History of the Rutherford Lions Club

How the Club Began

(from conversations with Griswold B. Holman, Sr., Charter Member)

In late 1921, Melvin Jones, Founder of Lions, sent a representative from the headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, to the East for the purpose of chartering new Lions Clubs. The representative came from Chicago on the Pennsylvania Railroad and returned to Chicago via the Erie Railroad; therefore, the earliest clubs in New Jersey are located at stops on said railroads. When the representative stopped at the Erie Railroad Station in Rutherford, the first thing he saw was a sign across Station House which read, " A. W. Van Winkle & Co." He crossed the square and entered the office. A secretary showed him first into the office of Charles A. Van Winkle. Since C.A. Van Winkle was a member of the Rotary, he was not interested in Lions, but he thought that his brother Theodore might be; therefore, he took the representative into the office of Theodore Van Winkle. Theodore Van Winkle was very interested in Lions, and promptly called Griswold B. Holman, Sr., Harvey Ely, and Lester H. Clee. They met for lunch and the Lions Club of Rutherford was born.

First Project

(from conversations with Griswold B. Holman, Sr.)

The first project of the Lions Club of Rutherford was the Rutherford Playground. The club raised $1,200.00 for this purpose shortly after being chartered in 1922 and the first playground activity was in place that very summer at Rutherford Field (now Tamblyn Field). The Rutherford Lions ran the playground for 12 years, whereupon it was turned over to the P.T.A. in 1934, and shortly after taken over by the Borough of Rutherford.

Midnight Ride to Atlantic City

(from conversations with Theodore Van Winkle, Charter Member, and lrvine Mathews, first non- charter member and Past District Governor)

At the 1923 New Jersey Lions State Convention in Atlantic City, Lester H. Clee, Pastor of the Rutherford Baptist Church and Charter Member of the Lions Club of Rutherford, was put up for election to the Office of District Governor. In those days, the entire State of New Jersey was one District, and each Lion was entitled to vote, not just the delegates. On Friday evening, one of the Rutherford Delegates at the convention called Theodore Van Winkle and reported that the vote on Saturday morning would be very close, but that he felt that a few more votes would win the election for Lester Clee. Theodore Van Winkle then began calling members, who responded by arriving at his house at 20 Montross Avenue. They piled into several automobiles and left at midnight for the long ride to Atlantic City. After a number of breakdowns to replace tires, they finished the arduous trip only a few minutes before the 9:00 a.m. vote. As a result, Lester H. Clee was elected District Governor, and became one of the very few District Governors to serve two terms. --Written by Lion Ted Van Winkle

Club Presidents 1963 - present

1963-64 Roy Swinarton     7/76-12/76 George Bainbridge     1989-90 Edgar Van Winkle     2002-03 E. Lenard Baylor     2015-16 Loretta Young
1964-65 Thurston Cooper     1/77-78 Arthur Loveridge     1990-91 Gary Cucchiara     2003-04 E. Lenard Baylor     2016-17 Theresa Gilburn
1965-66 Donald Robertazza     1978-79 Steven Ordway     1991-92 George Huntington     2004-05 E. Lenard Baylor     2017-18 Laura O'Connor
1966-67 Harry Shenloogian     1979-80 David Korn     1992-93 Neal Beeber     2005-06 E. Lenard Baylor     2018-19 Laura O'Connor
1967-68 Edward Brim     1980-81 Louis Arnold     1993-94 Walter Calhoun     2006-07 Kevin Hildebrand     2019-20 Laura O'Connor
1968-69 William Abbott     1981-82 William Boyd     1994-95 Thomas Arnold     2007-08 Kevin Hildebrand     2020-21 Laura O'Connor
1969-70 Louis Arnold     1982-83 James Cleary     1995-96 Thomas Arnold     2008-09 Kevin Hildebrand     2021-22 Laura O'Connor
1970-71 James Davidson     1983-84 Salvatore Piro     1996-97 Glenn Elliot     2009-10 Laura O'Connor        
1971-72 Herman Korn     1984-85 Kevin Hildebrand     1997-98 Glenn Elliot     2010-11 Laura O'Connor        
1972-73 Peter Ferraro     1985-86 Peter Garabedian     1998-99 David Malka     2011-12 Laura O'Connor        
1973-74 Martin Bloom     1986-87 Philip Dolcemascolo     1999-2000 Carol Cohagen     2012-13 William Galloway        
1974-75 A. Andy Glionna     1987-88 Joseph Johnson     2000-01 E. Lenard Baylor     2013-14 Theresa Gilburn        
1975-76 Donald Everett     1988-89 John Schenk     2001-02 E. Lenard Baylor     2014-15 Theresa Gilburn        



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