Cabarrus club roasts a highly seasoned Toastmaster
Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013

Cabarrus club roasts a highly seasoned Toastmaster

    Richard Archer and his wife, Sue, plan to do more traveling now that he’s retired from Goldmine Toastmasters.
    Kim Jackson brought a copy of the 100 best speeches, with Richard Archer’s picture on the cover.
    Richard Archer takes his turn at the podium during a roast held in his honor by Goldmine Toastmasters Nov. 9.
  • About Toastmasters Ken Miller, Toastmasters district governor, was on hand to wish Richard Archer well on his retirement from the Goldmine Toastmasters Club. Miller said there are some 200 Toastmasters clubs in North Carolina, with nearly 4,000 members. He called Toastmasters “one of the best-kept secrets for personal growth.” Although many folks join to overcome their fear of public speaking, it’s also a way to develop leadership skills, he said. Miller added, “Our new tagline is ‘Where Leaders Are Made.’” For more information about Goldmine Toastmasters, visit Visit Toastmasters International at

If you had listened to some of the barbs slung about the morning of Nov. 9, you might have been concerned about Richard Archer’s feelings.

Archer was the subject of a good-natured roast by the Goldmine Toastmasters Club.

When Archer stepped to the podium, however, it was clear that the club had learned at the feet of the master.

Archer recently retired from the club after 37 years of service and leadership. There was no way the club was going to let him slip away without some toasting and roasting.

Every Toastmasters meeting features table topics: those on which members must speak extemporaneously. Here are some of the questions about Archer that served as table topics:

•  “If you were a golf ball, how would you describe Richard’s game?”

(He evidently loves to golf but can be described as a mediocre player, at best, according to his best friend, John Shepherd.)

• “Do you recall Richard’s non-achievement, and what was it?”

“He was one of the people who challenged me, who said, ‘You can do better than that.’ He was the one who pushed me the extra inch,” said Phyllis Kombol, a past president. “He couldn’t chase any of us away.”

• “When Richard speaks, is he really worth listening to?”

“Not only is it worth listening to, it’s expensive,” said Joyce Preston, who, catalog in hand, went on to tell a story about a pricey Tilley hat that she purchased for her husband after hearing Archer talk about it.

Matthew Charity, who served as Roastmaster, was responsible for most of the morning’s groan-worthy jokes. Example: “Richard once gave a standing-room only speech, because he was in a phone booth.”

Kim Jackson, a former Toastmaster, said even though she can’t remember what she had for dinner three nights ago, she still remembers lessons she learned from Archer’s speeches three years ago.

“You are more memorable than meatloaf,” she quipped.

Jackson said Archer once presented the idea of “The Enabler,” a notebook full of stories, jokes and notes – an invaluable tool for Toastmasters meetings.

“You have enabled me to become a better communicator because of that speech,” she said.

She also showed off a book of the best 100 speeches ever given and, lo and behold, there was Archer’s picture on the cover. To much laughter from the group, Jackson said she couldn’t believe Archer never mentioned inclusion in the book.

John Shepherd, the final speaker, said he and Archer became friends when they joined Toastmasters in the late 1970s.

Even though they’re opposites in many ways, he said, Shepherd offered a toast to his friend: a “dry toast,” he said, since he wasn’t holding a beverage.

“Here’s to my friend Richard Archer,” he said. “He’s a natural-born salesman, a Carolina basketball fanatic, a golf enthusiast, a political conservative and a consummate communicator. It is a privilege to count you as my friend.”

Archer steped to the podium and said “I’d like to say I’m speechless, but that would be a lie. You gave John seven to nine minutes to speak, but he can tell you everything he knows in one minute.

“But to say he is my best friend forever is exactly accurate.”

Archer said former member Betty Walker had recounted a tall tale Archer had told about a fish and wondered if it were true.

“Betty took that fish story hook, line and sinker,” Archer said, as the crowd roared with laughter.

On a slightly more serious note, Archer said he had a hard time deciding to quit the club, but health issues forced the decision. He said he would be looking forward to traveling some with his wife, Sue, an avid quilter.

“It’s been a blast for 37 years,” he said. “Thank you for the memories.”

President Serena Edwards then presented a plaque to Archer, commemorating his 37 years of service.

“I’ll put that on my desk, where I’ll see it all the time,” he said, his voice finally breaking with emotion.

Susan Shinn is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Susan? Email her at

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