest at Festa Italiana in 2012.

Barbara Newhouse observed that Joe Lavigne and Joe Giacomini just never forgot when people made commitments. They approached her to be president, and she said she’d do it when she retired. About a month before she retired, they showed up at her office and said it was time for her to keep her promise. Joe Lavigne, Joe Giacomini and Ham Kirchmaier did a lot of things together and separately. They wanted to be on a service committee and work with the homeless in Marin. She approached Joe to see if
she could get support from the members to cook food regularly and also be servers. “Joe was one of the first ones,” she said, and a group of Rotarians served soup to 100 homeless people. “Serving the people made them change their minds about who homeless people are. He had a big influence outside the community as well,” she said.

Klaus Meinberg recalled the two Joes visiting him at his Main Street restaurant, Sweden House, and asking him to be president. He had to go to Europe to help care for his ailing mother, and they told him
not to worry, he’d have help.

Larry Bogel spent time with the fire department in Tiburon, and he started the blood drive. Joe was the first donor and was faithful year after year. Later, “He was always the first guy who called me to sign up for the blood drive. He was a fine gentleman,” he said.

“I’m channeling Laurie Weisheit today. If he had been able to be here, he’d send his love and respect,” said Libby Weisheit.

“Joe was such a lovely character,” said Helen Lindqvist, tearfully. Her husband Bill had to go to Australia and asked Helen to attend our meeting to remember Joe in his place. They have such fond memories of Joe, as did everyone who gathered to honor the memory of a man who served as a role model for all of us.


Citizen of the Year — James Demmert

(l. to r.) Natale Servino, of Servino Ristorante; DeAnn Biss, executive director of the Tiburon Peninsula of Commerce; and James Demmert, Tiburon Peninsula Business Citizen of the Year (photos by Marshall Gross)

“Welcome one and all to the Citizen of the Year lunch,” said Master of Ceremonies and Rotary President Jon Rankin. “We’re honoring Mr. James Demmert today.”

James was born and raised in Rochester, NY. He spent his high school years in the Berkshires, and then he attended Harvard University, following which he had an internship at Rothschilds, a firm in Boston. He then moved west and got a job Lehman Brothers, where he worked in institutional sales. Next, he started Main Street Research in a location on Tiburon’s Main Street. The company grew, and in 1988, it moved to a larger space in Sausalito, where it is today. “He’s been 35 years in business,” said Jon. He also published a coffee table book: The Journey to Wealth, Smart Investment Strategies to Stay Ahead of the Curve.”

James and his wife Velda met at Servino’s and have been married since 2006 and have two children, Hudson and Stella. James collects Porsches and displays them in the Tiburon Classic Car Show. His son and Jon’s son Jaden attend Del Mar Middle School together, and Jaden envies James’ Porsche collection. Hudson, however, covets Jon’s classic Cadillac.

Jon revealed that James once wanted to be a professional magician, and asked, “Do you know any tricks,” He replied that he knows a few. In addition, Jon reported that James’ daughter Stella says her dad can drink beer with his toes.  “Which reflects a degree of flexibility far beyond mine,” said Jon.
Main Street Research donates a percentage of its profits to charity every quarter, and the Marin Food Bank, World Villages for Children and Susan G. Komen for the Cure are among the recipients. James also donated 40-flat screen monitors to the Belvedere-Tiburon Library. “He’s very generous with his time and money,” said Jon.

Jim Fraser presented James with a plaque on behalf of the Town of Tiburon. “Being in a small community … you know a lot about everybody,” said Jim. He added that it’s a pleasure to recognize people for their service and contributions and read a resolution from the Tiburon Town Council. “James, congratulations. It’s well deserved,” he said,
Marty Winter (left) followed with honors from the City of Belvedere. “Your CV is so impressive … I’m just awestruck.” He read Belvedere’s resolution in honor of James and said, “He’s a shining example. Thank you so much for all the years you’ve spent in our community and all the good work you’ve done.”

Joan Lubamersky represented State Senator Mike McGuire, State Assemblymember Marc Levine and Marin County Supervisor Kate Sears. She said that she was thrilled that Marc Levine asked to attend and represent him.
Thrilled that Marc Levine asked her to attend and represent him. She presented James with a plaque commending him for his civic engagement. “Also, we appreciate the civic engagement of all of you,” she said, adding that when people contribute, it creates a sound community. She also read a resolution from Kate Sears, thanking him for making Main Street an enduring part of the Tiburon community.
Jon quipped that one representative was attending on behalf of three officials, and it must be a reflection of belt tightening.
Next, Fire Chief Rich Pearce presented James with a proclamation from the Tiburon Fire Protection District.

Tom O’Neill (below) then passed on the crown, taking the place of Steve Sears, who was last year’s Citizen of the Year, but not available. Tom was Citizen of the Year two years ago, and “I was thrilled to be asked,” he said. He has known James for 17 years, and he thinks that Citizen of the Year will be the most cherished award he receives.
“If Mother Hubbard has as many Porsches as James, she’d have to buy a house from Jim Fraser on Gilmartin to house all her children,” he said. Generosity is a wonderful thing, and donating money is easy if you have it, Tom observed, but he pointed out that what’s more important is generosity of spirit and will. “James demonstrates a generosity of spirit,” he said. “In one of your various maneuvers around town, we expect to see you wearing this,” he added, as he presented James with the crown.
“Perfect fit,” said James.
“I had the crown placed on my head,” said Jon, but then he put it in a plastic cube and placed it on top of his fish tank. Georgia Kirchmaier followed him as Citizen of the Year, but she didn’t want the crown. “I didn’t want to give it up anyway, and I kept it for an extra year,” I hope you take the words to heart,” he said, adding that he also hopes James will add to the history of the crown.

Past Citizen of the Year Tom O'Neill presented James Demmert, this year's honoree, with the traditional crown. (photo: Marshall Gross)




 January 18       TBA

January 25       Golden Gate Electric Vehicle Association. Learn why you will want your next car to be an electric vehicle (EV) in this myth-busting presentation by Dale Miller, president of the Golden Gate Electric Vehicle Association



Saturday, March 16, 7:30 a.m.    District Learning and Leadership Development Assembly, Redwood High School, Larkspur. Register by March 8 at rotary5150.org/calendar/.



Lunch Meetings
We welcome guests. If you'd like to hear a guest speaker or find out more about Rotary, please pay us a visit. We meet at Sam's Anchor Cafe, 27 Main Streeet, Tiburon, at 11:30 a.m., on Friday, and most weeks, a guest speaker makes a presentation.
Lunch & attendance: $30, attendance only: $10.

Board of Directors Meetings
Meetings of the Board of Directors are open to all members and take place on the second Friday of the month at 10:30 a.m., at Sam's.

Contact us at rotary@telli.com.

If you'd like to be a guest speaker, please contact Marianne Strotz at properties@pacbell.net.

Send mail to Rotary Club of Tiburon-Belvedere, P.O. Box 220, Tiburon, CA 94920

Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tbrotary. Hope you "like" us!



Scroll down to see our photo gallery of Rotarians at work and play!



The Rotary Club of Tiburon-Belvedere supports a wide range of programs, with a focus on youth, literacy and community. We believe that reaching out to others makes a better world and encourage others to join us. Here's what we're supporting in 2018-2019.

Youth—Investing in the Future

• Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity: Support to provide a safety net of stable housing, guidance and community connections for young people 16 to 25, who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless in Marin County.

• Bel Aire School’s Liberia Project: Advice and support for the fifth-grade students’ ongoing projects to help their sister school in Liberia, thus encouraging altruism at home and helping children in a disadvantaged country across the world.

Dave Hutton Rotary Award for Service Above Self: An annual award to a graduating eighth-grader with a record of outstanding community service at Del Mar Middle School.

• Global Book Exchange: Support for the Global Book Exchange in San Rafael, which collects lightly-used books and redistributes them to teachers at schools with limited budgets, disadvantaged families and nonprofits that serve children, as well as schools throughout the world.

• Launch: Support for a local organization that helps young people bridge the gap from school to the working world.

• Marielos Fund: A scholarship to send a young woman in El Salvador to medical school.

• Marin Youth Sympathy: Support for sending young musicians on a tour to perform in Europe.

• Next Generation Scholars: Support for a San Rafael nonprofit that works with youth from low-income families, starting in middle school, to put them on the path to college.

• Rotaplast International: Support for volunteer medical teams to provide life-changing surgery for children with cleft-lip and palate in needy communities around the world.

• Rotary Youth Leadership Awards: Scholarships so high school sophomores and juniors can attend a special camp that guides them to develop their leadership skills.

• Educator of the Year Awards: Annual awards to outstanding educators in local schools, whose unique projects give children a worldview that encourages them to become good citizens.

Meaningful Projects—Service Above Self

• Marin Villages: Support for programs that help seniors age in their own homes. Members pay a small fee and can enjoy social get-togethers and access to volunteers for help with tasks such as getting to appointments, changing light bulbs or assisting with pets.

• Service to the Community Awards: Recognition for people who serve the community in meaningful ways, but don’t often get acknowledgement.

• St. Vincent de Paul: Support for helping Marin’s neediest residents obtain nutritious food, affordable housing, meaningful employment and a voice in the community.

• Whistlestop: Underwriting for Whistlestop's Thanksgiving Feast for Seniors.

District Designated Funds

Rotary's District Designated Funds helped establish this sewing shop in Esmeraldas, Ecuador. Photo: Courtesy of Keith and Holly Axtell

Funds from the Rotary International Foundation's annual campaign earn District Designated Funds for our club. For the past three years, we have contributed our funds to multi-club microcredit projects in Ecuador, Guatemala and Peru to train people in job and entrepreneurial skills and extend microloans to help them start small businesses and become self-sufficient



Past District Governor Ron Gin, now district membership chair, presents Mike Keran with a pin in honor of his being chosen Rotarian of the Month for District 5150.

District Governor Jayne Hulbert and First Husband Gene Duffy paid the club a visit.

Cindy Siliciano of the Tiburon Sunset Rotary Club (left) and President Linda Emberson of the Tiburon-Belvedere club get ready to toss goodies to kids at the Labor Day weekend hometown parade. (Photo: Marshall Gross)


Welcome New Members

Membership chair Angelo Capozzi welcomed new members Neelam Kanwar (upper photo) and Lynn Spitler (lower photo).


Jim Deitz

It is with profound sadness that President Linda Emberson announces the passing of beloved member Jim Deitz on Friday, July 13. Jim exemplified Rotary's motto, Service Above Self, and his altruistic spirit was a model for everyone. He was devoted to his family, loved dogs and was one of the best. We'll miss him terribly.


Good Work

(l. to r.) Lisa Brinkmann of Marin Villages accepts a check from Marianne Strotz, and Michael Heckmann presents a check to Michael Keran for St. Vincent de Paul. Photo: Lynn Fox


Rotarian of the Month

District 5150 named Michael Keran Rotarian of the Month for May. Mike's much-deserved honor is in recognition of his ongoing commitment to St. Vincent de Paul and helping the homeless in Marin County. In addition, he recruits a crew of Rotarians to serve lunch at the St. Vincent de Paul Free Dining Room in San Rafael every month. May marked the beginning of the 12th year of this service project.


Annette Gibbs (left) and Shelby Gross joined the Rotary contingent and got into the spirit
of this year's first Friday Night on Main


Celebrating Earth Day

Having Fun at Friday Night on Main

Angelo Capozzi (left) and Neelam Kanwar planted trees at Homeward Bound as part of Rotary International's initiative to plant one tree for every Rotarian. Photo: Marshall Gross


Lending a Hand at St. Vincent de Paul

Stalwart volunteers (l. to r.) Klaus Meinberg, Michael Keran and Angelo Capozzi in the kitchen of the St. Vincent de Paul Free Dining Room in San Rafael. The Rotary Club of Tiburon-Belvedere serves lunch on the fourth Thursday of every month and will begin its twelfth year of volunteering, under Mike Keran's leadership, in May. Angelo is team leader for the club's participation in the REST program, and he and Klaus also served dinner to a group of homeless men at St. Hilary's Church the same day. Service Above Self at its best!


First meeting at Sam's


Rotary does REST

The Rotary Club of Tiburon-Belvedre hosted dinner for a group of 25 homeless men who were spending the night at St. Hilary's Church on Thursday, February 15, as part of the REST (Rotating Emergency Shelter Team) program.

Members of the Rotary crew (above, l. to r.), John Kaufmann, Angelo Capozzi, Brian Walker, Raja Ramachandran and Deven Ramachandran, took a break before serving dinner to guests in Tarantino Hall. Lata Setty, Annette Gibbs, Bill Goldberg, Zohre Grothe, Karl Hoppe and Lata Setty were also on hand to help. The evening featured good conversation, great appetites and uplifting camaraderie, as well as good food.which included homemade lasagna that Deven, Lata’s son, helped prepare as a family Valentine’s Day project, and Mary Kaufmann'a delicious oatmeal cookies and cupcakes decorated with hearts.


Karen Glader welcomes new member Valerie Marsh to the club and gives her a Rotary pin.


Rotarians have fun in the Day Before-Labor Day parade.



The Town of Tiburon issued a proclamation in honor of the Rotary Club of Tiburon-Belvedere's 40th anniversary, which we will celebrate in June, and the 100th anniversary of the Rotary International Foundation. Pictured, left to right, are George Landau, President Linda Emberson and Tiburon Mayor Jim Fraser. Photo: Marsall Gross.


Visitor from Afar

Rehmah Kasule (above left), with President Linda Emberson) is the Immediate Past President of the Rotary Club of Kampala/Impala in Uganda. She took the opportunity to visit us when she was at a conference in San Francisco in October. In 2010, she received recognition at the White House for her work in empowering women and met President Obama. She then wrote a book, From Gomba to the White House. She shared an African proverb: “When you walk fast, you walk alone. When you walk with others, you go far.”



Marshall Gross donated two beautiful puppets that he won in a gift basket to Rotaplast's mission in Cebu City, Philippines. Dr. Angelo Capozzi (with the big dog) reports that the puppets are making kids smile every day before undergoing surgery, and the mission is going well.


Tiburon Challenger

Charlie Oewel, representing the Rotary Club of Tiburon-Belvedere, accepted a generous check from Ashoo Vaid (middle) of Wells Fargo and tournament director Brendan Curry (right) at the conclusion of the Tiburon Challenger. The funds will go to the club's education projects. (Photo: Getty Images for Revd)


Rotary welcomes Kimberly Brooks

District Governor Jeri Fujimoto (center) inducted new member Kimberley Brooks (right) as Kimi's sponsor, Joe Lavigne, looked on. Photo: Marshall Gross



Tari Nix and friend pull wagons with books for kids from the Global Book Exchange, as Marianne Strotz walks alongside, wheeling a Rotary sign. (Photo: Marshall Gross)

To see more photos of the parade, go to www.tiburonrotary.org and click on "Photo Gallery."


President Linda Emberson (left) of Tiburon-Belvedere and President Marilyn Nemzer of Tiburon Sunset hitch a ride with Michael Heckmann in the Day Before Labor Day Parade. (Photo: Marshall Gross)

Dana and Chester (left), making friends.

Winter in August was the theme of the Tiburon Peninsula Chamber of Commerce's mixer at the Boardwalk. President Linda Emberson took the prize for the most creative hat.


Jon Rankin views the on-court action at the annual Bocce Ball Tournament, a fundraiser for Rotaplast International. (Photo: J. Wilson)


Changing of the Guard

Thanks to President Marianne

President Linda Emberson (left) thanks outgoing President Marianne Strotz (right) for her two outstanding years of leadership with a special Rotary jacket, as Karen Glader, the club's new secretary, looks on. (Photo: Marshall Gross)


Honors for Angelo

Dr. Angelo Capozzi (left) and Dr. John Kaufmann with a child who underwent surgery during a Rotaplast mission to Peru in May 2016. (Photo: Courtesy of Rotaplast International)


Service Above Self

Dave Hutton presents the Capt. Dave Hutton Rotary Service Above Self Award to Kendall Hermann, graduating senior at Del Mar Middle School, for her outstanding performance in community service. The presentation took place at a special awards assembly in June. Photo: Marshall Gross


Teachers of the Year

(Left to right) RUSD Superintendent Nancy Lynch, Bel Aire School's Kelly Morphy, Reed School's Ross Modlin, Rotarian George Landau and Erin Turner of St. Hilary School (photo: Marshall Gross)



Mary Kaufmann and Jon Rankin got into the spirit of Carnaval, a fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Tiburon-Belvedere. For more, see the photo gallery at www.tiburonrotary.org. (Photo: Marshall Gross)