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Lions Among Murray Men

Aug 10, 2015 09:15AM ● Published by Bryan Scott

Murray Lions Club members

By Alisha Soeken  

With 1.35 million members, the Lions Club International is the world’s largest service club organization. Its mission is to empower volunteers to serve their communities and meet humanitarian needs. There are countless examples of Lions acting on the simple idea of improving our communities. In our community, a few of those Lions are John Robinson, Greg Soffe and Art Bishop.

Robinson, Soffe and Bishop are three of the last seven Murray Lions Club members. Between the three of them they have served our community for 142 years. Sitting together in the home of John and Mary Jo Robinson, they talk about the club. “I joined in 1955, it was a long time ago,” Bishop said. Bishop was the president of the club in 1957 and remembers at that time taking Christmas packages to needy families. 

The Lions Club of Murray was started May 7, 1923 and was the second oldest Lions Club in the state of Utah. But, due to lack of interest, after 92 years it closed on June 29. Greg Soffe, a member since the 80s, holds the club’s framed charter in his hands. “Something interesting,” Soffe says as he points to a name on the charter. “Here is my grandfather’s name: George A. Jenkins. He was one of the first members, and I am one of the last.” 

“I think there is a change of attitudes about doing service and being in service clubs,”  Dr. John Robinson, a Lion since 1968, said. “As the community gets bigger, there are so many other ways to serve that people don’t look to service clubs anymore.” 

For almost a decade, the Murray Lions Club has served our community by raising money to provide eye care to local children, as well as scholarships for students at Murray High. To help raise those funds, the club has hosted a Fourth of July breakfast in Murray Park since 1960. 

This year Maureen and Bruce Reading were among those enjoying the last Lions Club breakfast. “We’ve been coming to the breakfasts for over 10 years.” Bruce said. “They serve the best pancakes ever,” added Maureen. 

Also helping with the breakfast that morning were Jean Wright and Mary Jo Robinson, two of the last three female members of the Murray Lions Club. In 1987 women were allowed to join Lions International, “But even before we could join we were helping out,” Robinson said. Wright’s husband Jay was also a member of the Lions Club before he passed away last year and had been helping with the Fourth of July breakfast since the 1960s.

The Rotary Club will host the breakfast in the future, and John Castro, president of the Murray’s Rock Rotary Club, and Terry Putnam were also in attendance flipping pancakes for the crowd.  “We really appreciate everything the Lions Club has done over the years; they have done a fantastic job.”  

The breakfast raised over $3,000, and when the club closed they had enough funds to provide scholarships to students of Murray High and eye care for years to come. 

Back in Robinson’s living room, Robinson, Soffe and Bishop discuss the success of the breakfast and their pride in being part of this club. “We now pass the baton on to the Rotary,” Bishop said, speaking of the breakfast in the future. And, as they shake hands and part to go back home, Bishop added, “Lions don’t die, they just fade away.”


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