The 2002-03 Kiwanis International president passed away on July 12.
Dr. Juan “Ito” Torres Jr., president of Kiwanis International in 2002-03, passed away on Wednesday. He was 89.
A Kiwanian since 1977, Torres was the charter president of the Kiwanis Club of Antipolo, Philippines, in the Philippine Luzon District. In fact, he was the club’s president during its first three years — followed by a term as lieutenant governor of the Philippine Luzon District’s Division 3C. In 1982-83, he served as district governor.
In the 1990s, fellow members began encouraging Torres to seek leadership roles at the international level. He ultimately became a Kiwanis International trustee in 1996.
A medical doctor, Torres’s professional accomplishments included a clinic he ran on the campus of the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. He was also a faculty member at the university.
In addition, Torres was a lay minister. In a Kiwanis magazine profile published as he began his presidency in 2002, Torres said that he had once considered a life in the priesthood. Growing up in the Philippines during World War II, he was sent by his father to live with aunts in a nearby town after his mother died. A Dominican priest there served as a mentor to Torres, who eventually graduated as valedictorian of his high school class.
Mentorship would be a part of Torres’s life — including the service and guidance he provided as a doctor, a man of faith and a Kiwanian.
“One of my old professors said, ‘The young will develop if given the chance,” Torres told Kiwanis magazine. “I have been guided by that.”