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Bob Marsh selected as 2022-2023 Statesboro Kiwanian of the Year

The Kiwanis Club of Statesboro honored club member Bob Marsh as their 2022-2023 Kiwanian of the Year. In addition five Kiwanian's were placed on the Wall of Honor posthumously and over 30 more members received awards. Click on the image to read the full story.
Bob Marsh (L) receives Kiwanian of the Year from Bede Mitchell

Bob Marsh was named the 2022-2023 Kiwanis Club of Statesboro Kiwanian of the Year at the clubs anniversary dinner on Thursday evening, February 22, 2024.  The dinner was held at the Kiwanis Club community building at the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair Ground.

Bede Mitchell, 2021-2022 Kiwanian of the Year, presented the award to a visibly surprised Bob Marsh.  In the introduction Mitchell said," Bob has served on the Kiwanis Board of Directors, contributes heavily to the Rodeo and Pancake House during the fair, played a key role in assisting Danny Beall with the first spring carnival,  currently serves or chairs nine club committees and involves himself in so many club activities that in some years he has almost as many so-called "make-up" credits as he does club meeting attendances."

Mitchell continued, "He earned degrees from Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern and is a Navy veteran who has frequently helped organize the annual Veteran's Day ceremony at the Averit Center.  In his career he has served as a railroad car man, electrician, engineer and mathematics professor.  In addition to his Kiwanis contributions to the community, he also volunteers at the Perorming Arts Center, Hospice and with Feed the Boro."

"Thank you so much.  I am really overwhelmed.  Not sure what else to say.  There are so many others so much more deserving of this award," said Bob Marsh.

A capacity crowd attended the annual Anniversary dinner. DeWayne Grice

In addition to Kiwanian of the Year five Kiwanians were placed on the Wall of Honor posthumously and over 30 more Kiwanians received awards for service to the club and the community.

Perfect Attendance (Presented by Matt Anderson)

12 months of attending all regular club meetings or making up any missed regular meetings with attendance at a Board meeting, club committee meeting, International/District/Division conference, or interclub.

  • 1 year: Hilda Dutrow, Glynn Ellis, Kasey Hagan, Tom McKeithen
  • 2 years: Jill Boykin, Byron Mullican, Bobby Turner
  • 3 years: Franklin Beacham, Chris Wiggins
  • 4 years: Jim Thibodeau
  • 5 years: John Banter, Dan Hagan
  • 6 years: Bill Anderson
  • 7 years: Lynn Bennett, Earl Cashon
  • 8 years: JD Dunn
  • 11 years: Vince Galasso, Bede Mitchell
  • 12 years: Trish Tootle
  • 15 years: Mike Rushing
  • 41 years: Horace Harrell

Ruby K Award (Presented by Kasey Hagan)

Sponsoring five or more new club members over the course of one’s Kiwanis career. Pins are presented for every 5 new members.

  • Chris Wiggins (5)
  • Jim Thibodeau (5)

Outstanding Kiwanians (Presented by Lt. Governor Trish Tootle)

Perfect attendance for at least six months, sponsored a new club member during fiscal year, actively participated on a club committee, attended at least two interclubs during fiscal year, maintained good standing with club, Division, District, and International.

  • Dan Hagan
  • Mike Rushing
  • Trish Tootle
  • Chris Wiggins

Hixson Fellowship (Presented by Chris Wiggins)

In 1983, the Kiwanis Children’s Fund established the George F. Hixson Fellowship. Named for Kiwanis International’s first president, Hixson Fellowships are awarded to donors who give $1,000 or more to the Children’s Fund. It is a way of recognizing people who have contributed significantly to Kiwanis’ history of generosity.

  • Mike Rushing

Legion of Honor Awards (Presented by Matt Anderson)

First presented after 25 years of Kiwanis service, and after every 5 years of service thereafter.

  • Jim Campbell, 45
  • Horace Harrell, 45
  • Mike Bowen, 30
  • David Beaubien, 25

Wall of Honor (Presented by Matt Anderson)

  • J.W. “Major” Roberts
  • Bill Cheshire
  • Don Whaley
  • Walter Pease
  • Deb Pease

Wall of Honor

From near its beginning, the Kiwanis Club of Statesboro has been a band of fellowship that honors its living members and memorializes the ones they’ve lost.  

In 1992, the club was stunned with the loss of Pancake House founder Marion Brantley and Community Building ramrod T.L. Hagan, Sr. in the same year.  In 1995, the club lost its Heritage Village innovator Carl Reddick to cancer.  Club members realized that the Statesboro organization in only 30 years had accomplished things that only a few civic clubs can envision, and that it had done so on the shoulders of giants.   Some fitting tribute seemed appropriate.

At the same time, the club was moving into its Community Building as the home for its weekly meetings in August 1995.  A realization arose that the club had a venue to erect a lasting memorial to the members whose dedication and commitment to Kiwanis had been demonstrated in ways above and beyond the call of duty.  The concept was born of a Wall of Honor as a visual display of the names of Kiwanis heroes.  The tangible remembrance would be bronze plaques placed on a special designated area of the Community Building. 

In drafting and adopting the criteria for inclusion, the club sought to recognize lost members who were not just great Kiwanians but who had served in some leadership role and whose sustained service and contributions had changed the trajectory of the club’s history.    Rigorous nomination and induction criteria were incorporated into the club’s by laws on March 26, 1996.  Under the  by laws, the president may activate a selection committee to consider candidates for selection on the Wall of Honor.   Any nomination must be confirmed by 2/3s vote of the club’s Board of Directors.

Only deceased members are included so that the committee may fully consider the Kiwanian’s entire life-long commitment and contributions to the club.   The candidate must have maintained a membership of at least ten years. 

Furthermore, the Kiwanian must have served in some significant leadership role in the club and their life must have exemplified the Objects of Kiwanis.

To date, 11 Kiwanians have been memorialized on the Wall of Honor through the club’s 64-year history:

  • Kimsey Dickey
  • Felton Mikell
  • Ben Waller
  • Mayor Thurman Lanier
  • Carl Reddick
  • Miles Frank Deal
  • Walt Campbell
  • Naughton Beasley
  • T.L. Hagan
  • Marion Brantley
  • Wyatt Johnson     

To illustrate the long nature of service to the club, the average length of membership of the 11 was 36 years.

Wall of Honor Video

Five more deceased Kiwanians were added to the Wall of Honor including:

J.W. “Major” Roberts

J.W. “Major” Roberts was born in Bulloch County in 1915 and died in 2011.     Major worked as a forest ranger for 20 years and another 20 years managing a tree nursery.  Major joined the Kiwanis Club in 1972. and was a member for more than 39 years.   During his time of service, Major served on the Fair Committee as assistant chair for three years, sole chair of the Fair Committee for three years and as a co-chair for two more years.   He served for several years as fair manager.  Major was named Kiwanian of the Year in 1975, even before he embarked on his five terms as fair committee chair.  Among his many contributions to the club and fair, Major was particularly known for his diligence as the guy who worked the fair at night and who cut sausages for the Pancake House during the day.  In his obituary, it was noted: “He was instrumental in initiating the annual Kiwanis Fair and bringing the Vivona Brothers Midway to the Fair.”  The members of the Kiwanis Club of Statesboro served as honorary pallbearers at his funeral.

Bill Cheshire

Bill Cheshire was born in Winchester, Virigina in 1935. He was a teacher-educator at the University of Georgia and Georgia Southern, where he retired as assistant dean.   He joined the Kiwanis Club of Statesboro in 1977 and was a member for approximately 37 years.  Bill served in virtually every leadership capacity as an officer and committee chair.  Bill served president of the Kiwanis Club of Statesboro in 1984.  He also served several years as the fairgrounds manager.  Bill was Lt. Governor for the Georgia District of Kiwanis.  In 2000, the Fair Committee dedicated the fair book in Bill’s honor, noting, “It is understandable that one of his hobbies is WORK, WORK, WORK...He has given much of his time to make our club and the Ogeechee Fair a huge success.”   Bill was named as Kiwanian of the Year in 2006. 

Don Whaley

Don Whaley had a career as a teacher, consultant, and professor at Georgia Southern.  He was a member of the Kiwanis Club of Statesboro for 34 years.   Don served for two years as Fair Committee chair for the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair.   Beginning in 2001, Don began serving the club as chair or co-chair of the Pancake House for next two decades.  When Don joined Kiwanis in 1989, he threw himself fully into club service and in just 6 years was named Kiwanian of the Year in 1995.  Remarkably he was selected as the Kiwanian of Year two years before he served as Fair Chair and before he began his 20-year tenure as head of the Pancake House.   In 2010, the Fair Book was dedicated to Don.   In the dedication, Don was declared to be the club’s “#1 Pancake Flipper”.    Don was lovingly remembered by the club members for his persistent and genuine recruitment efforts for the Pancake House.  In 2023, the club expanded the name of the Pancake House to honor both Marion Brantley, the originator of the pancake house, and Don Whaley.  In many ways, Don served as the moral compass of the Kiwanis Club of Statesboro.


Walter Pease was born in New Jersey.  His family moved to Statesboro when Walter was 11 years old.  Soon after his arrival, Walter started a long career at Medical Center Pharmacy working as a “Soda Jerk”.  Work behind the snack bar evolved into a career as a pharmacist when Walter graduated from UGA in 1974.   The following year in 1975, Walter joined the Kiwanis Club of Statesboro and was a member for 49 years.  Walter also worked many years as an EMT.  He served as president of the Kiwanis Club in 1985.  In 1987, Walter was named Kiwanian of the Year for the Statesboro Club.  He served as solo chair of the Fair Committee for 3 years and co-chair of the Fair Committee for an additional 2 years.  Walter served as club liaison to Amusements of America, successfully fostering a working relationship that has last for 45 years.  In 1998, the Fair Book was dedicated to Walter, and declared, “He is a very valued member for his friendship and his continued service and help throughout each year.   Most people see him before they ever get to the parking lot because everyone in Bulloch County knows him.   He is a very important asset to our organization.”

Deb Pease

Deb Pease was born in Savannah in 1956, was reared in Liberty County, and died in Bulloch County in 2022.    She was a retired teacher.  Deb joined the Kiwanis Club in 2003, but had already spent countless hours of service to the organization as the spouse of Kiwanian Walter Pease.   In 2018, Deb became the first female chair of the Fair Committee, and she also joined her husband Walter as the only spouses who have both served as fair chairs.  In 2012, the Fair Committee dedicated the fair book in her honor six years before she served as fair chair.  In the dedication, it was written of Deb: “For many years she was a dedicated Kiwanian helping out wherever needed.  It was rumored that for many years that the club would rather have her driving nails than her husband Walter.” The fair book dedication cited particularly Deb’s service conducting the livestock shows “making sure they all go on without a hitch.”   Deb coordinated the club’s efforts in selecting and distributing animals to youth for showing.  In addition to the livestock responsibility, Deb was lauded by the fair book for other fair activities, such as painting signs, coordinating the ag-products display, and selling tickets.    An article for the Statesboro Herald during the 2018 fair said this of Deb as fair chair:  “Even while speaking with a reporter, Pease showed her multi-tasking skills, juggling a cellphone, Kiwanis office phone, answering questions and directing visitors to the fair office on where to go for their particular needs.” For many years, Deb authored and distributed the Kiwanagram, the club’s newsletter.

Deb and Walter Pease were considered for selection on the Wall of Honor at different times.  The inclusion of each was and should be considered on the basis of their sole contribution to the club.  However, their contributions as a family have caused their impact to grow exponentially.

The five Wall of Honors dedicated tonight average length of their Kiwanis membership was 37 years.  Each of the five had a Fair Book dedicated in their honor.  Four of the five inductees served as Fair Committee chairs and between them their combined service as Fair Chair amounted to 13 years.  Two of the five served as club president and one as lieutenant governor for the Georgia District.

To the families of each of these Kiwanians, the Club thanks you for sharing their remarkable lives with us and the community, and allowing us to remember them.

Kasey Hagan, Vice President of the Kiwanis Club of Statesboro chaired the Anniversary Dinner.  A Touch of Class catering catered the delicious home cooked dinner and Fraziers Florist provided the floral arrangements.