The Formative Years (59 - 61)
The young council, while starting with 86 charter members, had little else to call its own except a great will to succeed which it proceeded to demonstrate in an impressive fashion. The degrees were the first order of business and the first Admission degree was held on June 5, 1959 at the Greenlawn Firehouse with 54 candidates being admitted. Formation and Knighthood degrees followed in rapid succession; June 12, 24 brothers received their Formation degree at the polish American Hall in Huntington; June 16, 28 brothers, Formation degree at the Greenlawn Firehouse; June 26, 2 brothers received the honors of the Knighthood degree at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Council No. 794 in Lindenhurst; June 28, 47 brothers, Knighthood degree at the Sacred Heart Academy in Sag Harbor. At the June 5, 1959 degree, the following officers were elected to lead and formulate the character of the new council:
Grand Knight……Francis J. Fidgeon Inside Guard…............George J. Craig
Deputy GK……....Edward A. Ronaghan Outside Guard…………Raymond E. Dietz
Chancellor……….John M. Marafino Outside Guard……......Henry G. Jaekel
Warden ………….John M. McGuire Trustee ………………...John G. Hummell
Recorder ………..John Lindner Trustee …………..….....Frank P. Sotera
Advocate ……..…John J. Stewart Trustee…………...........William L. Stadler, Sr.
Treasurer……..…. Samuel H. Allen, Jr.
On June 11, 1959, the Supreme Office approved the appointment of Robert P. McDonough as Financial Secretary. Grand Knight Frank Fidgeon appointed William E. Christie as Lecturer. The first official council meeting under the newly elected/ appointed officers was held at Kerr's Inn, now called the Greenlawn Inn. For the next 18 months, meetings were all held at the Greenlawn Firehouse, Old Fields Inn and the American Legion Hall in Greenlawn. The present hall at 24 Boulevard, Greenlawn, was purchased on November 14, 1960 and after some initial alterations, the first council meeting in our new home (St. Joseph Hall) was called to order by Grand Knight Fidgeon on December 22, 1960. Our Chaplain, Father Sarli blessed St. Joseph Hall and a social celebration followed. Our "Ceremonial Robes" and related paraphernalia were donated to St. Joseph Council in Aug.: 1959 by GK Francis Fidgeon's original council, Marion Council - No. 3733 in North Haven, Connecticut.
Brother John McDermott organized the council's first Annual Communion Breakfast held on March 20, 1960 at the Gateaway Restaurant in Huntington. Guest speaker was Supreme Court Justice Mario Pittoni.
Indicative of the multitude of talent at St. Joseph Council was the amateur acting group, "The Columbian-Players". Their debut took place on May 20, 1960 with the presentation-of the "Caine Mutiny Court Martial" at the St. Hugh of Lincoln Auditorium.
One of the early demonstrations of the talents and cooperation we were to receive from our distaff side which has continued down through the years can be seen today in our council's banner. In May of 1960, St. Joseph's own Betsy Ross', Mrs John Marafino and Mrs Harry Smith, arranged and sewed together our fine satin banner.
Participation in the Memorial Day Parades and Services in Greenlawn started on May 30, 1960 and was followed by a cookout at the American Legion Hall in Greenlawn.
St. Joseph's initiation into the Blood Bank took place at the Presbyterian Church in Greenlawn on June 22, 1960 under the watchful eye of chairman Vincent Aiello.
The Republican Club in Blue Point was the site of the first council picnic on Aug. 28, 1960. 54 families attended according to chairman Richard Kinsella.
Bowling teams/leagues, softball teams, social clubs, 200/300 clubs and any number of other groups were formed, many of which still prosper thanks to the enthusiasm and hard work of our brothers knights and their families. Other groups were also formed at St: Joseph Council but for a more pragmatic purpose.
On July 24, 1959, Grand Knight Fidgeon appointed Brothers John Marafino and Joseph Doherty to head up a Building Fund Committee for the purpose of investigating the availability of suitable council quarters. As a result of the committee's findings, the council agreed to form a corporation to be known as the 4810 Corporation for the purpose of acquiring real property for the council. The Certificate of Incorporation of the 4810 Corporation was filed with the Secretary of State of the State of New York on Aug. 2, 1960 and from that time the 4810 Corporation has been the legal owner, in trusteeship for the council membership, of St. Joseph Council's real property and any furnishings therein.
The first year of St. Joseph Council’s existence set the standard for the future in initiating and maintaining active programs of charitable, fraternal, patriotic and social interest.
The first Ladies Nite Social, held at the Lindberg Lodge in Huntington on August 28, 1959, was enjoyed by 65 couples. Chairman K.J. Dow reported that at $5.00 per couple, the small deficit of $42.89 was understandable.
Brother Jim Lavery organized the first Council Retreat which was held at Sag Harbor on September 11-13, 1959. While the only attendee from St. Joseph Council was GK Francis Fidgeon, attendance improved significantly at subsequent retreats.
The Installation of Council Officers was presided over by Sixth District Deputy John J. Donohue on Sept. 29, 1959 at the Greenlawn Firehouse. At that time, the installation ceremonies could be attended only by members of the order. This restriction was eventually lifted so that, starting in 1966, families and friends were also permitted to attend.
The first Annual Dance, chaired by Brother John F. Martin on Oct. 24, 1959, was a popular affair as the 88 couples who paid $10 per couple could attest. Another `first’ for St. Joseph Council was realized as a result of this social....a profit of $56.80. Perhaps holding the dance at the Northport American Legion Hall had something to do with its success.
Brother John McDermott was also successful in his endeavors to organize the council's first Thanksgiving Day Memorial Mass at St. Philip Neri on Nov. 6, 1959. Chaplain, Father Nicholas Sarli officiated at the Mass.
Nov. 15, 1959 marked the beginning of 20 years of continuous participation in the New York State Council Charitable and Benevolent (C&B) Drives. Council chairman William A. Hammond totaled up the returns and reported 62 books and 2 chances sold by the infant council.
St. Joseph Council sponsored a Columbian Squires Circle which was instituted on Nov. 22, 1959 as St. John the Baptist Circle No. 1261 with 18 boys listed on the application. Brother Henry Jaekel was named the initial Chief Counselor.
Brother Vincent Aiello chaired the first council Christmas Party for members and friends on Dec. 21, 1959 at the Greenlawn Firehouse.
No organization can operate for long without a set of rules and guidelines. St. Joseph Council's first By-Laws (green book) were adopted by the membership on Sept. 9, 1960.
The fledgling council's first major fund raising activity, the Baseball Pool, was initiated by Brother John McDermott in April of 1960 resulting in a net profit of over $1,000.
Busy days and hectic nights for the Knights of St. Joseph? To be sure but not too busy to do even more...collecting medicines for the missions,...canes, crutches and eyeglasses for the needy.., clothing drives for the Maryknoll Fathers and the St. Vincent de Paul Society.... trading stamps for St. Jude Within the Walls.... and much much more!
By the end of Grand Knight Fidgeon's second term, June 30, 1961, the total membership had grown to a healthy 159.
Small wonder then that the Supreme Office in New Haven bestowed Star Council status to St. Joseph Council No. 4810 based on its outstanding program and membership activities. This was not to be the last of these and similar awards for St. Joseph Council No. 4810.
Many of the local community groups and friends of the Knights of Columbus had taken an active interest and participated in the development and growth of our young council. Without their assistance and cooperation, the task certainly would have been a great deal more difficult and for this, St. Joseph Council is sincerely grateful. We at St. Joseph Council are hopeful that we have reciprocated in some small way in making our community a better place for all.
Charter Members (86) --- June 5,1959
S.H. ALLEN, JR.
J.J. BECK JR.
B .T. BENTIVEGNA
S.H. ALLEN, JR.
J.J. BECK JR.
B .T. BENTIVEGNA
DR. T.J. HARNETT
DR. J.B. LYNCH
J. P . MAURY, JR.
V. R. McELROY
DR. J.J. O'BRIEN
REV. N.J. SARLI
W. SCHILLING JR.
W.L. STADLER SR.
R.W. VON DER LINK
35th Anniversary Celebration --- June 4, 1994
The 35th Anniversary Celebration was held in the Council Hall on June 4, 1994. Over eighty members and friends attended including 12 Past Grand Knights; Charlie Weizenecker, Bill Comiskey, Bob Higgins, Tom Mc Keown, Joe Faller, Brian Green, John Mc Dermott, John Moore, Tony Garifo, Ted Mazzucca, Jim Me Keon, Lou Pryor and Walter Sherwood. In addition, four Charter Members were also in attendance; Joe Beck, Jerry Skrodane, John Mc Dermott PGK, and Charlie Weizenecker PGK.
The celebration commenced at 7:30 PM in the Knights Knook ( Yantz's Cellar ) with cocktails and over 500 horsd'oeuvres being served to some eighty members and friends. The Bar arrangement were under the direction of PGK Lou Pryor. Flowers for all of the ladies were donated by John Johnson.
The upper council hall walls were decorated with a picture collage remembering past events, and good memories dating back to the mid-sixties. This excellent display was prepared by PGK Joe Faller and his wife Jane. Other memorabilia items such as Voyagers, Party Flyers, Correspondents was provided by Ken Mc Cormick, current President of the 4810 Corporation. In the early morning hours of June 4, 1994, a set-up committee prepared the Upper Hall & Lower Level by setting up tables, hanging pictures and decorations. The set-up committee consisted of PGK Tom Mc Keown, wife Bea, PGK Joe Faller, wife Jane, PGK Lou Pryor, PGK Bill Comiskey, PGK Walter Sherwood, John Dio, Jim Loughren, John Johnson, Pete Norton and PGK Charlie Weizenecker. Breakfast was served compliments of PGK's Joe Faller, Bill Comiskey and Tom Mc Keown. The horsd'oeuvres were prepared and served by Kevin McKeown, son of PGK Tom Mc Keown.
Dinner and Dancing commenced at 8:45 PM. Music was supplied by DJ Fred Juliano from Centerport,.L.I. who did an excellent job. The Buffet Dinner was supplied by La Casa Restaurant located in Crab Meadow Beach. The food catering was arranged by Mike Porto. A Champagne Toast opened the evening which was arranged by John Johnson. GK Richard Francis opened the evening with a welcome introduction to all the members and friends. The Open Bar was tendered by the member throughout the entire evening. Each Past Grand Knight was introduced along with the 4 charter members. Four widows were also introduced and the deceased members and chaplains were remembered. Kevin Mc Keown spent most of the evening serving and cleaning up the residue from dinner. A 50/50 Drawing was held and five bottles of champagne was also included as prizes. The DJ played until after 1 AM and the cleanup committee went into action at 1:45AM. At 2:30 AM the Council Hall was restored and the end of an enjoyable evening was upon us.
The overall direction of the 35th Anniversary was done by PGK's Tom Mc Keown, Joe Faller and Charlie Weizenecker.
Music ...............................T. Mc Keown
Food M. Porto Bar.........L. Pryor
Picture Display..............J. Faller
Cocktail hour food.........Faller, Pryor, Weizenecker, Mc Keown
Mailings...........................T.Mc Keown Reservations T.McKeown, Faller, Weizenecker
Set up...............................Mc Keown, Faller, Comiskey, Weizenecker, Johnsen, Norton, Loughren,
Kevin Mc Keown,Sherwood, and John Dio
Serving.............................Kevin Mc Keown
Table Layouts................Mc Keown, Pryor, Sherwood, Comiskey, Norton and Johnsen
Clean up..........................Mc Keown's, Faller's, R. Francis, Comiskey Norton, Johnsen, Loughren,
Mc Geever, Mary Leonard
Total Income amounted to $ 1, 751.09, Expenses without the Bar Bill amounted $ 1,283.91