The International Association Lions Clubs started as a dream in the mind of a young Chicago insurance agent. The man was Melvin Jones; the dream was the consolidation of several independent clubs, already in existence, into one strong influential unit for service to humanity. This dream was presented to the leaders of various independent groups at a meeting in Chicago, Illinois, on June 7, 1917. From that meeting came a call for the association's annual convention, which was held October 8-10, in Dallas, Texas, with 23 clubs participating. Thus, the world's largest, most active and most representative service club organization was conceived and founded. The association did not become international until 1920 when the first Lions Clubs were organized in Canada.
In September 2002, Lions International included 44,829 Clubs versus 35,393 clubs in 1982. These Clubs are located in 190 countries or geographical areas versus 153 in 1982, with a total current membership of 1,377,487 versus 1,335,728 members in 1982.
The Early Years - 1925 Through 1950
Our Club was chartered on September 29, 1925, at a time when Lionism, as we know it today, was in its beginning stages. The charter was granted to twenty-five prominent men in Palatine who represented a cross section of the community - educators, railroad men, tradesmen, merchants, politicians, bankers, doctors, dentists, journalists and real estate brokers.
Our Club was sponsored by the Des Plaines Lions Club, which had been chartered in the previous year. Lion E. P. Steinbrinck, who was the first Club president, served for six years.
Palatine in 1925 was a sleepy, (then) remote suburb of Chicago with a population of 2,000 people. Our Club was the first service club formed, and for many years the only Club affording vital assistance in supporting, developing and strengthening the community.
Those early Lions did not have to search for community projects. They organized booster clubs for the High School teams, organized playgrounds for school children during the summer, and annually built ice skating rinks for public use. The Park District now provides many of these projects. A Lions committee worked diligently and contributed to the decision, which brought about construction of a new Palatine High School on Wood Street.
Early activities through the Depression and the war years included Boy and Girl Scout projects, the establishment of a Youth Center and a Summer playground program, which was the forerunner to the establishment of the Palatine Park District. This program was spearheaded Lion Gerald McElroy, the high school coach and for many superintendent of schools. During this period our Club continued to grow in stature with the community and financed its activities through contributions and fundraising events such as dances and crazy shows. Lion Sid Page and his wife directed these shows.
In the late forties the Lions financed a Palatine Youth Center at Palatine Road and Bothwell. This was promoted by the faculty members of the high school and was led Ray Mills. The Center was moved to the high school as an evening program and was sponsored jointly by the Lions and the school.
Other projects during these years included Halloween shows, Christmas Parties, and New Years Eve dances for the youth. The Lions also erected and decorated the community Christmas Tree for several years. The Lions also co-sponsored with the American Legion a carnival to raise money for their community projects. At one of the first joint carnivals Lions Roy LaLonde and Ed Haseman sold over 2,000 raffle tickets on a new Deluxe Buick automobile.
The Palatine Lions entered a float in the Lions International parade held in Chicago in 1950 and had a prizewinner with their Hansel & Gretel theme float.
In October of 1950 the Palatine Lions celebrated their 25th anniversary. The president of the Club at the time was Lion Joseph A. Burnham who later became President of Marshall Field's & Company. At that time the Club had a total of 96 members, including three charter members, Lions E. P. Steinbrinck, Stuart R. Paddock and Edward F. Schnidt.
The Mid Years-1951 Through 1975
The Palatine Lions Club had the honor of having a member elected as District 1-F Governor two years after they celebrated their twenty-fifth anniversary. This honor was bestowed on Lion Leighton J. Mangels in 1952.
During the fifties the Lions continued to co-sponsor the carnival with the American Legion. In 1955 the Lions co-sponsored the Palatine centennial celebration. Contributions from the Palatine Lions were made to the library, Hadley School for the Blind, Junior Legion Baseball team uniforms, Palatine Little League, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and the annual Halloween party for the school children and the New Years Party for the teen-agers.
They also sponsored a bowling team, contributed to the Nurses Club and Channel 11, donated to the Park Board for building repairs, and gave one thousand dollars to the Northwest Community Hospital. The profits realized from an annual broom sale held by the Club during these years were used to support Blind Activities.
The Palatine Lions pioneered a program to combat Dutch elm disease in the village. A spraying program was sponsored and supported by contributions from the community. In conjunction with this program, tree planting was promoted, with the owner paying one-half the cost and Lions and Village each paying quarter. This activity has since developed into a community service of the Village on a recurring basis.
The Lions Club sponsored the Palatine High School Band and paid the expenses for their participation in the Lions International Parade in Chicago in 1957.
Club meetings continued to be held in the basement of the Immanuel Lutheran Church and featured splendid meals furnished by the ladies of the church.
In the sixties many activities were added to raise funds for the rapidly growing community. Among these were basketball games featuring the All-American Red Heads and the Harlem Globetrotters. Roses were sold, Broom Sales and FruitCake Programs were established and the Carnival continued. Candy Day replaced White Cane day.
In the early seventies Pancake Day and the Purple and Gold Fund were established and added by then President Ed Sikora. Pancake Day, Purple and Gold, and Candy Day remain as fundraising programs to this day. Due to elimination of bingo and other restrictive ordinances, the Lions Legion Carnival sponsorship was regretfully dissolved in 1973. Inasmuch as the carnival was the greatest fundraiser, new emphasis was needed for other sources of income.
Blind Activity programs expanded substantially, spurred mainly by the advent of Candy Day, which eventually became our largest fundraiser. Annual contributions went to Hadley School for the Blind, Leader Dog, Dialogue Magazine, Camp Lions and Illinois Society for the Prevention of Blindness. A cooperative program with school nurses helped school children with eye deficiencies to receive eye examinations and corrective glasses. This program has steadily grown in scope with the community. The first Glaucoma Mobile unit came to Palatine in 1969, as well as subsequent years thereafter. Over 900 people were screened in the early years for glaucoma and many suspected cases were referred to accredited eye doctors by this program.
Handicapped children became a project for Lions during this period. Over $15,000 was distributed by the Club to Countryside Center, Clearbrook School and Samuel Kirk Center.
Additional community projects included uniforms for the Palatine High School Band, contributions to the Lake Zurich disaster fund after a tornado in 1967, contributions to the Fireman’s Memorial Fund, sponsorship of the New Years Party for young adults continued, annual contributions to Care and a community sign located at Brockway and Palatine Road for advising citizens of current local events.
The Lions also sponsored swimming meets and ice skating carnivals for the youth of Palatine during the sixties. Stopwatches were purchased and donated to the Palatine Park District for use during these events. In the 4th of July parade in 1969 the Club's float "Up With Uncle Sam" won first prize and justified the hours of effort of Lions and their Fair Ladies.
The early seventies saw Cancer research and Aid for the Deaf become additional activities for District 1-F. Palatine cooperated in these projects with contributions. Lions David Terrill and Robert L. Oakley served as respective District Chairmen for these two new activities. Lion Oakley was also State Chairman for the Deaf Activities Program.
From 1960 to 1970 the Palatine Lions Club contributed between $4,500 and $5,000 annually to its various projects.
In 1965 the Lions discontinued meeting at the Lutheran School and began holding meetings at various restaurants in the community.
In the year 1971-72 the Palatine Lions Club again had the honor and pleasure of having another of its members serve as District Governor of District 1-F. This time Robert L. Oakley was elected. Lion David W. Terrill served as his Cabinet Secretary-Treasurer.
The Palatine Lions celebrated both their fortieth and forty-fifth anniversaries at the Green Tree Inn in Bensenville. Both anniversaries were celebrated in conjunction with the Arlington Heights Lions Club.
This period culminated in a gala 50th
Anniversary Dinner Dance for 158 people at Arlington Hilton on October 25, 1975. President James Johnson welcomed those present; Past President Ray LaLonde, our oldest ranking member in terms of service, lead us in signing "America"; and Past President Howard Olsen was an effective Master of Ceremonies. The first Club president and charter member, E. P. Steinbrinck, was also an honored guest.
Immediate Past President of Lions International John Balbo was our principal speaker. Lion past District 1-F Governor and Club President Bob Oakley introduced Lion John and also presented him and Mrs. Balbo with a beautiful bust of John sculpted by Past President Dick Erickson.
All past presidents were ex-officio members of the planning committee. The following Lions had major roles in the success of the evening: Schramm, Pitstick, Van Wolvelear, Siler, Haley, Erickson, Weder, Ca1lender, and Terrill.
1976 To 1985
For a few years before and after the 50th Anniversary Party, the Board of Directors for each of those Club years had two goals.
- Attract more new and younger members.
- Increase funds raised to keep up with the needs of a growing Community.
Our Club had made great contributions, but our membership was aging and attrition due to retirement and death necessitated such action.
The Club in this case, as in most others, has successfully met the challenges of these two goals.
In a period of 3-1/2 years, 35 new and younger members had joined and stayed with the Club. The Directors made every effort to introduce the new members immediately into our mainstream of activities so they could share the full flavor of Lionism and meaning of WE SERVE.
The second goal, increase in raising funds, had also succeeded on large scale. Our contributions to our programs had more than doubled since the sixties when we averaged about $4,700 in annual contributions.
From the mid-1970’s to the early 1980’s the Club contributed over $90,000 (an average of over $15,000 per year) over triple the pace of the sixties and early seventies.
The increase in available funds enabled the Club to offer more assistance, especially to school children with eye deficiencies. We were able not only to increase the number of children helped, but also to afford the most seriously handicapped with elaborate and expensive sight machines to enable them to literally see the lesson that they could not see before. Eighty-three total grade school children had eye examinations and glasses, where needed. These numbers continue at this high level even today, almost 20 years later.
In this period the Club donated almost $25,000 to the Lions of Illinois Foundation, as well as $7,500 to the Foundation in a cooperative program with the University of Illinois to help build the Lions Eye Research Center. The Club also participated in forming Eye Registry.
In the 1979-80 years, the Club had a third member made District Governor of 1-F, Lion David W. Terrill. Lion Ed Naranjo was Lion Dave’s Cabinet Secretary and both Lions served with distinction. We believe three District Governors from one Club is a District record and few clubs anywhere can top it. We look forward to our fourth.
An analysis of the first six years of this period shows the following activities as our major fund sources in ranking order: Candy Day, Fruit Cake Sales, Purple and Gold, Rummage Sales and Pancake Day.
These five contributed $62,561 of our $90,000 total.
Other major recipients in this period have been the Palatine Paramedics, Clearbrook Center, Palatine Historical Society, Community ChildCare Center of Palatine Township and St. Joseph’s Home for the Elderly. Dozens of other civic, youth, school and other groups have received substantial assistance, many of them annually.
Lion of the Year Awards were started in 1979-80. John Reinhardt was the first recipient and in 1980-81 Hank Rosen was so honored. Both Lions contributed greatly for many years and richly deserved the honor. This honor is our acknowledgement of devotion to our motto: "WE SERVE".
1985 To Present
As Lionism entered the 1980’s, a distinct change began to occur in the membership of the International Association Of Lions Clubs. Almost all charitable, fraternal, and service organizations in the United States found themselves competing for quality members necessary to maintain their level of activity. As an international organization, Lionism has been more fortunate than many groups. Overall membership increased during these years. However, the increase in clubs and club memberships reflected the “international scope” as Lionism spread to many countries heretofore unable to form non-governmental organizations.
In the United States it has become more difficult to maintain a high level of membership - particularly in the large metropolitan sections. The total number of clubs has not decreased appreciably, but the number of members in active clubs has lessened to a great degree. This loss of membership has occurred in spite of the encouragement of females to join the association. The reasons for this change of attitudes are complex, yet understandable.
More and more, young fathers and mothers have found their nonworking hours absorbed by society’s need for a more structured environment for its children. The need for adult leaders in organized sports and group development has replaced “adults night out.” The practical necessity of two working partners in a family has led to a shorter free time for shopping, home structure maintenance, and child development. Active community service is avoided by many young adults and the habit stays with them as their children mature and leave home. Global and national unrest seems to create an atmosphere not conducive to community cooperation.
In spite of the national trend, the Palatine Lions Club has managed to serve its community well and give aid to many causes outside of our local interests. The per-capita extent of our “giving” has probably doubled in recent decades - for as total membership may be halved, the total value of our service has remained the same - even increased in some cases.
The outreach for a successful Lions Club may be enumerated as follows:
1. Projects sponsored by the International Association.
2. Projects sponsored by the State and/or District.
3. Projects within our local community.
4. Answering calls for aid from any source worthy and within practical limits.
During the last twenty years approaching our 80th anniversary, the Palatine Lions Club has categorically answered all worthy requests with enthusiasm and a sincere desire to serve less fortunate entities.
Each year our Club has given a portion of its receipts to the Lions International Foundation which has provided funds for the relief of world-wide disasters. Eye operations are performed, by qualified doctors, on many citizens of distressed nations at little or no cost to the patients. We are proud to have over 40% of our members as Melvin Jones Fellows. Our yearly collection of used eyeglasses also aids the vision of peoples world-wide.
Within our State of Illinois, the Palatine Lions Club has yearly participated in Candy Day, promoted by the Lions Of Illinois Foundation. A large portion of the receipts are used by the Foundation to furnish and equip mobile units - the first for vision checks and lately for hearing examinations. Our Club has manned the units yearly within our area. Camp Lions for the visually handicapped and hearing impaired is another of the Foundation’s services that serves both the youth and adult members of our communities.
Our own District (1F) is well aware of the activities of the Palatine Lions Club. As previously mentioned, we have provided three district governors to the State Council Of Governors. Within the next few years another member of our club will serve in this position. We have participated in the sponsorship of our district conventions and 1F fundraising events. At least one team has always represented our Club in the District Bowling Tournament. Joint meetings have been held with other 1F Clubs.
As a truly community service organization, our Lions Club has always been well known for its participation in local events. The clowns in the annual 4th Of July parade have been Lion members and friends. We provide the corn roasts at Palatine Taste & Touch, Streetfest and other food fests. An ongoing program provides eye examinations and glasses to school children with the cooperation of school nurses and local eye doctors. For over twenty years we have provided college scholarships to top students from four local high schools in our area.
To socially bind our members and spouses, we have several spouse night meetings each year. These are augmented by outside activities such as wine-tasting, chili cook-offs, progressive dinners, and Christmas parties where we are often entertained by a chorus from the high school.
Providing the funds to maintain this active service schedule requires the concerted effort of an active corps within the membership. One of the largest efforts in the last fifteen years has been our annual golf tourney. This has involved many business and private interests within our community as we filled the Palatine Hills Golf Club with enthusiastic competitors on a single day each year. Prizes and steak dinners add to the festivities and our club is rewarded with almost half of its annual net income.
For many years our corn roasts were paramount factors in our receipts and each October we share the excitement of Lions Candy Day. The receipts are shared with local groups and the Lions Of Illinois Foundation. It’s a day when Lions are much in evidence all over our State.
In addition to our largest fundraisers we are constantly increasing our monetary ability to serve with the following:
1. Counter mint sales in various public locations.
2. Entertainment book sales
3. Pancake breakfasts
4. Continuation of our purple and gold raffle
5. Sales at the craft shows of ours and neighboring communities.
Each fundraiser, large or small, has the added advantage of keeping the community aware of our presence - representing a well-established and highly respected international service organization.
Such has been the litany of our activities as we approach the 80th anniversary of the Palatine Lions Club (1925-2005). The members are proud of the achievements of the past and look forward to a future where the joy of service will continue to bind us together under the banner of International Lionism.
Please contact any Lion member or our current Club president, , for more information about how you may become involved in Lions. Paul may be reached at 847-609-5805.
||1925 - 1931|
|William A. Danielsen
||1931 - 1932|
|Louis J Miller
||1932 - 1933|
||1933 - 1934|
|Noble J. Puffer
||1934 - 1935|
|William Kehe, Jr.
||1935 - 1936|
||1936 - 1937|
|Roy La Londe
||1937 - 1938|
|Robert L. Schoppe
||1938 - 1939|
|Sidney J. Page
||1939 - 1940|
||1940 - 1941|
|Frank F. Wente
||1942 - 1943|
|J. Wm. Schuchardt
||1943 - 1944|
|Harry G. Tharp
||1944 - 1945|
|Edward J. Haseman
||1945 - 1946|
||1946 - 1947|
|Carl A. Scharninghousen
||1947 - 1948|
|Leighton J. Mangels
||1948 - 1949|
|Gerald A. McElroy
||1949 - 1950|
|Joseph A. Burnham
||1950 - 1951|
||1951 - 1952|
|Howard I. Olsen
||1952 - 1953|
|Jackson L. Boughner
||1953 - 1954|
||1954 - 1955|
|Harris V. Helgesen
||1955 - 1956|
|Raymond J. Bertram
||1956 - 1957|
|Gordon A. Vold
||1957 - 1958|
||1958 - 1959|
|Vernon F. Weder
||1959 - 1960|
||1960 - 1961|
|Paul L. VanWolvelear
||1961 - 1962|
|Dr. William W. Meek
||1962 - 1963|
|William L. McKinIay
||1963 - 1964|
||1964 - 1965|
|Harold E.B. Anderson
||1965 - 1966|
|Richard E. Erickon
||1966 - 1967|
||1967 - 1968|
|Henry J. Pitstick
||1968 - 1969|
|Marvin P. Schramm
||1969 - 1970|
|Frank J. Haley
||1970 - 1971|
||1971 - 1972|
|William D. Siler
||1972 - 1973|
|Robert J, Callender
||1973 - 1974|
|Edward P. Sikora
||1974 - 1975|
|James A. Johnson
||1975 - 1976|
|Peter F. Rayner
||1976 - 1977|
|David W. Yeats
||1977 - 1978|
|Edward A. Naranjo
||1978 - 1979|
|Frank E. Chase
||1979 - 1980|
|Robert N. Parke
||1980 - 1981|
|Donald C. Bleloch
||1981 - 1982|
|Robert E. Ebner
||1982 - 1983|
|James P. Carroll, Jr.
||1983 - 1984|
|Gunnard J. Nelson
||1984 - 1985|
|Allen P. Smith
||1985 - 1986|
||1986 - 1987|
||1987 - 1988|
||1988 - 1989|
||1989 - 1990|
||1990 - 1991|
||1991 - 1992|
||1992 - 1993|
||1993 - 1994|
||1994 - 1995|
|Paul F. Pioch
||1995 - 1996|
||1996 - 1997|
||1997 - 1998|
||1998 - 1999|
||1999 - 2000|
||2000 - 2001|
||2001 - 2003|
||2003 - 2004|
|Paul F. Pioch
||2004 - 2005|
|Sherryl (Patton) Weidner
||2005 - 2006|
||2006 - 2007|
||2007 - 2008|
||2008 - 2010|
||2010 - 2011|
|Leighton J. Mangels
||1952 - 1953|
|Robert L. Oakley
||1971 - 1972|
|David W. Terrill
||1979 - 1980|
|Paul F. Pioch
||2008 - 2009|