Club History

Our club started in 1938 so there’s a lot to tell. Above, our own Barry Epstein recounts the contributions of the club’s more modern Mt. Rushmore types. Below, we’ve selected a few gems from the club archives that illuminate our history clear back to the beginning: 

THE FOUNDERS: This is a list of the club’s first members, made in 1983 and sent to club member Ed Brawley by Toastmasters International to help in planning the 45th anniversary party. Brawley was attempting to contact those who were still around to invite them to the party, something we still do at major anniversaries. Note that they’re all men, since women wouldn’t be admitted to Toastmasters for another 35 years, in 1973.


THE LUMINARIES: George McKim (top left) wasn’t a founding member, but arrived not too many years after and quickly became something of a legend. We have documents showing that he was in the club from at least the late 1940s to the early 1980s. He was very active with Toastmasters International, serving as governor of District 23 (TM divides the world up into administrative districts) and as an international director. He also seems to have been great friends with Ralph Smedley (top right), who founded Toastmasters International. This photo is undated, but we know Smedley visited Albuquerque in 1954. McKim was very active in the state GOP, where he served as finance chair and, we’ve been told, kingmaker. Pete Domenici and Manuel Lujan were pallbearers at his funeral in 1986.



THE FRIENDSHIP: Most people join Toastmasters to improve their public speaking skills, but often they stay for the friendships that result when you work on something fun and rewarding with other interesting people. We think this example from a club alumnus, who apparently left Albuquerque to work as an attorney in Downtown Los Angeles, is illustrative. Anybody who writes ahead like that to (best case scenario) arrange a ten minute meeting probably got more out of the club than a few tips on how to talk to groups of strangers.


A FAREWELL TO ARMS: Dick and June Arms were much-beloved club members for decades. June was a member from 1982 until her death in 2012. Dick was a member from 1974 until his death in 2018. The couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at a regular club meeting. Often, they opened up their Four Hills home for special club events. This photo, courtesy of Ed Brawley, is from 1987.