Although honored for their selfless contributions to San Marino, the two recipients of Rotary Club of San Marino’s Paul Harris Fellow awards this year could not be more different in approach.
Longtime residents Marina Wang and the late Jeane Edwards were awarded as Paul Harris Fellows at the Rotary Club’s ceremony last week, held at the Huntington Library. Edwards’ daughter, Sara, accepted the award on her mother’s behalf. Foundation Committee chair Will Bortz said the club usually tries to avoid picking multiple recipients among the nominees, but it was hard not to this year.
“This year I think was worth the effort,” he said. “These two are very, very fine people and I’d hate to make a choice between the two.”
Edwards, who died in December, was selected for her role in directing and co-writing the “Father’s Night” performances in the 1960s and 1970s. The shows lampooned a variety of goings-on in San Marino and cast only men as the vaudevillian caricature characters.
“It’s not hard to visualize this one-of-a-kind woman venturing forth to persuade San Marino’s finest merchants, doctors and lawyers to participate in the “Father’s Night” performances,” said Barbara Bice, who presented Edwards’ award. “Only Jeane Edwards could convince a man to sacrifice his dignity publicly for a good cause. Jeane Edwards loved having fun and wanted others to have fun, too.”
Sara Edwards, while accepting her mother’s award, recreated some “Father’s Night” spirit by conducting a brief performance featuring the son of an original performer.
“She was a creative force and we all learned so much from her,” Edwards said. “Her spirit lives on.”
In introducing Wang, Isaac Hung called her a “very respectful and honorable banker” and had to abridge his list of her achievements for the sake of expediting his presentation. Those highlights include a 10-year stint as the city’s treasurer, board membership to the Old Mill Foundation, San Marino City Club and Library Foundation, and presiding over the Chinese Club of San Marino.
“Marina has been serving the community in such a low-key way,” Hung said. “I must recognize her. She’s all over the community here.”
Wang said her service and volunteer work served as a thank-you to the community she’s called home for decades.
“I have always liked to do the volunteer work because the community has been giving me so much over the 35 years we’ve lived here,” she said. “The community helped me and the schools also provided the best education for my two kids. I know today I have many, many friends here. All of those friends, all of the years, gave me the opportunity to enrich my life.”