Friday May 02 2008
Rotarians honor longtime members Fiddyment, Piches
By: Staff report
Perfect attendance is what every member of Rotary Club aspires to achieve. But multi-years of weekly, perfect attendance, even for the best of Rotarians, is difficult to attain. Rotarians who complete perfect attendance for a period of more than 10, 20, or 30-plus years are rare – and certainly to be admired and praised. The Rotary Club of Roseville counts among its membership not one, but two people who have completed 60 years of perfect attendance in the same club. This is an achievement unmatched in Rotary International’s 100-plus year history – and unmatched by 32,000 clubs worldwide and 1.2 million Rotary members. Boyhood friends since elementary school, David Fiddy-ment and John Piches have been nominated together for the Senior Volunteer of the Year award. Fiddyment, a well-known member of a regional farming family (now growing and distributing pistachios), said he never set out to achieve perfect attendance when he joined the club in 1947. “I’ll admit, it was almost an obligation to begin with, because I felt we – the farmers – needed to have a relationship with the business community in Roseville,” he said. “I don’t know if that was a smart thought, but it was my thought.” But shortly after missing his first meeting, a fellow Rotary Club of Roseville member who owned an auto dealership in town took him aside and set him straight regarding the importance of regular attendance to Rotary meetings. Since that time, Fiddyment has either attended the meetings of his home club, the Rotary Club of Roseville, or made up meetings at other clubs throughout the world (including Nepal), earning him 61-plus years of perfect attendance this year. Even as a newlywed to wife, Dolly, 59 years ago, his honeymoon vacation didn’t deter him from keeping his attendance streak solid. “When we were traveling on our honeymoon, we were headed to Sun Valley, and when we came up on Salt Lake City, I saw a sign for the local Rotary club that was meeting that day,” he said. “I found out where the meeting was, and attended. It turned out Edward R. Murrow was the speaker. I don’t think he was as famous then as he became, but it was still interesting.” Piches also attended his first meeting and joined the Rotary Club of Roseville in 1947. In the years since, he’s also earned a record of more than 60 years of perfect attendance. “I remember when I first joined, thinking, ‘Holy cow! I’m a Rotarian!’” he said. In the early days, he would sometimes travel to the Lincoln Rotary Club to make up meetings he missed with his home club. One day while attending the Lincoln club, members honored former Judge Ed Gray for 25 years of perfect attendance. “I knew the judge, and he told me that very day, ‘Don’t ever miss a meeting. If you do, you miss a lot of fun,” Piches said. “And he was right.” But keeping his perfect attendance wasn’t always easy. Sometimes his work required him to travel, meaning he needed to seek out other clubs to attend Rotary meetings. Piches has attended Rotary meetings in Switzerland, England, Greece and more. Now the two men keep each other motivated not to miss a meeting. Fiddyment and Piches vow not to break their perfect attendance record in their lifetime. “At this point I think, one of us would rather die first than miss a meeting,” Fiddyment joked. In addition to their weekly commitment to the Rotary Club of Roseville (for which each has been a past president and Fiddyment is still a board member), Fiddyment is also a long-time supporter of the Sacramento arts community, being involved with the Sacramento Philhar-monic and other music organizations. He is also active in the Roseville Historical Society and various farming and Roseville community organizations. Piches is a leader in the local VFW, Roseville Historical Society (also a board member), Roseville Parks and Recreation and others.