Riverside, CA 643

CA SOUTHEAST
District No. 1160

Lodge 643 History 1960 - 1980

Brother John J. Orlando served the Lodge as its fifty-eighth Exalted Ruler during 1960-1961.  Mrs. Eleanor J. Shirr of Riverside was granted an Elks National Foundation Grant towards her study in speech therapy at the University of Redlands.  As time progressed, more and more funds were added to the building and furnishings fund.  With a bit of optimism a Burning of the Mortgage Night was tentatively set for the month of November 1960.  Later it was changed to the anniversary date of the First Burning of the Mortgage Night, or October 2, 1961.  Our Ritualistic Team won the local contest in Corona and District contest in San Bernardino.  The team thereby became eligible to compete in the State Convention to be held in Sacramento in October.  Mrs. Georgia Post, wife of Brother Jerry Post, took over the operation of the dining room.  Riverside Gary Allen Best received a grant of $900 from the Elks National Foundation to complete a course in the study of cerebral palsy therapy. 

Brother Charles "Sam" McCall served the Lodge as its Fifty-ninth Exalted Ruler, 1961-1962. P.E.R. Cress was welcomed back on April 17th after having served four and one-half years on federal government assignment in the secondary school system of Vietnam.  Flag Day services were held in the Lodge room on Friday, June 16th with P.E.R. Elwood M. Rich presiding. At the conclusion thereof our good Brother Judge S. Thomas Bucciarelli presided over a naturalization service for a large class of new American citizens.  Brother Byron C. Morton was the chairman of the combined events.  Upon recommendation at the State Convention held in October 1960, a committee appointed therefore proposed that the California Elks State Association set its fiscal year to run from April 1st through March 30th.  This will conform to the Subordinate Lodge year, and the State Convention to be held by not later than the third week in May.  It was also proposed that a two or three day conference be held in October 1962, in San Francisco during the initial eighteen months transition period.  At the August 28, 1961 meeting, a formal announcement was made of the appointment of P.E.R. Arthur W. Swarner as District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler for our District.  Riverside Lodge No. 643 had undergone many trials and tribulations during its past six decades of existence.  However, in each instance it came through with flying colors.  One of such occasions was recounted on October 2, 1961 when we celebrated the second Burning of the Mortgage Night.  On this occasion, our Lodge was favored by a visit of the Grand Exalted Ruler, Brother William A. Wall, who delivered the main address.  Accompanying the G.E.R. were Past Grand Exalted Rulers L. A. Lewis and Horace Wisely.  Many other National, District and State officials were in attendance.  At that time, the Lodge boasted a membership of over 1,350.  From institution to date we had invested almost $150,000 in charitable work. 

Brother James K. Duncan was the Sixtieth Exalted Ruler to serve the Lodge during 1962-1963. During this year, the Open Installation of Officers was initiated.  Also, the holding of the Easter Breakfast was inaugurated.  Our corps of Officers placed third in the District Ritualistic Contest. Many dignitaries were present on September 17th when we observed Arthur W. Swarner Night. The occasion honored Brother Art as the Junior Past District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler of our District.  On October 10th we were honored by the presence of Grand Exalted Ruler Lee A. Donaldson, who was accompanied by Past Grand Exalted Ruler L. A. Lewis and R. Leonard Bush, a Past Exalted Ruler of Inglewood Lodge No. 789.  Improvements were made in the cocktail lounge in the form of a new carpet and a gold and silver veined antique mirror with a centered Elks Emblem presented by Brother Ray Mitchell and etched by Brother Frank Ricker.  It was with sad regret that we announced the death of our veteran Treasurer, Roy A. Simser. He had been a member of our Lodge for more that 42 years, of which he had served as treasurer for 27 consecutive terms.  Brother Mathias A. Matt Mayer, being well qualified, was chosen to fill the vacancy. 

Brother Delbert D. "Del" Smith served the Lodge as its Sixty-first Exalted Ruler, 1963-1964. Our corps of Officers won the District Ritualistic Contest, with Brother Carlton W. Hodges being awarded a plaque for the outstanding Esteemed Leading Knight. In the State competition our tam placed fifth out of a total of fourteen teams.  During this administration, Monte Carlo Fun Night was launched with "Man Mountain" Al Bottel at the helm.  Following a meeting of the California State Association of Emblem Clubs in our Lodge room, a Disposition Charter was granted to Riverside Emblem Club No. 399. Membership in the ladies auxiliary is limited to Elks' wives, mothers, sisters, daughters and widows of Elks.  The ten Elks Lodges of the Southeast District, headed by San Bernardino Lodge, hosted the First Annual Elks Bowl Football Game in the Orange Show Stadium on December 7th.  Proceeds from the venture to go to our Major Project: Cerebral Palsy.  The Project was expanded to include ten youngsters, under three years of age, having their tuition's paid for pre-school blind training.  On Monday night, February 24th, Secretaries' Night was held at which time Secretaries of the Southeast District initiated a class of candidates for our Lodge.  Our own Secretary William F. Holmes acted as Esteemed Leading Knight, in whose honor the class was initiated. 

Brother Leon R. Goodman was the sixty-second Exalted Ruler to serve during 1964-1965.  Our beloved anchorman and Exalted Secretary William F. Holmes retired from office after 32 years of faithful and friendly service.  Affable E. Jack Neel succeeded him.  At the behest of our Grand Exalted Ruler Ronald J. Dunn, we learned that the word "club" is to be deleted in reference to our Order.  Hereafter, we would be known as an "Elks Lodge", not an "Elks Club."  On June 8th, our retired veteran Secretary was honored with a gift from the Board of Trustees in the form of a monthly retirement benefit for the remainder of his life.  Additionally, Brother Holmes was presented an all-expense paid trip to the National Convention held in New York City, with the World's Fair as one of the side trips.  Anaconda, Montana Lodge No. 239 presented our Lodge with a beautiful 7-point mounted buck elk's head.  It now adorns our main entrance hallway. Brother Benny Goodman, a brother of our Exalted Ruler Leon R. Goodman, who holds a 30-year Elks membership card in the Anaconda Lodge, engineered the presentation.  Our Lodge forwarded an amount of over $1,000 to the Grand Secretary for the Alaskan Disaster Fund, which came about as a result of much damage done in that area by an unusually high tsunami.  Many bus trips were staged during the year affording our members the opportunity of seeing major baseball and football games, Ice Follies, stage presentations at Melodyland, horse racing at Santa Anita and Del Mar, and fun in Las Vegas, Nevada, to mention a few.  Mixed and stag salt-water fishing excursions were made.  During this Lodge year, our P.E.R. Emerson J. Pann acted as District Deputy Grand Esquire for District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler John T. Ganahl of Corona Lodge.  Brother John is the son of our P.E.R. Alphonse E. Ganahl.  After a lapse of several years, Old Timers' Night was revived.  On this occasion, members who had not previously been so honored and who had held memberships in the Order of 20, 35, and 50 years, were hosted to a dinner by the Lodge.  Announcement was further made that the Major Project had been expanded to include Cerebral Palsy, cleft palate, clubfoot and congenital eye defects.  The Charter for Troop No. 74 of the Boy Scouts of America, sponsored by our Lodge, was presented to our Exalted Ruler. Our ever faithful and efficient office secretary, Mrs. Agatha Ruth retired from active duty on February 1st.  She was employed May 1, 1946 and served during 19 Exalted Rulers' terms.  Three Youth Leadership Contest winners were presented with U.S. Savings Bonds.  During March, a special night was observed for our Brother and retiring Chief of Police, Jack A. Bennett. 

Smiling and genial Brother William H. Mays is serving the Lodge as its Sixty-third Exalted Ruler, 1965-1966.  The California Elks Association celebrated its 50th State Convention in San Diego. Numerous additions were made to the books in our library.  Out of town bus trips continued to be of much interest to the membership.  After having faithfully served the Lodge in many capacities, Brother L. Clay Freeman retired as a Trustee at the conclusion of 18 years service in that capacity. Brother William A. Berndt succeeded him.  First place in the California Southeast District Ritualistic Contest was won by our corps of officers.  Congratulations were in order for outstanding performances by Brother William D. Mackey as Esteemed Leading Knight, Brother J. Rory O'Rourke as Esteemed Lecturing Knight, Brother Norman Lilly as Esquire and Brother Stanley W. Everett as Inner Guard.  In the Final State Ritualistic Contest, Riverside Lodge placed third.  Plaques for outstanding performances were awarded to Brother J. Rory O'Rourke as Esteemed Lecturing Knight, Brother Norman Lilly as Esquire and Brother Stanley W. Everett as Inner Guard and Brother George Petrie as Chaplain.  California Elks this year contributed over $100,000 to the Major Project.  Junior Past Exalted Ruler Leon R. Goodman was honored by the appointment as Chairman of the Youth Activities Committee of our District.  The California Elks Association appointed numerous other Brothers to chairmanships for the District.  Announcement was made at the National Convention, held in Miami, Florida, that Brother R. Leonard Bush, a member of Inglewood, California Lodge No. 789, had been elected Grand Exalted Ruler.  A new look was given the cocktail lounge by way of refurbishing and the addition of a new entrance door on the east wall.  Announcement was made that our Brother Emerson J. Pann had been appointed to the exalted position of District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler for the California Southeast District.  Among his many accomplishments, Brother Emerson served under three D.D.G.E.R.'s as District Deputy Grand Esquire and/or Auditor.  A large number of his home Lodge members accompanied him on official visits to the other Lodges in the District. Numerous visitations to other and by other Lodges were enjoyed throughout the year.  We were favored with large attendances at the meetings as well as the social functions.  A new innovation was started by holding a childrens Christmas Party for the children and grandchildren, under 12 years of age, of the members of 643.  The attendance exceeded all expectations.  Another first was the announcement of a Lodge Picnic to be held during the coming February.  The Grand Lodge inaugurated a "Letters from Home" to the boys in service, especially those in South Vietnam.  This work was undertaken in addition to the Veterans Service Committee which is and has been so ably and enthusiastically carried on by our good Brother Alex Kolesar.  Peace Officer Night was revived and was well attended by both the honorees and members at large.  All of the foregoing brings us up to the point of and quoting the Exalted Ruler, "The big day to remember will be the official visit of our Grand Exalted Ruler R. Leonard Bush to the Southeast District on February 7, 1966.  This visit will be held in the Riverside Elks Lodge as a District Function."  A goodly number of our members are working to make this an outstanding event in our Lodge's history.  A brochure denoting "65 Years of Progress" will be issued by the Lodge and dedicated to our membership at large.

1966-1967 - William Mackey was elected as our sixty-fourth Exalted Ruler. Brother William F. Holmes, who retired as Secretary in 1964 agreed to serve a three-year term on the Board of Trustees.  This year our ritual team placed number one in the District. Earl Topham, Rory O'Rourke, Norman Lilley, George Petrie and Stanley Everett won plaques.  Riverside placed third in the State competition with Stanley Everett winning a State plaque as Chaplain.  State Vice President Vincent Amalfitano reports that Riverside Lodge enjoys the number two spot in the District with 1,513 members.  It is with sadness to denote the passing of Past Grand Exalted Ruler L. A. (Faye) Lewis, Brother Faye stood as a pillar of California Elkdom, a man who dedicated his life toward making Elkdom into the fine organization that we enjoy today.

1967-1968 - The fourteenth annual Inaugural Ball ushered Brother Earl Topham into office as our sixty-fifth Exalted Ruler.  Brother Earl had many activities throughout the year with emphasis on participation.  One of the many accomplishments of Brother Earl's years was that not one member was dropped for non-payment of dues.  It was during this year that the accordion partition was installed in the clubroom, making our facility more functional.  A $1,000 Educational Fund Scholarship was awarded to Miss Loraine Wells Bradford.  On February 16th, Elkdom recorded its one hundredth birthday.  A record of which we can all be very proud.

1968-1969 - The sixty-sixth year of Riverside Elkdom welcomes Brother J. Rory O'Rourke as its Exalted Ruler.  This year the name of the California Elks Association, has been changed to California-Hawaii Elks Association.  At our June 3rd meeting, on hundred thirty two members were awarded their Twenty-year pins.  The Huntington Park Lodge had the distinction of initiating our Exalted Ruler, Norman Lilley, Stanley Everett and Jack Neel into the ancient, mysterious and fun loving order of Jolly Corks at our meeting of June 22nd.  Exalted Ruler O'Rourke informed the Lodge that California Elks have donated $1,539,024 to the Elks National Foundation during its forty years of existence.  We welcome two new Lodges into our District this year.  Sky Forest Lodge No. 2393 was instituted by Fontana Lodge and Yucaipa Lodge No. 2389 was instituted by Riverside Lodge.  At our regular meeting of October 14, a vote was taken to authorize the Board of Trustees to negotiate the purchase of the lot located at 6192 Brockton Avenue, known as the Smith property.  Out of 151 members voting, there were 104 votes in favor. As all costs have risen, steps were taken to change our by-laws to read that our annual dues were to be increased from $30 to $40.  This was confirmed on Monday, February 10.

1969-1970 - Brother Norman Lilley was elected to serve as our sixty-seventh Exalted Ruler.  The Ritual team placed first in the District contest and went on to finish second in the State competition.  While at the State Convention, Brother Norm presented a check for $4,000 to our Major Project.  At the National Convention in Dallas, Texas, it was announced that brother Charles "Sam" McCall had been appointed as District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler for the Southeast District.  Brother Arthur Swarner was appointed to the Grand Lodge Committee on Judiciary.  Miss Sandra Kay Lund was awarded an Elks National Foundation scholarship in the amount of $900.  The dining room was altered to include the cocktail lounge.  This improvement allowed the faster serving of large parties.  On Old Timers Night, nine members received their fifty-year pins and three members received their thirty-five year pins.  By a vote of the membership, the Smith property was purchased.

1970-1971 - For our Sixty-eighth Exalted Ruler we welcome Brother George Petrie.  Brother Petrie presented a check for $5,455 to the Major Project.  In October, the Lodge for the benefit of the Major Project sponsored a rodeo.  Many bus trips, dances and golf tournaments were scheduled and were well attended.  Our Exalted Ruler informs us that the number of Elks now total 1,508,050 in 2146 Lodges throughout the Fifty States, Canal Zone, Puerto Rico and The Philippines.  Brother Win Waite relinquished his duties as editor of our bulletin after serving for eleven years.

1971-1972 - Installed as our sixty-ninth Exalted Ruler was Brother Stanley Everett.  Brother Stan was lucky enough to have the State Convention held in Hawaii where he presented a check for $7,889 to our Major Project.  A Lodge Improvement Committee was formed and was given the job of raising money to pay off the indebtedness of the Smith property that was purchased for the sum of $86,000.  Brother Gib Welch agreed to be the editor of our bulletin and a new page was added showing the names of our brothers having birthdays each month and inviting each down for a free dinner on any Monday night of that month.

1972-1973 - Our seventieth Exalted Ruler was Brother Paul Wagner.  Brother Paul informed us Mike Strohback had won a National Scholarship award in the amount of $2,500.  Also that Bonnie Lee McGaugh had won an award of $600.  Our Lodge received a Public Service Award from Riverside County in recognition of community leadership and co-operation on behalf of the Riverside County Election Department.  Much progress was made on reducing the indebtedness on the Smith property.

1973-1974 - Ushered in as our seventy-first Exalted Ruler was Brother Herbert Barnett.  This year the ritual team placed first in the District Contest and went to Fresno to compete in the State Competition where they came in fourth.  While at the State Convention, Brother Herb presented a check for $6,202 for the Major Project, making a total of 640,000 for all Lodges in California and Hawaii.  Our Lodge was honored by a visit by our State President Yubi Separovich on August 13. Changes in our Lodge operation included the taking over of the dining room to be administered by the Lodge rather than by leasing, as had been done in the past.  Don Spicer was hired to manage this facility.  At the Grand Lodge Convention, it was proposed to take the word white out of our constitution.  This resolution was passed by a majority of seventy-four percent of the delegates and was later presented for ratification by each Lodge throughout our land.  It became binding by the vote of a majority of the Lodges.

1974-1975 - In our seventy-second year our Exalted Ruler was Brother Lowell "Butch" Mercier. This year the State Convention was held in Anaheim and Brother Butch presented a check to the Major Project in the amount of $11,210.  A total of $759,100 was collected. District Deputy Ken Moore from Corona visited our Lodge on September 16 and delivered a fine address.  Our by-laws were amended to increase our annual dues from $40 to $52.  Also the operation of the club shall be by the Exalted Ruler, Esteemed Leading Knight, Esteemed Loyal Knight, Esteemed Lecturing Knight and the Board of Trustees.  Another change included changing the fee for Life Membership from $500 to $625. Many bus trips were scheduled and filled during the year and our social activities were well attended.

1975-1976 - Brother William Colacino is our seventy-third Exalted Ruler.  Brother Bill started off his year by placing a great deal of emphasis on member participation and succeeded in the complete renovation of our club facility.  Our Lodge is preparing for the celebration of the bi-centennial year of our country in 1976 and we hope to extend our work in many facets of this worthwhile endeavor.  As we continue to strive toward goals that will endeavor us to write many more pages of history about Riverside Lodge No. 643, we should keep in mind that the seventy-five years of our existence has brought about many changes.  It has been our ability to adapt to those changes and seize opportunities as they have risen that has molded our Lodge into the fine organization that we enjoy today.  May those who will have the pleasant responsibility of guiding our future, be motivated by the fine ideals that have been the norm for seventy-five years. On February 2nd, the Lodge celebrated its 75th year of existence.  George B. Klein was elected G.E.R. Brother Andrew Scherrer served as his D.D.G.E.R.  It is noted that the Elks' membership stood at 1,611,139.

1976-1977 - our Seventy-fourth Exalted Ruler was Brother Rollin Magnuson.  He reported that over 2,750,000 boys and girls participated in the Hoop Shoot project.  Many social activities were well attended. Marvin Pike was elected State President. Joe Cenos served as Vice President and Carl Sappinton of Redlands was appointed D.D.G.E.R.  On January 5th Chairman of the Board, Russell Walling, recommended that the Smith property next door be put up for sale.

1977-1978 - Brother Raymon Wiest became Exalted Ruler.  Four eagle scouts were introduced to the Lodge.  Don Luce was elected to serve as State President.  On September 18th, a firm offer of $125,000 was submitted for the Smith property.

1978-1979 - Brother Lee Dunn was welcomed as Exalted Ruler and our membership stood at 1,310. Key cards were installed as a security measure.  Our Exalted Ruler presented $10,000 to the Major Project.  Brother George Petrie was appointed D.D.G.E.R. for the Southeast District. Robert Robb was elected State President along with Tom Mitchell from Ontario as Vice President. The Lodge adopted a budget of $290,356.

1979-1980 - Brother Fred Pettit became our Exalted Ruler and he reported that the Riverside Lodge had again contributed $10,000 to the Major Project.  It was during this year that Brother William Holmes who served as secretary and Lodge manager from 1932 to 1964 passed away. Brother Holmes had been an Elk for 59 years.  Riverside Lodge came in first in the District Ritual Contest.


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