We Serve: The Marshfield Lions Club celebrates nine decades of charity
By Kris Leonhardt
Part I in a series
In February of 1924, Lions Field Director, Albert Lickman was in the Marshfield area trying to drum up interest for a local club. Local coverage labeled the Lions as a “non-political, non-sectarian organization” made up of business professionals with an interest in the “welfare and progress” of the community.
At that time, the Lions were active in promoting good government and citizenship, taking an active interest in the “civic, commercial, social, and moral welfare of the community.”
Membership in the organization was by invitation only and considered an “honor of the highest standard.”
While there was some interest by local professionals nothing developed until February of 1931, when organization resulted in a dinner meeting at the Hotel Charles. During the meeting, Lions International Commissioner Larry Slater presided over proceedings, where Henry S. Jones was elected president and Lester L. Schultz, secretary-treasurer.
Other officers included Dr. H.W. Mennenga, Edmund Boe, Einar Ebbe, Dr. D.J. Van Patter, Reinhold Karau, A. O. Stengl, Arnold Weber, Floyd Tuchscher, and Walter Fellenz.
At the time of the Marshfield club’s organization, there were nearly 2,500 clubs in the country, second in numbers only to Rotary.
The Lions immediately began talks of starting a city baseball team and a local Boy Scouts group.
The club obtained their official charter on April 9 of that year, with 23 members. The official charter was presented to the club by Lions District Governor George Dobbins, of Weyauwega.
The charter banquet was held at the Methodist Episcopal Church, with 100 people in attendance, including Lions representatives from Wausau, Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids, and Weyauwega.
During President Henry Jones’ charter speech, he stated that the club would dedicate itself to serving the “best interests of the city.”
Charter members also included: Walter Fellenz, Harold Jepson, Dr. H.L. Laessig, J.W. Messerschmidt, Harry Minegar, Rev. M.R. Olsen, Irving Schaeffer, Otto Schmelter, Lester Schultz, George Taylor, Albert Wenzel, Jr., Louis Stott, Charles Siep, and Louis Trossen.
That month, the Marshfield Lions also began advocating for the state legislature to create a resident fishing license law and amend non-residents fees, which were at $3 to $5.
The Lions began work with Wood County for a law that would require every Wisconsin resident, 18 years and older, to pay an annual $1 fee to fish. An annual hunting fee had already been established in the state. The club said that the fishing fee changes would not only bring revenue to the state, but also help restock lakes and rivers.
Continued next week