Lions District 20-E2 History

One of the first tasks of the Directors of the newly established Association of Lions Clubs was to divide the US into Districts for their organization and administration, and to appoint a District Governor over each. In the first sectioning, there were nine districts, throughout the United States. Some parts of the country - where there were no Lions Clubs - had no Districts at all. The first nine Districts were created right along with the Association of Lions Clubs, on 7 June 1917.

Lionism spread rapidly, to states not affiliated with any district, and in some areas Lions clubs were too numerous for one District Governor to handle! So, in 1921 our entire nation was re-divided into seventeen districts and subsequently renumbered. The original (1917) schema had clubs numbered geographically from the Pacific coast, with ascending numbers eastward. But, in the 1921 district numbering revision, the Lions' "home" state of Illinois was numbered District #1. Thereafter, numbers were granted on the basis of a region's Lions' membership ranking. Texas, having the most numbers of clubs as well as members, became District #2. A close follower, Oklahoma, became District #3. In like fashion, all 17 districts were renumbered - including District #16, which contained all of New Jersey, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and the entire State of New York!

In January of 1922, New York State became detached from District 16 - that number staying with New Jersey - and New York State became the 20th District. By this time each district was numbered according to their sequence in becoming a district of the association. So MD-20, New York State was the 20th District of the Association.

New York District 20's first five (Lions) clubs were: Midtown Lions in New York City on 30 July 1921; with Brooklyn Lions Club following on August 10th; New York City's Down Town Lions Club on August 24th; Rochester Lions Club on 2 September; and, Long Island City Lions Club on September 22nd, 1921.

District 20 was the entire state of New York from 1921 until 1938. District Governors serving in this period were:

1921-23 Warren S. Barlow (NYC)

1923-24 I. Lewis Dreeben (NYC)

1924-25 Ivan Flood Sr. (White Plains)

1925-26 Thomas Austin (Jamaica, Queens)

1926-27 Clarence E. Holzkamp (White Plains)

1927-28 Thomas Nagle (Hollis)

1928-29 A. William Yungstrom (Elmira)

1929-30 Alexander T. Wells (Long Island City)

1930-31 Thomas B. Lee (Niagara Falls)

1931-32 Ed J. Murphy (Flushing)

1932-33 Robert Forrest (Buffalo)

1933-34 Hugh Kalka (New Rochelle)

1934-35 Harry F. Hand

1935-36 Herbert A. Dye (Niagara Falls)

1936-37 George T. Elder (Staten Island,NYC)

1937-38 Robert J. Bennett (Rochester)

Past District Governor Herbert Dye (1935-36) was a strong proponent of the notion to further divide district 20, and spearheaded these divisions to create 5 sub-Districts in 1938; N, Y, S, L, and A (New York State Lions Association). Clubs in our district that were chartered then were part of sub-district 20-N. District Governors serving in this period were:

1938-39 James C. Corbett (Rochester)

1944-45 Lester D. Craner (Lockport)

1939-40 Louis A. Blelyle (Kenmore)

1945-46 Anthony B. Ciere (Elmira)

1940-41 Dr. Albert E. Connelly (Niagara Falls)

1946-47 Dr. Albert Syrcher (Buffalo)

1941-42 Frederick W. Neff (Medina)

1947-48 Charles F. Obenback (Niagara Falls)

1942-43 Ford J. Decker (Webster)

1948-49 John M. Barrett (Jamestown)

1943-44 Sanford B. Church (Albion)


A tremendous growth in population to the area necessitated yet another new District sub-division and in 1949, New York State was re-divided into 8 sub-districts; N, E, W, Y, O, R, K, and S.

District Governors serving District E during this period were:

1949-50 Joseph A. LaFontaine (Rochester)

1950-51 William Lynch (Waverly)

1951-52 Albert T. DeRoose (Auburn)

1952-53 William Seybolt (Bath)

1953-54 John Lee (Rochester)

1954-55 Francis Wilcox (Batavia)

1955-56 Paul Scolfield (Newark)

1956-57 William Kenney (Avoca-Wallace)

1957-58 George Scheible (Rochester)

1958-59 Harley Ess (Oakfield)

1959-60 Harold Smith (Ithaca)

1960-61 Edwin Read (Brockport)

1961-62 Everette Russell (Rochester)

1962-63 Lawrence Parks (Wayland)

1963-64 Howard Conroy (Medina)

1964-65 Jordan "Joe" Bruzee (Phelps)

1965-66 Dr. John Poore (Corning)

1966-67 Elroy Parkins (Oakfield)

1967-68 William Brewerton (Fairport)

1968-69 Lee Edmond (Cohocton)

1969-70 John McGuire (Lakeville)

1970-71 Jack Smith (Apalachin)

1971-72 Mayo Wright (Canaseraga)

1972-73 Jack Collins (Wellsville)

In the 1960-1961 Lions year 20-Y was split into Y1 and Y2.

In the 1961-1962 Lions year 20-K was split into K1 and K2.

During the 1972-1973 Lions year, the New York State Council of Governors approved the splitting of Districts 20-E and 20-R into two districts each.

Thus was born District 20-E2 in the 1973-1974 Lions Year. We went from 9 Regions with 81 Clubs in Distict 20-E to 5 Regions with 42 Clubs in District 20-E2. Clubs that were in Cayuga, Chemung, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Wayne and Yates Counties became a part of 20-E2. Clubs that were in Allegany, Genesee, Livingsston, Monroe, Orleans and Wyoming Counties became a part of E-1. Two clubs in Steuben County opted to be in 20-E1 instead of 20-E2; the Maple City Lions Club and the Wayland Lions Club.

Our first District Governor, who has been called the Father of our District, is Lion James Dormady and his First Lady is Lioness Helen Dormady.

Following Jim was Charles "Chuck" Coman, who was the first, and up until 1999 the only Council Chairman from District 20-E2. A 100% District Governor, Chuck, gave his life to Lionism, dying shortly after his year as Governor. Lion Art Peck was elected to serve as the second Council Chairman from our District during the 1999-2000 Lions Year. A listing of all Governors from District 20-E2 can be found on the last page of this document.

Since the beginning of District 20-E2 we have had 13 Clubs dropped (Atlanta, Caroline, Cornell University, Corning Medical, Geneva, Macedon, Naples, North Cohocton, Port Byron, Sodus Point, Watkins-Montour Falls, Cato Meridian, Elmira). We have transferred one club to District 20-E1 (Walworth) and we have chartered 13 new ones (Nichols-Tioga, Canandaigua, Spencer-Candor, Trumansburg, Watkins-Montour, Painted Post, Southern Tier Retired, Caroline, Corning Medical, Geneva, Manchester-Shortsville, Cornell University, Nichols Area Rainbow Lioness Lions Club and Hector).

Two clubs have changed their names, Palmyra to Pal-Mac and East Bloomfield-Holcomb to Bloomfield.

The Nichols-Tioga Lions Club merged with The Nichols Area Rainbow Lioness Lions in 2007 and kept the Nichols-Tioga Lions Club charter and name.

The District restructured in 1984 when it went from five (5) regions down to four (4). This restructuring was done to improve communications and cut down on the cost of the district.

The name of Deputy District Governor, for each region, was changed in 1990 to Region Chairman.

In 1993, the District elected its first Vice District Governor, Lion Ed Kretsch.

We have seen the growth of Lioness Clubs in our District. The first club certified was Wolcott in 1976, followed by Horseheads, Cohocton, Newfield, Shortsville/Manchester, Naples, Corning, Tioga County, Ithaca, Sodus with the Rainbow Lioness being the latest addition in 1992, the first club chartered instead of certified. The Naples Club was dropped in 1993, the Ithaca Club was dropped in 1999, the Shortsville/Manchester Club converted to a Lions Club in 2000, the Rainbow Club converted to a Lioness Lions Club in 2003, and the Tioga County Lioness Club was dropped in 2004.

The first District Lioness Club chairman was appointed in 1977. Later in 1982 the District added a Lioness Interface chair person and the first woman to the District Cabinet (Rhonda Bickerton and later Marilyn Jackson). In 1985 the structure and names changed to District Lioness Liaison with two Regional Lioness Leaders, one for Regions 1 and 2 called the Gold Region and the other for Regions 3 and 4 called the Purple Region. Leonard Jackson served as the Liason, with Lioness Marilyn Jackson and Helen Dormady Regional Leaders.

After the International Lions Organization, in 1992, discontinued the Lioness Office at International and restructured the organization so that the Lioness were under the guidance of their local sponsoring club and not that of International, the District voted to support the Lioness Organization and maintain their structure of Lioness Liaison with two Regional Leaders. In 2005, The Gold and Purple Regions were dropped and the Lioness Liaison became the sole interface to the Cabinet for all Lioness Clubs in the District.

In 1992 the District added a special award to be given to the outstanding Lioness of the District. The award was named "District Governor's Lioness Achievement Award."

The Past District Governors Organization of District 20-E2 was started in 1984. Its prime objective was to assist the District Governor by coordinating the Officers Training Seminar and the Fall Conference, always with his involvement and approval.

It was established that the President of the District 20-E2 PDG Organization would be the sitting Director of the State PDG Organization representing District 20-E2.

The District Projects have changed slightly from the beginning with the addition of the following projects in the club years indicated:



Empire State Speech & Hearing Clinic


Leader Dog for the Blind


Vacation Camp for the Blind


Guide Dog


Lioness Coordination/Liaison


Journey for Sight


Substance Abuse - Drug Awareness


FLRLHF-Hearing Foundation




Special Projects


NYS Lions Foundation


Hearing - Mobility Dogs


Upstate Guide Dogs


We currently have 32 District Projects.

Cabinet History

Melvin Jones Fellowship

The first Melvin Jones Fellowship was received in February 1988 by Lion Wayne Wagner of Penn Yan. Since that time many more Lions have become Melvin Jones Fellows. Click here for a complete list of Melvin Jones Fellowship recipients.

Robert J. Uplinger Award

The Robert J. Uplinger Award is the highest award available in Multiple District 20. It is awarded only by Clubs and Districts to Lions and non-Lions or Organizations who embody the Ideals, Ethics and Objects of Lionism. Click here for a complete list of Robert J. Uplinger Award Recipients.

In 1986 four (4) PDG Memorial Awards were established:

PDG Jack Smith Award - for advancement of Lionism in the District

PDG Chuck Coman Award - for best Club Bulletin in the District

PDG William Brewerton Award - for hardest working Lion/Lioness at the Club level.

PDG John Poore Award - for Lion/Lioness most involved in humanitarian service to Club, District, or Organization.

In 1990 the PDG Memorial Award was established to be given to a Lion with 7 years or less service and considered to be a future leader within the District.

In 2007, the PDG Memorial Awards were renamed to honor all District 20-E2 PDGs who have passed away.

Lion of the Year Award - for advancement of Lionism in the District

Newsletter Award - for best Club Bulletin in the District

Grass Roots Lion Award - for hardest working Lion/Lioness at the Club level.

Humanitarian Award - for Lion/Lioness most involved in humanitarian service to Club, District, or Organization.

Awards History  

International Director

In 1995 District 20-E2 and MD-20 endorsed Dr. Edward V. Cordes for International Director of Lions Clubs International. He was elected to serve a 2-year term at the International Convention in Montreal, Canada in 1996. After serving as an elected Director until 1998, Dr. Cordes was appointed by International President Kajit Habanananda to serve a third consecutive year on the International Board as a Board Appointee.

20-E2 History written and compiled by PDG Paul Leach - we dedicate this page to his memory.
Revised October 1997 by Lioness Betty Coman.

Pre 20-E2 History added August 2002 by PDG John Sobotka
Special thanks to PID Howard Conroy for additions and corrections.