In the last three decades, RCC has named seven Life Members. The Standing Rules provide this standard:
“Life Membership: A Life Member Award is presented on approval of the Board of Directors to recognize a member having performed meritorious long-term service to the Club. A suitable presentation will be made to each recipient of the award, including a plaque or other symbol of the award procured with Club funds. A Life Member is exempt from paying annual dues.”
Normally, Life Memberships are announced and presented at the Club’s annual awards ceremony and Board Installation.
Here are the Life Members named since the 1980s, with the year so honored where known:
Jesse Wall was a long-time Photogram Editor and Past President. When the Club was at a low point with hardly more than a handful of members, he and his wife Esther worked steadfastly to retain those and attract new members. They regularly placed Photogram copies on the counters of local camera stores; these efforts were successful in attracting new members. After turning over the Photogram Editor’s duties, he wrote columns for several years for the newsletter reviewing books, articles, equipment, and industry trends for members’ information. Jess donated the books which started the Club’s library. The Club celebrated Jess’s 100th birthday at a cookout on July 5, 2013. RCC lost a great mentor, friend, and leader on January 29, 2014, when Jess passed away at the age of one hundred years, six months, and twenty-four days.
Jim Bridges served in many Club offices, including President (about 1989-91). Jim worked for the Forest Service as a tree expert. When he retired, he and his wife Rindie moved north into gold country, where they still live.
Frank Peele (2005) served as President four times. He celebrated 35 years of service to the Club in March of 2022. In addition to taking leadership roles for years, Frank has more recently developed and implemented the education and workshop program for the Club, teaching regular workshops on all topics as a Club member benefit. He developed the RCC School of Photography, a series of photography classes provided for Club members which also brought in many new members. He has arranged judges for Club competitions since 2007, bringing a depth of photographic knowledge and expertise in image critiquing for the benefit of competition entrants and observers alike. His depth and scope of technical photographic knowledge, and the quality of his photographic work, have been an inspiration to us all.
Wayne (Woody) Wood developed and maintained the RCC website as an amazing resource for Club members and a magnet that draws in new members. He also established a high-water mark as Competitions Chair, introducing many beginning photographers to entering competitions to improve their art and craft. In addition, Woody edited and published the Photogram newsletter to a high standard for several years. The Club lost a major force for good when Woody passed away in January 2021, a victim of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jerry Reece (2016) Photography has been Jerry’s primary hobby for over fifty years. He served the Club in several capacities, including a term as President. Jerry was an educator with San Bernardino City Schools for 35 years, spending the last 28 years of his career as an Elementary School Principal. Jerry and his wife Bessie retired from the public schools in 1994. After a few years on the part-time faculty of San Bernardino State University supervising and training student teachers, they went into full-time retirement to RV around the country with their cameras and tripods in hand.
Judith Sparhawk (2020) has been a member since 2000 and during that time has filled nearly every RCC office and committee chair. She has consistently dedicated herself to setting a high standard for every project and task, always reflecting great credit on the Club. Willing to go beyond the ordinary, she has also served in a number of ad hoc capacities when special needs have arisen. Standing out head and shoulders above others, she invariably delivers as promised. She sets a standard for member involvement and leadership that is the exemplar. This Club has benefitted greatly from Judith’s dedication and work ethic.
Russ Trozera (2022): The average length of service for those honored as Life Members in the past has been more than 20 years. Our newest Life Member is a person who has been a member of the club for a relatively short period but has done so much in that time that his service deserves to be honored. This individual has led RCC through its most challenging time in modern memory, the Covid-19 Pandemic which began in 2020. He has done whatever it took to ensure the club’s survival when many of the aspects of normal life have been shattered or irretrievably altered. He has devoted endless hours to making certain that club activities have been maintained to the fullest extent possible and has changed course as necessary when conditions have changed unpredictably. It is possible, in the view of the Board of Directors, that without his firm hand on the tiller the Redlands Camera Club could have become a victim of the Pandemic.