PROBUS History

The following information provided courtesy of PROBUS Canada:

The word PROBUS is derived from the words PROfessional and BUSiness. The first PROBUS club in the world was formed in England in 1965 when a recent retiree named Fred Carhill started meeting for coffee with several other ex-commuters.


There were many retired men in this area with similar business and professional backgrounds and Fred decided to form a luncheon club. The local Rotary president organized the first meeting with 45 men in attendance and they established the Campus Club. 


At about the same time, Harold Blanchard, a member of the Caterham Rotary Club also retired.  At his urging the Caterham Rotary club organized a meeting for retired professional and businessmen aged 60 and over in February 1966.  Forty two prospective members attended and agreed to a monthly luncheon meeting. They adopted the name of PROBUS.


Harold is considered the ‘father figure' of PROBUS in Great Britain.  PROBUS has since spread throughout the world and now there are over 4,000 clubs worldwide and the numbers are increasing steadily.  PROBUS Clubs were introduced to New Zealand in 1974, Australia in 1976 and Canada in 1987.

John Reynolds Morris was the founder of PROBUS in Canada, the first president of PROBUS Canada and presently President Emeritus of PROBUS Canada.


As President Emeritus, his wisdom and sage advice continues to be an invaluable asset to the Directors of PROBUS Canada. He has been a Rotarian since 1946, and Past District Governor of Rotary International 1976-1977 in an area covering Southwest Ontario and New York State. He was made a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary in 1976 and Rotary International Benefactor and was the personal representative of the president of Rotary International at five District Conferences.


During a trip to Australia and New Zealand in 1981, John saw at first hand the enjoyment people were experiencing through PROBUS membership. He felt that retired people in Canada could share the benefits of PROBUS and was determined to introduce it to Canada.


He credits PROBUS South Pacific as playing an important role in the formation of PROBUS in Canada. His acquaintances from Australia supplied him with documents and booklets including instructions on ‘How to Form a PROBUS Club’ which he rewrote modifying it into a document that would apply to the Canadian Clubs. He scheduled several speaking engagements to Rotary Clubs.


This was the impetus needed to organize the formation of PROBUS Clubs locally and eventually across Canada. During this period, he visited forty-three Rotary Clubs requesting their assistance in the formation of PROBUS with five visits to the west coast and four to the east coast.

In 1988, John Reynolds Morris recognized there was a need of protecting the PROBUS logo and after making an application, was successful in acquiring a trademark. He realized there was also a need for liability insurance and with the assistance of Bert Klinkhammer of Galt, Ontario, was able to procure it.


In collaboration with the Rotary Club of Galt, Bert was instrumental in forming Canada’s first PROBUS Club, the PROBUS Club of Cambridge, on March 17, 1987 and became its first president. Beginning in May 1988 Bert served for four years as the convener of semi-annual meetings of the few existing PROBUS Clubs in Ontario. These meetings were attended by club Presidents and Vice-Presidents who exchanged ideas on the development, improvement and the growth of PROBUS in Canada.


In 1995 he worked with Bernard (Bud) Crookes to incorporate PROBUS Canada to guarantee continuance of the movement in Canada and serving as first Board Chair.

Like John Morris, during a visit to Australia and New Zealand in 1987, Bernard (Bud) Crookes became interested in Probus and was determined to introduce the concept to his community.


In 1987, with the assistance of the Rotary Club of Collingwood, he was successful in forming the fourth Club in Canada, The Probus Club of The Georgian Triangle, now known as The PROBUS Club of Collingwood. Since that time, with his assistance and direction, Probus has expanded to nine Clubs in Collingwood.


He also brought PROBUS to Wasaga Beach in September 1995 with the help of Rotarian Karl Fuhre and The Rotary Club of Wasaga Beach. Wasaga Beach now has five PROBUS Clubs. Between Collingwood and Wasaga Beach, with a total year-round population of approximately 37,000, there are now over 2,900 members in fifteen clubs. 


He was also involved in the promotion of fifteen PROBUS Clubs from Barrie to Bracebridge including Midland and Penetanguishene and west to Port Elgin.