News: Spencer History – Lion’s Club


Source: Spencer Centennial Book (1874 – 1974)

In February 1941 the Spencer Lions Club received their charter. Through the efforts of J. R. Thomas, principal of the Spencer Public School, 23 men from Spencer were organized to become members of Lions International. The charter was issued with a membership of 23, who were as follows:

Lowel Taylor, Clyde B. Jacobitz, Laurence Driscoll, Marvin Engel, Arthur L." Boock, A. E. Messer, John Orgish, Emil Marten, H. A. Kuethe, Arnold Bruesewitz, R. J. Tack, H. A. Walterbach, Wm. P. Jensen, H. G. Siemers, John L. Witt, G. C. Schulz, G. S. Ingham, C. B. Spicher, George Seitz, Otto Sommer, R. L. Parrette, J. R. Thomas.

At their first meeting J. R. Thomas was elected as the first president of the Spencer Lions Club. Their first meetings were held in the rear dining room of Gary's Cafe, which is now known as the Spencer Cafe. Later the club met at the various church dining halls. Eventually the Lutheran and Catholic churches discontinued serving and the Methodist Church continues to serve.
At the present time only two charter members remain with the club.They are Arnold Bruesewitz and Harold Kuethe. Membership varied through the years from 23 to 36 and then by April of 1968 the membership had dropped to 24. Since that time the membership has grown to 41. The club has been active on a local, state, and international level, contributing money and time to worthwhile projects. Just to mention some, the following are noted:
In 1951 the club was instrumental in promoting the first lighted athletic field, which was located where our Village Park is at present. Clyde Jacobitz, George Seitz and Russell Sampson served on a committee which was incorporated as the Spencer Athletic Corp. They canvassed the businessmen who donated to the project along with the Lions Club. The project was completed at a cost of $3600. The Lions constructed a six foot fence around the field.

The Lions have held annual smelt feeds since 1954, the profits having been used since 1956 to support the Wisconsin Lions Camp for the blind at Rosholt, Wisconsin. Since 1957 they have also helped support the Leader Dogs for the Blind at Rochester, Michigan.

In 1956 the club built a warming house for the village skating rink. The warming house has now been removed because of its poor condition.

The Lions Club was instrumental in laying the ground work for the construction of eight classrooms, cafeteria and gymnasium for the Spencer School District. Through a committee, led by Lion R. J. Tack, the project became reality in 1958.

In 1958 the Lions Club purchased a score clock for the R. J. Tack Auditorium.

The Lions held their first light bulb sale in November 1962 and this has been an annual project since that time and the proceeds are used to support the Wisconsin Lions Camp and Leader Dogs for the Blind programs.

Since 1965 the club has been awarding a scholarship to the outstanding student-athlete of the Spencer High School.

In 1969 the club planted their first trees in the Village Park. In 1970 they purchased and installed a slide and merry-go-round at the Village Park. In 1971 they purchased picnic tables and grills for the park.

In 1974 they contributed $2500.00 toward the construction of a building which will accommodate the ticket office, concessions, and space for storage at our new athletic field. The contribution was made to the Spencer School District.

Through the years the club has purchased many eye glasses for children of needy families in the Spencer area. They have been co-sponsors of many carnivals through the years and have been co-sponsors of Spencerama Days with Spencer Jaycees since its beginning. They have collected used eye glasses for many years which are sent to Wausau for packing and shipping to foreign countries for unfortunate people who cannot provide glasses for their families. The club laid out the village for house numbering, installing the numbers, and furnishing numbers for all the homes which they still furnish at no charge to new home owners. The club also participates in the annual United Fund drive with the Jaycees and Spencer Woman's Club.

Due to the loss of records from 1941 to 1952, when Russell Sampson became Secretary and Treasurer, a position he still holds after 22 years, parts of the history of the club are missing.

The present officers of the Spencer Lions Club are as follows, their term of office expiring in July 1974:

Charles Sundell - President
Rudy Schweiss - 1st Vice Pres.
James DiUlio - 2nd Vice Pres.
John Burke - Tailtwister
Douglas Bloedel - Lion Tamer
Russell Sampson - Sec. & Treas.
Richard O'Brien - Director
Ronald Rux - Director
Norman Kasper - Director
Albert Huotari - Director




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