The club first organized under the name DOS HUG in 1988. The earliest record in our archives says the ninth meeting of DOS HUG was held on March 18, 1989, which puts the first meeting at July, 1988. The club evolved from computer courses held at Round Valley Computer Center (later Transnet and even later gone) on Route 22 East, with Dr. Rudy Ress as President and Joyce Tigner as secretary and newsletter producer. Art Gerke served as librarian, collecting shareware to copy for members. Meetings were held on Saturday mornings when the store classroom was available, and this meeting time was kept when the group had to leave the store.
Hunterdon Library Days
In September of 1989 Round Valley closed on Saturdays and the club moved to the Hunterdon County Library where the meeting room must be reserved each month, and only 30 days ahead. 22 members were listed. Rudy Ress continued as President/Treasurer; Dean Pennington was the VP and Joyce Tigner was Secretary/ Newsletter Editor. The first BBS phone numbers appeared in the November 1989 newsletter. Three issues ran a series on building a bare bones computer, upgrading from XT to AT.
In 1990 the 386 was “catching on”. Having a 50/50 drawing started in January of that year. Rick Brusseau took over the treasurer’s duties, which the President had been doing. Bill Powell opened Hunterdon Hangout Bulletin Board and offered a section of it for the club. John O’Brien’s monthly article was entitled “No Hard Drive is Ever Large Enough.” In the 1990 elections, John O’Brien became president, and Treasurer. Joyce Tigner Vice-President, Evelyn Stewart, Secretary and Newsletter Editor, Art Gerke continued as Librarian. The November 1990 newsletter was done in Express Publisher, v.2.0 and the editor reported gleefully that this offered a choice of nine typefaces.
In February ’91 Jennifer Hunsinger became Membership Chairperson. There was no job description for this position and it had little meaning until Don Colombo took on the job many years later. The Trading Post started that year, offering a selected shareware program each month, on disks ready to trade for blanks. The club library continued to grow, as Art made copies at meetings or at home on order. In May 1991, John O’Brien having resigned and left the club, Joyce Tigner became President, and Jennifer Hunsinger volunteered to be Treasurer.
Eileen Mullen became President in October of 1991, with Rudy Ress as VP, Jennifer Hunsinger, Membership and Treasurer, Evelyn Stewart, Newsletter/Secretary. Art Gerke, Librarian, Bill Powell and Bill Woodall, Co-Program Chairmen. We moved our meetings to the County Parks Administration Building on Rt 31.
In the winter of ’91, we read about a California based plan to give computer help to non-profit agencies. Art Gerke urged that we could do the same thing here, without paying any large fee to a national group to do PR for us. Thus was born our Computer Volunteers Program. The initial PR was a letter to the editor of the Democrat, from Secretary Stewart. Instead of printing it as a letter, the Editor made it into a short article. We had requests for years afterward as people saved the clipping.
This was our itinerant period. The Library meeting room could be reserved only 30 days ahead, making it impossible to get confirmation of meeting dates in time to print the newsletter. The Parks System building was seldom available on Saturday mornings. We went to the Pelican Pool company on Rt 22, then to the Circle Diner, (where TGIF is now.) We were welcome there as long as we ate a total of $50 worth of breakfast. Rick Williams joined us and began moving us toward the Medical Center.
In 1992, Eileen Mullen continued as President, Damon Sherrod became VP and Jac Carroll began his long career as Tresasurer. The Editor (Evelyn Stewart) began learning MS Publisher v.2.
1993 was a big year. In April, Jac Carroll, already an avid user of Compuserve, had his Bulletin Board, Midnight Machine Works, running smoothly and we started teaching members to use it, as a step toward the Internet. Bill Woodall started teaching us about Windows. In September we had our first meeting in the luxury of the Hunterdon Medical Center, often having the use of the large meeting room as well as the auditorium with its fine projection and sound systems. In December we started helping the NORWESCAP Food bank to start using a computer to inventory and track their large volume of foods. The first annual chart we made for them showed 49000 pounds of food handled in 1985. In 1996 the chart was nearing 900,000. By this time they had 4 computers, modern software, and operators who could make their own bar charts.
In August 1994, DOS HUG received the 1994 Outstanding Team Service Award. The day this award was presented, Dorothy Hartsell, Director of Senior Activities at the County Office on Aging, asked Evelyn Stewart to start computer classes for Seniors. Evelyn started the classes that fall, joined presently by Howard Asplen and Maureen Barron, both club presidents later on. As classes graduated, top students were asked to come back to teach. Teacher recruitment from the club and the general public has been an ongoing effort and we now have about 15 teachers and have had over 600 students, in small, successful, always hands-on classes. The computer class room has progressed from a shared all purpose room and kitchen, with old donated machines, to a renovated room devoted entirely to computers, using Windows 98 and 95 on new machines.
Bagels have been a club tradition from the start, carried in by Joyce Tigner as Secretary, as VP and President. Maureen Barron added bagels to the duties of President. Doris and Bill Moore have been bagel managers for several years. The Hunterdon Medical Center has a new bagel shop in the corner of the lobby and bagel management may shift.
In May, 1994, the program was “Starting on the Internet.” The day of the BBS Bulletin Board was over. In June of ’95, Bill Woodall gave us a detailed introduction to the Internet. In November ’97, he opened a club page on his web site, and Paul Glattstein became our web master soon after. Jac Carroll phased out the club BBS in the fall of ’99. Early in 2000 we registered a separate name for our website and became hunterdoncomputerclub.org, no longer just a link from woodall.com. Bill Woodall continues to provide the host system for the HCC Website.
Rick Williams followed Maureen Barron as President. Joe Burger became our Vice President charged with reporting on technology news, Lon Hosford followed Rick Williams and remains our President. Evelyn Stewart resigned as Secretary and Newsletter Editor. Marlyn Reuter volunteered to take over the newsletter job. Don Colombo became Secretary.
During the January 1996 meeting, for reasons incomprehensible to many long-term members, the club voted to change its name to “The Hunterdon Computer Club.” In February ’96 we laid DOSHUG to rest, the most reluctant of us started using Windows, we voted in our new name and became the Hunterdon Computer Club.
Long term active member and program chair Jim Russ passed away July 4th 2003 while sitting on the dock at his summer home in Gouldsboro, PA.