Club History

jackie betty steve

The 10th Anniversary program in August 2016 was co-chaired by Betty McCallister with a hat of prizes and Jackie Branscum with a knack for reeling off names over the past 10 years. Steve Johnston entertained with remarks from his TM presidency in 2006.

group picture2The 10th Anniversary Celebration had a full house with a welcome to members old and new.  Carol Walters and Erich Pearson are on hand in welcoming Steven Green.  Former member Gene Robeson gets help with a name tag from Judy Groff.  These outstanding photos are compliments of Ian Cage and Hoyt Griffith.welcoming


men foundersFounding members Larry Branscum, John Locke, Dave Modaff, and Susan Stewart speak on their remembrances on the newly chartered club.  Angela Vaughn, Karen Strange and Kathleen Cameron address table topics.  Beautiful flowers graced eight tables compliments of Poppins Posies.fstm women


richard and tim tuck ronRon Climer hears from Tuck Cox on his upcoming travel adventure to Spain.  Two-time past president Richard Day poses with brother-in-law Tim Cochran.  Rich North, Jeannette Butterworth, Sally Jones, and Dave Richards review upcoming speech ideas.dave sally rich jeanette2


mingling2Jackie Branscum, Karla Reese, Kelly Hollifield, and Brad Dienst mingle while helping themselves to Chef Mike’s feast.  Area Director Bob Pierce looks intently on prospects for his palate while Dr. Stan Dienst digs in.bob stan food2


The August 10th celebration of the 10th anniversary from 2006 created some interesting comments, ten of which are included here:  1) 115 people became Toastmasters at Four Seasons, and nearly a third were in attendance on this day to renew the relationships that can last a lifetime; 2) Angela Vaughn said she’d visited in numerous places from Japan to California, all with various dialects, and all accepted, but not accepted were fillers like ah and uh; 3) Karen Strange recalled a grow given to her by Susan Stewart to not pull on her sleeves while speaking, for which she determined ever afterward to wear three-quarter or short sleeves; 4) A veritable “Fountain of Youth” is what John Locke discovered with Toastmasters because he said , “No one has aged in here”; 5) A Toastmasters Club called “Land of Sky” originated in Hendersonville but then grew dark in about two years, and its charter was taken over by Four Seasons; now, a Land of Sky Club thrives in Biltmore Park and the evening Hendersonville TM Club, New Dimensions, has gone dark, and the hope is to revive it*; 6) A TM member for the past 18 years says the aim is to get better each day, be a good steward with your gifts, and help others get better; 7) Susan Stewart said the first meeting place had posts that listeners had to play peek-a-boo with in order to see the speaker; she said a friend recommended Lake Pointe and Rita Hood was gracious in showing her and Jackie their “new home”; 8) Dave Modaff said when Chamber Bob invited chamber members to a toastmaster meeting, he and Steve Johnson readily came when they heard refreshments would be served; 9) Dave said he set the record for uhm’s for an ice-breaker at 36; 10) Steve Johnson became a grandfather the night before, and he said he would be taking his granddaughter to Las Vegas because she was born at 7:11 and weighed seven pounds 11 ounces.

*Happily, New Dimensions in May 2017 was resurrected in Asheville in the Habitat for Humanity Conference room.  It meets every Thursday from 12-1:00 with Ed McGowan as president (and also our Area II director.  FSTM members Hoyt Griffith and Ivan Beggs, former members at the “old” New Dimensions, are also supportive members at the revived club.


charter tm

October 4th, 2006 was the first official Toastmasters meeting for the Four Seasons Club. The official charter was declared on June 30th, 2006, and echoes resonate after a decade. The Chamber of Commerce, spearheaded by Bob Williford, worked for a year with the Asheville Toastmasters Club to get the FSTM chartered with 20 members. Meetings were initially in the basement of the old Chamber of Commerce Building on King Street.

Peter Voisin was listed as Table Topics Evaluator at the first meeting. Richard Day joined within six months of the club’s start-up, served as president for two different terms, and also left a lasting imprint as webmaster for nearly eight years. John Locke from the Asheville club “was very active in demonstrating roles during the first meetings, and helped us to organize,” said Jackie Branscum. “There were only four experienced Toastmasters in the beginning: Larry and I, Mark Sawyer and Angela Vaughn. We moved meetings to a real estate office on King Street . . . where Wingate is now.” An agenda dated October 3, 2007 was thanking Lake Point Landing for granting their wonderful space. It’s hardly a “basement,” but this lower level auditorium is below the ground floor’s entrance.

Dave Modaff was one of the founders that has maintained his membership continuously. He recalls a “brave soul” like Steve Johnson from Southern Alarm who volunteered to serve as the first president and stayed active until 2014 and Mark Sawyer, who was “a great help in getting those first meetings going. He was very stern in his meeting evaluations and did not suffer fools gladly.” Said Dave, “The club always had a great feel, a great atmosphere no matter what the personal dynamics.” Personalities he remembers include the following: “Denver Beddingfield who stayed at Glacier National Park each winter had great stories to share; Norma Vogel left for warmer climes each fall to return to the club in the spring; Angela Vaughn . . . was a Marine who had served in Japan and was an excellent TM; the very fashionable Susan Stewart who had been a model in New York and Paris made quite an impression; Jackie and Larry Branscum made all the difference with their experience, skill and being always willing to serve.”

Four Seasons was joined by the Land of the Sky Club to help start the New Dimensions Club in February 2013. Members of the two clubs met during the evening for six weeks at East Henderson High School to get the new club chartered. New Dimensions began meeting at the local YMCA in November 2015. The YMCA’s basement at Santa Ana, California was the start up for Toastmasters International back in 1924. Dr. Ralph Smedley was hired as a YMCA director of education right out of college and became the founder of the international organization.

As you can see, basements were a popular place for meetings that shot through the roof with excellence. Toastmasters International is now at 330,000 members strong.






dr stan final

Brad Dienst finishes his introduction of his dad, Dr. Stan Dienst, before a speech is delivered on global warming in February 2016. Both were among the founders of FSTM. Carol Walters is clasping hands in the warmth of the father and son transition.