This listing of speakers and programs from the past 8 years illustrates the wide range of topics covered at Torch meetings. Come learn and share your interests and knowledge with us!
- 11 September 2012: “Uncovering Ray: From House History to My Discovery of a Legendary Cartoonist” by Benjamin Boss, Library Assistant, Grand Rapids Public Library - Local History Department.
- 9 October 2012: “Travel in Central Asia” by Anita Gilleo, U.S. Government retiree & Torch Club member.
- 13 November 2012: “How to take a Better Portrait” by Mary Taber, professional photographer and former Torch Club member.
- 11 December 2012: “The Not So Civil War – Murder and Mayhem during the War Between the States” by Tobin Buhk – Guest speaker.
- 8 January 2013 “Mind Meets Music” by Monique Salinas, PhD. Music Education and founder of the Grand Rapids Girls choir.
- 12 February 2013 “Art, Eloquence, and the Creative Mind” by Rich Travis, Retired Creative Art Director & Torch Member.
- 12 March 2013 “Adapting the Stories of Public School Children into Comedy Routines” by Brandon Cloyd, visiting speaker from the Comedy team Barrel of Monkeys.
- 9 April 2013 “A Tour of Public Art in Grand Rapids” by Gina Bivins, visiting speaker from the Grand Rapids Public Museum.
- 14 May, 2013 "Highpointing" by Nancy Court, Freelance Scholar and Torch Club member.
- 13 September 2011: “The Visual Legacy of 9/11” by Rob Franciosi, PhD., Professor at GVSU, Department of English & Honors & Torch Club member
- 11 October 2011: “Grand Rapids' Historical Architecture” by Tom Logan, Urban Planner & Torch Club member,
- 8 November 2011: “Will the Real Jane Austen Please Stand Up?” by Jo Ellyn Clarey, Independent Scholar and Torch Club member,
- 13 December 2011: “Veterans Administration – Treating the Wounded” by Harriet Christensen, visiting speaker, Department of Veteran Affairs.
- 10 January 2012: “Why Archives?” by Barbara Robinson - Guest Speaker, Retired Forest Hills Public School teacher, Librarian, and Archivist.
- 14 February 2012: “The Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans” by Beth Gumina, Torch Club member and 2011-12 Torch Club President.
- 13 March 2012: “Recovering Life: My Mother's Memories as a Prisoner-Doctor during World War II” by Barbara Rylko-Bauer - Ph.D, Guest Speaker, Adjunct Associate Professor at MSU.
- 10 April 2012: “The Land of Israel: Ancient and Contemporary Conflicts” by Omar & Wendy Marty, Torch Club members.
- 8 May 2012: “Touring Early Grand Rapids Opera: From the Ridiculous to the Sublime” by Prof. Gilbert R. Davis, Ereritus, GVSU English Department.
- 14 September 2010: “Why we all should vote YES on November 2 to have a Constitutional Convention in Michigan” by John Logie, Former Mayor of Grand Rapids
- 12 October 2010: “Must we always forgive?” by Dr. Richard R. Raubolt, Grand Rapids Clinical
- 9 November 2010: “The Great Lakes Water Wars” by June Law Marshall, GR Torch Club member
- 14 December 2010: “Julia and Simca, A Franco-American Culinary Alliance” by Professor David Strauss, retired history professor from Kalamazoo College and Kalamazoo Torch Club member
- 11 January 2011: “Community Development as an Engine of Economic Development in the Grand Rapids Hispanic Community” by Michael Vandenberg, MPA and Heidi Herzog, MPA. Michael is a GR Torch Club member
- 8 February 2011: “Is This Art? Abstract Expressionism in the Mid-Twentieth Century” by Lany Grow, GR Torch Club member
- 8 March 2011: “Health Insurance and Health Care Reform” by Bill Lewis, GR Torch Club member
- 12 April 2011: “Sand” by Edgar Omar Marty – GR Torch Club member
- 10 May 2011: "Arrowsmith: A new approach to teaching" by Jeanne McLaren, Teacher at St. Stephen School
Click on the link for additional information about the program and speaker.
- September 8: “Religion, Faith, and the Family Court System” by Steven Pestka, Former Kent County Circuit Court Judge
- October 13: “George Welsh - GR City Manager: Putting People to Work in Grand Rapids during the Depression” by Michael Vandenberg, TORCH member and GVSU graduate student,
- November 10: “Asthma and Public Health in Grand Rapids” by Karen Meyerson, RN, MSN, FNP-C, AE-C, Manager of the Asthma Network of West Michigan
- December 8: “Central Dispatch and the role that it plays in the daily operations of the Police Department” by Robert Dykhouse, TORCH member and retired from the Grand Rapids Police Department’s Central Dispatch Department
- January 12: “Abelard and Heloise: Tragic Love.” by Wendy Marty, TORCH member and Academic Coach
- February 9: “Fannie Hazeltine: her experiences in Germany before and during The Great War” by Pamela VandenBerg, TORCH member and instructor in the Grand Rapids Public School System
- March 9: “Dutch and Flemish, Changes and Evolution that have occurred during the past 200 years” by Fran Cilla, TORCH member
- April 13: “From Megachurch to Mosque: West Michigan's Evolving Religious Landscape” by Charles Honey, GR Press Religion News columnist
- May 11: “New Developments in the Treatment of Parkinson's Disease” by Dr. Leslie A. Neuman, M.D., neurology
- September 9: “Should Something Be Done about Growing Income Inequality?” by George A. Erickcek, Senior Regional Analyst, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research
- October 14: “The Impulse to Record and Grand Rapids’ Virtual Archive,” by Diana E. Barrett, Grand Rapids Historical Commission
- November 11: "To Record Truth against Power: Spiritual Resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto,” by Robert Franciosi, Department of English, Grand Valley State University
- December 9: "A Community Treasure: The Icons of Saint Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church," by V. Rev. Daniel Daly, Pastor
- January 13: "What’s So Smart about the Smart Car?” by Stuart Berman, IT Security, Risk & Compliance, Steelcase Inc.
- February 10: "Experiences in Eastern Slovakia: The Next Vegas’s Winners and Losers," by Jim Winter-Troutwine, RA, Winter-Troutwine Associates Inc.
- March 10: "Women of Steel: The Amazons of Dahomey and the Slave Trade," by Steeve Buckridge, Department of History, Grand Valley State University
- April 14: "How Historic Preservation Saved Grand Rapids' Central City," by Rebecca Smith-Hoffman, Past Perfect, Inc. & Grand Rapids Historical Commission
- May 12: “Vintage Views of Michigan’s Roadside Attractions,” by M. Christine Byron & Thomas R. Wilson, authors of Vintage Views of the Mackinac Straits Region (2007), Vintage Views of the Charlevoix–Petoskey Region (2005) and Vintage Views of Leelanau County (2002)
80th-Anniversary Season 2007-2008
- September 11: “Remembering and Forgetting in American History: Crispus Attucks and Julia C. Collins,” by Mitch Kachun, Department of History, Western Michigan University
- October 9: “Bedouin Women and the Global Economy,” by Deborah Wickering, Department of Sociology, Aquinas College
- November 13: “Stages of Faith Development,” by Rev. Kenneth Taber, St. Michael’s Episcopal and Ken Taber & Associates
- December 11: The Shir Shalom Choir of Temple Emanuel: Song and Commentary, arranged by choir and Torch Club member Beth Gumina, Gumina’s Flowers
- January 8: “Letters to a Citizen: The Twenty-Three-Year Correspondence between Melvin Medema and Gerald Ford,” by David Medema, Melvin Medema’s son and President, Medema Consulting Associates
- February 12: “Surveying the Historical Relations between Muslims and Non-Muslims within Islamic Societies,” by William D. Lewis, Principal, Integrity Benefits LLC
- March 11: “The Civic Advocacy Workshop, Organizing to Influence Public Policy,” by Thomas H. Logan, Logan Street Associates
- April 8: “Letters of a ‘49er Who Didn’t Return (. . . to the mills in Lowell, Massachusetts),” by Edgar O. Marty, Current President of Torch Club and Crowe Chizek and Company LLC
- May 13: “Abroad on the North Country Trail,” by Werner Veit, Past President of the North Country Trail Association, Current President, West Michigan Chapter
- September 12: “Our Darkest Moments: Challenges to American Memory,” by Prof Rob Franciosi, GVSU, Department of English
- October 10 “Living With It: The Amberg House and Prairie School Architecture,” with Ann Gerth Logan, Spectrum Health, and Tom Logan, Logan Street Associates
- November 14: “Media and Democracy Election Watch 2006,” by Jeff Smith, Director, GRIID (Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy)
- December 12: “Liebe Mutter! Joseph Herkner’s Civil War, as Told to His Grand Rapids Mother Back Home,” by Mary Seeger, GVSU, Professor and Dean Emerita
- January 9: “Minutes to Memory: The Rising Popularity of Life-Story Writing,” by Jennifer Morrison, MI-Stories.com and Grand Rapids Public Library, History and Special Collections
- February 13: “Violent Valentines: Some Classic Murder Cases as Twice-Told Tales,” by Prof. Rosemary Erickson Jolmsen, Governors State University, Department of English
- March 13: “Ethics Aside, Just What Is Sustainability?” by Thomas Leonard, Executive Director, West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC)
- April 10: “Bank Runs and Holidays: A New Angle on Michigan’s Bank Crisis of 1933,” by Prof Matthew L. Daley, GVSU, Department of History
- May 8: “From Design to Construction: How Architects Today Face Complex Ownership Issues,” by Robert Daverman, AlA, LEED, Principal, Progressive A&E
- September 13: “From the Big Bang to the Big Crunch: 'Ultimate' World History,” by Prof. Craig Benjamin, GVSU History Department
- October 11: “The Intersection of Race and Medicine: African American Health Initiatives in Grand Rapids,” by Judith A. Claytor, Spectrum Health HeartReach
- November 8: “God at the Polls: The Shifting Religious Foundation of American Politics,” by Prof. Corwin Smidt, Henry Institute, Calvin College
- December 13: “FLASH! How George MacDonald Fraser and His Antihero Mix History and Farce,” by Diana Barrett, Grand Rapids Historical Commission
- January 10: “Home Movies and Mathias Alten: An Intimate Look at the Grand Rapids Painter,” with Alten family members, Anita Gilleo, Gloria Gregory, and Dianne Boozer; Jane Connell, Senior Curator, Muskegon Museum of Art; Alten bibliographer, James A. Straub
- February 14: “What Drives the American Auto Industry: Where It's Been, Where It's Going,” by Melissa J. Anderson, Vice President, IRN Inc.
- March 14: “Sailing Against the Wind: The Long Evolution of Sailing Technology,” by Edgar Omar Marty, Crowe Chizek and Company LLC
- April 11: “The Backstory of Forward Women: Husbands in the Grand Rapids Suffrage Movement,” by Prof. Paul Kutsche, Emeritus, Colorado College, Cultural Anthropology Department
- May 9: “A Hundred Years After the Dreyfus Affair,” by Prof. Gilbert R. Davis, Emeritus, Grand Valley State University, English Department
Grand Rapids Torch Club
Hon. A.C. Denison 1928
Bishop McCormick 1929/30
Dr. H. J. Vandenberg 1931
Laurence W. Smith 1932
Dr. W. H. Jellema 1933
Clay H. Hollister 1934
P. H. Travis 1935
Julius H. Amberg1936
Ingle B. Whinery 1937
George B. Frazee 1938
Dr. Burton R. Corbus 1939
Dr. Ralph J. White 1940
Laurent K. Varnum 1941
Dr. Henry J. Ryskamp 1942
Hon. F. M. Raymond 1943
Rev. Donald V. Carey 1944
Dr. George B. Riker 1945
Fred F. Slack 1946
George Roderick 1947
Roger Allen 1948
Rabbi P. F. Waterman 1949
Dr. Bradford Apted 1950
Dr. Ralph B. Baldwin 1951
Dr. N.L. Avery, Jr. 1952
Dr. D. W. Kohlstedt 1953
Howard W. Wickett 1954
Laurence O. Smith 1955
Raymond L. Baxter 1956
Dr. James W. Logie 1957
Wesley Ayes 1958
Dr. J. P. Beukema 1959
Hon. Stuart Hoffius 1960
B. William Henrikson 1961
Lawrence Fox Calahan 1962
Dr. Arthur K. Hamp 1963
B. G. Brown 1964
Dr. S. J. DeVries 1965
Joseph A. Renihan 1966
Dr. Keats K. Vining 1967
Phillip W. Buchen 1968
Gordon L. Carson 1969
Dr. Harry H. Luton 1970
Howard R. Lillie 1971
Hon. David E. Nims, Jr. 1972
Henry T. Lathrop 1973
Rev. Russell McConnell 1974
Dr. Donald F. Waterman 1975
Dr. Ronald F. Dunwell 1976
Gerald A. Elliott 1977
Hon. Wendell A. Miles 1978
Robert J. Trost 1979
Roger Law 1980
Dr. Cornelius Eringaard 1981
Dr. Thomas H. Logan 1982
David B. LaClaire 1983
William K. Jones 1984
Dr. B. Margaret Voss 1985
Dr. Phyllis I. Danielson 1986
Dr. Chase F. Klinesteker 1987
Dr. Patricia Oldt 1988
Steven L. Williams 1989
June B. Law 1990
Jon G. March 1991
Dale E. Lamps 1992
Dr. Elmer H. Vruggink 1993
Weldon Frankforter 1994
Jean Enright 1995
John R. White 1996
Philip E. Van Heest 1997
Lawrence F. Calahan 1998
Craig G. Nobbelin 1999
Laurence Gillie 2000
Timothy J. Chester 2001
Dr. Jacqueline D. Taylor 2002
Dr. Dorothy E. Berg 2003
Dr. Paul Kutsche 2004
Jo Ellyn Clarey 2005/2006
Edgar Omar Marty 2007
Jim Winter-Troutwine 2008
Bill Lewis 2009-2011