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Waterloo Rotary Club

Rotary is one of the largest and most influential humanitarian service organizations in the world. It is a volunteer organization of 1.2 million members worldwide. The Waterloo Rotary Club was organized in April 1915 with ten members and received its charter on July 1, 1915. With an average club size of 200 members, it is the second largest club in its Rotary district. The club established this scholarship fund in 1994 in part to recognize Fred Adams, one of the longest-serving Rotarians in history.

At the age of six month, Fred Adams came from Vermont to Waterloo after the death of his parents. Fred attended East Waterloo High School, and at the age of 17, operated the H. P. Estey grocery at the corner of East Sixth and Sycamore Street. Fred established a wholesale paper company in 1912 which led later to a distributorship of major appliances.

In the 40’s and 50’s as a manufacturer’s agent for the A.O. Smith Corporation, he pioneered the marketing of a new glass lined non corrosive water heater. Many years before he was known as “Mr. Rotary,” he was “Mr. Water Heater” to the gas and electric utilities of the Midwest. A new career beckoned when he was 72. He took up an intensive study of the real estate business and for the next 18 years he carved a respectable niche in this field.

Though business was the challenge of his energy, top priorities were his wife Mary and family, Grace United Methodist Church, the community, and, of course, his beloved Rotary Club. Fred was its president in 1923-24. Fred had reached his 97th birthday and was on the Rotarian with the most years of service of all one million around the world.

Fred and C.A. Morris were determined to establish a club in Cedar Falls, and they were successful. In later years he spent many months drafting a history of the Rotary Club, giving glimpses of many of the personalities in Waterloo history. The book is given to every new member of the Waterloo club and is on file at the public library.