lion graphicMacomb Lions Club History

1963-1993 Prepared by John Storey, Charter Member
1993-2014 Updated by Robert Collier, Historian

On April 14, 1963, three individuals met to consider the formation of a Lions Club in Macomb. These persons were Robert Coutts, Robert Cushing, Jr., and Darvis Overstreet. A few weeks later, on May 23, 1963, the Macomb Lions Club was formally organized, with the assistance of international representative Bud Campbell, with these temporary officers: President-William S. Gillidette; Secretary-Robert T. Cushing, Jr.; Treasurer-Harry E. McDaniel. Membership at this time consisted of 23 persons. Our Charter Night was held at the American Legion Post in Macomb on Sunday, September 23, 1963. By that time, the Club had grown to 50 members. The Canton Lions Club served as our sponsor. Subsequent Charter Night anniversaries were held on September 26, 1966; October 18, 1973; November 2, 1978; September 17, 1983; our twenty-fifth on May 5, 1988; our thirtieth on September 16, 1993, our thirty-fifth on October 24, 1998 and our forty-fifth on September 18, 2008. It is interesting to note that Past International Director William K. Richardson served as Master of Ceremonies on both our initial and 25th Charter Nights.

In an effort to make this history more meaningful, the authors decided to list the most significant events chronologically under the following headings: Mission; Fund Raising; Service Projects; Meeting Places and Times; and Other Events of Interest.


The primary mission of the Macomb Lions Club is service to humanity through a commitment of community service.  The Lions motto, “We Serve” is reflected in every service project of the Macomb Lions Club.  While our service projects encompass a wide range of activities, our primary focus is on sight and hearing needs.

Fund Raising

As every Lions Club member knows, raising funds that make our service projects possible is one of our highest priorities. Over the years, a variety of fund raising projects have been undertaken with varying degrees of success.  These projects with a brief description follow:

Our first fund raising project consisted of the sponsorship of a circus on August 19, 1963. The name of the circus is not mentioned anywhere in our records. Although our efforts to make a substantial number of advance sales proved largely unsuccessful, the club did net about $1,000 from this endeavor. Our second project was the sponsorship of the Goose Tatum basketball game held at the (old) Macomb High School gym on January 21, 1964. Tatum, the star of the Harlem Globetrotters, broke away and formed his own team that employed many of the tactics that made the Globetrotters so interesting to watch. A good crowd attended the game and our club netted $579.99. Our third project was a broom sale (no light bulbs) held during the month of September 1964 (exact date unknown). This raised a total of $85.00 in net profit. Broom sales continued on a yearly basis, in the fall, through 1971. Net incomes were not always reported, but were estimated to run between $100-$200 per year. Starting in 1973, light bulbs were added to our inventory and selling was done in the spring. These sales have been conducted yearly until the present and have constituted one of our best fund raising projects. Net income to the club during this period of time was in the $2,000-$3,000 range each year.

In 1964, the club made a second effort at sponsoring a circus, this time the King Bros. Circus. Our net income from this project was $360. After the difficulty we had in collecting the money due us, which involved telephone calls, correspondence, and the threat of legal action, the club decided to abandon this type of fund raising forevermore.                              

On October 9, 1964, we held our first Candy Day giveaway as part of a State of Illinois Lions project. This was held on the square in the evening and featured Lion Harry McDaniel in a lion costume. No report on income from this first candy day is available. On a yearly basis, Candy Days has been maintained from its inception to the present. In the early days, net income appeared to be in the $300-$500 range. In 1978, a procedure to solicit businesses in Macomb to underwrite the cost of the candy was started. This procedure significantly increased our net income from Candy Days. In that year, approximately 40 cases of candy were given away and a net income of $3,718 was realized, which included $1,000 in share underwriting. Today Candy Days remains one of the Macomb Lions Club’s major fund raising projects.                            

Our sixth, and by far the most ambitious project undertaken in our first 30 years was the Kiddyland train. Equipment consisted of a genuine steam-driven locomotive, a tender, four passenger cars, and approximately one-quarter mile of track. Total cost of the equipment was $10,000. An additional $1,000 was required for gravel, etc. To enable us to make this purchase, members were asked to make loans to the club at 6% interest. A total of $4,000 was raised in this way, with $3,000 utilized as a down payment; a contract for $7,000 was executed with Henry J. McMillan, d/b/a/ International Commercial Sales, Galva, Illinois, with interest at the rate of 4% on the unpaid balance. Seventy percent of the operating revenue was to be paid on the principal each year until the loan was paid in full. The official train opening took place on May 30, 1965, with a number of city dignitaries and many townspeople, as well as a full complement of Lions Club members, on hand. All of our club members worked diligently for many evenings during the spring of 1965 laying track to ready our train for opening day.                                                   

The decision to purchase this train was not easily reached. Much discussion ensued, and many concerns were expressed, before the decision to purchase the train was made. An agreement with the Macomb Park Board to locate the train in Everly Park just north of the baseball diamond was reached. John Howard, a retired train engineer, was hired to operate the train. It was slated to operate from 6:00-9:30 PM Monday through Friday, 4:00-9:30 PM on Saturday, and 1:00-9:30 PM on Sunday. Club members sold tickets and informed the engineer when to start the ride. A train station was constructed under the direction of Lion John Sappington with the able assistance of some of his high school students. The station served as a place for ticket sales, as well as nighttime storage for the train and supplies. It was soon determined that revenues were not sufficient to employ a paid engineer for this time span, so Lions Club volunteers were trained to operate the train and did so on week nights. Before the end of the first year, club members took over all train operations.           

Early in its functioning, it was discovered that the train could not negotiate the 5% grade with a full load of passengers. Through the efforts of Lion Jim Distefano, dirt was secured at no cost from the Wal-Mart store excavation and hauled to the train site on a weekend by volunteer city truck drivers. A considerable portion of the track was re-laid to reduce the steepness of the grade.

The Lion Line operated during the summer months from 1965 until 1972.  As time went by, hours of operation were gradually reduced, as it was discovered that revenues during certain time were not sufficient to meet operating expenses. Although net income approximated $1,500 per year for the first six years of operation, repayment of member loans and payment on the principal of the loan utilized all revenues obtained. As net income declined to $550 and $600 in 1971 and 1972, and as it became apparent to even the most optimistic that the train would never become an income-producing project, the decision was made to sell the train.  Considerable effort to find a buyer was made with no success. Finally, in November of 1973, an agreement was reached with the Macomb Park Board for sale of the train and track for the balance owed to Henry J. McMillan, which totaled $4,374 plus accrued interest. Most club members agreed that the train, while not a financial success, did provide a service to the City of Macomb and surrounding areas by providing entertainment for countless numbers of youngsters. As a happy finale, the Park Board did find a buyer at a price considerably above the cost of the train to them and utilized the proceeds for a kiddyland play area in Glenwood Park that is still utilized and which is designated as the Macomb Lions playground.

Our next fund raising project was a relatively small, one-time affair. It consisted of selling tickets to the WIU Summer Music Theatre, which was in its initial season. This activity netted the club about $100.

In the fall of 1966, a determination was made that the club could make some money and have some family fun by handpicking corn left in the field after the regular harvest was completed. So on two weekends, November 5-6 and 12-13, a number of Lions, spouses, and children gathered on a farm (owner unknown) to pick corn. Our endeavors produced some sore backs and a net profit of $122. At about the same time, we started the sale of American flags, which netted a total of $100 for our activities fund.

Our next major project was a basketball game between the American Redheads team (all red-haired girls, some natural) and a team of club members and other men on February 12, 1968. This attracted a good crowd and proved to be an enjoyable and profitable enterprise, although the exact amount realized was not stated in the records. Also that spring, we sponsored a Dale Carnegie course in Macomb. Again, the amount realized was not stated, but it probably was a modest amount.

On April 17, 1968, another major fundraiser was undertaken. We held our first Spaghetti Dinner at the McArthur school gym. Under the direction of chief chef Lion Jerry Quintiliani and his spouse, a delicious repast was prepared. However, all of our good efforts netted only $180. But we persisted in this endeavor and held five additional Spaghetti Dinners in succeeding years. Net incomes reported were $441 for the second dinner, $270 for the third. There was no report of income derived from dinners four, five, and six.

Probably our least productive fund raising endeavor was a concert, Rubinoff and his violin, held at the old high school gym on November 15, 1968. This activity resulted in a net loss to the club of about $100.

During the next several years, fund raising was limited to light bulb and broom sales and Candy Days, as far as can be determined from the records. But in November and December 1979, raffle tickets were sold for eight prizes donated by local businesses. Lion Dee Kruzan was the brain and prize setter for this activity. Net income of $690.50 was realized from this project, one-half of which was donated to the C.P.R. telethon.                                

In the spring of 1980, the fund raising committee came up with another idea. This was a community clean-up sale, a rummage sale of donated items held on May 31, 1980. Income of over $1,000 was netted from this activity. A second clean-up sale was held on May 23, 1981, with proceeds of $650.                                

A project that turned out to be a good one (high income with a minimum of effort) was the sale of coloring books prior to Christmas, 1981. These large-sized books were displayed at various locations in Macomb and netted a profit of over $500. We sold coloring books one additional season and made over $1,000.                                 

Our club did sponsor two musical (singing) groups, the New Christy Minstrels on December 3, 1982, and the Serendipity Singers on August 3, 1983. The first netted almost $1,000 and the second $682.50.                                

On July 2-4, 1983, Macomb celebrated its Heritage Days. Our club conducted an onion ring sale during these three days. Net income was about $450. The city decided to make this a yearly event, so or club prepared and sold onion rings along with soft drinks again in 1984. This time the club netted over $800. In 1985, the club switched to bratwurst, sauerkraut, and soft drinks (the decision was based on the difficulty involved with onion ring preparation), netting approximately $1,000. This project was conducted in 1986 and 1987 with even better results, netting almost $3,000 in 1987. In 1988, the extremely hot weather resulted in smaller crowds and decreased demand for hot items, with a net income of only $300. The club continued to have a tent at Heritage Days until 1992. It was decided that the monies earned were not worth the time and effort expended. However, the Lions resumed having a food tent in 1993 with the introduction of a BBQ beef sandwich. The first year for this product produced a profit of over $650. The project was repeated for the last time at the 1994 Heritage Days.  In 2005 and 2006 the Lions Club assisted the Macomb Kiwanis club with a pancake and sausage breakfast during Heritage Days.  Lion John Beaver spearheaded the joint venture.  Starting in 2008 the Macomb Lions and Colchester Lions jointly sponsored the breakfast and it continues to this day. A second example of service groups working together began in 2005, when Macomb Lions assisted the Colchester Lions with their Labor Day food tent, a partnership that also continues today.                                

In 1986, the club decided to participate in the Lions of Illinois Sight and Sound Sweepstakes. The sweepstakes is part of the International Sight First which has as its goal the elimination of all preventable blindness by the year 2020.  Tickets were sold for $1.00 each, or a book of 12 for $10.00, between February 6 and April 17. Our club netted between $300 and $400 from this activity, as the club retained one-half of the proceeds. This activity was continued in 1987 and 1988. Although the dollar results were not recorded, two plaques were received by the club from District I-H in 1987, one for the highest dollar sales of any club in the district and the other for the highest dollar sales per member. This activity continues to be supported by the Macomb Club today.                                

Another fund raising activity that was tried was the sale of trash bags in 1987. These were prepared in gold and blue colors with the Lions Club emblem emblazoned on the bags. Other clubs in District I-H were invited to participate and several did so. Although this project did not turn out as well as anticipated, it did net our club over $400 in revenue.

In December of 1994, Macomb Lions Club members participated in a new fundraiser by wrapping gifts for the local Jacks store.  This project was repeated one more time in 1995 before the Jacks store went out of business.  The amount of income from this project was not significant.

In July of 1996 the St. Louis Rams football team commenced using Western Illinois University as the location of their summer training camp.  The Macomb Lions raised funds by helping to sell Rams memorabilia at the training camp.  The Lions Club continued this activity through the 1999 summer camp.

During the 2005 Heritage Days the Macomb Lions Club and the Macomb Kiwanis Club co-sponsored a pancake breakfast during the Sunday morning fly-in at the Macomb Airport. This joint effort was lead by Lion John Beaver, was a big success with over 1200 meals served by members of both clubs and their spouses.  The fundraising project was successfully repeated in 2006 and cancelled for 2007 due to airport renovation restrictions.  With the airport renovations completed for the 2008 Heritage Days, the Macomb Lions Club co-sponsored this fundraiser with the Colchester Lions Club. The jointly sponsored fundraiser continued until 2014.  It was replaced with a Donut Booth at Heritage Days in 2013 and 2014.

2010 saw the intorduction of one of our most successful fundraisers, the selling of a dozen roses, which coinsided with WIU’s Mom’s weekend.  In it’s first year 262 dozen roses were sold with $1681 in profit.  In 2011, it was renamed Appreciation Day with 300 dozen sold and $1994 made.  This successful fundraiser continued through September 2013.

May 29, 2013 saw the return of the spagetti dinner fundraiser.  Thanks to the efforts of Lion Traci DeWitt.  The event was able to raise enough funds to send two extra local children to Camp Lions.

The Lions Club also joined local businesses HyVee and Buffalo Wild Wings with  fundraisers starting in 2013.

October 19th 2014 marked our First Pancake Breakfast fundraiser.

Service Projects                                

One of the primary reasons for the existence of Lions Clubs is to help individuals less fortunate than ourselves. Thus, a number of activities to serve others are carried out by Lions everywhere. Some are done statewide through the Lions of Illinois Foundation such as Camp Lion, Dialogue, mobile vision and hearing testing units, while Lions International carries out other activities throughout the world. Chronicled here are the service activities of the Macomb Lions Club.

Our first project was the sponsoring of a baseball team for 14 and 15 year old boys in the Colt League in the summer of 1964. The sum of $450 was budgeted for the purchase of equipment and supplies. This was continued over the following two summers. Next was our participation in the citywide immunization program conducted at the American Legion Hall on two Sundays, September 27 and October 25, 1964. Our third service project was the sponsoring of a Boy Scout troop that was formed in November 1965. Lion Dick Brusninghan served as scoutmaster of this troop. In later years, the club sponsored another scout troop with Lion Dale Budde as scoutmaster, and a cub pack at Lincoln School.         

Early in the club’s history we became involved with what is now called the Eye Donor Registry Program (it was first known as the eye bank donor program). Donor cards were first distributed at the immunization program in 1964. Lion Mert Swan was in charge of this project. Our club continues to be actively involved in signing up eye donors, and for two consecutive years had the highest number of donor cards in the State of Illinois based on membership. Lion Numa Crowder was largely responsible for the success of this program during this period of time. A trophy was presented to Lion Numa Crowder representing the Macomb Club at the state convention on May 19, 1964. In 1989, the Macomb Lions Club earned 3rd place in the State of Illinois Eye Donor Registry.

In 1966, the Macomb Lions Club participated in the Salvation Army’s bell ringing program. From that date, our club has been assigned a date (or dates) for bell ringing each year. In 1982, the Macomb Club received an award for collecting the most dollar receipts of any organization participating in the bell ringing. Assisting the Salvation Army in this project continues to be a yearly service project of the Macomb Lions Club.                                  

In 1975, the Macomb Lions Club began participation in World Service Days. Our service project consisted of donating work to elderly homeowners who could not perform these tasks themselves. On a day in October 22, our club members washed windows, raked leaves, puttied windows, put on storm windows, and performed similar other tasks for these elderly individuals. World Service Days continued as a Macomb Lions service project for several years.  

In March of 1977, Macomb and WIU served as hosts for the first U.S. Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) national championships. Lion David Beaver was the individual primarily responsible for the selection of Macomb for this activity. The Macomb Lions Club contributed by providing transportation for blind athletes from local airports to Macomb. This activity was repeated the following year and again in 1980 when USABA came to Macomb for their second and fourth national championships. Lion Dave organized the first ever group of athletes with blindness in the area—called the Whiz Kids. The girls Goal Ball Teams never placed less than second in the nation, and throughout the 80s contributed players for US National teams competing throughout Europe and during the 1984 and 1988 Paralympics Games. The Macomb Lions Club supported their opportunity to participate throughout this period. Starting in 1990, the Macomb Lions Club contributed substantial amounts (usually $500 or more) in support of the national Achieving A Balance Conference dealing with sport, physical education recreation, and research for those with disabilities, as well as transporting attendees from the Moline, Burlington, and Peoria airports to and from the conference. This event was also organized by Lion Beaver, and remained an annual event in Macomb until his retirement at WIU in December 2000.         

The Macomb Lions Club was involved in the start of the Radio Information Service (RIS) for the blind and physically handicapped. Lion Norman Severinsen and Bob Milkman were instrumental in our participation in this undertaking. The sum of $500 was pledged to support this activity, and the first installment of $250 was paid in February 1979. Other club members assisted in various ways to get this activity started, and the club has purchased receiver units at various times over the years. We also invested $1,000 of our own money and solicited $1,000 from other area clubs for the purchase of new equipment for the RIS. In addition, we have numerous members who are directly involved with the RIS. The Macomb Lions Club continues to monetarily sponsor the daily reading of the Macomb Journal.

The Lions of Illinois Foundation’s hearing-screening unit first came to Macomb in May 1980.  The glaucoma-screening unit first came to Macomb in the spring of 1983. Approximately 300 persons were tested on the day the unit was here. Club members and spouses assisted in the process. The Lions of Illinois Foundation discontinued the glaucoma unit in 1993 and a vision-screening unit has replaced it. The Macomb Lions Club regularly sponsors visits to Macomb by the hearing and vision screening units.  Beginning in 2009, Diabetic Retinopathy screening was also done with these units.                     

In 1980, our club made large pledges of financial support for two projects. One was a pledge of $6,000 ($1,200 per year for five years) for the construction of the Illinois Eye Research Center in Chicago. The other was a pledge of $1,200 ($400 per year for three years) for the purchase of Camp Pearl, the former district Boy Scout camp. Both pledges were met as promised. Also in this year, our club accepted the responsibility of assisting with the raising and lowering the Flags of Love on Labor Day. The club has continued to assist in this activity each year since 1980.                                

From almost the beginning of our formation, the Macomb Lions Club has been involved in the collection of used eyeglasses. These are sent yearly to a central place in Illinois for distribution to Third World countries. We currently also collect used hearing aids. The club provides special collection boxes located in several locations throughout Macomb in order to actively collect these items all year long. Summer of 2006 saw the implementation of eyeglasses collection boxes at Citizen’s West National Bank and Macomb’s Farm King store.  The collection boxes were retired US Mail boxes, which were painted yellow and identified as Lion’s eyeglass collection boxes.  The idea was developed and implemented by Lions John Beaver and Bob Bowen and proved to be quite successful in increasing our collection of eyeglasses, along with an occasional letter meant for the U. S. Postal service.   

The Macomb Lions began participation in the Diabetes Awareness Program, in 1980. On two selected days each year, Macomb Lions pass out diabetes information and sugarless candy at various locations in Macomb.  Contributions are also collected for the American Diabetes Associations at these times. The focus on Diabetes Awareness remains a main goal of the Macomb Lions Club today.

In 1991, the Macomb Lions Club began participation in White Cane Day for the benefit of the Macomb Area Visually Handicapped Association. One weekend each year Macomb Lion members man stations at local sites handing out small white canes to increase awareness of the visually handicapped and to collect donations for this local organization. The Macomb Lions Club also assisted the Macomb Area Visually Handicapped Association by transporting members to their monthly meetings.

In an effort to develop international cooperation and understanding the Macomb Lions club began sponsoring a Peace poster Contest in 2001 as part of an international contest.  The contestants included children from local schools or organized, sponsored youth groups between the ages of 11 to 13.  These children select their own artistic medium to express their feelings about the yearly themes.  Over the years several local winners have gone on to succeed at the state level.

Over the years, our club has been involved in helping our local community. In keeping with our primary focus on sight and hearing needs, the Macomb Lions Club provide financial assistance for eye examinations, glasses and hearing aids for needy persons every year. Historically, this contribution has been around $2,000 per year. In 2009, the club donated $1873 to Alexa Wohlfort, a Macomb resident, to help replace her guide dog. On September 5, 2012 Macomb Lion volumteers supplied and built a wheelchair ramp for Samatha Roberst, a 13-year-old girl with cerebral palsy.  The lead Lion was Louis Battin with Lions Bob Bowen, John Carter, Jim Entwistle and Lowell Lueck assisting.

Additionally, the Macomb Lions have also supported the Presidential Classroom, the McDonough County United Way, sponsored a young person to attend Boys State, helped send a blind person to participate in the International Goal Ball competition for the blind in Denmark, assisted the Lincoln School PTO by unloading food for their fund raisers, supported the Macomb Chapter of the Visually Handicapped, the McDonough County Rehabilitation Center, National Fire Safety (for Macomb schools), the Macomb High School band (for a trip to Washington, D.C.), the Salvation Army, and the "Athletes for Christ" program. We have also aided Project Graduation and the After Prom Program in addition to numerous other requests for special funding, including the all-weather track at Macomb High School and most recently a $1000 donation to the Macomb Public Library for their addition project in 2013.                                                

Since its inception the Macomb Lions Club has monetarily supported the efforts of local charities.  For example in 1993, substantial donations were made to local charities: $1,300 to the West Central Illinois Special Education Cooperative; $500 to the Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics; $1,000 to the Radio Information Service; $2,000 to the New Parent Program.  In 2007 and 2008 the Macomb Lions Club provided $50 for each visually impaired student in the Macomb area schools.  From the fall of 2006 the Macomb Lions financially supported, along with other service clubs and community organizations, a program in the Macomb schools designed to provide nutritious weekend meals for needy students.  In 2010 the Lions along with the Morning Rotary Club supplied, cooked and delivered a Christmas Turkey Dinner for selected needy families in the community.

On November 25, 2012, Macomb Lions acted as the sponsor for a “ Soup and More” dinner, providing labor for set-up, serving and clean-up with over 20 Lions participating.  Our Club continues to help with volunteer participation throughout the year for this once a month event                   

Meeting Places

At the start, meetings were held at noon at the Lamoine Hotel. However, it became evident that many members had to leave the meetings before their conclusion, so evening meetings were held on an experimental basis. For a time, the club alternated between noon and dinner meetings. During the first year, the decision was made that dinner meetings would be held on the first and third Thursdays of each month.                                

Our meetings were held at the Lamoine Hotel until February 3, 1966. At that time, meetings were changed to the lower level of the Student Prince West. After a short time there, we moved to the Lincoln Room of the University Union for another brief sojourn, from July 7 to August 4, 1966. Starting September 1, 1966, and lasting until February 12, 1968, meetings were held at the Plainview Motel. Then it was back to the Lamoine Hotel from March 4, 1968, until January 19, 1970. Then came a long sojourn at the Holiday Inn, from February 5, 1970, until January 21, 1982. Because the quality of meals continued to deteriorate and the cost kept increasing, it was decided to return to the Lincoln Room on a trial basis. This worked out well, and the move was made permanent by board action on February 4, 1982. The club has met at the University Union, in either the Lincoln or Lamoine Rooms, since that time with the exception of brief a few short periods at the Red Ox and The Macomb Dining Company.

Beginning January 2011, the Macomb Lions Club met at Grand Prairie, an assisted living center in Macomb.  Due to expanding consturction at Grand Prairie the club met temporarily at Golden Corral a few times before settling on Wesley Village, which serves as its current meeting site.

It should be pointed out that a number of meetings were held at the Lion Line site during the spring and summer months from 1965 until 1972, with catered dinners from such establishments as Kentucky Fried Chicken. Also, our Christmas dinner was held at times at the Macomb Country Club, and our annual family picnic in August was held at various places such as the girl scout camp, Argyle State Park, and Glenwood Park.                           

Other Events of Interest and Importance

Group singing was a part of each meeting until March 1970. Selections from the Lions songbook were rendered with varying degrees of success, as there was no piano accompaniment. On that date, the decision was made to discontinue singing at meetings. Apparently this practice was later reinstated, as the Lions Tale dated February 11, 1971, indicated several songs were sung with different Lions leading. This renewed interest did not last long, however. Under Lion Secretary David Ballew, the custom of singing happy birthday each month to honor appropriate members was inaugurated. Group singing was reinstated yet again by Lion President Bruce Prueter in 2004, with the assistance of Lion Tom Stites leading the group and again during Lion Prueter’s second term as President in 2007.                                

On November 1, 1963, Macomb Lions, spouses, and children donated 69 of the 231 pints of blood given at the Red Cross bloodmobile. The club also furnished transportation to donors who needed it.                                

On August 16, 1964, 25 Lions turned out to paint Mrs. Altheide's house. Lion Jerry, a charter member, lost his life in a boating accident earlier that year.                                

The first two donated corneas were transported for surgical implant in October and December 1965. Transportation of donated eye tissue to airports and hospitals continues to be a service the Macomb club provides.  Over the years these trips have been made to Peoria, Bloomington, Springfield and most recently to McDonough District Hospital.          

Starting in early 1966, a live rooster was presented to the most recent Lion Club inductee. This club member retained this fowl, known as the Booster Rooster, until another Lion Club member was initiated. This practice, designed to encourage new members to recruit additional persons, was continued for several months.                                

The Macomb Lions Club has participated in the Service Club Olympics since they were started in 1978. We have finished anywhere from first to third (never last) in these games. We were first for four years in a row starting in 1979, and first again in 1984 and 1985.

In 1986, Macomb Lions Club members in small groups attended meetings of a number of other Lions Clubs in District I-H to share information and to promote a feeling of fellowship between clubs.                                

On July 9, 1987, following the historical change in the International Lions Constitution, our Board of Directors proposed an amendment in the Macomb Lions Club Constitution as follows: "All references in the Constitution to the male sex shall be removed and the wording changed to render the Constitution gender neutral". Membership applications for Kathleen Davis (sponsored by Lion George Nett) and Marcia Milkman (sponsored by Lion David Beaver) were approved by the Board of Directors on July 16, 1987. They thus became the first non-male members of the club, and the Macomb Lions Club became the first service club in Macomb and one of the first in District I-H to induct female members. Club members unanimously approved the constitutional amendment at the August 20, 1987, meeting, and Davis and Milkman were inducted on September 3, 1987.                                

In 1990, the Macomb Lions Club went through the effort to classify all historical records of the club and have them housed in the Western Illinois University Archives.

On July 1, 1992, Joyce Becker became the 30th President of the Macomb Lions Club. She is the first woman to hold that office. It is very probable that Lion Joyce was one of the first of the fairer sex to hold that high a position in District I-H and possibly the State of Illinois.  Since that time six other women have held the office of Macomb Lions Club President:  Ruth Dove 1995-96; Linda Tomlinson 1996-97; Cynthia Helling 1997-98; Essie Rutledge 2002-03; Julia Roskamp 2003-04: and Joanna Graham 2008-09.                   

In 1992, the Macomb Lions awarded Lion John Storey with its first Melvin Jones Fellow Award. The award was presented by Past International Director Bill Richardson. The presentation was in the form of a "roast" in which many disparaging remarks were made about John's golf game and personal idiosyncrasies.  Since that time, six other distinguished Macomb Lions have been honored with Melvin Jones Fellow Awards, Lion Louis Battin, Lion Norman Severinsen, Lion Sidney Smay, Lion Bob Bowen, Alan Bishop and Lowell Lueck.                                

In 1993, Lion David Beaver was recognized by Lions International for his outstanding efforts to recruit new members.

The year 2000 saw the start of one of our more infamous contests BAG-a-Lion, which stood for Bring-A-Guest. The club was divided into groups with the top two teams bring the most guests for the year awarded steaks instead of hot dogs at the family picnic.  This spirited game was spearheaded by the same Lion, who shall remain nameless, that earlier had brought us Fun-Run-Baseball.

In June of 2001 it was reported in the Lions Tale the “Our Lions club has entered the 21st century with the development of its own website Since its inception the website has been maintained by efforts of Phyllis Beaver.

April 4, 2002 saw the Macomb Lion Club By-Laws amended to include a membership category of “special active.”  Special Active provides membership status for someone who would not be able to afford the cost of the meals but would like to participate in the club’s service activity.  Lion David Beaver chaired the committee whose efforts produced this by-law change.

In March of 2003, Lion Julia Roskamp delivered six solar powered hearing aids to Dr. Maribel Ponce de Leon, the head of audiology for Cuba. The hearing aids, manufactured by ComCare International and provided by the Macomb Lions Club, were to be part of a study in a remote province to see if they would be a good option for Cuba to purchase.

2003 saw the passing of past presidents Lion John Storey (April 10th) and Lion Sidney Smay (June 5th).  Lions John and Sid were both charter members of the Macomb Lions Club as well as Melvin Jones Fellows.

In the spring of 2004 the Macomb Lions club was a major participant in the collection of hazardous waste for the city of Macomb and the surrounding area.  Lion Bob Bowen was singled out as being one of the driving forces behind this activity.  The highly successful event broke a regional record for participation with over 1700 vehicles delivering hazardous waste to the site.

May 24th 2004 Lion Bob Meixner passed away, just before his term as President of the Macomb Lions Club came to a close.

August 9, 2004 the Macomb Lions Club dedicated two memorial fishing benches in honor of Lion Sidney Smay in Patton Park.  The memorial fishing benches were made possible through the help of the Macomb Park District and memorials made to the Macomb Lions Club in Lion Sid’s name.   As part of the dedication ceremony, the Lions Club brought youths from the Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization leading them in an afternoon of fishing.

Under the leadership of Lions Jack Schoonover and Gary Sherer Macomb Lions helped to serve as ambassadors for the Lions USA/Canada Leadership Forum between September 20th and 24th of 2005 in Peoria, IL

On November 3, 2006 the Macomb Board of Directors accepted Norm Severinsen’s resignation due to illness and then unanimously appointed Lion Norm as a lifetime member of the Macomb Lions Club.  Lion Norm, a charter member of the club, provided exemplar service and leadership to the Macomb Lions Club.

Beginning in December of 2007 the monthly Lions Tale publication was replaced with a monthly electronic President’s Message and bimonthly electronic Meeting Reminders.

September 17, 2008  long time Lions Club member Numa Crowder passed away and a Lions Club memorial fund was established in his name.

Macomb Lions Club celebrated its 45th Anniversary on September 18, 2008.  Founding President Bob Coutts attended along with charter members Lou Battin and Norm Severinsen.

March 5, 2009 Macomb Lions Club sponsored the annual Hearing screening and for the first time Diabetic Retinopathy screening.

March, 2009 Macomb Lion Jim Entwistle was elected Vice Governor for District 1-H.

April, 2009 Macomb Lions Club purchased 42 Braille, large print and bibliotherapy books for the Lincoln School Library with $585 from the Numa Crowder Memorial Fund.

April, 2009 the Macomb Lions Club donated $1873 for a guide dog and training trip for Macomb resident Alexa Wohlfort whose previous guide dog died in January of 2009.  The entire Macomb community was able to collect a total of $4000 to help cover her expenses.

June 18, 2009 Macomb Lions Club held a recognition reception for its two new Melvin Jones Award winners: Lions Bob Bowen and Alan Bishop.

September, 2009 it was announced that the Macomb Lions Club won the 2008 Candy Day first Place (medium club) for the largest Dollar Amount Per Capita from the Lions of Illinois Foundation.

July 2010,  Lion Jim Entwistle became the first Macomb Lion to serve as District Governor.

September 2010 saw the first Rose Sale (latter to become Appreciation Day) fundraiser spearheaded by Lion Jan Entwistle.

December 18, 2010 Macomb Lions charter member Norm Severisen passed away.        

December 22, 2010 long time Macomb Lion Howard Thie died.

January 2011 Macomb Lions Club began meeting at Grand Prairie assisted living center.

Spring of 2011 District Governor Jim Entwistle recognized Lion Sherri Huffman as the Macomb Lions Newcomer of the Year.

Through out the Spring of 2011 Macomb Lions assisted in the development of Veteran’s Park by helping spread the surface material, mulching and trail clearing activities.

May 3, 2011 dedicated Macomb Lion Doug Wylie passed away.

September 2011 memorial donations for Lions Norm Severinsen, Howard Thie and Doug Wylie funded additional books and assist in pruchasing 3 ipads for visually impaired students at Macomb’s Lincoln School.

Spring 2012 Traci DeWitt was named the Macomb Lion of the Year for 2012-13.

September 2012 volumteers from the Macomb Lions Club, under the direction of Lion Louis Battin, built a wheelchair ramp for the home of 13 year old Samantha Roberts.

January 2013 Macomb Lions begin meeting at Wesley Village.

March 28, 2013 long time Macomb Lion Don Hahn died.

Under the direction of Lion Traci DeWitt, on May 29, 2013, the Macomb Lions Club held a spaghetti dinner to fund two additional campers for Camp Lions.

July 16, 2013, first vice-president, Lion Subhash Jani passed away.

Macomb Lions Club celebrated their 50th Anniversary on October 12, 2013 at the Macomb Country Club.

July 20, 2014 long time Lion and past-president David Beaver passed away.

Beginning in 2014, Lion Al Bishop assumed the title of Lions Webmaster and using a template provided by Lions International redesigned our local Lions Website.

Lion Jim Entwistle passed away in November 2017.

Lion Robert Collier passed away in December 2017.

Lion Lowell Lueck passed away in March 2018.

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