Past Rotary International President Ray KlinginsmithRay Klinginsmith, the 2010-11 Rotary International president who made it his focus to help clubs become bigger, better, and bolder, has died at the age of 86.

Klinginsmith first became involved with Rotary in 1960 when he was a Rotary Scholar to South Africa, an opportunity sponsored by his hometown club, the Rotary Club of Unionville, Missouri, USA. It was during his eventful year in Cape Town that he first heard the phrase wind of change,” which referenced the rapid advances in society and would go on to shape his thinking about Rotary’s need to adapt.

His presidential theme in 2010-11, Building Communities — Bridging Continents, sought to capture what Rotary is best at doing and what it needed to continue to do to embrace change in the world.

Klinginsmith joined Rotary in 1961 and was a member of the Rotary clubs of Unionville and Macon, Missouri, before joining the Rotary Club of Kirksville, Missouri, in 1974. He served on the RI Board of Directors from 1985-87 and was a trustee of The Rotary Foundation from 2002-06 and again from 2012-16. He was trustee chair in 2015-16. He was the first Rotary Foundation program alumnus to become RI president.

He received The Rotary Foundation Citation for Meritorious Service in 1983-84 and the Distinguished Service Award in 1995-96. He and his wife, Judie, were Major Donors, members of the Bequest Society, and Paul Harris Fellows.

Klinginsmith received his law degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia and practiced law in Macon and Kirksville for more than 50 years. He also served as general counsel, dean of administration, and business professor at Truman State University in Missouri. He was the founding member and first president of the Chariton Valley Association, a nonprofit that provides services to people with developmental disabilities in northeast Missouri.

Klinginsmith himself was fond of using the phrase “cowboy logic” to explain his simple approach to problem-solving, taken from country singer Michael Martin Murphey’s song by the same title. At the 2010 assembly, Klinginsmith entertained incoming leaders with versions of the song and his interpretations of its application to Rotary.
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