Lions roar: 70 years and counting

Rockdale received charter in February of 1941

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a series on the history of the Rockdale Noon Lions Club, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary.

On Feb. 10, 1941 the Rockdale Noon Lions Club received it official charter which was greatly celebrated with a lavish banquet that was attended by over 100 people in the high school gymnasium.

Over 70 years later, the Noon Lions Club is still steaming ahead, contributing to the community in a number of ways and still providing eyeglasses to those in need.

On that evening seven decades ago, dignitaries from all over the state were in attendance, including

Austin philanthropist and volunteer icon Willie Kocurek, who was president of the Austin Lions Club.

Emory Camp was the toastmaster and the Austin and Taylor clubs provided the entertainment. The members were served Waldorf salad and veal turbans.

Austin icon Willie Kocurek spoke at the first Rockdale Noon Lions Club meeting in 1941. Austin icon Willie Kocurek spoke at the first Rockdale Noon Lions Club meeting in 1941. Rockdale postmaster Clyde Franklin was the first president and was complemented by vice presidents S.C. Miles (school superintendent), W.H. Cooke (Reporter publisher) and businessman

Red Hogan.

Cooke’s granddaughter Kathy is a current member of the Lions Club and is a former president.

Realtor W.T. Pearson was the secretary/treasurer. Insurance agent Harry Harris was tail twister and druggist W.S. Duke was the Lion tamer.

That first group had 21 members and made headlines in the Reporter a month later when they added three new members.

In 1941, it cost $3 to join the Lions Club and $1 a month and 50 cents of that went to cover your meal. They met at the old Elite Cafe.

The Rockdale club went right to work spreading the good news and immediately began assisting in forming clubs in Thorndale and Somerville.

Members of the Thorndale club included L.G. Butts and W.C. Rodenbeck.

Of course 10 months after its inception, the world was thrown into the grips of World War II after December 7, and like all service organizations around the country, the Lions Club pitched in to lend a hand wherever it could and never missed an opportunity to recognize the servicemen.

The Lions aided in helping Rockdale raise $81,000 for the national defense fund.

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