By Billie Been
What started out as a bet between business partners became a badge of honor for the late Henryetta Lion member Ron McAfee.
September 2020 would’ve marked, not only the 65th anniversary of Lion McAfee joining the Henryetta Lions Club but also 65 years of perfect attendance. Lion McAfee passed away April 29, 2020. just a few months shy of his anniversary, however, still a state record at 64 years and 7 months!
ron and maryBack in 1955, Lion McAfee and his business partner Bud Gaither made a wager to see who could be more civic minded by never missing their respective club meetings. Lion McAfee, obviously, joined the Lions Club and Gaither, the Rotary Club. Lion McAfee clearly won the friendly game and continued his streak for years to come.
Lion McAfee was the textbook definition of a devoted and loyal member. He was at every Lion sponsored function and event - every pancake breakfast, every parade, every fundraiser, every eye screening, every golf tournament, and every Christmas basket project. He was at every everything.
In fact, like so many of the Henryetta Lions Club projects, Lion McAfee was instrumental in starting the annual Christmas basket program with Lion Ernest Smith and others. He was also instrumental in making sure the tradition continued and was an active part of the program in 2019.
Henryetta Lions definitely will feel the impact of his absence. “It was an honor and privilege to serve alongside such a dedicated Lion,” Lion Judy Stidman said. “He will be greatly missed by all.
Other Lions shared their memories of Lion Ron.
“Lion Ron was an officer’s greatest resource,” Lion Billie Been said. “I knew I could count of him. The vast of knowledge he possessed was beyond measure and his willingness to get things accomplished was extraordinary. His shoes are too big to fill.”
“I have been around the Henryetta Lions since I was 5 years-old, when my father Brent Jenson joined,” Henryetta Lions member Grant Jenson said. “I can remember an older gentleman who always had the answers, was always moving and always had a smile on his face. As I have gotten older and joined the Lions myself, I consider myself lucky to have become friends with Lion Ron and work beside him. Lion Ron has always been an amazing example of how we should all work hard to make our communities a better place, and I know his efforts and commitment will be remembered for years to come.”
“Lion Ron was quite a character,” Lion Tara Matthews added. “He loved to tell stories of how Henryetta Lions came to be, the awesome community service projects and the great things our club has done.”
“He was always there for the pancake breakfasts, with a big bag of chocolate chips, so the kids could have chocolate chip pancakes,” Lion Matthews smiled.
“His loyalty to our community and Lions was bar none!” Lion Matthews stated, “From his ear to ear grin to his vocalized opinion, you couldn’t help but know he was a great man that loved his family, his community and his Lions.”