January 18, 2008

A Grand Lion Turns 90 !!

Lion Wilf Klopp was born on Jan.19,1918 and lived on a farm near Zurich ON. He began his life with other interestingpersonalities such as: Nelson Mandela (Pres. of S. Africa), sports people - Sid Able, Ted Williams, Bob Feller, HowardCosell (journalist/announcer), as well as Sam Walton (Wal-Mart), and evangelist Billy Graham.

It was in 1918 when Canadian Roy Brown supposedly shot down the German flying ace, the Red Baron (Aug. 21), and the First World War came to an end Nov. 11th.

The first season of the NHL began with Toronto overcoming three other teams, the Canadiens, the Montreal Wanderers and the Vancouver Millionaires, to win the Stanley Cup. The Stanley Cup was not awarded in 1919 due to a world wide pandemic of Spanish Influenza which killed 25 million people.

In 1918, the Klopp family likely bought the following items at the grocery store: by the pound - steak $.42, bacon $.32, butter $.32, flour $.09, potatoes $.06, sugar $.09 and a doz. eggs $.49, a qt. of milk $.13, a loaf of bread $.08. Mr. Klopp would pay $.25 for a gallon of gasoline and this bulletin could have been mailed first class for $03.

1929-1939 were the Great Depression years, with Canada being one of the worst affected nations. Wilf will tell you that it was in this era that people gained the strength to endure many hardships in order to survive. The Average Per Capita Income in 1933 Ontario was $310. But, Wilf still managed to buy his first car, a 1914 Model T Ford, for $15.

On Apr. 26, 1937, London ON experienced its worst flood. Water rose to a height of 15 feet in only a few hours. London West was hardest hit. Millions of dollars in damage occurred and thousands of houses were lost. Miraculously only one person was killed. Wilf still gets a twinkle in his eye when he tells the story and shows you a picture of himself (then19 years old) standing in the middle of the street, knee deep in water.

Beyond 1939, there was the service in the Canadian Army when Wilf helped establish training schools in Ontario and Quebec for the mechanics and operation of motor vehicles for the women’s army corps. Oh yes, Wilf helped train the women also. Then there was the purchase of a successful hardware store business and later an equally successful bicycle shop.

Wilf is also a great family man. He and his wife Enid have two children, Dave and Mary. In 1949, Wilf became a charter member of London West Lions Club, where he held the position of Vice President, President, Lion Tamer, Director and faithfully worked the Club bingos on Monday Bingo Nights.

Wilf has always been involved in Lions’ fund raising activities. As a member now of London Central Lions Club, Wilf along with Lion Henry Feenstra started a project of repairing and selling used bicycles. To date,1049 bicycles have been sold realizing the sum of $42,400.00 for the Club and Wilf has been responsible for refitting over 1000 of those bikes.

Wilf was also instrumental in the development of a Lions Memorial Gardens in the Ausable Conservation area near Zurich. London Central Member Wilf acquired the following awards: Melvin Jones, Helen Keller and a Life Membership.

We, as lions and friends, wish Wlif Klopp many more years of health and happiness.

What a life ….. What a husband/father ….. What a friend ….. What a Lion …..