Suzanne and Fred Beutler

There is a lady in this club who, in her own gentle, but insistent, manner, almost always gets her way. She does it not by bullying, not by repetition, but by persistence, logic and caring. 
 
She is brilliant, and she is not shy at applying that brilliance to the goal at hand. Any time I hear the George Gershwin song, “Lady Be Good,” she is the one that I know that it was written for.
 
One of the things that this clever lady did, many years ago, was to engage with an equally brilliant, caring man. This gentleman, like this lady, influenced the lives of many, MANY students, here at The University of Michigan, so many of whom rate one or the other of them among their best teachers. 
 
This man is calm, a steady rock that anchors the clever woman. But it is clear, from watching them, that she is always singing this song to him, at least mentally… “The Man I Love,” again by Gershwin.
 
The lady had a full career as a respected and loved teacher in our school system. But when she retired, she was also reborn. She followed her calling as an artist, taking courses from both The University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University and earning degrees in art, well after earning her Ph.D. in her field of teaching.
 
The man, I have on good report, mastered the art of balancing a cigar on his lips while simultaneously lecturing to students and writing on the board.
 
I believe that he no longer smokes, because that cigar gets in the way of the camera that is often held against his face. Yes, just as the lady grew into a talented painter, who can even do portraits that actually look like their subjects (I can say this with certainty, as she painted one of my dear wife that hangs over our fireplace), the gentleman became our Club Photographer, capturing the events of our life in photographic images.
 
And there we have it… imagery, educating, and Rotary (as well as music), bringing these two people together. 
 
They joined our club, together, in 2003, and today, together, we celebrate the distinguished service that they give to our club, in what I think is the first simultaneous husband-and-wife Distinguished Service Award of this club.
 
Yeah, but what have they done for us recently???
 
They have, both and together, taken their work on the International Service Committee to its international target, traveling to work on some of the projects that we support as a club. Traveling TO the site of our work? BOTH traveling to the site of our work? That is REMARKABLE!
 
We have all seen Fred taking pictures at our meetings, recording our present as it becomes our past. His beautiful photographs, seen many places on our website, have enticed new members to our club like honey draws bees!
 
But less visibly, Sue’s activities (in addition to international ones) have included working with the STRIVE program, both mentoring programs and improving the use we make of our funds used for scholarships.
 
So in recognition of the imagery that binds Sue and Fred, paintings for Sue and photographs for Fred, and their imaginative drive in moving our club forward, both Fred and Sue share the same citation on their first ever simultaneous wife-and-husband Distinguished Service Awards:
 
Suzanne A. Beutler
 
In celebration of your imagery
of what the Rotary future can be
and your innovation
to bring that future to our present.
 
Service Above Self
 
 
 
Frederick J. Beutler
 
In celebration of your imagery
of what the Rotary future can be
and your innovation
to bring that future to our present.
 
Service Above Self