Rotary Club of Del Mar: Couples Welcome


By Mark Henshaw

What would it take to change the world? Rotary’s 1.2 million members believe it starts with a commitment to “Service Above Self.” Today, many Rotarians are choosing “Us” over “Self” as more and more couples are joining Rotary together to maximize their volunteer efforts and spend time working jointly on service projects.

Rotary members have historically joined solo, but the Rotary Club of Del Mar includes several couples where both partners heard the call of service, and joined the international effort of serving others here in San Diego and throughout the world. Club projects range from contributing to the final push to eradicate polio from the world, to organizing beach cleanups in Del Mar. Rotarians support open-heart surgeries for children in China, and spend Saturdays with orphans in Tijuana.

In fact, club members Larry and Katie Cook were the first married couple in the same club in all of Rotary in the 1980s, when Larry was chair of the district committee to allow women in Rotary. Today, the couple works together on projects working with community youth from middle school through college, doing community service projects, and developing future Rotarians. The two are also partners in business at Cook and Cook Associates, a financial services firm.

Karl and Susan Wagner joined the club last year. Karl is the CEO of The Wagner Group, a manufacturer’s representative agency, and Susan owns and operates Self Service Storage facilities. Karl and Susan joined Rotary to become more involved with the community of Del Mar. The couple dove right in, assisting in fundraising events such as the Chili and Quackers Ducky Derby and the Sunset Soiree. They have found new friends with similar interests and goals of helping the residents of the Del Mar community.

“It has been a rewarding experience to work together and experience firsthand all the good that Rotary accomplishes for both our own community and around the world,” said Susan.

Don and Donna Fipps joined the club to continue membership in Rotary after moving to San Diego from West Sacramento. Don is Laboratory Manager Transfusion/Transplantation/Molecular Diagnostics at UCSD’s Center for Advance Laboratory Medicine. Donna is a volunteer puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence and is a Registered Veterinary Technician.

“Donna had been attending Rotary meetings and events for years as a spouse of a Rotarian,” said Don. “After our move to San Diego, she was looking for additional volunteer opportunities. She decided to join the club as she had been attending club meetings and events as a guest anyway; plus, Rotary does good things!”

The two work together on a new club newsletter that has been a big hit with the club.

Whether solo or with your spouse, please join us for lunch and see what being a member of the Rotary Club of Del Mar is like. The club meets each Thursday at noon at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on 14th Street. For more information, please visit or find us on Facebook at