It is always a special moment when two people find each other in a way that causes a lifetime commitment to each other. For Jake and J.J. Jolliff, that moment occurred thanks to their involvement with the Rotary Club of North Raleigh. JJ joined the club in 2002 and Jake’s first wife passed away in 2003 after more than 50 years of marriage. They began to date in 2005 and married the following year.
Jake, who was honored at the Holiday party this month for his many years of service to the club, had an early experience with Rotary. As the son of a Rotarian, he understood at a young age the benefits and companionship that Rotary brings. As a young student entering college, the Asheville Rotary club loaned him money for college so he could attend Virginia Tech. After college and once he settled into a profession, he joined Rotary in the 1950s. He later served as the president of that club before moving to Raleigh in 1985 and joining the Rotary Club of North Raleigh. Later, he served as president of this club in 1991-92.
As a member of this club, he developed a lifelong friendship with Past President Jack Andrews and served with him to host a hospitality suite at the District 7710 Conference every year and together, they served the club every week on the setup crew. As we meet at the Sertoma Arts Center, it is the responsibility of the club members to set up the room. Thanks to him and Jack, we never worried that the room would be set up properly over that 15+year span.
We lost Jack Andrews earlier last year and Jake had to officially resign from the setup crew due to his mobility issues, but the club will never forget their commitment to us. The club has yet to find a suitable replacement for these two gentlemen, who served with honor and distinction.
Both Jake and JJ are multiple Paul Harris Fellows. A Paul Harris Fellow means you have donated at least $1,000 dollars to the Rotary Foundation. These two have been generous to the point to have multiple Paul Harris Fellowships.
JJ came to us via California where she was first introduced to Rotary. She joined our club shortly after moving to the Raleigh area where she recently retired as Director of Membership Retention with the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. She has held several Human Relations positions in her career and was the principal in her own firm focused on human resources issues. She served as president of the North Raleigh Rotary club in 2007-08 and the focus of her year was membership involvement. She was almost immediately elected to serve on the board and served in several capacities while on the board to include Club Service I, Membership, and Rotary Against Drugs. She is also one of the original committee members for the Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner event and continues to serve where needed.
Family is important to both of these great Rotarians. Jake and JJ each have children and grandchildren, some of whom attended the Holiday party where Jake was honored. JJ commented that her proudest achievements are “the love and blessings from her husband, and of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and her family of friends”.
President Steven Nelson speaks highly of this couple as the epitome of Rotary. “JJ was president when I joined the club and as I have progressed with my membership in this club, I had sought insight from both of them”, announced President Nelson, “It is Rotarians like them that make it easy for me to lead this club”.
He went on to describe how so many of the past presidents and older members of the club have been welcoming to his leadership and the new ideas and perspective he and his board have brought to the club this year. “Only through their support in the club am I able to make the changes that will hopefully secure this club’s future for many years”, said Steven. “Jake and JJ have been my greatest cheerleaders and for that, I will always be thankful”.