The History

Lions Clubs International -- Triumph of an Idea

The International Association of Lions Clubs began as the dream of Chicago insurance man Melvin Jones, who wondered why local business clubs -- he was an active member of one -- could not expand their horizons from purely business concerns to the betterment of their communities and the world at large.

Jones' idea struck a chord within his own group, the Business Circle of Chicago, and they authorized him to explore his concept with similar organizations from around the United States. His efforts resulted in an organizational meeting at a local hotel on June 7, 1917. The 12 men who gathered there overcame a natural sense of loyalty to their parent clubs, voted the "Association of Lions Clubs" into existence, and issued a call for a national convention to be held in Dallas, Texas, USA in October of the same year.

Thirty-six delegates representing 22 clubs from nine states heeded the call, approved the "Lions Clubs" designation, and elected Dr. William P. Woods of Indiana as their first president. Guiding force and founder Melvin Jones named acting secretary, thus began an association with Lionism that only ended with his death in 1961.

That first convention also began to define what Lionism was to become. A constitution and by-laws were adopted, the colors of purple and gold approved, and a start made on Lionism's Objectives and Code of Ethics. One of the objects was startling for an era that prided itself on mercenary individualism, and has remained one of the main tenets of Lionism ever since. "No Club," it read, "shall hold out the financial betterment of its members as its object."

Community leaders soon began to organize clubs throughout the United States, and the association became "international" with the formation of the Windsor, Ontario, Canada Lions Club in 1920. Clubs were later organized in China, Mexico, and Cuba. By 1927, membership stood at 60,000 in 1,183 clubs. In 1935, Panama became home to the first Central American club, with the first South American club being organized in Columbia the following year. Lionism reached Europe in 1948, as clubs were chartered in Sweden, Switxerland, and France. In 1952, the first club was chartered in Japan. Since then, the association has become truly global, with clubs in more than 170 countries and geographical areas worldwide.

1985-86 Lloyd Hopkins
1986-87 Dean Gary
1987-88 Mike White
1988-89 J.R. Lloyd
1989-90 Vic Amey
1990-91 Sam Carey
1991-92 Pat O'Malley
1992-93 Rob French
1993-94 Bob Benson
1994-95 Peter Roskovich 1995-96 Sam Ennis
1996-97 Tim Church
1997-98 Bill Houlihan
1998-99 Paul Hooker
*1999-00 J.R. Lloyd
2000-01 Mike Schaffner
2001-02 Charlie Dolbey
2002-03 Carlos Mir
2003-04 Bob Hortie
*2004-05 Bob Hortie
*2005-06 Pat O'Malley
2006-07 Bob Anderson
2007-08 Bob Culver
2008-09 Bryan Adkins
2009-2010: Bob Anderson*
2010-2011: Jeff Atkins

* Secound time Serving as King Lion


Salisbury Wicomico Lions Club

P.O.Box 3103 - Salisbury, Maryland 21801

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