Founder of Lions Club 2018-05-17T05:08:12+00:00

Founder of Lions Clubs


Melvin Jones

Founder of Lions Clubs

Melvin Jones (January 13, 1879 – June 1, 1961) was the founder of Lions Clubs International.

He was born in Fort Thomas, Arizona (at that time the Arizona Territory). His father was a captain in the United States Army. In 1886 or ’87, the family moved east when his father was transferred. Melvin Jones settled in Chicago, where he studied at the Union Business and Chaddock Colleges of Quincy, Illinois. At age 33 he was the sole owner of his own insurance agency in Chicago and became a member of the local business circle, and was elected secretary shortly thereafter. Melvin Jones was also a Freemason.

After two years, prompted by his personal code – “You can’t get very far until you start doing something for somebody else” – Jones proposed that the talents of the circle’s members could be better utilized in other areas of community life,[1] He invited representative from other men’s clubs in and around Chicago to a meeting to devise a suitable organization; from this meeting Lions Clubs International was formed on June 7, 1917. Jones eventually gave up his insurance agency to work full-time at Lions International Headquarters in Chicago.

In 1945, Jones represented Lions Clubs International as a consultant at the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco. In 1950, Lions International acknowledged Jones’ contributions to the organization by awarding him the title of Secretary General for life. In 1961 the International Board of Directors proclaimed January 13 (the birthday of Melvin Jones) as a day of memory each year throughout the world of Lionism.