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Lions Who Made a Difference


Lions Club member for 57 years, long-time organizer of the Olcott Polar Bear Swim for Sight

Edward Falsetti
December. 25, 1926 - January 1, 2014

Edward Falsetti, a Lions Club member for 57 years and a long-time organizer of the Olcott Polar Bear Swim for Sight, passed away January 1, 2014.

 Lion Ed grew up in Niagara Falls, served in the United States Army and attended the University of Buffalo, where he received his degree in Mechanical Engineering and became a Licensed Professional Engineer.  Ed was always glad to help others and was especially proud of his years of service to his community, the Lions Club and his membership in the Olcott Yacht Club where he served as Commodore. 

Ed was a member of the Grand Island and Lockport Lions’ Clubs, then lived in Olcott for many years, serving as Olcott Lions Club President, Secretary, Director and editor of the newsletter.  He was a distinguished Life Member of the Lions and received the prestigious Melvin Jones Fellowship Award, one of highest recognitions granted by the Lions for exceptional humanitarian service.  Ed was especially noted for his outstanding support to the Polar Bear Swim for Sight and his professional contributions in building the Mike Rann Lions Pavilion in Olcott’s Krull Park.  Ed’s jovial demeanor, unflagging sense of humor and keen ability to guide projects to a successful conclusion will always define the memories of those who knew him.


Dedicated and Active Lion for More Than Two Decades

Mike Rann
December 8, 1925 - November 26, 2013

Mike RannMike Rann was a dedicated and active Lion for more than two decades, where he served as Past-President of the Olcott Lions Club and was best known as the founder of the Olcott Polar Bear ‘Swim for Sight’ when he operated Mike’s Black Stallion Tavern in Olcott for many years. Mike was a great friend and respected mentor to so many throughout his life. He remained active in the Lions and was a principal organizer of the Polar Bear Swim until he passed in 2013.

A dynamic community leader and tireless volunteer, Mike was the Chairman of many Lions humanitarian projects and spearheaded several community improvements in Olcott and Krull Park. Mike was honored by the Lions International with the ‘Melvin Jones Fellowship Award’, the highest distinction of Lions achievement, and the popular Lions Pavilion in Olcott’s Krull Park – a project that Mike guided and managed - was dedicated and named in his honor.


Olcott Lion Served Community For 50 Years

Jerry Rutland
October 15, 1932 - July 30, 2010

Jerry Rutland, a charter member of the Olcott Lions Club who served his community as a friend and Lion for over 50 years, died July 30, 2010.  He is sadly missed by his loving family, dear friends and Lions across the region.  Jerry joined the Lions when the Olcott Club was organized in 1958, serving on numerous projects and committees for more than five decades, including many years as a leader and organizer of the Polar Bear Swim for Sight.  Jerry was honored with the prestigious Melvin Jones Fellow Award, recognizing his many years of service and extraordinary humanitarian contributions to his community and those the Lions serve around the world.

Jerry was born in Wilson, NY and was a Navy Veteran who served his country from 1952-1956, including time on the USS Rochester. Jerry worked for Lockport Memorial Hospital as Assistant Administrator for many years and was a negotiator for the Superintendent’s Association of New York State. He lived most of his life in Olcott, was a life member of the Olcott Fire Company, served on the Newfane Town Board and was a member of the American Legion.


Dedicated Lion, ‘Swim for Sight’ Supporter is Remembered

Thomas B. Kelley
April 7, 1942 - February 16, 2007

Thomas B. KelleyThe Olcott Lions Club, Newfane community and everyone associated with the Polar Bear ‘Swim for Sight’ lost a beloved and respected friend when Thomas B. Kelley of Olcott entered into rest February 16, 2007. Lion Tom Kelley, also known as “Mr. Olcott”, was a man who made a difference in the lives of his family, friends and community. Tom joined the Olcott Lions Club in 1999 serving as Past President, Chairman and leader of many Lion’s projects. Lion Tom graduated from Lockport Senior High School in 1960. He served in the U.S. Navy submarine division for eight years and was a member of the American Legion. Before retiring, Lion Tom was an inspector at Royal Sun Alliance Insurance.

In his service with the Lions Club, Tom was a principal organizer of the Olcott Polar Bear ‘Swim for Sight’, contributing so much to the success of the ‘Swim’ as a fundraiser for Lion’s sight programs and community services. He provided valuable leadership for many Lion’s projects, which included improvements to Krull Park and community facilities throughout Olcott and Newfane. Lion Tom was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation from the Newfane Central School District in 2000 for his work on the Lion’s Kid Care Photo Identification Program.

Lion Tom’s contributions and influence in the community were far-reaching. He was a member and past officer of the Olcott Beach Community Association, Chairman of the Newfane Town Tourism Board and a member of the Olcott Post Card Club. He was past Chairman of the Krull-Olcott Development Committee, where under his leadership the Olcott Pirates Festival was begun. Lion Tom was a central figure and tireless supporter in development of the Olcott Beach Carousel Park, serving on the Board of Directors and as past Treasurer. He was also a member of the Olcott Yacht Club, where he served on its Board of Directors, was past Historian, chaired numerous projects and was presented with a life membership honoring his loyal and dedicated service.



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