Soon after I started interviewing Lion Ferne, I realized that she’s extremely well organized, and her quiet lady-like manner belies a real pillar of strength. We are most fortunate to have her as a member of the Eugene Downtown Lions Club.
Lion Ferne told me she was raised in Arizona on a ranch just outside of Douglas, right on the Mexican-Arizona border. She graduated from Douglas High School and the University of Arizona, where she met her future husband, Dave.
After they married, Dave was employed by Westinghouse and put in a training program to become an electrical engineer. His first assignment was in Portland, Oregon. He was then transferred by the company to Phoenix, Arizona, then back to Portland, and finally to Eugene.
The Hoffmans have three children, a daughter and two sons, all of whom have very successful lives. They also claim three “surrogate daughters”, young women whom they hosted as Youth Exchangers through Lions. These young women are also professionals, married with families: one in Melbourne, Australia, and two in New Zealand – one in Auckland and the other in Wellsford.
Lion Ferne loves pets. She doesn’t have any of her own right now, but she’s baby-sitting a dog, Sasha, for a daughter who’s traveling.
Lion Ferne has always been involved in service to others. Through Eugene ReActives, Junior League of Eugene, Oasis Mentoring Program, and, of course, PTA, Girl Scouts, and Eugene sports programs when her children were young. She was formerly Director of Volunteers at Sacred Heart Hospital.
A big part of Lion Ferne’s life has been her church, St. Thomas, and earlier St. Mary’s. She’s been doing altar work for the church for 55 years.
She likes to golf, garden, bake and sew, but says her eyes aren’t as functional at sewing as they once were. She claims, though, that she can still recognize the difference between a weed and a squash!
Lion Ferne joined the Eugene Downtown Lions Club in 2000, but was then called a “Lioness.” Since 1974, Lions International has accepted women as members, and she’s happy that, today, the club has as many women as men. Lion Ferne's husband Dave was a very active Lion including serving as a District Governor.
Lion Ferne is one of several club members who help collect used eyeglasses from various sites in the community. This task includes sorting the eyeglasses to retain only those useable and then packaging them for shipping to the Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation in Portland. She also is a conscientious member of the clean-up crew whenever the club hosts events at St. Thomas Episcopal Church.
When I asked her what accomplishment she’s proudest of, she said it’s her children, and now her grandchildren because they’re not only taking care of themselves; they’re reaching out to help others.
She enjoys traveling and is thankful that she and Dave were able to have wonderful trips with Lions, National Contractors and on their own with friends and family. Her children now arrange for that, and the family recently returned from a trip to Disney World, plus a Christmas Caribbean Cruise.
Asked if she’s had any frightening experiences, Lion Ferne, told me of a scary trip. She, her three young children, her older sister, and her two teen-age children, were driving in her station wagon to Arizona for a get-together. She wasn’t ready for the sudden frighteningly steep hill that she had to negotiate, both coming up and going down! After that experience, she’s never liked mountainous roads. And I don’t blame her!
Reporter: Lion Evan Gentry