History of District 11-C1Compiled and Edited by Donald H. Matyger, PDDGThe Beginning of LionismIn 1913, Melvin Jones who was a 34 year old insurance man with light hair and a permanent smile, joined a Chicago men’s group called the Business Circle. This was just a normal thing for any young business man to do, but this turned out to be the beginning of something that affect the lives of countless millions of people throughout the entire world.Melvin Jones was a superb salesman and a genius for organization, and he was successful in helping the Business Circle (which was suffering severe membership losses) build their membership up to a total of 200. He introduced new ideas in the club’s way of operating, and by 1915 he was elected their secretary.In his work as secretary of the Business Circle, young Jones began to get the feeling there was something wrong with the whole operation. He began to fell that these two successful business men, who met at a luncheon and considered it a good day when they exchanged profitable orders, should be directing their group power and influence toward unselfish service to other areas of community life.Pursuing his thought of group action in unselfish service to the community, Melvin began - in 1916 - to correspond with other unaffiliated men’s groups in an effort to get their feelings on the question of forming a national association. Some of the replies were agreeable and encouraging, while others to the - you mind your own business and we’ll mind ours - attitude. His wife became discouraged at times and thought he was taking too much time away from his business and spending it on something that would never be
of much benefit to him. But they continued, and, on those long nights in 1916 when Melvin and his wife were busy on a flood of question-and-answer correspondence, the spirit of Lionism was already visible.Finally with a background of information and some encouragement, he took the idea of affliliation to the membership of the Business Circle for approval. By the end of the year, the Circle’s Directors approved the idea, but left the mechanics of the plan to their secretary. He continued to correspond with the clubs, and the replies were encouraging, including one from Dr. William P. Woods, an Evansville, Indiana surgeon who represented the Royal Order of the Lions. Dr. Woods became the first President of Lions International.On June 7, 1917, and the invitation of Melvin Jones, 20 delegates representing 27 clubs from various parts of the United States met in Chicago’s LaSalle Hotel. Despite the wide range of interests and personalities, some progress was made, and on a secret ballot it was tenatively agreed to call the new group the “Association of Lions Clubs”. Certainly the nucleus of Lionism was born at this meeting and the ground work was laid for an organization that some day was destined to become the world’s largest organization of service minded men, with Melvin Jones as it’s undisputed founder. According to statistics provided by LCI, there were 29 Clubs organized, at the time of the closing of the first International Convention on October 10, 1917, which was held in Dallas, Texas. These Clubs were located in nine States. By the time of the 1924 International Convention, which was held in Omaha, Nebraska, June 23-26, there was at least one Club in each of the 48 States, and the District of Columbia on the main land of the United States. At that time, Lions Clubs had also been organized in four Canadian Provinces, and the total number of Clubs had reached 761, with a membership of 36,943. All this was accomplished in a little less than seven years.Brief History of Multiple Districts 10 and 11 (Lion Donald’s Note: - Michigan is the only state in the nation to have two (2) multiple district designations... District 10, in the Upper Peninsula and District 11, in the Lower Peninsula. This was necessary because of the unique nature of the state... two peninsulas separated by a strait. It was a very practical solution to a problem. Administration of one district would have been very difficult.)
Lionsim in Michigan began with the organizing of the Marquette Lions Club in the Upper Peninsula on October 14, 1919. Being the first club in the state, it also had the distinction of being the number one in the soon to be created District 10 and was also the first club organized East of Chicago. One month later, November 14, 1919, the Grand Rapids Lions Club was organized and became the first club in the Lower Peninsula, thus the beginning of District 11. (Although at present - District 9). Within six months, six new clubs were chartered in the Lower Peninsula. They were Muskegon, December, 1919; Lansing, Detroit (downtown), Port Huron and Flint in February, 1920; and Saginaw in May, 1920.
The First District Governor (1918-1919)
George W. Milligan of Chicago was the first to serve
what is now Multiple District 11, but was then part of
District 9. With the organizing of ten (10) clubs by the
end of 1920, Tony Menke of Detroit was elected District
Governor of the entire Lower Peninsula - District 11.
Michigan is the only state in the nation to have two (2) multiple district designations... District 10, in the Upper Peninsula and District 11, in the Lower Peninsula. This was necessary because of the unique nature of the state... two peninsulas separated by a strait. It was a very practical solution to a problem. Administration of one district would have been very difficult.ThecompletelistofGovernorswhoservedtheentireLower Peninsula is as follows:1919-20Tony MenkeDetroit1920-21Carl ReynoldsLansing1921-22Carl ReynoldsLansing1922-23Robert CurrySaginaw1923-24Dr. Chester DotyDetroit1924-25Karl M. Sorrick (PIP)Springport1925-26Charles DibbleDetroit1926-27Jesse P. WolcottPort Huron1927-28W. Leroy HooperDetroit1928-29Dr. Phillip CallahanHighland Park1929-30Edward SharpeBay City1930-31George CramPontiac1931-32James QuinlanGrand Rapids1932-33Garnet SweezeyPleasant Ridge1933-34Paul W. SchaferBattle Creek1934-35Glen O. StewartLansing1935-36Robert LudwigSt. Joseph1936-37Arthur MannPort Huron
1937-38S.A. Dodge (PIP)Bloomfield Hills1938-39Walter DixonNewaygo1939-40Phillip J. MayerDallas, Texas1940-41Charles A. NuttingDetroit At the end of the 1940-41 Lions Year, District 11 had a total of 87 clubs and a membership of 3,803 with one District Governor covering all of them. The Lions Year 1941-42 saw the Lower Peninsula divided into two districts. The new districts retained the numerical designation of 11 and were fursther identified by giving each a letter of the alphabet. “A” being the Eastern half and “B” the Western half. This was the beginning of what we now know as Multiple District 11.Further re-districting took place in...1946-47 When Districts “C” and “D” were created1951-52 Saw District “E” emerge1955-56 Districts “A” and “B” were split to makeDistricts “A1”, “A2”, “B1” and “B2”1974-75 District 10 split into 10-A and 10-B1976-77 Our own District C1 was born along withC2, D1, D2, E1, E2. These districts remained as of the original writing of this document by Lion Donald H. Matyger, PDDG.Lionism in the Upper Peninsula District 10 grew very slowly in the beginning. From 1919 to 1938 only thirteen of the current clubs were organized.1919Marquette1923Newberry1925Calumet1929Lake Linden Hubbell1934Escanaba, Menominee1935Manistique, Sault Ste Marie1936 Hancock, St. Ignace1937Bessemer, Munising1938Powers Spalding During the 1940’s and 1950’s, 34 clubs were chartered, making this period the most productive thus far for Lionism in the Upper Peninsula. At the time of Lion Donald’s compilation of this report, there were 72 clubs in Multiple District 10.
For the year 1918-19, George W. Milligan served as District Governor for both District 10 and 11 (District 9). One District Goveror server the entire Upper Peninsula until 1974-75 when the District was split into two sub-districts. District 10A was the Western part of the peninsula and 10B was the Eastern part. (The complete list of the District Governors can be found in “Who’s Who in Michigan Lionism”, available from the state office). The growth of Lionism in Michigan beginning with the Year 1920-1921, 551 members and increases to 19,774 by year 1992-1993 the last date for which figures were compiled by Lion Donald. By 1980-1981 we had reached a peak of 22,870 members.
International Directorsfrom Multiple Districts 10 & 111944-46Ralph M. SheehanMarquette1956-58Walter G WilsonSt. Ignace1959-61Robert D WyattKewadin1962-64C. LaVern RobbinsBattle Creek1966-68Harold L. PocklingtonRochester1968-70George DalyFlint1983-85James O. FrendewayIron Mountain1985-87Kenneth LautzenheiserJerome1989-91Bill E. HanelEast Lansing1992-94Larry YoungDetroit1995-97Charles WeirLansing1998-00Dennis CoblerMuskegon2001-03John WalkerSterling Heights2006-08Bill HansenRochester Hills2010-12Gary AndersonGrand RapidsInternational Presidentsfrom Multiple Districts 10 & 111923-24John S NoelGrand Rapids1940-41Karl M SorrickSpringport1953-54S A DodgeBloomfield Hills1978-79Ralph A LynamAlmaMichigan Lions State ProjectsAt the time Lion Donald created this history report, the Lions of Michigan supported three state projects.•Leaderdogs for the Blind•Welcome Home for the Blind•Michigan Eye BankMore to follow…