The year 1985 was a memorable one, indeed.
Ronald Reagan was sworn into his second term as president of the United States. Whitney Houston released her first album. Future world heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson won his first professional fight.
And, far from the national limelight, a group of women quietly met to form the Amity Township Lioness Club.
For 35 years, the club performed good works in the Amity region.
At Christmas and Thanksgiving, it prepared food baskets for local families in need. The club sponsored Kids Sight, a vision screening program.
The club's spring and fall ham sandwich sale to raise funds for the Lions White Cane Days became a legendary event at St. Paul’s UCC in Amityville. For more than 20 years, it held bingo at the Amity Fire Company.
And club members lent a hand at the Amity Lions Club beef suppers, where they volunteered as waitresses over the years.
All good things, as they say, must come to an end.
On June 10, the remaining half-dozen or so members held the last Amity Township Lioness Club meeting at Lois Reinert’s home in the Oley Valley.
“Like many other organizations our membership is dwindling and our ages increasing,” said Reinert, 79, the only remaining club charter member. “We’ve decided that we will have our final meeting to disburse our funds, say our good-byes, and shed a few tears.”
In celebration of Alma “Tootie” Hine’s birthday, Reinert served strawberry shortcake and ice cream as club members relaxed on her patio.
Before the lockdown triggered by the COVID-19 crisis, the club had planned a farewell excursion to the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre in Lancaster.
Lions Club women’s auxiliaries existed for decades before Lions Clubs International officially recognized them under the Lioness Club program in 1975.
The Lions changed its charter to allow women to join Lions Clubs in 1987. Under its Lioness Bridge Program, some 5,000 women left Lioness Clubs to become members of Lions Clubs since 1996.
The Amity Township Lioness Club could have dissolved and joined the Amity Lions Club. Because its membership is down to a half-dozen or so, and they're not getting any younger, Reinert said the decision to dissolve the Lioness Club was made.
Members will miss getting together on the second Wednesday of the month in Keystone Villa, Douglassville.
“It’s going to be strange,” confided Reinert, who with her husband, Charles, founded Chuck’s Auto Salvage in Yellow House.
The Lioness Club remains proud of its donations of hearing aids and wheelchairs to local children, support of local police and firefighters and contribution to the Amity Township 300th anniversary celebration.
In addition to their good works, the club members will cherish the camaraderie shared with members, their families and other Lioness and Lions clubs.
“It’s sad to see it go,” Reinert said, “but we had a wonderful run.”