Bill McDade
I recently have had conversations with Past District Governor Bill McDade. I found him to be candid, fun and a well spring of knowledge. With Bill’s permission, I would like to share his story.
Bill’s mother is from Fargo, North Dakota. His father is from a small town in Mississippi. Is there any other kind of town in Mississippi? They met and came to San Diego as Bill’s father served in the Navy.
Bill was born in 1933 at Mercy Hospital. He attended Horace Mann Junior High and then San Diego High School. From there, he went to Stanford undergrad and Stanford Medical School.
What story would be a story without a meet cute? Following medical school, Bill took an internship at the University of Washington. A senior intern suggested that Bill meet this really nice girl named Carol. So, Bill met Carol on a blind date. For Bill it was love at first sight. Perhaps not so much for Carol.
After about the fourth date, Bill escorted Carol to her place. At the front door Carol took Bill’s hand and told him: Bill I can’t marry you. I will never marry a doctor. As a nurse, I have seen the doctors' work schedule and I don’t think that is the life for me.
Though crushed, he didn’t respond. About a week later, Carol called Bill and said she would like to continue seeing him. As they say (has anyone ever figured out who “they” are?), the rest is history. Bill and Carol got married, had a son and two daughters who have blessed them with five grandsons. By the way, each grandson is a Paul Harris Fellow.
Over the years, Carol, with a little help from Bill, raised 50 foster children. This past week, Bill and Carol celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. We see Happy $ flowing into the club.
After beginning a practice in northern California, Bill relocated to San Diego to open an orthopedic practice with and emphasis on children.
In 1973, Bill’s long time childhood friend, George Gilddred, invited him to come to his Rotary club meeting. George was a member of the San Diego Rotary Club (Club 33) that met at the stately El Cortez Hotel at Seventh and Ash. Club 33 is known in the Rotary world as the 33rd Rotary club that was established. Also in the club was Bill’s other life long friend, Ross Pyle.
George really wanted to sponsor Bill as a member.  At lunch time, Bill would go to the club meetings. He found the club off putting. When he found a seat at a table, he was told that someone always sits there. Invariably, Bill found himself at the back table at the back of the room. Of course, there were no women in the club at that time. The club exuded a macho attitude as well.

That was then. Of course, now, the club is one of the most welcoming, friendly clubs in the District.
Bill took an early retirement because of a disability that cut short a career that was truly his passion in life. After a period of time to adjust to his new reality, Bill committed himself to doing good in Rotary - locally and internationally. Rotary became his passion. And it showed in everything he did.
In 1998, twenty-five years after joining Rotary, Bill became president of Club 33. The focus of his presidency was creating the Salute to the Military. This is a program that is still going strong within the club. The other thing he is most proud of is crafting the Four-Way Test on wooden plaques. One of Bill’s hobbies is woodworking. He designed and built wooden plaques with the laminated Four-Way Test on the plaque. Over 500 plaques were placed in every 5th grade class room in the San Diego School District.
After a successful year as president, past DG Stephen Brown and past DG Wayne Cusick approached Bill about applying for District Governor. They pitched the case to him. Bill said he wasn’t interested. Stephen and Wayne persisted. So, Bill relented and submitted his application to be District Governor.
A couple of weeks later Bill was selected as the District Governor 1999-2000. Out of curiosity, Bill asked who ran against him and was considered for the position. He was told: “No one.” Make of that what you will.
The reluctant Governor, with the support of the past Governors, embraced being District Governor. He loved visiting all 58 clubs and sharing Rotary stories. The presidents delighted in Bill’s support and presence.

The highlight of his year was a trip to Malawi, Africa. Two significant contributions made this trip a lifetime memory. The District delivered over 2,500 wheel chairs to those in need. The wheel chairs gave mobility to those who had none.
The shipping company did not charge for the delivery of the wheel chairs, but did charge the District $45 for the paper work. Go figure.
Upon arriving in Malawi, Bill was struck by the abject poverty and the poor conditions of the hospitals. He was determined to make things better. He raised the money for new orthopedic equipment in thirty-two hospitals. He made sure all the equipment was operational and used in each of the hospitals.
Bill has only fond memories of his years in Rotary, being president of Club 33 and being our District Governor. He wouldn’t trade the experience for anything and would recommend it for anyone.
Thank you for your service Bill.