This is the second in a series of short biographies of Rotarians who have been members of our organization for more than fifty years.


A Santa Paula Rotary Club member you can count on to show up for every meeting and taking a seat right up front is Irv Wilde. This man is in remarkable shape for his 91 years. He's been showing up for Rotary for 55 years and served as the club president in 1968-69. He has also been honored as a Paul Harris Fellow.


Irv's classification is Civil Engineer and his name is synonymous with water because of his long career as a hydrologist. After graduating from Stanford University, he worked for the Bechtel Corporation on engineering projects in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. He returned to the family farm in Santa Paula after World War II, before joining the staff of the newly formed water company United Water Conservation District in 1950. He eventually became its general manager and chief engineer before retiring in the late 1980s. For a period of time Irv had also been general manager of Santa Paula Water Works, succeeding the legendary county water pioneer Vern Freeman. In 2003 Irv was honored at the annual meeting of the Association of Water Agencies of Ventura County for his lifetime contributions to his profession.


The year Irv was the club president included, ironically, the period in January and February 1969 when Ventura County experienced more than 27 inches of rain - a lot of water - and the worst county disaster since the St. Francis Dam broke in 1928. Many years later Irv was one of those instrumental in the placement of a statue that can be seen today in Santa Paula's new Railroad Community Park, of the two policemen on motorcycles warning residents of that 1928 oncoming flood.


Irv is the proud father of 5 daughters and 1 son, and has 14 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. One of those grandchildren is club member and Santa Paula city engineer Cliff Finley, the first concurrent grandfather grandson team in the club. The six children of Irv's are well dispersed throughout California, residing in 6 different counties - San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Clara and Napa Counties.


The years have not slowed him down. He is still a dapper man about town and he is physically fit, known for coming to town for early morning walks up and down Hospital Hill. Just several years ago Irv was in front of the Rotary Club giving a power point presentation on the massive new dam construction project in China.


One of this writer's earliest Rotary memories of Irv is him and his late wife Delphine hosting Santa Paula's new teachers and us Rotarians at their ranch home prior to the traditional New Teachers Welcome BBQ. Being a host and all the qualities you might conjure up of one in that capacity does indeed typify Irv. Welcoming, gracious, interested in each and every individual, quick to compliment, always a smile, modest about his own accomplishments, a good sense of humor - these all describe a stand-out Santa Paula Rotarian.