Laughs overwhelmed the ceremony, but a few nostalgic tears did fall as Sparks Rotary members recounted stories of meetings, working alongside or speaking to Diedrichsen in the club. Rotary District Governor Vicki Puliz, a Sparks Rotary member since 1992 and the first woman to join the group, said the Honorary Rotarian Award is the highest award given to a member who exhibits long-time commitment and exemplary service.
“He has been a fabulous member,” Puliz said before presenting Diedrichsen with the award. “He is always involved in our community service projects and he took the lead in writing grants to be able to have more funds for projects at schools and around the community.
He is always in front and extending his hand to welcome new people to the club. He displays an ideal of what rotary is all about.”
The ceremony was inside Diedrichsen Elementary School in east Sparks, which honors his 21-years spent on the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees. Diedrichsen’s four sons and his wife, Phyllis, shared the moment.
Dr. D, the long-time Sparks dentist, remained enthusiastic about Sparks Rotary over the years, according to his oldest son Dave, who said he remembers a specific club meeting he thought would never come.
“The first meeting he missed was to see me graduate from medical school, and I know he was irked about that,” Dave said laughing. “He was proud to see me graduate but I could just see it in his face that he did not want to miss a meeting. He was so committed to his job, and that’s with everything from schools to Little League to church.”
Plenty of Rotarians approached the podium, telling stories and describing Lloyd as having a “wicked sense of humor” and saying Lloyd and Phyllis “have given all of themselves there is to give.”
Sparks Mayor Geno Martini, who has been a long-time friend to the Diedrichsen family, said he has great memories of ‘the Doc.’
“As kids growing up in Sparks, everyone knew ‘the Doc,’” Martini said, “And one thing I remember is their home was always open to any of the kids that Dave and Roger ran around with at that time. We always had a place to go and they were always very gracious to us.
“They (Lloyd and Phyllis) really formed what Sparks is today. They laid the groundwork for the wonderful family community we still have today. I am very grateful to everything that Doc and his crew did over the years.”
Lloyd is the second-longest serving member in Sparks Rotary history (Paul Tholl) with his 61 years, and Dave said he remembers attending several Rotary functions as a child. Dave said his father was “beside himself this past week” leading up to the ceremony, but Lloyd could not help but thank his long-time friend Puliz when he grabbed the microphone.
“I am very much in awe of this group, this program and the plaque and everything about it,” Lloyd said. “When I first joined the Rotary Club, there were not this many guys, and there certainly were no women. (Vicki) has done a magnificent job. The fact that Sparks Rotary is what it is today is from a lot of Vicki’s doing.”