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Honourary Member Sam Switzer

Honourary Member Sam SwitzerClarence Buckley was called on to make a special presentation to our own Sam Switzer.

Sam lives by the 4-Way Test and is a true Rotarian. His father emigrated from Poland in 1921. Sam started his entrepreneurial career at the age of 13 as a drug runner. This meant he picked up prescription drugs from a drug store on 9th Avenue and delivered them on his bike to locations in the North Hill. Next he was a pin setter at a bowling alley. He won the Alberta yoyo championship held at the Palace Theatre — first prize consisted of a bottle of coke, a chocolate bar and a new yoyo string. He sold orange and onion sandwiches along with coffee at the Palace Theatre. His next coffee shop offered free TV to watch shows. He had a stint at a jewellery store and was a disk jockey.

He got into the construction business when he wanted to become a landlord and built an apartment building in Mission. He tried his hand at being a used-car salesman, but the lack of integrity in the business left a sour taste in his mouth. In 1965, the Summit Hotel was built and Sam fought for the right of women to be bartenders and waitresses in the bar.

1970 was when RCCW moved its location to the top of the Summit. Sam was a gracious host and in 1971 joined the club. In the meantime, Sam was made aware of his executive chef skimming off the profits by lowering steaks and other expensive food items by rope down to his waiting culprits below. Sam quickly put a stop to that.

The Grey Cup came to town in 1975 and Sam originally thought it would be great to have some livestock in the lobby. For various reasons, this was not allowed and Sam settled on a donkey by the name of Sally. Sally was boarded out, but kept running off and leading the horses with her. Sam said giving up is permanent and so looked for a solution, and that came in the ½ section he bought out in Bragg Creek. Many of us Rotarians are familiar with Sun Creek Ranch, where there used to be wood cutting, bees and, of course, our fabulous Lobster Fest events every year. Thank you, Sam, for that: those memories are with us.

Sam has many mottos he lives by. For examples:

Sam has been a Calgary West member for 45 years. He plans on being back any time he needs to do a make-up meeting. He has great friends in the club. He added another motto: It is no honour to be rich; but it is a sin to die rich. He was presented with a plaque recognizing him as an honorary member, which was signed by the club members.

reported in "The Weekly Westerner" by Judy Cochran

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