Commitment isn’t a problem for Howard Lansdon. He worked for Pacific Gas & Electric for 34 years, he’s been married for 71 years, and he has served with the Linda Lions Club for 53 years.
Lansdon, 89, is the last surviving charter member of the Linda Lions Club, which was founded in 1954. He was surprised at a recent Lions meeting with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
“I was really surprised. Not expecting that at all,” he said.
Lansdon was in the Navy in the 1940s and started working for PG&E at the end of the decade. A few years later, his work pushed him into what was the beginning of the Linda Lions Club.
“PG&E wanted people in the service clubs back then,” Lansdon said.
He didn’t join against his will. Lansdon had always enjoyed helping others, so the idea of joining a group dedicated to that cause was second nature for him.
“I’ve always enjoyed doing things for people,” he said. “When you go, it’s like you’re among friends.”
When Lansdon retired from PG&E in 1982, his commitment to the Lions and helping others didn’t stop. He went around the state with a group of fellow members and visited every Lions chapter to see how they worked. Part of his secret in pulling off this feat was to take advantage of the fact that different clubs meet at different times of the day.
“We’d schedule it right and make it in threes,” he said. “Get one in the morning, one for lunch and another in the evening.”
Now he helps by putting his metalworking skills to good use, whether it’s punching holes in saw blades for a local hardware shop or making trophies out of old gas meters for PG&E.
“I’ve never wanted money out of it; I just wanted to help out,” Lansdon said.
In August, Lansdon and his wife, Dorothy, celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary. He credits the love they’ve shared and the fact they’ve put aside little jealousies that break couples apart, such as money and straying from their spouse.
“It’s no secret really. We just love each other and haven’t let the little things get in the way,” Lansdon said.
The state Senate sent the Lansdons a proclamation celebrating their 70th anniversary last year.
The couple has three children and eight grandchildren. Lansdon said he had great- grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, but wasn’t sure how many.
“I can’t count that far,” he said, laughing.
Lansdon hasn’t been able to make it to as many Lions meetings as he used to. Not only is he starting to feel his age, but he also is taking care of his wife who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
As much as he loves the Lions, Lansdon has to help his dear wife first.