State: Washington

City: Pomeroy

Chapters: 842

Members: 62,929

Convention: Omaha, NE - June 17-19, 1944

Income: $54,000

High School Principal, 35 year old, Mearns T. Gates elected president for a full term.

Vice President: Ray Sandy Rocky Mount, NC
Leadership Training and Personnel
Vice President: Jay Brockbank
Salt Lake City, UT Governmental Affairs and Post-War Activities
Vice President: Taylor Cole Midland, TX
International Relations
Vice President: E. E. Flourney Jackson, MS
Action Projects
Vice President: Ray Millard Lafayette, IN
Vice President: Karl Wermath Milwaukee, WI
Vice President: Henry Kearns San Gabriel, CA
State Organizations
Treasurer:* Robert D. Benson Dayton, OH


Executive Vice President:*

Douglas Timmerman until 7/44
Hal Herman
as of 7/44

St. Joseph, MO
Chicago, IL
National Office

* Appointed position.

Chicago, IL to host 1945 convention.

The United States Junior Chamber of Commerce, under President Mearns Gates, had a difficult task to perform in 1944.-45. While the war was still raging, the surrender of Germany in April indicated that the end of fighting was not too far away, since Japan was being bombed into subjection by American B-291s. This wartime situation - with peace nevertheless in sight - meant that the Jaycees not only had to continue their war projects, but accelerate planning for the time when millions of servicemen would be coming home.

Actually, many servicemen were already beginning to return in 1944-45, having fought through the rugged early years of the war. Their return, coupled with the fact that fewer men were being drafted, enabled a sharp growth in the USJCC during Gates' administration. In fact, the increase in individual membership from 48,710 to 62,929 was the greatest since the 1940-41 regime of Mark Matthews. This was only a partial indication of the growth which would come in 1945-46 in the first real peacetime administration following World War II.

The number of chapter s al so jumped in 1944-45, from 771 to 842. Gates had campaigned for a Junior Chamber chapter in every city in America with 1,000 or more population, a real contrast to the 1920’s when it was believed that cities under 25,000 would have a difficult time supporting a Jaycee group. Gates, however, was insistent that every city should have its Junior Chamber, and all civic-minded young men given a chance to join.

That Gates should be interested in small city Jaycee groups was natural, since he was from Pomeroy, Washington, a city of less than 2,000 in population. Thus, in a period of three years, there had been two Jaycee presidents from small cities. Shepherd, from Pine Bluff, represented the smallest city to boast a national Junior Chamber president when he took office in 1942-43, but Gates soon snapped this record!

From an occupational standpoint, Gates was also unique in Jaycee annals, for he was the first Junior Chamber president from the field of education. At the time of his election, Gates was principal of the high school in Pomeroy.

Gates had an extensive Jaycee background, which included service as the Washington State President in 1940-41 and 1941-42, and terms as national vice president in 1942-43 and 1943-44. He had been graduated from Washington State College in 1934 with his M. A. degree in education, having earlier earned B. A. degrees in economics and business education.

One of Gates' campaign planks had been to visit all of the 48 states in one of the most extensive travel programs ever outlined. Through the first half of the administrative year, Gates was on the road extensively, but poor health forced him to slow his pace in the concluding months of his term.

His travels were still extensive, however, and early in the year he met with many leading Americans to tell them the Jaycee story. This important step in public relations saw him visit with Edward R. Stettinius, Nelson A. Rockefeller, Erick Johnston, Charles McCormick and many others.

Several of Gates' longer trips were in conjunction with the increasingly important international phase of the Junior Chamber. Included were visits to many Canadian cities, and a trip in December of 1944 to the Inter-American Congress in Mexico City.

As mentioned, the Inter-American Congress, which was to give birth to Junior Chamber International, had itself resulted from the visits to Central America in 1943 by U. S. and Canadian Jaycees. The actual Inter-American Congress required extensive clearances to be made through Nelson Rockefeller, coordinator of commercial and cultural relations between American countries.
Samuel F. Pryor, Assistant to the President of Pan-American Airways
Samuel Pryor - Assistant to the President of pan-American Airways

The expenses of the Inter-American Congress were heavy, and the meeting was made possible only through the generosity and help of:
Thomas J. Watson, President of IBM; Samuel F. Pryor, Assistant to the President of Pan-American Airways; Charles McCormick, President of
McCormick and Company; George F. Smith, President of Johnson and
Johnson; and F. E. Stevens, President of Armstrong Cork Company.

Included on the U. S. delegation to Mexico City were Gates; Taylor Cole,
national vice president; Hal Herman, executive vice president; Chuck Zentgraf, head of the Illinois Junior Chamber and Ray Wolff, USJCC International Relations Committee Chairman.

The Inter-American Congress began appropriately on December 7, 1944 three year s after Pearl Harbor -- and the delegation swelled to 36 with representatives from the U.S., Costa Rica, EI Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico, Honduras, Chihuahua and Panama on hand when JUNIOR CHAMBER INTERNATIONAL was formed on December 11.

Named the first president was Raul Garcia Vidal of Mexico City. First vice president was Ray Wolff of the U. S. and the second vice president was Dr. Alvaro Rodriguez Vallareal of Mexico. Elias Gonzales G. of Mexico City was secretary, with Carlos Josefe of Mexico City serving as treasurer.

It was this congress which gave birth to JCI. The first JCI Congress – so designated -- took place in February of 1946 at Panama City, Panama.

Interest in international relations, was also demonstrated by the fact that Roger Deas of San Francisco, President of the California Junior Chamber represented FUTURE magazine and the USJCC at the United Nations conference on organization, held in April of 1945.

Hal Herman, who was one of the U.S. delegation to the Inter-American Congress, had become the executive vice president of the USJCC when Doug Timmerman resigned, effective July 1. Jack R. Hufford, who had been serving as a national elected vice president, joined the staff to fill the vacancy created when Herman stepped up (Actually he reported for duty in May of 1944). Another man, Rex McMorris, was also hired, which brought the staff up to three men for the first time since Ray Millard had resigned in December of 1942. Hufford was serving as Organization Service Secretary and McMorris as Publications Secretary - both under the direction of Herman - during Gates' administration.

An important innovation at headquarter s in 1944-45 was the compiling of a complete membership card file which listed all Jaycees and served double purpose as a FUTURE magazine circulation roster.

Jaycee offices were still situated in the LaSalle Hotel, but already there was talk of a Junior Chamber headquarters building which might be built someday from bonds pledged to the War Memorial Fund. Chairman Tom Baldridge was campaigning persistently to keep the fund growing.

Services from headquarters continued at a high plane in the year, and one the key “how-to-do-it” materials issued was an elaborate manual on traffic safety, entitled, “Hold That Line.” This was made possible through the cooperation of Liberty Mutual Life Insurance Company and prepared by Angus Cockrell of San Antonio, Chairman of the Safety Committee.

Another important service to Jaycee chapters provided through the cooperation of the Aetna Life Companies, which offered use of a special sound motion picture, and sent out free manuals and issued illustrated booklets all locals on the subject of combating juvenile delinquency.

Important work by Junior Chambers was also carried on in the fields of Governmental affairs, tax education, agriculture, town meetings, fire prevention, and public health.

War-time projects continued to play an important role. Scrap drives, bond selling campaigns and a myriad of other programs were all part of the Jaycee contribution to the war effort.

The returning veteran received more consideration than before and under Gates the Junior Chamber had a four-point program:

  1. To help the returning veteran get a job.
  2. To help veterans become assimilated into the community through participation in civic projects. To further this end, a free six month membership in the Junior Chamber was offered to all veterans.
  3. In cooperation with the committee for Economic Development, Junior Chambers across the country were to campaign for personnel training programs in all businesses, big and small.
  4. It was also deemed fitting that the Junior Chamber do all it could to help disabled veterans acquire occupational skills so that they could take a place in society.

Through the support of the Caterpillar Tractor Company, Disabled Servicemen's Committee Chairman Charles Schlink of Peoria, Illinois was able to visit more than 50 cities in 20 states from coast-to- coast in behalf of the veterans program.

Jaycee endeavor in this field as explained by Gates in his annual report:

“ ... As an organization, we were the first, as far as I can learn, to adopt and promote the idea of serving all veterans on a community organization level. You will have increased confidence in the idea and the program when I tell you that the veteran’s administration has adopted a similar idea and is now in the midst of conducting regional training clinics over the United States in behalf of this community organization plan.”

Announcing of the Ten Outstanding Young Men was again one of the year's outstanding events, and the 1944 selections were marked by the absence of the Jaycee president. This had come at Gates' own suggestion, since he believed that it was impossible to evaluate a man's administration until it was concluded. The current USJCC president has not been named one of the TOYM since that date.

The 1944 TOYM selections released in the January, 1945, FUTURE, included:

  • Nelson Rockefeller, Assistant Secretary of State;
  • Leonard Bernstein, conductor and composer;
  • Harold V. "Hal" Boyle, Associated Press war correspondent;
  • John Hersey, TIME magazine war correspondent;
  • Richard Stetson Morse, President of National Research Corporation;
  • Cyrus Leon Sulsberger, New York Times foreign correspondent;
  • Jack Simplot, industrialist; and
  • Robert O.B. Woodward and William E. Doering, chemists who developed artificial quinine to kill malaria.

Named as Young Man of the Year was Nelson Rockefeller, who had contributed so much in the field of Inter-American affairs, and had backed the Jaycee Inter-American Congress held in Mexico City.

The practice of selecting a national Distinguished Service Award winner has been ceased, and one of the TOYM was simply chosen as young man of the year.

One major constitutional change went into effect under Gates, when it was decided to give all state presidents a place on the USJCC board of directors. Previously, only presidents in states with nine or more chapters received spots on the board.

An important step was also realized in regard to relations with the Chamber of Commerce of the United States when the senior body decided to give the Jaycees a berth on its board of directors. Gates served the first year as Jaycee representative. Later past president of the USJCC served in this capacity.

Financially, Jaycee income increased from $47,500 to almost $54,000 under President Gates. Even with this jump, however, expenditures during the activity-packed year exceeded income by about $9, 000.

When the administrative year came to an end, the war was still being fought in the Pacific, which meant that holding a regular convention was not possible. Furthermore, the Office of Defense Transportation denied a request to hold a board of directors meeting in St. Louis, in order to uphold its regulations prohibiting meetings attracting more than 50 out-of town delegates.

As a result, the election of the new president was conducted by mail, with Henry Kearns of Pasadena, California, the winner. This is the only time in history a Jaycee president has been so selected.

A meeting confined to state presidents was held in Chicago, June 16 and 17, to conclude Gates’ administration.


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