The public is invited to come to an Open House sponsored by the Lions Club. Grantsville Lions are celebrating their 70th anniversary on Saturday, November 11, from 2:00-4:00, at the Club Building which is located at the corner of River and Stump Streets, behind the Committee on Aging Center. Light refreshments will be available and music will be provided.

The Grantsville Club has served the community continually ever since it started. As other organizations disbanded, the Lions have taken over a larger role in local projects and activities.

Come to the Lions Club's Open House, visit with members and friends, and learn more about Lions International, in general, and the Grantsville Club, in particular.

The Grantsville Lions Club is among the last civic clubs in Calhoun County, having completed hundreds of projects that benefited the county citizens since 1927.

The county, in its hey-day, had a dozen or more of civic groups with large memberships, but the Lions Club has managed to be a survivor with stalwart men and women who donate hundreds of hours of their time to help their neighbors.


By Robert Bonar

Lions Clubs International is the largest service club in the world, with 1.3 million members in over 200 countries. It was organized in 1917 by Chicago businessman, Melvin Jones. The Lions Club motto is "We Serve." Helen Keller was the main speaker at the organization's national convention in 1925.

She challenged Lions to be Knights of the Blind. Since then, the main focus of Lions Clubs has been sight conservation. Lions are also involved in service projects to benefit local communities, and international efforts. Worldwide, Lions Clubs provide disaster relief, sponsor immunization programs and efforts to treat diseases that effect vision, assist youth groups, support vision related research, collect and recycle used glasses, give free eye exams, donate to charities and other groups, and many similar service activities.

All money raised is used for charitable purposes.


On August 27, 1927, 23 citizens in Calhoun County organized the Grantsville Lions Club. The sponsoring club was the Parkersburg Lions Club. The Charter Night ceremony was held in the Masonic Building with more than 100 Lions from all over the state in attendance. However, this early club only lasted a few years and was disbanded on May 31, 1936. Charter members were: Bob Amos, Lyle Ayers, Marvin Cooper, G. W. Farmer, H. T. Francis, Robert L. Hamilton, C. A. Jarvis, M. P Lowe, F. F. McCoy, Tell McDonald, A. G. Mathews, J. A. Morford, Ray E. Morford, Amos E. Morgan, Ralph Morris, Lynn Oles, G. A. Richards, Albert Stump, Ira N. Stump, John L. Teets, Ivan Umstead, A. E. Weaver, C. A. Witt.

Officers elected for the inaugural year were: President, H. T. Francis; Secretary, John L. Teets; Treasurer, Claude A. Jarvis. The club met every other Friday at 6:15 in the Methodist Church banquet room.

One of the main accomplishments of this club was cooperating with civic groups and elected officials in surrounding counties to assure the construction of Route 16, as part of a state effort to connect all county seats with paved roads. This effort was completed in the early 1930's and celebrated by a joint meeting with the St. Marys Kiwanis Club.

The old road was straightened and widened, fills were made, bridges and culverts were built and, in places, the road was completely relocated. The new Route 16 was paved with crushed stone and tar for an all-weather surface. Much of the work was done by prison labor. Vestiges of the original road can still be seen in various parts of the county.

Other activities of this early club included: sponsoring a grade school band, efforts to secure an improved telephone system, a town wide clean-up campaign, donations to the 4-H, and promoting dairy farming in the county.


On May 14, 1947, twenty years after the founding of the first club, a new Lions Club was organized in Grantsville. Sponsored by the Spencer Lions Club, the charter meeting was conducted by Edward R. Kingsley, former president of Lions International. The 33 charter members were: Paul Barr, Olin Barrows, Rolland E. Bennett, C. O. Bower, A. G. Burch, Everett Burns, R. H Campbell, Leon Gibson, Cleo Hathaway, Wade Hosey, Dewey Howes, George Lambiotte, R. H. Marshall, Isadore Mendelson, Earnest Mollohan, Robert Morgan, Charles Murray, Lynn S. Oles, Sr., Paul B. Powell, John Smith, Walter E. Smith, Harry Stevens, Ray Stiers, J. W. Stump, Shirley Stutler, H. C. Toepfer, W. O. Umstead, Wayne I. Underwood, Leavy Vanhorn, Dyer Waldo, Burl D. Walker, Ernest Wolfe, Ivy V. Yoak.


Presidents: 1947-48 Lynn S. Oles, 1948-49 Paul Powell, 1949-50 Ray Stiers, 1950-51 not recorded, 1951-52 not recorded, 1952-53 Charles Murray, 1953-54 Don Corbitt, 1954-55 William Busch, 1955-56 E. Wilson, 1956-57 Leon Yoke, 1957-58 Willard Furr, 1958-59 Thurl Proudfoot, 1959-60 Gary Campbell, 1960-61 William Amick, 1961-62 Noble Crew, 1962-63 Richard Snider, 1963-64 Eugene F. Brown, 1964-65 Thomas Cain, 1965-66 Clyde Busch, 1966-67 Forrest Southall, 1967-68 Richard Stalnaker, 1968-69 Richard Stalnaker,

1969-70 Donald Hosey, 1970-71 David Umstead, 1971-72 David Umstead, 1972-73 James Jackson, 1973-74 Emmett Johnson, 1974-75 Earl Nicholson, 1975-76 Larry Whited, 1976-77 Thomas Justice, 1977-78 Donald Dettman, 1978-79 Corel Poling, 1979-80 Phillip Reale, 1980-81 Mark J. Higgs, 1981-82 Robert G. Bonar, 1982-83 Clifford Byers, 1983-84 Ernest Hosey, 1984-85 Robert N. Stalnaker, 1985-86 James Wallace, 1986-87 Willis Tom Gainer, 1987-88 Clifford Byers, 1988-89 Donald Whipkey, 1989-90 William G. Shuman, 1990-91 Ronald L. Hosey, 1991-92 Albert J. Smith, 1992-93 Denzil T. Dye, 1993-94 Donald Little, 1994-95 James McCormick, 1995-96 Donald Little, 1996-97 Robert G. Bonar,

1997-98 Robert G. Bonar, 1998-99 Curtis Gregory, 1999-00 James Garretson, 2000-01 Ray Lahaie, 2001-02 Ray Lahaie, 2002-03 Henry Cooper, 2003-04 Curtis Gregory, 2004-05 Curtis Gregory, 2005-06 Loretta Freshour, 2006-07 Shirley Gregory, 2007-08 James K. Hardman, 2008-09 Curtis Gregory, 2009-10 James McCormick, 2010-11 James McCormick, 2011-12 Jason Nettles, 2012-13 Robert Beall, 2013-14 Curtis Gregory, 2014-15 Starling Holbert, 2015-16 James McCormick, 2016-17 Alice Cottrell, 2017-18 Cheryl Cheesbrew.

Secretaries: 1947-48 Robert Campbell, 1948-1980 George Lambiotte, 1980-1986 Robert Bailey, 1986-1989 Robert G. Bonar, 1989-90 Russell T. Burrows, 1990-1994 Michael D. Edwards, 1994-95 James Garretson, 1995-1999 Willis Tom Gainer, 1999-2018 Robert G. Bonar

Treasurers: 1947-1981 George Lambiotte, 1980-1983 Willis Tom Gainer, 1983-1994 Donald E. Dettman, 1994-2004 Richard Kirby, 2004-05 James K. Hardman, 2005-2009 Henry Cooper, 2009-2011 Shirley Gregory, 2011-2016 Ruth Beall, 2016-2018 Brenda Holbert.

**note: for over 30 years George Lambiotte was both secretary and treasurer; he was active in club projects and sponsored numerous individuals for membership; for many Calhoun Countians, George Lambiotte was the face of Lionism in Calhoun!

The Grantsville Lions Club has exemplified the motto "We Serve" in many capacities in its 70 years of existence. It has paid for hundreds of eye exams and purchased glasses for numerous individuals. It has taken on projects to benefit the community, donated tens of thousands of dollars to local groups and organizations and especially youth (scholarships, Scouts, 4-H, school activities, sports, etc.), and volunteered thousands of hours to assist where ever needed. By the end of the 20th Century other local service clubs (eg. Woman's Club, Civic Club, Jaycees, etc.) had disbanded, leaving the Lions Club to assume more responsibilities.

The Club's dinner meetings have been held in various locations including: Rainbow Hotel, Knotts Methodist Church, Senior Citizens Center, Grantsville Hotel. In 1999, the American Legion disbanded and donated their building (the former Army Reserve Center) to the Club. It has met there ever since. Meetings are held on the second and fourth Mondays at 6:00. Also, in the summer, monthly family picnic meetings are enjoyed, in early years at the town park, and currently at the Calhoun County Park (also, for several years, Jim and Evelyn McCormick opened their camp on Katies Run for picnics).

Over the years, membership has fluctuated between the high teens and midthirties. In 2003, Shirley Gregory and Loretta Freshour became the first females to join the Grantsville Lions and, for several years, the Club sponsored a Leo Club for middle and high school students. Membership in 2017, is 24 (16 men and 8 women).

(bold indicates a long-standing activity

1940's: Though football was a sport of major interest in Calhoun County, in 1947 Calhoun County High School was one of the few schools in the area that did not have a lighted field. Games were played Friday or Saturday afternoon. Seeing this need, in the very first year of its existence, the Grantsville Lions Club took the lead in sponsoring a community drive to install lights at the field.

It raised $1,500 in 1947 alone, and by the 1948 season CCHS was playing night games. The club also assisted in funding a war memorial, put on a minstrel show to raise money for sight services, gave a college scholarship and donated to the 4-H. The Grantsville Club also began a friendly relationship with the Harrisville Lions Club by playing them in a game of softball.

1950's: The club continued funding 4-H and Scout projects, began assisting the local volunteer fire department with necessary purchases, and donated to efforts to purchase lights for the bridge across the Little Kanawha River. It also delivered Christmas baskets to needy families, sponsored a circus, helped the high school dance band buy music, bought TB bonds and an ad in the high school yearbook, and gave money to the the March of Dimes. The club began a long standing tradition of selling mops and brooms to fund sight conservation activities. It transported dozens of school students to Spencer for eye exams. In 1957, the Grantsville Lions purchased 16 acres on Rt. 16 south of Mt. Zion and operated a roadside park there until 1968.

1960's: In order to increase revenue to fund its continuing sight conservation activities, the club began sponsoring a carnival as part of the annual Wood Festival. It also began a tradition of giving Santa's candy treats to children at Christmas. When the Mt. Zion community needed funding for its water system, the Grantsville Club responded with a sizable contribution. It also donated to the library building fund.

1970's: The need for a community building in the Grantsville area became apparent and the Lions Club began setting aside money for this purpose. In addition to mop and broom sales and sponsoring the carnival, the club began playing bingo to raise money (originally for prizes and then for cash). A special project was helping defray hospital expenses for a young cancer patient. Club members started collecting used eyeglasses for reuse. It added the town Halloween party and trick-or-treat to its list of activities. The club began awarding yearly college scholarships to high school students and began sponsoring students to various activities and events.

1980's: The club subscribed to large-print editions of periodicals for the County Library. It paid for a new heating and air-conditioning system for the Senior Citizens Center, donated to the fire department, purchased CPR manikins for the hospital, refurbished town entrance signs, erected a flagpole at Bramblewood Village, and built picnic tables for the town and county parks. Club members raised sorghum cane for several years to fund its projects and to help the Molasses Festival. Also, Lions began playing bingo during the Festival. The club sponsored visits by the Lions mobile eye screening unit. Lion members hosted several foreign exchange students from Japan through the Lions Clubs International Exchange Program. The club led efforts to establish a regional organization to promote an upgrade of Routes 5 and 14 from Parkersburg to Burnsville (this organization is now the Little Kanawha Parkway Authority).

1990's: Club members assisted with benefit auctions. A heating system and tables for the County Park Community Building and a table and chairs for the new addition to the County Library were purchased. Several substantial contributions were made to the Library, the Wood Festival, Scouts, the High School, and the Hospital. Club members maintained town entrance signs, built a shelter at the town park and donated funds for town sidewalk repair and handicapped accessibility. The club pledged $10,000 from its community building fund to furnish the kitchen at the new fire hall and, with the VFW, erected a veterans memorial on the courthouse lawn. In honor of its fiftieth anniversary, the Grantsville Lions Club provided the cornerstone for the new Calhoun County High School/Middle School building.

2000's: The Club provided funding and manpower for the CCHS Honors Banquet. For several years it assumed responsibility for town Christmas lights—including repair/refurbishing and purchasing new fixtures. Club members conducted dozens of basket bingo events for community groups. Lockers and play ground equipment were purchased for Arnoldsburg School. The Club began paying for Library flood insurance, donated to the Appalachian Bike Classic, and paid for renovation of the miniature golf course at the County Park. It created a website, then a Facebook page. At CCHS, Lions donated funds for bleacher seats on the new football field, cheerleader uniforms, a softball field scoreboard, team chairs for the gym, and played bingo for Middle School rewards activities.

Considerable time, effort and money were put toward improvements to the new Lions Club Building. Grantsville Lions helped the Career Center Criminal Justice Class on their trip to England. They donated to the Upper West Fork Flash Flood Relief fund; began cooperative efforts with CCCOA— activities & fund raisers, purchased gifts for the Angel Tree program, provided parade line up and announcers for Wood Festival and Christmas parades, and manpower for the Wood Festival ATV poker run.

2010's: Club members and others, crocheted dozens of premie hats for Women's and Children's Hospital, slippers for the VA hospital and distributed coverlets and treats for nursing home residents. For a community project, Lions cleaned and weeded the town parking lot. The Club began assisting the Wood Festival by renting portable toilets and Calhoun Days by driving the shuttle bus, helping with concessions, and making apple butter. Lions planted trees and assisted with landscaping at the County Park. Members volunteered at 4-H camp and the livestock sale. The Club opened its building as a cooling station and community kitchen during the Derecho power outage. A U. S. flag was purchased for the Courthouse flag project.

Club members and others assisted with food pantry efforts— unloading and distributing food to hundreds of county residents each month.

2017-18 officers: President, Cheryl Cheesbrew; Vice-President, Starling Holbert; Treasurer, Brenda Holbert; Secretary, Robert G. Bonar; Tail Twister, James Sturm; Lion Tamer, Eugene Stevens

2017-18 membership: Larry Baker, Robert Beall, Ruth Beall, Tea Boatright, Robert G. Bonar, Cheryl Cheesbrew, Alice Cottrell, Denzil Dye, Curtis Garretson, James Garretson, Stephanie Hartshorn, Brenda Holbert, Starling Holbert, James McCormick, Jason Nettles, Rick Poling, Eugene Stevens, James Sturm, James Sullivan, Curtis Talley, Donald Walker, Esther Wilson, James Yoak, Karen Yoak.

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