JULY 1945 – LIONS CLUB INTERNATIONAL MEETING

Business and professional men of our community had long recognized the need for a civic organization to promote and improve our city, foster the good will of its citizens, and capitalize Lake Waconia.   Commercial clubs had been started at various times, but had met with little success or longevity.  In July of 1945, a Lions International Representative named Tom Sheridan met with a group of interested men at Waconia City Hall.   He presented detailed information regarding the Lions Club, how it is organized and functioned, and what it can do for a community.  Following the presentation an immediate vote was taken on whether or not to proceed.   A show of hands indicated that those in attendance wanted to proceed in the organization of a Lions Club in Waconia.   Temporary officers were elected and a follow-up meeting was scheduled for August 2nd, 1945.

AUGUST 2nd, 1945 – FORMALLY ORGANIZED

Word had quickly spread throughout the community and a much larger group of interested citizens attended the next meeting on August 2nd.  It was also attended by Tom Sheridan and the following four members of the Hopkins Lions Club:

  • Zone Chairman Williams
  • President Sefcik
  • Past President Carroll
  • Past President Parks

The delegation from the Hopkins Lions Club provided the group in attendance additional information regarding Lionism.   They also offered to become both sponsor and mentor the fledgling Waconia Lions Club, which those in attendance unanimously agreed to accept.   The Hopkins Lions delegation then facilitated the ballot election of permanent officers for the Waconia Lions.   The results of that election were as follows:

PRESIDENT Arnold Westphal
FIRST VICE PRESIDENT C. H. Ortlip
SECOND VICE PRESIDENT P. A. Glaeser
THIRD VICE PRESIDENT P. E. Kemske
SECRETARY & TREASURER J. E. Fottral
LION TAMER Ray Allmann
TAIL TWISTER Ovid Northrop
BOARD OF DIRECTORS A. E. Haering
BOARD OF DIRECTORS A. G. Maiser
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Rufinus Wagener
BOARD OF DIRECTORS A. W. Pufahl
 

Newly and unanimously elected president Arnold Westphal quickly took charge of the remainder of the meeting.   Annual dues were set at $12.00 and a decision taken to hold club meetings on a bi-monthly basis.

AUGUST 7th, 1945 – FIRST DINNER MEETING

The first official dinner meeting was held on August 7th, 1945 at Lion Bill Wildermuth’s Eat Shop located on Main Street.   There were 49 club members present as well as 3 guests from both the Hopkins and Minneapolis Lions Clubs.  The guests led the entire group in the singing of “Don’t You Hear Those Lions Roar!” to round out the dinner.

An excerpt from that first board meeting on August 8th, 1945 indicated that President Westphal and Lion Wildermuth had visited the Ration Board to make an application for the necessary ration points to cover the meals at bi-monthly meetings.   This was necessary since World War II was still in progress at the time and many items, including meat, was still being strictly rationed.   Per the minutes, President Westphal stated that “It looks like points allowed will be just enough for bare necessities.”

AUGUST 1945 – SECOND DINNER MEETING

The second dinner meeting at the Eat Shop on main 63 club members.  Membership certificates and pins were presented to all in attendance.  A committee responsible for organizing a “Charter Night” for the club was also formed.   Members of this committee included the following members:

  • Ray Allmann
  • Al Maiser
  • Ovid Northrop
  • Rufinus Wagener
  • A. C. Wessale

OCTOBER 2nd, 1945 – CHARTER NIGHT

The Charter Night Committee wasted very little time in organizing the “Charter Night” for the Waconia Lions Club.   The event was sent to occur on October 2nd, 1945 at the High School auditorium.   Though simply a regular meeting night for the fledgling club, it was made truly memorable by the committee.  Highlights from the minutes taken by Secretary James Fottral are as follows:

  • Members and their wives, together with guests and Lions visiting from other clubs, made for a total of 260 people attending the event.
  • The banquet was prepared and served by a combined committee of ladies from three area churches.
  • District Governor William Gibson presented the Charter to the club.
  • Hopkins Lions President Frank Sefcik presented the gong and gavel to Waconia Lions Club President Arnold Westphal.
  • Musical entertainment was furnished by the Waconia High School Girls Glee Club and the Minneapolis Lions International Quartet.
  • The principal speaker, District Judge Moriarity, gave a talk on Americanism and the history of the Lions organization.
  • The Minneapolis Lions International Quartet put on a song request performance to close the evening.  It was very well received and appreciated by everyone in attendance.

The headline in the September 30th, 1945 Minneapolis Sunday Tribune read “Waconia Gets Lion Charter”.   The article stated that the Waconia Lions Club would be the largest Lions Club in the central Minnesota District.