History of the Mishawaka Lions Club
1923 was a very memorable year. Warren G. Harding was president of the United States and facing his own White House Scandal. The top silent films for that year were “Safety Last” starring Harold Lloyd, “Robin Hood” with Douglas Fairbanks and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” with Lon Chaney. The most popular songs for that year were “Tea for Two” and “Barney Google.”
That was also the year that four men got together and decided to start the Mishawaka Lions Club. Those four men: William W. French, D.D. Gross, A.M. Jennings and Edgar Duker worked to get the club off the ground and with nine others held their first meeting on June 23, 1923. The club was authorized by Lions International July 9, 1923 under a special dispensation because it did not yet have the required quota of 25 charter members. They were soon obtained and the charter was formally presented on November 16, 1923.
The Mishawaka Club was the 12th to be formed in Indiana. When the Mishawaka Lions Club was first organized there were only 600 clubs and 40,000 members in the International Association. Today there are 1,445,590 members and 44,018 clubs in 735 districts in 185 countries and geographical areas around the world.
Lion William French (d. 1949) was probably one of the most active members in the Mishawaka Lions Club. He served as president on three separate occasions, was Deputy District Governor and District Governor twice. Lion French even served on the International Board of Directors in 1935-1937. He probably would have been a serious candidate for the office of International President had he possessed the personal financial independence to do the traveling required in the presidential year.
The Mishawaka Lions Club also has a large number of members who have been a part of our organization for over 25 years or are life members. Membership to the club was also increased in 1987 when women were permitted to join. Two women joined in that first year.
The Mishawaka Lions Club has served our community in many ways, some more visible than others. Our goal is not recognition, but service to the community we all live and work in where we will continue to serve for many more years.