Welcome to the 75th Lions Year – and Lion Ray’s (almost) 60th

Ray Barry and newspaper articles

For almost 60 years, the Lions have played an integral role in Ray Barry’s life.

Ray Barry and Hieu Van LeThe successful business entrepreneur and devoted family man has always found a special place in his daily existence for the Lions.

Now, as part of the Lions 75th anniversary celebrations, it’s time to pay tribute to the long-serving member of the Lions club of Charles Sturt, which was originally chartered as the Woodville Lions Club in 1964.

Woodville was one of the original 14 Lions clubs of South Australia and Ray was a keen and enthusiastic pioneer, serving as club president in 1969-70.

The Glenelg Lions Club, along with the Woodville Council, initiated the formation.

“I was introduced to the club and sponsored by a previous charter member and long-serving member Les Knapman,” Ray, who recently celebrated his 88th birthday, recalled.

“My interest in joining Lions allowed me to be in a service organisation to assist others.

“The ability to expand my confidence by meeting people in business and social aspects and the tremendous fellowship derived in belonging to Lions along with being able to give something back to the community.

“It added dimension to my personal and professional life. It also offered opportunities for individual growth, something I needed being only 31 years of age,” he added.

Ray received the ultimate Lions accolade on March 6 2004, the day the Charles Sturt Lions Club celebrated its 40th year charter.

“This was a memorable occasion as Brendan Foley and myself (both original charter members) were presented with the Melvin Jones Award from Lions International,” he said.

The Melvin Jones Award is the highest accolade that a Lions member can receive.

“I feel privileged that I was accepted as a member of Lions and proud of the achievements out club has carried out to people less fortunate than ourselves,” Ray said.

The proud father of Glenn, 58, and Janine, 53, also enjoys being with his four grandchildren and great granddaughters Ivy and Piper.

Ray started work as an apprentice fitter and turner before carving out a successful career with Coca Cola and later in the refrigerated cold storage industry.

One of the highlights was being the chairman of a special committee to review the relocation of the East End markets from the city to Pooraka.

Another was receiving the Order of Australia Medal in 2015 from the Governor of South Australia Hieu Van Le.

Despite his age, Ray remains active in business and he is at the helm of the family company which is building two new houses at Findon.

And, of course, his passion for the Lions is as strong as ever.

“City clubs are finding it difficult to recruit and keep members. It’s vital we make sure prospective members have the essential information and knowledge about being a Lions club member,” he said.