Severna Park resident prepares to head Optimist International

Neighbors

December 18, 1997|By Joni Guhne | Joni Guhne,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE NEW LEADER of Optimist International, the community service organization, will oversee a membership of more than 148,000 in roughly 17 countries. He lives in Severna Park.

James H. Hubbard is president-elect of Optimist International, which has its headquarters in St. Louis. After a year in that post, he becomes president in the fall.

The Severna Park Optimist club also is home to the governor-elect of the Maryland-South Delaware district, James A. Williams Sr.

"For two members of the same club, especially a relatively small club like Severna Park, to serve at such levels is probably the first in the organization's history," Williams said.

Pretty heady stuff for a club with 36 members.

Hubbard, a former president of Maryland Jaycees and a Severna Park resident since 1967, said volunteering is his hobby.

He and his wife, Sherry, who is retired from teaching and the federal government, enjoy their volunteer work at the Baltimore Zoo.

"We're there about once a week, giving tours and answering questions," she said.

Hubbard also delivers food for Meals on Wheels.

With a degree in history from the Johns Hopkins University and one in personnel management from Central Michigan University, and 31 years with the federal government as an analyst manager for the Department of Defense, Hubbard feels prepared.

"I have served on seven or eight international committees," said Hubbard. "I took part in developing a long-range plan which is now driving the organization."

Describing his goals as president, Hubbard said, "I want people to practice innovation in terms of club projects and the way they are administered. I want Optimist to be more responsive to individual members, to make it an exciting experience."

As the governor-elect, Williams will become the first black Optimist governor in the state in the fall.

The Optimists have 53 clubs in Maryland with more than 2,000 members.

Through Williams' efforts, a club with 41 members was organized Nov. 30 in the Cherry Hill section of Baltimore.

With a degree in music from Morgan State University and a master's in music composition from Catholic University, Williams came to Severna Park in 1966 to teach music.

Retired from the county school system, Williams also holds a master's in education administration from Hopkins and is working toward a doctorate at Temple University in education administration. He served with the Army in Korea.

He and his wife, Ione, chairwoman of the business education department at Old Mill High School, have two children and six grandchildren.

Pub Date: 12/18/97

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