Alva L. Rea

alvareaFirst President
Zanesville Rotary Club

Alva L. Rea was born in Degraff, Ohio on July 19, 1867. He was the son of William and Margaret (Moore) Rea, both of whom were natives of Local County. His grandfather, Jonathan Rea, leaving his home in Berkshire County, Pa., had settled in Logan County, while his mother’s father, William Moore, had emigrated to the same county from Scotland. Both grandfathers were farmers.

Jonathan Rea also sowed seeds of the gospel as a circuit rider of the Christian Church for several years. He lived to the age of 94. His son, William, devoted his life to the farm, passing away in 1905 at the age of fifty-seven.

Alva Rea left home at age 20. His education was acquired in country schools of the neighborhood. His first job was the Aull Brothers Wholesale Paper Co. in Dayton where he spent two years on the inside, then went on the road selling his company’s goods. In 1907, Mr. Rea saw an opportunity in Zanesville to exercise his talents along a line new to him. Resigning his Dayton position, he founded the Eclipse Laundry in Zanesville. He incorporated a very successful business in 1911 as the sole owner of the Eclipse Laundry Company. The 1913 flood swept away his plant. Through determination and hard work, he opened a new plant with new equipment in three months.

Alva Rea was one of the men of Zanesville who founded the great Federal Radiator plant in this city in 1919. He was appointed secretary and later its general manager, until 1923 when the plant was sold.

Mr. Rea was married in October 1984 to Effie Cory of Degraff, Ohio. They had two children, both sons. One died in infancy. The other, Stanley Cory Rea, born February 14, 1897, was secretary and plant superintendent of the Eclipse Laundry. He later became the president of the Zanesville Rotary Club in 1947-48.

Mrs. Rea died in 1898. In 1910, Alva L. Rea married Beulah E. Weaver of Zanesville and one child, William Weaver Rea, was born on June 20, 1913. Mr. and Mrs. Rea were members of the Grace Methodist Episcopal Church.

Mr. Rea was active in many organizations including Amity Lodge No. 5; Alladin Temple; Masonic Club; Zane Club; Zanesville Golf & Country Club; Zanesville Lodge No. 114, B.P.O.E.; Scioto Consistory, a life member; and was a member of the board of directors of The First Trust & Savings Bank. He died at a Rotary meeting on December 31, 1939.

If the average citizen of Zanesville, who knew Alva L. Rea, were asked to name the predominant characteristic of him, the answer would be “abounding, tireless energy in harness with a keen and thoroughly trained mind.” This was Zanesville Rotary’s first president.

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