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History of the Batesville Kiwanis Club

The Batesville Kiwanis Club was chartered on April 16, 1928 under the principles of Kiwanis International to work for a better quality of life for the citizens of Batesville, Arkansas, our State, our Nation and our World.   The charter was presented on May 5th with 36 members named.

The Kiwanis Club of Searcy Club was the sponsoring club. Lincoln Barker was elected president with J. Paul Ward as Secretary-Treasurer.

The club first met at the First Baptist Church, then the Barnett Hotel, the Churchman's Club, The Marvin Hotel, Kelley's Restaurant, The American Restaurant, back to Kelly's (at a different location), at the Ramada Inn, and now The Batesville Country Club.

The depression hit the area hard and also the club. By the end of the first three years, 27 of the charter members had dropped out. By 1937-38, things looked brighter. Chubby Menard was elected president in 1939 and he introduced the idea of an attendance pig. The idea was that the club in the division having the lowest attendance for the month had to take care of the pig for the next month. That pig got pretty big and nobody wanted it, so attendance really picked up! At the end of the year, the pig was butchered and given to the children's home in Morrilton.

The club grew, and in 1946 the West Batesville Club was organized. Batesville was not ready for two Kiwanis Clubs. Within a few years, the West Batesville Club consolidated with the Batesville Club. In 1985, the White River Club, a breakfast Club, was formed and in 1991, the River City Club was formed, which meets in the evening.

The Kiwanis Club of Batesville is in Division 17 of the MO-ARK District of Kiwanis International, which includes both Missouri and Arkansas. We have had sixteen Lt. Governors from this club: Harney Chaney served twice, Monty Monfort, Albert West, Allie Crouch, Bill Arnold, Charles Taylor, John Baker, Joe Chumley, Duffie Bryant, Lou Stepter, Jim Barnett, Keller Crosby, Forrest Priest, Lyndal Waits, Ron Lewallen and Gary Baker. Gary Baker is currently serving as Region Eight Trustee. Ron Lewallen is the immediate past Region Eight Trustee.

This club has been honored by having four of our members serve as Governor of this district - Joe Chumley, Lou Stepter, Keller Crosby, who served almost two years because of the death of his successor, and Forrest Priest.

Copyright © 2008 Kiwanis Club of Batesville Kiwanis. All Rights Reserved.