Knights of Columbus - 4th Degree - West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA
Chester County Assembly # 1873
Fourth Degree Club
In 1970, the Sir Knights from various councils in Chester County met and held an exploratory meeting at the Msgr. Henry C. Schuyler Council home in West Chester, PA., to consider forming a new assembly for the area. Members present at this initial meeting included: From Msgr. Henry C Schuyler Council, Edward B. Bridge, Henry P. Corcoran, Charles Gruber, Franklin P. Hemphill, Robert Hillenbrand, W. Lewis Reilly, Joseph F. Sullivan, Jr.; From Christ the King Council, Eugene 0. Ahearn, George F. Bodner, Samuel Forese, Wilber J. Derr; From Bishop Michael A. Corrigan Council, Francis A. Coccagna, Frank Antonini, Peter D'Andrea, Joseph Wimmer, Edward J. Jablonski; From St. Pius X Council, Thomas D. Cecco, Samuel Rizzotte; and From Pope John XXIII Council, James E. Lyons, Joesph J. McGough, Joseph Durning, James A. Fennelly. These members decided to organize a Fourth Degree Club, rather than going forward and organizing a General Assembly in the Chester County area.
The by-laws of the club were written; and the aim and purpose of the Chester County Club were to foster membership in the Fourth Degree, to develop a spirit of brotherhood, to exemplify patriotism and to maintain the ideals of Columbianism, and to encourage social activities for members and their families. Fourth Degree Knights of any council in Chester County were eligible for membership in this club provided:
1.) He is in good standing with his council.
2.) He is in good standing with the Church.
The officers of the club shall consist of the following: President, Vice-President's (one from each council), Secretary, Treasurer, Trustees (3), and a Chaplain.
The Club met once a month on the last Wednesday of the month. The monthly meetings were rotated among the participating councils. The standing committees included: Membership, Honor Guard, and Reception for the new candidates to be exemplified each year.
The first officers of the Fourth Degree Club in 1970 were as follows:
President - SK Wilber Derr
Vice-President - SK Frank Hemphill
Vice-President - SK George Bodnar
Vice-President - SK Frank Antonini
Vice-President - SK Joseph McGough
Sec./Treasurer - SK W. Lewis Reilly
Trustee 1st Yr. - SK Edward Bridge
Trustee 2nd Yr.- SK Eugene Ahearn
Trustee 3rd Yr.- SK John Morris
Presidents that followed were as follows;
1971 SK Frank Hemphill
1972 SK George Bodnar
1973 SK Frank Coccagna
At the end of 1973, the Fourth Degree Club decided that each council should continue to foster the Fourth Degree in their own councils, and in a few years when more councils are formed in Chester County, then make an attempt to organize a formal assembly in Chester County.
Each of the years that the club was in existence, members participated in various activities such as: Visits to the Veterans Administration Hospital in Coatesville, PA., to celebrate Mothers Day with Mass and present a gift to the chapel in memory of their own Mothers, on Flag Day, the Fourth Degree Club members would help veterans organize a party in honor of the Flag. The Fourth Degree Club Chaplain, Father Edward G. Lyons was instrumental in organizing these veterans' projects.
The club participated in many Fourth of July parades in Downingtown. The members of the club were present as Honor Guard, at the dedication of the new St. Joseph Church in Downingtown