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Optimist Club of San Antonio
Club History
1924-1934 - Our First Decade
CHARTER MEMBERS

Ira Rupley
Fred Huffmeyer
Claude J. Carter
Harry Wharton
J. Whitney Worrick
Otto Hegeman
Major Frank Griffith
Ray Zirkel
Isadore Mazor
Dr. H. H. Cushing
H. H. (Dad) Jones
C. R. Southwell
John Wilson
John Thompson
George Parrish
A. J. Parker
Carl Neisel
Ron Wolford
Gilliam Patrick
Nelson Greeman, Sr., O.D.
Dr. Stanley Whitaker
Rev. Pat Henry
Louis Uhlman


CLUB PRESIDENTS

1924-1926
Ira Rupley

1926-1927
Claude J. Carter Sr.

1927-1928
Major Frank Griffith

1928-1929
J. Whitney Worrick

1929-1930
Dr. Nelson Greeman, Sr.

1930-1931
Dr. Louis J. Manhoff

1931-1932
"O.P." Schnabel

1932-1933
John G. Swope

1933-1934
Clyde E. Barnes

1934-1935
R. C. Delevan
What is an Optimist Club?

A non-secret organization without political or sectarian bias, established for the purpose of bringing together progressive men and women from various businesses and professions, that their combined influence might be used for the benefit of society in general.

Our purpose, then as now, was to promote patriotism and love of country, and loyalty to its ideals.

By providing whole-hearted support for the youth of our community, we would be able to develop in tomorrow's citizens those same aims.

Our first boys work project was working with the boys at the Bexar County Juvenile Home. We worked with the boys and juvenile authorities and were instrumental in establishing "Bexar County Home for Boys" in 1931.

We met weekly with the boys and at one time had three Junior Optimist Clubs meeting weekly with the Optimist sponsor. The Junior Optimist Club program expanded to Protestant Orphans Home, St.Peter's Orphanage and the Y.M.C.A.

In our second year we decided to set up a permanent boys work fund. We had accumulated $1,000.00 when the Depression hit. Our banks were closed. Our money was in a closed bank.

We were still Optimists and kept on with our boys work program.

By 1929 our Club had grown to a membership of 74. Working with the boys, gaining their confidence, we gained permission from the juvenile authorities to take all the boys from the home for a full week camp. They were entirely under our supervision.

In 1930, the Civitan Club of El Paso joined Optimist International and became the first new club chartered by our club. Also in 1930, the San Antonio Optimist Club sponsored the Knothole Gang. Over 1,500 youngsters enrolled and occupied a bleacher at Mission Stadium section sponsored by the Optimist. They attended all home town baseball games.

In 1931 the Rotary Club accepted our challenge to play a baseball game for the benefit of the "Milk and Ice Fund." We made $1,500 on the first game. These games continued for several years, and after the Optimist won too many games, the Rotary Club dropped out and the challenge was taken up by the Lion's Club. For several years this was our principal fund-raising activity.

In 1932 National Boys Work Week was celebrated in San Antonio. By 1933 we were one of the three largest clubs in the United States.

In 1934 the San Antonio Optimist Club sponsored the Boy Scout Pow-Wow Merit Badge awards to troops of the Boy Scouts of America. Street Boys Clubs were organized. Two hundred Street Boys met at the YMCA and worked under voluntary leadership.

The Uncle Committee was established in 1934. Boys from Bexar County Home & Gatesville were paroled to members of our club.

A new workshop was dedicated at Bexar County Home for Boys. Our club entirely equipped this shop. Later a greenhouse was established, equipped and operated through our help and leadership.

A fine fellowship was enjoyed and within ten years the Optimist Club was established on a firm foundation and recognized by the community for its service to the community. Through it all we endeavored to live up to our slogan, "Friend of the Boy."