What is the Snowbird Club?
We are often asked, "What is the Snowbird Club?" For those of you who are new to our Destin winter home, here is a brief history.
The Beginning. During the winter of 1973-74, "Red" Lyon and his wife, Virginia, who were spending their first retirement winter in Destin, organized a small group of like-minded winter visitors for potluck dinners and other activities. They called themselves "The Snowbird Mockingbird Club". By 1978 there were 278 members and they were still growing. In April of 1979, the club filed papers for incorporation as a non-profit club and officially became the Destin Snowbird Club, Inc. with a five member Board of Directors. They held several activities... card games, trips to the dog races, fishing, sunset cruises, parties, golf and bowling. Meetings were on Tuesday mornings, with entertainment in addition to the regular Snowbird meeting business. Virginia introduced the idea of drawing door prizes donated by area businesses at the meetings. Red was President and served in that capacity until 1986.
Growth. In 1985-86 the membership had grown to 1300 and Red stepped down as President for health reasons, but remained active serving as Chairman of Entertainment. In April of 1986 a group of active members amended the By-Laws and a seven member Board was established; the President and each Vice President were responsible for the various club activities. Membership continued to grow and the club began holding two Tuesday morning meetings to accommodate the growing numbers. We continue to enjoy excellent entertainment and the valued door prizes at each meeting. Destin Snowbirds return year after year and we welcome many new members each year. Today we are proud to see an annual membership of about 2000 Snowbirds.
Past Presidents. The Board of Directors and all of the chair people who handle the day-to-day activities are volunteers. Following are the names of the past Presidents and their terms of office. Ivan "Red" Lyon - 1979-1986; Harry "Doc" Wagner - 1986-87; Bob Nichols - 1987-88; Bill Main - 1988-89; Smokey Callahan - 1989-90; Chris Misener - 1990-91; Leo Gryn - 1991-92; Jeanne Kowalski Boyd - 1992-93; Bob Maxwell - 1993-94; Les Miller - 1994-95; Carol Young - 1995-96; Frank Turner - 1996-97; Adeline "Addie" Selid - 1997-98; Tom Van Krevelen - 1998-99; Frank Cassin - 1999-2000; Fred Bussa - 2000-01; Lise Walsh - 2001-02; Ken Yee - 2002-03; Grace Fostmeier - 2003-04; Brian Walsh - 2004-05; Don Cooksey - 2005-06; Jan Werner - 2006-07; Ford Sims - 2007-08; Jack Ballinger - 2008-2009; Marge Marcella - 2009-2010; Paul Hewitt - 2010-2011; Bill Pasel - 2011-2012; Timi Millar - 2012-2013; George Olson - 2013-2014; Nancy Hewitt - 2104-2015.
Elections. Each year a nominating committee nominates candidates for the Board of Directors. To receive the nomination to become President, we have found that a system of progression works well, giving the nominee the experience of learning the ropes from 2nd VP up to President. The skills of new volunteers are always welcome. Nominations may also be made from the floor at the meeting when the candidates are announced. An election is held at the last general meeting of the year with all members voting.
Historians. Our Snowbird Club has a great history. The records of the early days and each president's term of office are documented. "The History of Destin Snowbirds" was first published in 1998. This document has been updated annually by our former Club Historian, Addie Selid who originated the project, and our current Historian, Gail Carson. It represents years of voluntary endeavors by hundreds of people to guarantee the success of our winter activities and community involvement. If you are interested in reading this document, please contact Gail or a member of the Board of Directors for details.
2015-2016 Board of Directors
President Tom Franklin
Vice President Dean Harper
2nd Vice President Charles Cassell
Treasurer Dick Cunneen
Assistant Treasurer Ken Lemire
Secretary Mary Pierce
Publicity Director Sigrid Aeschleman
Member at Large Linda Zukonic
Member at Large Dave Douglas
Webmaster Bob Baker
Past Presidents' Dinner, December 2014
Back Row - Bill Pasel, Paul Hewitt, Don Cooksey, George Olson
Front Row - Ken Yee, Addie Selid, Tom Van Krevelen