By Marlys Good
After 81 years of civic involvement, the Greybull Lions Club has folded due to lack of membership. It’s a sad litany of our times.
Greybull’s folding was preceded by the closing of Lions clubs in Worland, Lovell and Powell; Cody is the sole club still “alive and well” in northwest Wyoming.
The Greybull Lions Club was founded Aug. 12, 1921; meetings were held in the basement of the First National Bank, which is now the Bank of Greybull.
Its impact on the community through the years has been well noted. Public service projects included: Glasses for the Needy, Easter Egg Hunt, Peace Poster Contest, student scholarships, selling tickets at both the 49er events and the Big Horn County Fair and sponsoring youth projects at the elementary school.
In addition, if there was a need, a community event, you knew the Greybull Lions would be there, ready to help.
To fund these projects, the Lions sold Christmas trees, light bulbs and apples, held raffles and manned concession stands.
In 1958 Greybull hosted the 38th annual state convention of Lions International. According to the Greybull Standard archives, 350 Lions and their wives were expected to attend the three-day affair.
The officers in 1957-58 included Frank Norris Jr., president; Hillman Snell, 1st Vice-President; Dr. James Johnson, 2nd Vice-President; Lon Stadtfeld, Secretary-Treasurer; Bill Shelledy, Lion Tamer and Dick Reed, Tail Twister. Board of Directors included Paul Peterson, Clive Stoelk and Dr. A.J. Kelly.
General convention chairman was C.W. Core.
Members of the local club went all out to ensure convention-goers had a good time. In addition to the regular sessions, the first of which was held in the Big Horn Theatre, there were chuckwagon breakfasts held at the park, a Governor’s Ball at the community hall, entertainment by the Greybull Lions Club quartet, a smorgasbord that included hors d’oeuvres and a banquet.
To show the community support and involvement in this large undertaking, it was noted that the three evening meals were prepared by the LDS Relief Society while the BPO Does prepared the breakfasts and lunches.
A follow-up article that appeared in the June 5 edition of the Standard noted this remark by director of Lions International Roy Keaton as saying, “I’m amazed at the spirit of Wyoming Lions in general and of this club in particular.”
Another out-of-town Lion said he “met more Lions at this convention than at all the other six or seven I’ve attended put together. I was also treated more hospitably in Greybull than anywhere else.”
John Hesco said he joined the Lions in 1965. At the time the members met in the VFW building. “There were around 65 members,” he recalls. He said meetings have been held in many places since 1965, including the Norris, Delane’s, Parker’s and Uptown cafes, the Overland Express and BT’s Diner.
In keeping with the times the Lions Club, in its latest years, welcomed women into the fold, something not all clubs have done. According to former Lions Club member Becky Anderson, the club in Cody does accept women members.
The community will miss the Lions and appreciates what they have done (and meant) to the community in their 81 years.