Albion Lions Club goes back ‘home’ for first time in half century

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 June 2023 at 12:36 pm

Joe and Debbie Martillotta treat club to pasta and meatballs at former ‘Lions Jungle’

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Dr. Satya “Kash” Sahukar, left, is pictured with Joe and Debbie Martillotta at their home, the Greystone Manor, at 250 North Main St. The Martillottas served pasta and meatballs to the Albion Lions Club at the house on Tuesday evening.

This was the club’s first time at the site for a meeting since the mid-1970s. The building from the 1860s was purchased by the Lions Club in 1945. The Martillottas bought it in 2003.

“It is completely different,” Sahukar said. “It’s like a governor’s mansion. They have done a beautiful job.”

Sahukar is the last of the Lions who was a member when the club owned 250 North Main St. It was then known as “The Lions Jungle.” It was used for weekly Tuesday gatherings, with spaghetti and meatballs served.

The Lions Club also made the site available for many community functions and was used by senior citizens, school events and chicken barbecues. The Lions also were well known for decorating the site as a haunted house for Halloween.

About 30 people enjoyed a meal and conversation inside the Martillotta home on Tuesday evening.

Joe Martillotta grew up next door. His father, Mimi Martillotta, was a longtime Lion “who never missed a meeting,” Joe said.

Joe and Debbie have the 6,248-square-foot house up for sale. They wanted to host the Lions for a dinner before it’s sold.

Sahukar said the club appreciated the gesture by the Martillottas in hosting the meal. He praised them for their extensive renovations in bringing the house back into a single-family residence. When they bought it 20 years ago, the home had been divided into four apartments.

When the Lions Club owned it, they had two upper apartments in the house, and used the first floor for a meeting hall with a large kitchen.

The Lions Club sold the house because it was too costly and too time-consuming for the club to maintain, Sahukar said.

The Martillottas have ornamental lion figurines near the front entrance as a tribute to the site’s connection to the Lions Club. The couple gradually brought it back to a single-family residence.

Dennis Smith is another long-time Lions Club member. He joined not long after the club sold “The Lions Jungle.”

“It is very nice to see it modernized,” Smith said.

The Lions Club now meets the second and fourth Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. at the Masonic Lodge on Platt Street.

The Lions Club on Tuesday also recognized two longtime volunteers: Sue Prince, left, and her sister Phyllis Wright.

Mrs. Wright is the wife of Lions Club member Lloyd Wright. She often helps the club at their events, whether selling tickets or cooking food.

“It’s whatever they need,” she said.

Wright talked her sister into helping the club at the events.

“I enjoy it,” Prince said. “We get to spend time together.”

They were presented certificates of appreciation by Club President Ron Albertson.

The Rev. Wilfred Moss, left, also was recognized for 25 years of service to the club. He is shown with President Ron Albertson.