ANDERSON — For more than 50 years, Charles Jones has faithfully attended the Anderson Noon Kiwanis Club. In fact, he has a perfect attendance record with the club.
This week that record will end.
“It’s sad,” Jones said. “I had friends there, and some of them I will probably not see again because that is where our circles met.”
The club, chartered on Oct. 27, 1919, has decided to disband as of Oct. 1, because of shrinking membership. At one point, the club had more than 150 members. At the final count, only about 20 people remained on the roster. This particular club is one of several Kiwanis clubs in the Anderson area.
Jim Dauss, a former treasurer for the club, said two factors hindered the club’s ability to maintain and grow membership.
“The real problem with our club was aging, and having the meetings during that noon time slot was just a tough, tough thing to do,” Dauss said.
Tim Freeman, the last president of the Noon Kiwanis, said that, in the past three years, about 13 members of the club have died.
“We took an average age one time, and it was 75,” he said. “It was an older club.”
Looking over his memorabilia from the club, Jones said it is more than just age that contributed to the clubs declining numbers — times have changed.
Each Thursday, members of the Noon Kiwanis gathered for lunch and brainstormed ways to raise money for those in need. Jones, a former president of the club, said many of the original members were business owners or those in middle to upper management working in Anderson.
“Now they are long gone,” he said. “We have had a lot of good people who have come and gone.”
Jones said General Motors strongly encouraged its employees to become active in the community and service projects. He said the club lost several members when the company left Anderson, and companies today have less affinity for the communities where they work.