By Jesse Robitaille
The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) hosted its annual general meeting (AGM) during this year’s Royal Convention in Boucherville, Que.
Overall, the state of the society was described in positive terms by all attending directors, including outgoing RPSC President George Pepall, who’s retiring as the third-longest-serving RPSC president with eight years at the helm. The second-longest-serving president was Dr. George M. Geldert, who was president for nine years from 1959-1967. He was followed by the legendary Harry Sutherland, the society’s longest-serving president, who served for 11 years from 1968-78.
Pepall noted the society’s executive underwent a “major makeover” this year with six retiring board members and several new appointments.
The incoming president is Jim Taylor, of Calgary, Alta. Owing to his ongoing role as international exhibition liaison, Taylor – who was named a Fellow of The RPSC in 2015 – is no stranger to the society or its far-reaching aspirations.
“I really hope that the future executive continues to operate as we did, as an executive committee that meets three, four, sometimes five times a year, and refers to the board when issues are complex and when they need a wider endorsement and more feedback,” said Pepall.
“I really believe that was an effective way to work, but we had a good advantage all being in Southern Ontario. That was a coincidence; that’s not likely to be the case next year … but I challenge the future executive to try to maintain that modus operandi.”
RETIRING BOARD MEMBERS
This year’s retiring board members were presented with honorific medals by Charles Verge, a past president as well as a Fellow of The RPSC.
“There’s a tradition in the Royal to give honorific medals to the members of the board who are leaving after their terms of offices, and it is normally the role of the president to do this; however, our president has asked me to do it because he’s one of the ‘leavers.’”
The retiring board members, in order of term length, are:
• François Brisse, who joined the board in 1997;
• Rick Penko, who joined the board since 2000 before serving as president from 2006-09;
• Pepall, who joined the board in 2001 and remained for 16 years, of which he’s been president for the past eight;
• outgoing Treasurer David Oberholtzer, who served his first term in the 1990s before returning to the board as treasurer in 2009;
• Marilyn Melanson, who joined the board in 2011 and is retiring after two terms; and
• outgoing vice-president Rodney Paige, who joined the board in 2011 before becoming vice-president in 2013.
Joining the board as new directors are CSN publisher and editor Mike Walsh and Québec-based dealer Hugo Deshaye. Both newcomers will be appointed to a one-year term.
Other directors include Sam Chiu; Ed Kroft; Lloyd Field; Robert Lunn; Doug McAndless; Robert Pinet; Stuart Keeley; Robert Timberg; and Ernie Wlock.
Out of 13 total director positions, only two positions remains vacant.
“It’s important that we try to fill them, so if anybody has an interest in serving, we would welcome them in assisting the society,” said Kroft.
Oberholtzer, who’s the society’s treasurer, was unable to attend this year’s convention because of family matters, Pepall said.
“However, in his very thorough and dedicated fashion, he’s made a full report and given me a commentary to share with you.”
Oberholtzer noted membership revenues “remained constant” and member donations have increased.
“In this day and age, we agreed that that’s a plus,” said Pepall, who also commented on the recent purchase of 112 exhibit frames following last summer’s World Stamp Show.
“As many of you know, we bought 112 exhibit frames after the New York show, and that is a major factor in this financial statement. Frame depreciation and insurance costs have increased expenses by $1,500 as a result.”
The frames are currently in storage in Kitchener, Ont. and will be used for the third time at the Postal History Society of Canada (PHSC) Symposium in Hamilton this July. They were previously used last August, during the 2016 Royal Convention in Waterloo, as well as last summer in New York.
Pepall said The RPSC shared a table with the British North America Philatelic Society (BNAPS) and the Postal History Society of Canada (PHSC) at World Stamp Show, which “proved highly successful,” he added.
“We had a pretty significant Canadian presence on the floor of the show and even off-campus, as it were, too.”
SMALL MEMBERSHIP DECLINE
Pepall said Oberholtzer is anticipating a “small decline” in membership; however, this will be offset by a $5 increase in dues.
“Advertising revenues for The Canadian Philatelist remain constant, and the support of the Government of Canada Periodical Fund continuation is assumed in this budget. That’s been tremendously helpful to have that grant.”
Pepall also commented on the RPSC’s medal policy, of which Oberholtzer recommended a review.
The Toronto Association of Philatelic Exhibitors (TAPE) provides medals for The RPSC each year and has also been subsidizing medals for other national shows.
“Those costs are reflected in the budget,” said Pepall. “The medals are a significant cost for running national shows.”
Oberholtzer also noted in his report: “TAPE’s limited resources could be exhausted in a few years if nothing is done about the medal situation.”
“Those words come from David, who has indicated that he will carry on on the finance committee, although technically he cannot be director and cannot hold the position of treasurer,” said Pepall.
Garfield Portch, a director with The RPSC’s National Office, submitted a report highlighting the high number of inquiries and requests the National Office receives each year.
“He says there were about 150 queries and requests on a number of philatelic subjects in the past 12 months,” said Pepall. “All of us who are executive members – and I’m sure the directors, too – are in that position of having those opportunities to expand the hobby and invite people to take another step into it. Every one of those moments is a chance to sell the hobby, in a small way, to new people.”
Portch has been working to upgrade The RPSC’s slide program into a multimedia program.
“Garfield has five programs ready, and our hope is that he will soon have them up on the website available for downloading by clubs and chapters across the country,” added Pepall.
For more information about The RPSC, visit rpsc.org.