History 1970-1980 Part 4 18C



Lion Ivey W. Plair, a native Valdostan, of the Valdosta Evening Club, was elected District Governor at the 49th Georgia Lions State Convention held in Macon June 14-16, 1970 after conspicuous service in his Lions Club, church, and community as both a civic and business leader. He was a Charter Member of the Valdosta Evening Club, which was organized in November 1962, rose through Club and District offices, being recognized as the most outstanding Deputy District Governor in 18-C. Dr. Robert McCullough was International President.

Chairman of the State Council of Governors was District Governor Donald K. Enzmann, of the Henderson Mill Lions Club, and District Governor Ivey Plair was International Convention Chairman. State Officers were: Rupert Gray, Millen, State Lion Tamer; Eugene Sanders, Decatur, State Historian; Alcee F. Maxfield, Vine Ingle, Macon, State Secretary; and Joseph M. Grollman, Bainbridge, President of the Past
District Governors.

District Governor Plair chose as his Cabinet Secretary-Treasurer Lion W. E. “Bill” Thompson. Immediate Past District Governor W. Asbury Stembridge, of the Cordele Lions Club was his Cabinet Advisor, and Past District Governor Jimmy Riddle was District Librarian. His Extension Chairman was Jimmy Carter of Plains, Georgia, and District Governor Plair wrote: “One of the proud and outstanding things that we did was to elect our own Jimmy Carter as Governor of the State of Georgia.” It is also to be noted that Rosalyn Carter officiated at the crowning of the district’s candidate for the Peach Bowl Princess at the 18th Annual Lions District 18-C Assembly at the Valdosta Country Club November 17, 1970.

There were 48 clubs in District 18-C with a membership of 1,651, at the beginning of the year and 1,682 at the end of the year, showing a net gain of 31, but by reorganizing the Cuthbert Lions Club the final gain in membership was 46.

Quoting from the Annual Report: “It has happened for many years and this year is no exception…. Alapha continues to maintain 100% attendance, Cordele had 89.%, Thomasville 83% attendance weekly. Of clubs meeting twice a month, Poulan had 96% attendance, Hahira 91, Bainbridge 89, Pelham 89, Ashburn 88, Plains 82, and Shellman 80%.

The District Assembly in Valdosta in November was a huge success with Lion Bill Padon, Senior Director of Lions International as speaker.

As usual, the district was 100% in affiliation with the Lighthouse.

Special Anniversary Programs were held by Plains-25th; Arlington, Bainbridge and Moultrie celebrating the 35th year of service.

The 12 District Awards won in 1970-71 were:

Comer Award, for Best All Round Club Eastman
Griffin Plaque, Outstanding Zone Chairman C Roy Maddox
Wolffe Plaque, Outstanding Deputy District Governor C Howell Goodwin
Gilbert Plaque, Outstanding Club Secretary J. L. Wilson
Harris Award, Club meeting weekly Highest Attendance Cordele
Harris Award, Club meeting bi-weekly Highest Attendance Alapaha
M. F. Carter Plaque, Best Weekly Bulletin Eastman
M. F. Carter Plaque, Best bi-weekly Bulletin Bainbridge
Grollman Plaque, Highest Efficiency Points Eastman
Hurley Award, Highest percent, Membership Gain Eastman
Carithers Award, Lion of the Year D. H. Smith
Bella Wolffe Eye Donor Plaque Eastman

DISTRICT 18-C 1971-72

Joseph E. Cox was elected District Governor of 18-C at Georgia’s 50th State Convention held at Jekyll Island June 6-8, l971. He had been a member of the Quitman Lions Club for 13 years when he was elected C’s District Governor as its 35th Governor, in the 20th year of the Quitman Lions Club, which was organized March 18, 1952. The district itself dated from 1937, when the State of Georgia was divided into three districts.

The Cabinet Secretary-Treasurer was Eugene Robers; the Deputy District Governors were C. Howell Gooding, V. Elton Henry, Edsel Harrell, Oilver Bossom; Zone Chairmen were CaIvin W. Schramm, Harold Fears, Donald Purser, Billy Wiseman, George Hart, Marshall Day, Ralph Gainey. The Cabinet Advisor was lmmediate Past District Governor Ivey Plair of Valdosta.

There were fifty Lions Clubs in the district at the beginning of the year with a membership of 1,656. A new Club was organized at Cuthbert, August 3, 1971, and membership showed a net gain of 30, winding up the year with 1,686.

Members winning distinction as outstanding leaders were:
Lion of the year, Donald Wayne Griffin, Sr. of Thomasville.
Outstanding Deputy District Governor, Edsel Harrell, Tifton.
Outstanding Zone Chairman, Billy R. Wiseman, Tifton.
Outstanding Secretary, Billy Wiseman, Tifton.


Best All Round Club Cordele
Outstanding Deputy District Governor Edsel Harrell
Outstanding Zone Chairman Billy R. Wiseman
Club with Highest Efficiency Points Moultrie
Club meeting weekly with highest attendance Eastman
Club meeting other than weekly with highest attendance Alapaha
Club with highest percent gain in membership Valdosta Evening
Club securing the most eye donors Americus
Club with best weekly bulletin Cordele
Club with best other than weekly bulletin Rochelle
Outstanding Secretary Award Billy Wiseman
Lion of the Year Award Donald W. Griffin, Sr.


District 18-C under District Governor Cox’s leadership won the Tom Bingham Memorial Award for the best Sight Conservation Program in the state, along with many other awards.

Third Vice President of Lions International Johnny Balboa was the guest speaker at the District Convention which was held November 23, 1971 in Quitman.

International, Director Dr. Don W. Schmidt of Cedartown, was the speaker when the Sylvester Lions
Club celebrated its 25th Anniversary December 4, 1971.

The Thomasville Lions Club sponsored a Leo Club in Thomasville February 17, 1972.

Miss Karen Histler, Sponsored by the Sylvester Lions Club, was selected to represent District 18-C November 20, 1971 in the Peach Bowl Queen Contest in Atlanta.

The actual income for the year was $5,033.49, which includes $385 for CARE, but does not include other gifts and charities, and of this amount $3,723.11 was expended, leaving $1,310.38 on hand.

The Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation, Inc, received $7,746.40 from May 1971 through May 1972 as compared to $7,455.48 during the same period the previous year.

Few District Governors have an actual or potential Governor of the State of Georgia and President of the United States of America on their Honorary Committee. This District Governor had both in the same person.


Past District Governor Club Year
B. I. Thornton Cordele 1946-47
H. B. Hurley Valdosta 1948-49
Dr. William H. Harris Albany 1950-51
Jack Comer Cordele 1951-52
Joe Grollman Bainbridge 1953-54
R. A. Collins* Unadilla 1955-56
Arthur O. Justice Fitzgerald 1956-57
Louis H. Gilbert* Cordele 1957-58
George Kessler Valdosta 1958-59
Dr. Elmo Davis Americus 1959-60
D. D. Morrison Pelham 1960-61
James Riddle Moultrie 1961-62
Jake Wolffe Bainbridge 1962-63
M. F. Carter Cordele 1963-64
Frank C. Vann Camilla 1964-65
Kenneth L. Lowery Valdosta 1965-66
George E. Daniel Bainbridge 1966-67
Gordon Culpepper Sylvester 1967-68
Jimmy Carter Plains 1968-69
Asbury Stembridge Cordele 1969-70
Ivey W. Plair Valdosta 1970-71
* Deceased

DISTRICT 18-C  1972-73

The Lions year that ended July 1, 1973, is believed to have been a good year for Lionism. Credit for the gains that have been made is attributed to these factors:

1. Excellent leadership provided by Past District Governors and their cabinets have established a heritage of “Pride in Service” that continues throughout the District. The momentum generated by Past District Governor J. E. Cox (1971-72) and his cabinet was a big plus factor.

2. Most clubs had good local leadership with fair to excellent participation in service projects.

3. Past District Governors made themselves available for assistance when needed and gave freely of their time to discuss problems.

4. Members of the Cabinet, including committee chairmen, performed well. It was necessary to replace one zone chairman, and the replacement did an outstanding job.

5. Assistance from State Secretary Alcee Maxfield and others was superior in strengthening weak clubs and organizing two new ones.

6. International Director Ralph Lynam and his charming wife, Doty, provided mid-year inspiration with their attendance and his speaking to our district assembly. Director Lynam was introduced by Georgia’s own Director Don Schmidt; following his speech one lady, with tears streaming down her cheeks said, “You have opened new doors of meaning in life for me.” This woman had, only a few months earlier, attempted to take her Life. Ralph Lynam’s speech had helped to heal the emotional scars in her mind–an outstanding example of humanitarian service.

The District Governor made at least one official visit to each club during the year. Several were visited two or more times, and deputy district governors and zone chairmen were faithful in performing their duties.

Speeches by the District Governor were used to illustrate Lions Services as follows:

1. Local Services
2. District projects
3. Statewide services
4. International programs.

Particular emphasis was given to sight conservation in general, and the eye donor program in particular, since the District Governor (1972-73) is the only known living eye donor in Georgia, perhaps in the world. Since then at least two other transplants have been made from tissue donated by living Georgians, one at the Augusta Eye Bank and another at or near Brunswick.

Local services conducted by individual clubs ranged from one major project to several for each club. It is impractical to name each service activity, but a brief summary is as follows:

A.  Local services
Eye Examinations and glasses
Providing hospital beds and wheel chairs
Christmas baskets for underprivileged
Sponsorship of fire and police departments
Recreation programs
School improvements
Conducted elections

B.  District projects CARE contributions built a school in Sacpuy, Guatemala. More than $600 was contributed, a record for the Lions of 18-C.

Used eyeglasses were collected with more than 10,000 pairs contributed. These will be sent to Central Africa through CARE.

Three training schools for new club officers were conducted, one in August of 1972 for the 1972-73 officers and two in May and June of 1973 for the 1973-74 officers. Participation was good.

C.  Statewide programs The Lions of Multiple District 18 sponsored the Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation and its companion Eye Banks. Also related to the Lighthouse was the fifth annual. Peach Bowl Football Classic. Each club made financial contributions to the Lighthouse, our statewide sight conservation program. In addition, 369 eye donor pledges were secured.

Support; of the Peach Bowl increased with many Lions purchasing memberships in the Peach Bowl Association and ticket sales reaching a record high for the December 29 affair. District 18-C’s princess, Miss Gail Peters, was winner of the Peach Bowl Queen’s crown, competing with contestants from the other five districts. Miss Peters made visits to several communities within the district, publicizing the Peach Bowl and Lionism.

D. International Programs Miss Jan Day, a senior at Early County High School (Blakely), spent six weeks in Belgium as a guest of the Antwerp Lions. She was the first young person in 18-C to participate in the Youth Exchange Program.

Several Clubs exchanged bulletins and correspondence with Lions in other countries, thereby furthering international understanding.

Membership retention and development, extension, and annual convention attendance were highlighted
during the year. Copies of the 1972-73 Annual Report and District Governor’s Progress Report show the net gain (or loss) in membership for each club, standings in the district contest, and winners of individual and club awards. The annual report was distributed at the District Breakfast during the State

The year began with a membership of 1,650 and ended with 1,827, a gain of 177. Two new clubs
were organized; Boston with 36 members and Pulaski with 43.

Of the 369 Eye Donors, Americus secured 223.

The Albany Lions Club celebrated its 50th Anniversary September 30, 1972, with International Director Dr. Don W. Schmidt as speaker.

Alapaha and Americus Lions Clubs maintained 100% attendance for the year.

During the first breakfast on June 18, committee reports were received and approved. Lion Jack Fore, Leesburg Lions Club, was recognized as the only candidate for District Governor for 1973-74, and Past District Governor Jimmy Riddle was the nominee for District Historian. Other items included distribution of certificates and awards to committee chairmen and cabinet members. A spirited period of drawings for numerous door prizes concluded the first breakfast session.

The Breakfast program on June 19 included announcement of district contest winners, district elections, and presentation of individual awards.

A resolution was unanimously adopted honoring Lion Jim Corbett, who for more than twenty years has served as Executive Director of the Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation. Lion Jim, himself a blind man, was stricken on April 5 by a series of strokes and has been hospitalized since that time. Although living in Atlanta for several years, Lion Corbett became a Lion in Albany and is carried as an honorary member of that club.

Past District Governor Jimmy Riddle of Moultrie was re-elected to the office of District Librarian, and Lion Jack Fore was elected District Governor for 1973-74. Both were unanimously chosen and elected by acclamation.

District Governor Ewart Phillips (2-A1 Texas) and Lioness Lillie were our guests at this breakfast and throughout the convention. A native of Colquitt, Georgia, Governor and Mrs. Phillips were en-route to the International Convention in Miami and chose to visit with Georgia Lions while in transit. This was a renewal of a friendship that began in Mexico City when Governors Haskins and Phillips were in training seminars together.

27 of the 50 Clubs were represented at the district breakfasts an average of 135 in attendance.

All business sessions of the State Convention were well attended, as were the luncheons and banquet.

Past District Governors Eugene Sanders and Olin Newby were respectively re-elected as State Historian and State Lion Tamer. Past District Governor George P. Crumbley, Jr., was nominated as Georgia’s next candidate for the high office of International Director.

Luncheon speakers included International Director Ed Tinin of Mississippi and Dr. Thomas Whitley of Columbus (Georgia) College. International Director Don W. Schmidt was the banquet speaker and made an inspiring address to the more than 1,500 Lions, ladies and guests in attendance.

The 1972-73 Lions year had multiple beginnings throughout the district with officer installation ceremonies in each club and in Mexico City for the District Governor. Each day brought new experiences and different opportunities for services. It was a good year, a wonderful year, because the spirit of Lionism prevails in District 18-C. This spirit prevails because of the more than 1,700 Lions, joined by their ladies, who live and believe in the credo expressed by President George Friedrichs, “Humanitarian Solidarity Through Lionism.”

DISTRICT 18-C  1977-78

The officers of District C for the year 1977-78 were:

District Governor Gary Cullens of Thomasville
Cabinet Secretary Charlie Copeland
Cabinet Advisors Leon Bryant
Hal Council
Deputy District Governors George Erwin, Jr.
Ralph West
Roy Summer
Wayne Hilliard
Zone Chairmen Richard West
William Ashberry
Benny Jessup
Charles Harper
Duncan Sinclair
Dean Elevins
Robert Jenkins
James Mitchell
District Librarian E. W. Rhoden

District Governor Cullens was elected to serve as Council Chairman of Multiple District 18 at the International Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Council brought about many changes in our state organization, such as the statewide directories, the State Council Blazer, the Georgia Lions Travel Club, continued work on Georgia’s first set of trading pins, and began laying the foundation for the 1982 International Convention to be held in Atlanta. The Council also helped develop many innovative changes in our State Convention such as permanent name badges, changing of the luncheons, voting by ballots and the first President Elect School.

District Governor Cullens brought changes to District 18-C such as the first Peach Bowl Princess Pageant being held separate from the District Assembly and the first District Assembly of 18-C to be held in the Spring instead of Fall, Governor Cullens also attended the first United States Lions Forum which was held in Chicago during September.

The District CARE project was to build a two and one-half room school in Honduras. The project was so successful that we were able to build two schools which were named in memory of Past District Governor Leon Bryant who passed away in late 1977.

The first separate Peach Bowl Princess Pageant was held in Albany on October 29th. Sixteen contestants were entered and the winner was Miss Karen Kassandra Knight of Bainbridge. Miss Knight was also selected first runner-up to the Peach Bowl Queen in Atlanta. A special attraction at our pageant was the Mistress of Ceremonies Miss Pam Sounders, Miss Georgia 1977.

The District entered a float in the Peach Bowl parade and it was judged the second place winner of its division. A large trophy was received for the achievement.

As the Lions International Foundation project the District made Past District Governor Leon Bryant a Melvin Jones Fellow. This award was presented-to members of his family at the State Convention in Marietta in June 1978.

District 18-C had as a goal that 100% of its clubs would made a donation or contribution to the Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation and for the 24th consecutive year we were successful in attaining this goal. A District Lighthouse Meeting was hosted by the Bainbridge Lions Club on September 18th. Speakers from the Lighthouse, Eye Banks and the Peach Bowl discussed the work and operation of their branch of the Lighthouse Foundation.

The District Assembly was held March 4, 1978 at the Downtowner Motor Inn in Albany. The speaker was International Director John Gregory of Manassas Virginia. At Director Gregory’s request a trip to Plains was arranged for him on the day following the Assembly.

The District Assembly Youth Exchange Program was with Japan and several students visited with Lions in our District from mid-June to the end of July, 1978.

Other projects that were accepted for the year were Leader Dog School, Georgia Lions Camp for the Blind, Peach Bowl, Eye Banks, White Cane Day, and the mop and broom sales for the Georgia Factory for the Blind.

District 18-C had a net gain in membership for the year and placed second in the state. Three new Lions Clubs were formed and placed the District in a tie for the largest increase of new Clubs in the State. The new Clubs were the Doerun Lions Club, the Pavo Lions Club, and the Bainbridge Evening Lions Club. The District also had Lioness Clubs formed in Cordele and Moultrie.

The District Awards fox the year were:

Best Bulletin (Weekly) Cordele Lions Club
(Bi-weekly ) Leesburg Lions Club
Highest % gain in membership Cordele Evening Lions Club
Highest Attendance Average
(Weekly) Cordele Lions Club
(Bi-weekly) Leesburg Lions Club
Outstanding Lioness Club Valdosta Lioness Club
Secretary of the year Dennis Walker, Bainbridge Lions Club
Lion of the Year Frank Shirah, Pulaski Lions Club
Outstanding Zone Chairman Robert Jenkins, Bainbridge Lions Club
Outstanding Deputy District Gov. Roy Summer, Valdosta Lions Club
Club Efficiency 1st – Cordele Lions Club
2nd – Bainbridge Lions Club
Best All Round Club Bainbridge Lions Club
Outstanding Club Cordele Lions Club

The Cordele, Bainbridge and Thomasville Lions Clubs were winners of awards given on the state level..

1977 was a very successful year for the District. Separating the District Assembly and Peach Bowl Princess Pageant proved to be successful and has been a continued practice since. New District records for contributions were set in all the projects as of June 30, 3978. Several District goals were exceeded through the dedicated efforts and service of the clubs and the Lions 0f the District.

At the conclusion of his year as District Governor of 18-C, Governor Cullens was presented the Lions Clubs International 100% District Governors Award, the District Governors Extension Award, International President Joseph McLoughlin’s Extension Award and the International President’s Commendation Award.

DISTRICT 18-C 1979-80

In the very beginning, I want to acknowledge a Lion who had a lot to do with my becoming District Governor of 18-C. Past District Governor Joe Grollman of Bainbridge called and expressed a trust my ability to Lead our District.

Our District’s year started off with a great loss. My father had been ill for sometime and died after serving his District for only a month. After the death of my father, it became necessary that we elect a new Governor. This election took place in Albany at the Downtowner Motel. I was elected and with the support of Cabinet Secretary Joe Mathews and the other members of the cabinet, we started our

From the Start, I was, as I am sure all governors are at one time or another, afraid of doing the wrong
thing. I attended my first Council of Governors Meeting in Jekyll Island, where I met the other Governors from Georgia. They all told me that any time I needed help or had questions to call.

Lion Joe Mathews and I went to the 1979 U.S. Forum held in Minnesota. The weekend was well spent as we took in all of the seminars that we could to better prepare ourselves for the coming year.

I was excited when we (my family) and other members from the Americus Lions Club went to Calvary, Georgia for Mule Day. We had a day full of entertainment that we will never forget.

In the middle of November, we held our annual Peach Bowl Princess Pageant at ABAC College in Tifton. There are so many Lions that did so much that it would be hard to name them all. Lions such as Jack Morrison, Terry Foreman, Don Sickmon, Joe Mathews, and Bob Prevatte made significant contributions.

We crowned a young lady from Bainbridge, Georgia, Miss Alice Pritzel, as our Princess. We were entertained by Miss Lynn Moon and Mr. Bruce Fisher. We had a large crowd in attendance.

The State Peach Bowl Pageant was a very big affair for Eloise and me. We also went to the President’s Ball. We rode in the Peach Bowl Parade the day of the game and were joined there by 13 members of my family. We felt like real V.I.P.’s.

In the month of March, Eloise and I traveled to District 18-A for Governor Mel Johnson’s District
Convention. Mel and Ellen made us welcome at their home for breakfast before the convention and afterwards we spent the night with them. Dr. Keith Gates, International Director from Utah, was Mel’s speaker, we had a great time in 18-A as always.

A very important event in 18-C in February was the first Lioness Convention. We had Lionesses from all over the district and six clubs at that time had members there. I feel that Lionesses are a big part of Lionism. The meeting was held at the Merry Acres Restaurant in Albany and we had a total of 76 Lions and Lionesses in attendance. District Governor-elect Don Sickmon was also there and said he would work to have a second meeting in his year. I must go on record and give thanks to the members of the Americus Lioness Club for their help in setting up this meeting.


This is one weekend I will never forget. We had our third cabinet meeting, electing new officers for the coming year. My special guests were: Lion Governors Mel Johnson and his wife, Ellen; John Pearce and his wife, Carolyn; President of the Lions Lighthouse, Lion Ken Massingale and his wife, Jeanie; State Historian, Lion Gene Sanders and his wife, Ruth.

My guest speaker was Past lnternational Director and Managing Director of the Peach Bowl, Lion Howard Towns. Lion Howard really fired us up. One not so interesting event that happened was that several of my fellow Lions cut off my beard. Lions like Jake Wolffe, Ken Massingale, Howard Towns, and other members of the Americus Lions Club paid money to improve my appearance. We had a 7:00 A.M. breakfast the morning after to give Lion Don Sickmon time to introduce some of then members of his new cabinet.


Lion Joe Mathews and I drove to the State Convention with our wives. Lion Joe worked to see that everything was ready for the District Breakfast while I was at the last Council of Governors meeting. This one weekend sums up the whole year. We had all worked together for a year and now were at the State Convention to join in victory. The State Convention was a sad event for most of us that knew and remembered that this was to have been my father’s year. As I look back I know that it still was his year because everything that he started the Lions of 18-C finished for him. We had our best year in CARE and LIF. We had every club in 18-C give to the Lighthouse, keeping a 26 year old perfect record and we added a new Lioness Club to 18-C.


CARE has always meant a lot to the Lions of 18-C as well as the Lions of other districts, but we have the edge. We have the leadership in Chairman Lion B. I. Thornton who helped raise over $1,800 to build a two room school house in Peru in the memory of Lion District Governor George H. Erwin, Sr. This was one of the largest amounts ever raised in 18-C.


My father had asked Coleman Speer, a Lion from the Americus Club, to be the Chairman of the Lions International Foundation. We had no idea that we would lose my father before the year got started. So many of the Lions Clubs who knew my father wanted to do something that would show other Lions how they felt about him. Many, many clubs sent checks to Lion Coleman asking that we apply their money toward a Melvin Jones Fellowship award and before the year was half over we had reached our goal and beyond. At the State Convention Lion Jake Wolffe presented my mother the Melvin Jones Fellowship Plaque.


Lioness Chairman Ivey Plair and his Lioness, Clyde, worked very hard throughout the year to promote Lionism. We had several cities that were interested in Lioness Clubs and one of these towns was Richland. With the help of Lion Robert King, my Zone Chairman from Richland, we formed a Lioness Club there.

I know that one time or another every Lion has wanted to be District Governor. I was no different. As I sit here thinking of all the Lions and Lioness Clubs that I visited, I remember all the good times we had; such as going to the Bainbridge Evening Club.  So many wonderful things happened to me that I could talk all night about my year, but that is one thing I always tried to make clear. It was not my year, but the Lions of 18-C’s year.

There are so many Lions that I appreciate more because of their help. I know that I can’t name them all, but I must thank a few for the record. Lions such as my friend, Jack Morrison, from Valdosta, who’s always ready to help save a weak club. Lion Bobby Prevatte, my Cabinet Advisor, was there when I needed him with the right answer. Lion Don Sickmon, Cotton Hester, and all the Lions from Bainbridge. They worked hard all year. Lion Jack Comer, always knew how Lion Jack felt about the Lighthouse, and he had a way of spreading that feeling. There are so many more I would like to thank, but I want to thank my entire cabinet for their support this past year. A special thanks goes to the Past District Governors Association which I am now a member, for their support.

And now, last but never least, my Cabinet Secretary, Lion Joe Mathews was always at my side not only as a cabinet member but as a friend. He was someone I could talk to and work things out. Lion Joe, I owe you a lot.

Thank you 18-C for a great year.

George Erwin, Jr.
District Governor 18-C