Ramsey senior president retires, receives Lions award

by Tammy Sakry
Staff Writer

Even though it was her own party, Zola Malamen was hard at work making sure the coffee was ready.

The Ramsey Lions Club presented Zola Malamen with the Helen Keller Award for service at her retirement party Feb. 23. Pictured (left to right): Ramsey Lions Club President Duane Larson, past presidents Bill Weiss, Gary Larson and Gordie Berger as well as Lions member Earline Sullian and Malamen (center). Photo by Tammy Sakry

After more than 24 years as the president of the Ramsey Seniors Club, Malamen stepped down Feb. 23.

“I will be 90 in the fall and I just think someone who can remember better than me should be president,” she said.

“Zola has been a really good president,” said Lucie Eisenreich, the new seniors club president.

“She is a very fun person, very knowledgeable.”

As members and guests, a total of 42 people, filled the Ramsey Fire Station 1 training room for a potluck lunch to honor Malamen for her service, Malamen was emptying the coffee grounds, greeting guests and helping put on name tags.

The event also gave the Ramsey Lions Club a chance to present Malamen with the Helen Keller Award for service.

Malamen has worked with the Lions club on senior issues, volunteered at the Nowthen Threshing Show and served food at Lions club events, said Ramsey Lions Club President Duane Larson.

“She really knows her stuff. Maybe she can help me learn (everything),” Eisenreich said.

“I told Zola she can not leave me alone.”

Malamen said she has no intention of leaving the group and will be helping Eisenreich as she takes over as president.

When asked how long she has been president, Malamen laughed and said, “I really don’t know if I could tell you.”

But records show that Malamen was elected president of the club in 1988.

The group started with 22 people in 1984 and has grown to 72 members.

The club, which draws members from Ramsey, Anoka, Elk River and Coon Rapids, got its start when the city invited seniors to meet in the then-city hall, located on Nowthen Boulevard.

With a senior group meeting there, the city could apply for federal grant to get kitchen equipment, said Malamen, who interrupts the interview to have someone check on the coffee.

Over the years the group had less and less meeting space as the city’s space needs grew.

The city relocated the group to the Savannah Oaks Senior Apartments.

Crowding was an issue and the group later moved to new fire station location, said Malamen, a retired ThermoServ worker.

Eisenreich, 69, will be taking over the monthly meetings in March.

She has been active in the group for four years.

“This is a fun bunch of people and we have a good time,” she said.

Tammy Sakry is at [email protected]