Our Service To The Community Includes:
Service To Community
In 2014 The Founders Club Gave $44,000 To Charity.
Leader Dog Program
A program which trains and provides service dogs for the blind.
Lions Scholarship Recepients
Awarding Scholarships To The Future Leaders Of Tommorrow.
Lions International was started under the leadership of Melvin Jones, a businessman from the Chicago area. He called together business leaders from the mid part of our nation to a meeting in Dallas in October 1917. Those attending represented independent civic clubs. A club that later became the Wichita Falls Downtown Lions Club was organized in July 1917 by G.M. Cunningham.
The Club sent member B.F. Johnson to the Dallas meeting in October 1917 to represent the Club at the first “convention.” The Lions in “the Falls” have always dealt themselves a hand in what is going on in Lionism
In 1926 the Wichita Falls Lions had a famous Lions quartet made up of Joel H. McGregor, Francis M. Hansen, H.W. Gray and Erwin Bohmfalk, and they were great. They sang all through the District at Ladies’ Nights and at Lions Conventions. That year they entertained at the State Lions Convention in McAllen. When the quartet crossed the river to Reynosa that night they wisely slipped off and left the first tenor, “Bummie” Bohmfalk, back in McAllen. “Bummie” was pastor of the First Methodist Church in Wichita Falls. That night is Reynosa they went over well as a trio, singing their best number “Sweet Adeline.”
In 1930 Dr. Graham was elected District Governor of the Texas District. He was also Chairman of the Texas District Council. Doc loved Lionism and the work, but he was scared to death of a podium and dreaded a set speech when he was on the sending end. But he whipped the DG Council into shapes that first year as they set about their task of putting Texas on a five boss basis. There was serious State problems in those days and Doc was a strong man in counsel.
Unfortunately, he did not survive to see the culmination of his Lion-dreams. It was ten years, 1940, before another DG came from Wichita Falls. Then, dear, cordial, considerate and sterling Lion Frank Criplever finally was elected. He was an inveterate attenderon-
conventions (State and International) and everybody in the District loved and admired him as a Lion. When he finally ran for DG everyone was for him. He made a diligent and industrious official and did his Lion’s part in 1940, along with Mel Miller of Austin and Roy Davenport from the Magic Valley and other great Lions of the time. “Crip” ran a laundry for many years and when he retired, he went to live down at Rosenberg. But he would come back every New Year’s Eve to Fort Worth for the “Tom Gillis Chicken Dinner” and there his 2-E friends would greet him. He passed away a few years later, but we never had a finer Lion in Texas…and that, my
brethren, is testimony in Israel!
It took 20 years to produce another DG up here in “the Falls.” Then, we chose “Podner” D.L. Ligon, Vice-President of Midwestern (State) University, if you must have it all. Podner was born down in Denton County and immigrated to Wichita Falls in 1937. When he set down his saddlebags and took up his teaching job he joined this Lions Club. He was elected President of our Club in 1957 and got a taste for glory that took him on to Zone Chairman and finally to DG of District 2 E-1 in 1960.
He was a 100% DG and organized the Holliday, Wichita Falls Southwest and set Cross Plains back to work. He started out to gather data for this article and did a valorous, vigorous and vitalized work assembling it. But his teaching duties required too much of this time and with reluctance he had to resign the task. He was a Life Director of our Club and a more devoted, enthusiastic Lion never existed in all of Texas at that that time. Selah! Then, in 1963, came Charles E. Davis from our Club to head up District 2 E-1. He got results and trained many of the following DG well. He held his Mid-Winter Conference at Stephenville and had a young, up-and-coming International Director from Texas City as his speaker and spellbinder. Charlie did a good job that year. That year Walter H. Coleman from our Club was a Director of the Kerrville Crippled Children’s Camp.
---the above short history of the Wichita Falls Founder Lions Club was taken from “A Few Moments of History”, District 2E-1, gathered
by Lion M.J. Weaver, District Historian in 1978. There is much more to add to this history.