Hans Berkel: 1944-2013
By Carol Kennard, Centerville Rotary Club
It is with great sadness that we report the passing of our Rotary friend, and Past District Governor, Hans Berkel.
Hans was diagnosed with stage four lymphoma in June, and although he put up a good fight, he passed away peacefully this morning at home (Jan. 15, 2013), surrounded by his family.
Hans was District 6670 Governor in 2009-10, and served in many leadership positions in his Rotary clubs, in the district, and for Rotary International.
Hans first joined Rotary in 1999 in South Shreveport, Louisiana, transferred to the Dayton club in 2001, and then settled into the Centerville club in 2007 after retiring as president/CEO of the Cancer Prevention Institute (Formerly Hipple Cancer Research Center.)
Hans and his wife, Mae, also a Centerville Rotarian, made a positive impact on the clubs and districts through their determination to live the motto of Rotary, “Service above Self.” They attended many district and international conferences, making friends all over the world while spreading the news of Rotary.
In the Centerville club, Hans was instrumental in establishing international projects for the club to support, led a group of Rotarians to Nigeria in 2010 to administer polio vaccines, and served on the board of directors, most recently as International Director. His fundraising skills are legendary – from selling Super Bowl raffle tickets and coffee, to encouraging donations from club members for Paul Harris Fellowships and even inspiring members to join the Paul Harris Society. When Hans asked you to dig into your wallet to support a Rotary cause, it was hard to say, “No”!
Hans was voted Rotarian of the Year in 2012 by our members, for his enthusiastic dedication to furthering the goals of our club, along with championing a 40th anniversary celebration that included raising close to $23,000 from club members for polio eradication. Hans made certain the Centerville Rotary Club’s history would be preserved by compiling a 100-page book about Rotary and the first 40 years of our club. He spent an incredible amount of effort gathering information for the book, and the result is a beautiful keepsake.
Hans was a friendly, hard-working Rotarian, whose energy was tireless when it came to providing service to others. His impact on our club was great, and he will be greatly missed.
A celebration of Hans’ life will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19 at Routsong Funeral Home, 2100 E. Stroop Road, Kettering.
The family requests that memorial contributions be directed to The Rotary Foundation, One Rotary Center, 1560 Sherman Ave., Evanston, IL, 60201.