Ashland Lions Club celebrates 70 years

In September, the Ashland Lions Club will celebrate its 70th anniversary. Bill Snider, who celebrated his 101st birthday in July, and has lived in Nanaimo, Canada, since 1957, is the only living charter member of the club. Bill helped start the Ashland Lions Club with the required 15 members on Sept. 13, 1938. His father and brother also were charter members.

Snider was elected president of the Ashland club in 1941; his father was president in 1943, and his brother in 1949. During his presidency, Snider was instrumental in starting the school-safety patrol, where uniformed students with flags helped school students cross the street. He also helped start swim classes at the city swimming pool. The cost was 20 cents per student, including a towel. These two projects were recognized by Lions International in 1941 and featured in the Lions International magazine.

In the 1950s, the Ashland Lions Club was one of the largest service clubs in Ashland. At that time, the club organized the Fourth of July barbecue as well as planning all of the Fourth of July activities — the parade, setting up the booths, as well as cooking and serving barbecued chicken dinners in Lithia Park. When these projects became too overwhelming, the club asked the Ashland Chamber of Commerce to assume the Fourth of July planning, except for cooking and serving dinners.

The Ashland Lions Club is very active in the community. Presently, the club is involved in newspaper recycling and supporting the Southern Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Center in Medford. The club provides labor and donations to improve Ashland parks,donated materials to help rebuild pedestrian and vehicle bridges in Lithia Park as well as maintaining the Bill Snider Memorial area,provided the fountains for the water play area in Garfield Park, created a bocci ball court at the Shamrock Avenue Park, and supported SOU sports programs. The club also is involved annually with Meals on Wheels and Christmas tree recycling.

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