The Second Decade (1940 -
This is an excerpt from our 75th
Anniversary history published in 2004.
Glen Gray and his Casa
Loma orchestra...the Alumni Association has finally gone big time. On
January 12, 1940, this nationally known band provides the music
for the Winter Dance at the Broadwood Hotel. The attendance at the dance
is beyond our expectations. It's our big night, the alumni resplendent
in their rented tuxedos are only outshone by their magnificently gowned
For the second year in succession, more than seven
hundred attend the annual Mass and Communion Breakfast held on January
28th. Mass is celebrated by Father John Tye, '29, and the sermon is
delivered by Father Thomas (Scotty) McKay, '30.
"Doc" Robinson, '29, is elected to his third term as
President. "Swede" Mallon, '29, and Jimmy McGuire, '34, switch their
vice-presidential positions. Bill Laffey, '36, succeeds Paul Kelly, '34,
as Secretary; as Kelly and Ray Koscinski, '33, are elected Assistant
Secretaries. Tom Mackell, '36, is named Treasurer with Bill Goldschmidt,
'34, and Ed Hooten, '36, as assistants.
Attendance at this year's Malvern Retreat increases
to seventy-two and Robinson looks forward to the day when the
Association will fill the Retreat House. Once again, inclement weather
plagues the retreatants.
In his May, 1940, column in the Falconer, Bill
Robinson seeks the membership's reaction to the proposed changes in the
Constitution. Among the more important he lists; elections being held
independent of the Breakfast, approximately six weeks prior; that the
President be a former member of the Board of Governors (not necessarily
the incumbent Board but of any that had held office since the
Association was founded). And finally, a new method of elections wherein
the body would elect the President and the remaining eight members of
the Board without specifying their office. The eight would then elect
from among themselves the individual officer positions.
Father Francis X. O'Donnell, a member of the Class of
'29, is appointed alumni moderator to succeed Father Quinn at the
conclusion of the school year. This is another first for the
Association...a graduate being named moderator. This practice continues
throughout the remainder of our history.
On the athletic scene, Francis Xavier Reagan, Class
of 1937, currently an undergraduate at Penn, is creating a name for
himself. North Catholic's first recipient of All-America honors, his
gridiron duels with the great Tommy Harmon, of Michigan, are becoming
Following the success of last year's Winter Dance,
Bill Laffey, '36, as chairman, has booked the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra for
January 17th at Town Hall. George Sommer, '36, and his band will play
during intermissions. With continuous music from ten to four, this has
the makings of the most ambitious social program the Association has
Our world famous cartoonist, Bil Keane, '40, enters
the alumni ranks. Bil is best known as the artist of "Family Circus" and
"Channel Chuckles." He originated "Silly Philly" in the Bulletin in the
early fifties. Lest you think we've misspelled his name, he informs us
his father knocked the "L" out of him for practicing his artistry on the
walls of their home. Bil will also be long remembered for his
outstanding job as toastmaster at the dinner marking the 50th
Anniversary of the school in 1976.
"Doc" Robinson delivers his address as Alumni
President to the general body at the meeting following the Communion
Breakfast on January 26, 1941. In his remarks, he emphasizes the
importance of adopting the completely revised Constitution that the
Board has spent long hours drafting over the past year.
Under the new constitution, the membership decides to
return Bill Robinson, '29, to office. Named to assist him are
Vice-Presidents Jim McGuire, '34, and John Mallon, '29. After an absence
of one year, Bill Goldschmidt, '34, is reelected Treasurer...likewise
Paul Kelly, '34, as Secretary. Assisting Kelly are Ed Hennessey '36, and
Ray Koscinski, '33; and Goldschmidt's assistants are Joe Fehrenbach,
'29, and John "Buzz" Howlett, '36.
President Robinson, in his dual capacity of Retreat
Captain, leads approximately 100 men to St. Joseph's-in-the-Hills on the
weekend of February 28th.
Anchoring the left side of Temple's line this fall
are guard, Bill Boyd, '38, tackle, Frank "Bucko" Kilroy, '39, and end,
Frank Ford. '38. Kilroy later went on to star as a defensive guard for
the Philadelphia Eagles and served for many years as the general manager
of the New England Patriots.
Another well known name from this era is Jack
Whitaker, '41. Whitaker, currently CBS vice-president for sports and
prominent TV sportscaster, was for many years a local sportscaster on
WCAU's Channel 10.
DECEMBER 7, 1941...a day of infamy.
And it doesn't take long for the impact to hit home.
On December 13, 1941, our first son falls in battle. Corporal Edward F.
Heard, '33, is killed in defense of Fort Stotensburg, in the Philippine
Islands. Details concerning his death are unknown. Ed is buried in the
U.S. Military Cemetery at Fort McKinley in Manila.
What should have been a jubilant affair, the Winter
Dance on January 9, 1942, is dimmed by the realization that many of the
young men present will soon be on foreign battlefields.
The music at Town Hall is provided by the Bob Chester
and George Sommer orchestras, from nine to three. This is the last of
these formal affairs for years to come.
Due to the length of previous elections and the
changes in the world around us, this year nominations are, for the first
time, held prior to the Communion Breakfast Mass and the election,
after. Another first is the election, as president, of a man who has
previously held that office...James J. McGuire, '34. Elected with
McGuire are Paul Kelly, '34, as First Vice-President and Jack Mallon,
'29, as Second Vice-President. Kelly is to succeed to the presidency
within six months when Jim McGuire enters the Oblate Novitiate. Henry
Bukowski, '31, long time Falconer editor, is named Secretary and R.
Henry Seelaus, '38, is named Treasurer. Assistant Secretaries are two
members of the Class of '34 - Thomas Murray and Bill Goldschmidt; while
Dave Reardon, '38, and Ed McDonald, '36, fill the remaining two seats on
The mood at the Breakfast is somber. The Mass has
been dedicated to the memory of Ed Heard and another fallen comrade, Tom
The Malvern Retreat this year is dedicated to the
memory of our fallen brothers and for the safe return of the hundreds of
our brothers serving in the Armed Forces. Bill Robinson, '29, resigns as
C.A. Captain. Co-Captains Jim Farley, '33, and Bill Cahill, '34, are
named to succeed him.
Many changes occur in the make-up of the Board during
the year, primarily due to members leaving to join the Armed Forces.
This is an action that is to be repeated over and over again during the
next three years.
Mainstays during the next three years are Paul Kelly,
'34, President; Treasurer Henry Bukowski, '31; Secretary Ed McDonald,
'36; and Vice-Presidents Bernie Bygott, '34, and Franny Murray, '39.
Other members who serve on the Board at various times
during this dark period of our history are Jack Mallon, '29, Stan
Adamczyk, '33, "Chick" Quinn, '36, John Colman, '40 (later a Vincentian
priest), John Hooten, '34, Frank Fitzpatrick, '36, Joe Hoefling, '31,
and Dick McGrath, '39. Because of a shortage of paper during the war
years, the Falconer is discontinued. However, newsletters, the main
topic of which is the Communion Breakfast and the Malvern Retreat, are
mailed to all members.
With the graduation of the Class of '42, the alumni
now numbers over 5,000. Record keeping is becoming increasingly more
difficult. At this point, thanks to the grace of God, there appears on
the scene a kindly and saintly priest who, for the next decade, is to
devote most of his spare hours to this task. This Association owes a
deep debt of gratitude, for his unselfish devotion to the Association,
to Father Joseph Eisenbarth, OSFS, Hon '55.
During the War, most of our graduates wear the
uniform of their country. Sadly, we experience the loss of one hundred
and ninety-nine of these men - our records indicate this figure. Among
these are Sergeant John J. McVeigh, '39, who was awarded the
Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions of 29 August 1944 with the
2nd Infantry Division near Brest, France; and Navy Lieutenant Andrew J.
Frosch, '34, winner of the Navy Cross, who went down with the USS
Monssen on 13 November 1942, during the battle of the Solomon Islands.
Also, Corporal Thomas F. Kelly, '37, who was awarded
France's highest honor, the Croix deGuerre, killed in action on 16
October 1944; and the highest-ranking alumnus to be killed, Major
Charles P. Loeper, '32, winner of the Distinguished Service Cross for
his actions on 8 February 1945 at Nichols Field, Manila.
For these, and all our valiant brothers killed in
action, we pray for the happy repose of their souls.
January, 1946...Our veterans have returned and things
are gradually getting back to normal. At the Communion Breakfast and
General Meeting, Paul Kelly, '34, is returned to office for a fourth
term and upon completion of that term will have served in that office
longer than any man in our history to that time. And in our most trying
period, we might add.
Elected to serve with Kelly are Vice-Presidents
Bernie Bygott, '34, and new-comer and popular band leader George W.
Sommer, '36. Bukowski continues as Treasurer and Dick McGrath, '39,
assumes the duties of Secretary. Named as Assistant Secretaries are Ed
Hennessey, '36, and Ed Sizer, '36; while Bukowski's helpers are John
Hooten, '34, and Henry Seelaus, '38.
The Annual Winter Formal, under the guidance of
Bukowski and Sommer, has been reinstituted. It is held at the Ben
Franklin Hotel on the evening of Friday, January 17th. Our
budding impres-sarios have contracted the Glenn Miller Band, under the
direction of Tex Beneke, to provide the music. A feature of the affair
is the presentation of a free ticket to anyone selling ten or more.
Price $5.50 per couple to January 13; $6.50, thereafter...Inflation!
An important event takes place at the January 26th
Breakfast...the configuration of the Board is altered to include two
representatives from each Class.
George W. Sommer is elected the eighth President of
the Association and in his inaugural address; told the assembly "to get
ready for a whirlwind year."
At their first meeting, the new Board names the
following officers: Vice-Presidents: Bernie Bygott, '34, and Dick
McGrath, '39; Secretary - "Chick" Quinn, '36; Treasurer - Henny
Bukowski, '31; Assistant Secretaries: Franny Murray, '39, and Joe Sizer,
'41; Assistant Treasurers: John Smollen, '35, and Bob VanStone, '44.
One of the first duties of the new Board is to face
the furor of the many alumni who had purchased tickets to the Winter
Dance and were unable to gain entrance. The Ben Franklin had overflowed
its capacity. The Fire Marshall was furious and threatened to close down
In order to save face, the Association purchases
half-page ads in both local newspapers to apologize to their members and
friends...but the damage has been done. The Spring Dance, featuring the
Vaughan Monroe Orchestra, is a financial disaster ... to the extent that
it nearly wipes out our treasury and puts us out of business for good.
Bernard Bygott, '34, assumes the duties of C.A.
Captain and leads 150 men to Malvern on our annual retreat.
At the February 5th meeting of the Board, Jim Farley,
'33, advances the thought that a memorial field house be constructed for
the school in honor of our war dead. On February 20th, Farley informs
the Board that a bronze plaque commemorating our brothers killed in
action would cost approximately $215.
Farley reports a week later that further
investigation indicates the plaque will cost approximately $860. John
King, '35, proposes raising $20,000 through a subscription drive of all
alumni. The money will be used to erect the War Memorial Field House.
Each grad will be asked to subscribe $5.00 and the Drive will open April
25th. The plan is seconded and approved unanimously.
The Board approves Father Eisenbarth's suggestion
that we establish an alumni office in the rear portion of Room 319 in
the school. It will be manned by a two-man clerical force in the evening
hours from Monday to Thursday.
On March 26th, after discussing the field house idea
with Father Smith, Farley proposes building the field house on campus.
It would be of similar construction to existing buildings, two stories
high and approximately sixty feet in length and forty feet wide. The
committee is given an appropriation of $250.00 to underwrite initial
architectural fees. A formal letter is sent to Cardinal Dougherty
requesting permission to build the War Memorial Field house.
Throughout the next six months, Farley and his
committee meet with architect George ldell concerning the plans for the
field house. On September 15, the plans are presented to the Cardinal;
and Father Reilly from Chancellory investigates the site and forwards
his report to the Cardinal.
May 14th...Jim Scanlon, '30, reports on the progress
of the Constitutional Revision Committee. Much time and debate center
around the provision dealing with the election of officers and class
Father George H. Godley, a member of the Class of
1931, succeeds Father O'Donnell as Moderator.
The Annual Fall Dance is held at the Broadwood on
October 3rd featuring Les Elgart and his band.
A General Meeting of the Association is called for
the evening of October 17, 1947, at the school. The purpose of the
meeting is to ratify the new Constitution and By-Laws. Admission is by
presentation of either a valid 1947 or 1948 membership card.
The debate waxes hot and heavy but in the end the
Constitution and By-Laws are ratified with but minor changes in form
from the way they are presented by the committee.
The Communion Breakfast is changed to November 16th
in an attempt to balance the Association's calendar of activities.
Bernie Bygott, '34, is elected President.
At the first meeting of the new Board, John Mallon,
'29, and Jim Farley, '33, are named vice-presidents, with "Chick" Quinn,
'36, retaining his Secretarial post. Vince Bee, '35, is elected
Treasurer. Assistants for Quinn are Frank Gormley, '38, and Fran Murray,
'39; while John Simons, '34, and Mike O'Hanlon, '31, become the
With true "Falcon" spirit, one hundred seventy-one
brave the dense fog to journey to St. Joseph's-in-the-Hills for our
annual retreat on the weekend of February 13th.
At the April 13th meeting, on a motion by Jim Remy,
'29, seconded by Frank Kling, '42, a special Board is established to act
as an advisory council to the Board of Governors. The Board will consist
of all past-presidents; and a further motion by Ray MacWilliams, '46 and
Frank McGee, '45, exempts them from payment of dues. This has the effect
of making them life members.
The Board agrees to join with Roman Catholic Alumni
Association in their Cahill Field Chance drawing. This is to be the
major source of revenue for the Association for years to come.
The Spring Dance at the Philadelphia Rifle Club on
May 14th proves to be more of a social success than a financial one.
Father Godley is transferred to Lockport, N.Y. and
Father Fernan J. Brennan, '32, begins a twelve-year tenure as Alumni
Plans for the War Memorial are at a standstill. The
prime mover, Farley, has resigned from the Board and Dick McGrath, '39,
assumes his post of 2nd Vice-President.
At the 1948 Olympics, held in London, North Catholic
Alumni are represented by world-champion breaststroker Joe Verdeur, '44,
oarsman Jack Trinsey, '47, and soccer standout Benny McLaughlin, '46.
Verdeur wins a gold medal.
These men are honored at the Communion Breakfast held
on November 14th. Bygott is reelected to a second term. At a meeting of
the Board following the Breakfast, Charles Quinn, '36, and Vince Bee,
'35, are returned to office as Secretary and Treasurer, respectively, as
is Dick McGrath to the 2nd Vice-Presidency. "Jake" Simons, '34, is named
1st Vice-President; with Frank Gormley, '38, as Assistant Secretary; and
Fran Murray, '39, as Assistant Treasurer.
After extensive study, the War Memorial Committee
reaches a decision. A shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima will be
erected on campus. The site will be on the school side of the driveway
that separates the Chapel from the school.
The shrine will consist of a group of life-sized
statues of Our Lady and the three Portugese children; and a plaque
listing the names of our war dead.
Due to the accommodations at Malvern being increased,
attendance at the February 18th weekend jumps to 210.
After an absence of two years, the Spring Formal is
reinstated. The Broadwood Hotel is the scene for George Sommer's music.
Unfortunately, we suffer another financial loss and the Board decides
that future dances should be held on a smaller scale.
June 5, 1949...At long last our War Memorial is a
reality. Today, the Most Rev. Henry J. Thuneman, OSFS, Apostolic Vicar
of Keimoes, Namaqualand, South Africa, blessed the Shrine of Our Lady of
Fatima. The Rev. Gerald V. McDevitt, pastor of St. Stephen's Parish,
delivers the sermon. Father McDevitt will later become an auxiliary
bishop of Philadelphia.
Many alumni, as well as relatives and friends of
those honored on the plaque, are present. The school band provides a
musical interlude and the colors are raised, for the first time, over
With the graduation of the Class of '49, our
membership now totals over 10,000.
Proceedings at the Alumni Communion Breakfast on
November 27th are supervised for the first time by the popular and
comical "Mickey" Shaughnessy. Honorary memberships are conferred on Ken
Loeffler, LaSalle basketball coach; John "Ox" DaGrosa, chairman of the
state athletic commission; and Shaughnessy.
Another alumni first is created as WFIL-TV records
the goings-on for its television newsreel presentation of the following
day. Our largest crowd to date, eight hundred and seventy-five is in
Charles J. "Chick" Quinn, '36, is elected to the presidency.
Immediate Past-President Bernie Bygott, '34, is named First
Vice-President and the second vice-presidency goes to Tom Cavanaugh,
'31. Vince Bee, '35, retains the treasurer's post and Frank McGee, '45,
will assist him. Paul D. Quinn, '36, is elected Secretary, a position he
will hold, with but two exceptions, for the next forty-nine years. John
Donnelly, '40, is named Assistant Secretary.
In our eighty-two years, almost one thousand men have served
on our Board of Governors. Some have served as little as one month
while others have performed dedicated service for many years. We
would like to recognize the thirty Class Representatives who served
for twenty five years or longer.
Francis J. Devinney, '42
- November, 1950 to November, 1951; January, 1954 to September, 2011.
Patrick J. Boyle, '49 - November, 1954 - Present
Leonard F. Knobbs, '53 - November, 1956 - Present
Richard C. McGrath, '39 - July, 1943 to November, 1951;
November, 1952 to November, 1957;
November, 1958 to November, 1977; March, 1978 to February, 1998.
Deceased March 24, 2003.
Paul D. Quinn, '36 - November, 1948 to September, 2000.
Deceased October 20, 2002.
John S. Boyle, '39 - November, 1961 - September, 2008.
Deceased January 30, 2012.
John F. Handley, '58 - March, 1967 - Present John T.
Musial, '63 - January, 1966 to September, 1990; September, 1992 to
Present Raymond E. Rysak, '66 - March, 1969 - Present William J. McCormac, '61 - March, 1969 to March,
2011, September, 2011 - Present Joseph E. McKeown, '33 - November, 1950 to January,
1951; November, 1953 to September, 1996. Deceased September 29,
Lawrence A. Dolan, '37 - November, 1948 to September,
1957; November, 1957 to May, 1958; March, 1973 to October, 2005.
Deceased October 30, 2005.
Robert J. Fuessinger, '48 - November, 1952 to
September, 1993. Deceased August 15, 2006. Stephen A. Cardullo,
'72 - September, 1972 - Present Francis J. Gleason, '53 - November, 1960 to September,
2000. Deceased September 10, 2000. Joseph J. Mackin, '40 - November, 1947 to October,
1959; November, 1962 to March, 1972; March, 1977 to June, 1995.
Deceased June 23, 1995.
J. William Arnoldy, '38 - January, 1964 to August,
1998. Deceased August 15, 1998.
John R. Hanejko, '65 - November, 1978 - Present
Bernard J. McGuire, '50 - November, 1952 to November,
1958; January, 1959 to September, 1972; October, 1972 to November, 1975;
March, 1976 to June, 1985; September, 1985 to February, 1986.
Deceased August 5, 1987.
Joseph P. Brennan, Jr., '69 - March,
1977 to October, 2006; September, 2008 - May, 2011.
Edward J. Ganister, '32 - March, 1967 to January, 1999.
Deceased January 3, 1999. Anthony J. Colletta, '72 - March, 1973 to February,
1985; April, 1989 to November, 2008. Deceased November 19, 2011.
Michael A. Donofrio, '47 - November, 1955 to October,
1965; January, 1966 to February, 1967; March, 1967 to September, 1967;
September, 1989 to July, 2009. Deceased July 5, 2009.
Thomas M. Cleary, '47 - January, 1965 to February,
1996. Deceased January 18, 2001.
Edmund A. Markowski, Jr., '56 - September, 1977 to
September, 1992; September, 1994 to September, 2009.
Robert E. Kennedy, '54 - September, 1984 to February, 1994; May,
1994 - Present
Louis J. Peters, '31 - December, 1964 to September,
1992. Deceased December 31, 1993. William M. FitzPatrick, '59 - September, 1986 - Present William H. O'Connell, Jr., '34 - January, 1965 to
November, 1990. Deceased November 26, 1990.
Joseph T. Mulawka, '51 - September, 1987 - Present