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A tavola non si invecchia

May 2020 Colombo Club Newsletter

Noi non potremo avere perfetta vita senza amicii

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Colombo Club members receive postcards in the mail for a free dinner in their birthday month. Since birthday dinners for March, April and May have been canceled, members celebrating birthdays in these months are invited to use their birthday gift card at any of the remaining birthday dinners this year. Be sure to bring in the postcard for your free meal.

Happy Birthday greeting

Jeff Accornero 

Robert J. Aiello 

Dominick Amadeo 

Stephen Andres 

Clark Beermann 

Joel Bellison 

Bob Berkheiser 

Frank Bisbiglia 

Greg Bonato 

Dennis Brescia 

Ron Brockhoff 

John Brondello 

Frank Bruno 

Bruno Buti 

Paul A. Campana 

Jason Catalano 

Thomas J. Caya 

Joe Cordero 

Leo R. Croce 

Al DeLa Campa 

John DeRespini 

Paul A. DiPiazza 

Christopher Dobson 

Frank Fanelli 

Bob Fazzio 

Rocco M. Franciosa 

Joseph T. Gennaro 

Dennis Gori 

Joseph F. Gottardi 

Gerald W. Gouveia 

Mike Green 

Scott Hofstede 

Chris M. Isola 

Anthony Jeffrey 

Gary Kaady 

John Lanfranki 

Charles Lehmann 

Mike Lincoln 

Michael Malone 

Joseph Markette III 

Paul Martin 

Nildo Massucco 

Chris McClure 

Jim P. McDermott 

Gary Mora 

Sky Pace 

Mike Paoletti 

Mario Paoletti 

Phil Perrone 

Steve Perry 

Richard Pettit 

Tony Raffanelli 

Larry Ratto 

Jack J. Ravazza, Jr. 

Bernard L. Remoaldo 

John M. Revelli 

Jeffrey Ribera 

Ryan Romano 

Patrick L. Rotelli 

Brian Schafer 

John Sidari 

Wesley M. Sillineri 

Phil Turano 

Thomas Valdriz 

Mike Valerio 

Sam Veneziano 

Kevin Joseph Verducci 

Doug Vieira 

Nicholas R. Virgallito 

Perry Vittoria 

Albert Zavattero 

May 2020 Colombo Club Newsletter 1

May Birthday Dinners

The Club will be closed the month of May because of the COVID-19 virus restrictions on mass gatherings. We will inform members via email when we are given directive from state officials that it is safe for the Club to reopen.

June Birthday Dinners

Father & Sons Sports Nights

Menu: Salad, Tomatoes, Pasta and Meatballs, Dessert, Wine, Coffee

Thurs.,  June 4 510-653-9020  x301
Thurs.,  June 11 510-653-9020  x302
Thurs.,  June 25 510-653-9020  x303

To cancel reservations call x308
by 7 pm Sunday before the dinner

We will honor free birthday dinners for members who celebrated birthdays in March, April and May through the rest of the year. You must bring the post card received in the mail for your free dinner.

May 2020 Colombo Club Newsletter 2

Would You Like to Cook for the Club?

Join our team of chefs! Call Tony Tedeschi for more information: (510) 653-9716 Ext. 353.

Chairman’s Message

When I moved to Pleasanton some 40 years ago I was approached by four men who asked me to join the Club. They became my lifelong friends. Three of them are now gone. Art Monaco, Bob Molinaro and Tony and Angelo Cavestri and I would go down to the Club on the first Birthday Dinner and sit at the H table. For many years the Club had only one birthday dinner each month.  As a member you were expected to volunteer. Twice a year Norm Deming, the head waiter, would call us and we would wait on tables.  We ate with the cooks before we set the tables and we had a great time. We always had a competition on who would get the most tips. If I recall, Bob always received the most tips.  It was agreed upon that we would donate our tips to the Christmas fund. Angelo was an electrician and did most of the work at the Club (as a volunteer). Angelo always sat at H-1 on the H table. He was always served first as an appreciation for all he did for the Club. When Angelo passed none of us wanted to sit at seat H-1. Now with three birthday dinners and all the other events at the Club, organizing volunteers to wait tables would be too difficult to manage. Now everyone is paid.  One thing that has not changed since I joined the Club is the importance of volunteers. We could not exist without them. In the next couple of bulletins we are going to highlight some of the unsung heroes of the Club. Maybe after you read these stories you may want to get more involved with the Club. Call me! There are many ways you can volunteer.  

May 2020 Colombo Club Newsletter 3

The first volunteer I would like to highlight is Danny Foster. Danny has served the Club as a volunteer for over 12 years. Danny is a past Board Member and now is someone who enjoys working behind the scenes. Here are just a few of things that he does.  You know all those hundreds of raffle tickets we use at every dinner; it is Danny who sorts, separates and bundles them for us. We are so appreciative that he does this for the Club. Danny is a handyman and can always be seen at the Club when something needs to be done. You know those wonderful pizza breads that we serve and raffle off? well it is Danny and his secret recipe who makes these for the Club. Another service Danny provides is being part of the set up committee; his job is to take a bucket of cleaning solution with hot water and wash, clean and wipe down the tables before all dinners. Finally, he places the paper on the tables and sets the right number of chairs based on the reservations. Thank you Danny for all do and for being part of the Colombo Club.  

Finally, I hope you are doing alright in these trying times! I don’t know if any of you remember the book “The Diary of Anne Frank,”  about a girl in World War II.  In the book she describes that she and seven other people hid in a 450 sq. ft. attic for 761 days quietly trying to remain undiscovered to stay alive. We must do our part to keep everyone safe and stay home for however long it takes. 

Cyril Bonanno, Chairman, (925) 202-9576.

President’s Message

Ciao, Ciao

One hundred years and I can only imagine that our founding fathers would never have believed the times we are going through today. In some ways it pales in comparison to the wars that our Colombo Club members had to fight for our freedom – leaving their families who did not know if they would return. We, in comparison, are quarantined to our homes and are taking care of our families. Lasciando le loro famiglie che non sapevano se sarebbero tornate. In confronto, siamo messi in quarantena per le nostre case e ci prendiamo cura delle nostre famiglie. We are spending time working around the house and praying that the virus doesn’t visit our home. 

In the next few weeks, we will be making decisions on when our Club members can come back together and share the good times that we have celebrated at the Club for 100 years. We can be assured of one thing the 2020 100th anniversary of the Colombo Club will be remembered in a special way. Family members joining and spending time that the old world would not let us do. That world moved very fast and we played right along with it. Now we have the time to reach into our souls and bring the true meaning of family to our lives. Ora abbiamo il tempo di entrare nelle nostre anime e portare il vero significato della famiglia nella nostra vita.

I have gathered my mom, grand kids, daughter in law, and my kids to our home. We have spent the time playing games and cooking. The time off has given us the time to cook some of the best food we grew up with throughout our lives. I am extremely proud to carry the traditional recipes from my nonno and nona and share them with family and friends. I had these recipes in my head and have written them down over the years. Now, with the time we have at home, I’ve been video taping the cooking of the recipes so that the grandkids watching me today will carry the tradition into future. Sometimes I believe something out of our control can be the reason to make it right. A volte credo che qualcosa al di fuori del nostro controllo possa essere la ragione per farlo bene.

I cannot write this address without mentioning a very special person in my life John Penna. My father, Vince and John were good friends and I had the pleasure of working with John as he was a very active board member at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. I was proud to make my dad and John proud to support me as the food and beverage operator. The most important feeling for me is the respect that is earned from someone like John – A Legend! La sensazione più importante per me è il rispetto che viene guadagnato da qualcuno come John. una leggenda. Rich Puppione has, in this newsletter, captured John Penna’s life. I will miss John!! I know that my dad welcomed him to the next step

We are very lucky to have a very strong board of directors and officers that are navigating the Club through troubled waters today. I can’t say enough how lucky we, as members, are to have such a strong group of people handling all the issues that we need to cover. Because of all the participation in this Club by all members, we have enough resources to weather this. When this is over, and it will be, it is very important for everyone to rise up and vigorously support, visit, use the club, and continue the legacy that our founding fathers envisioned. Al termine, e lo sarà, è molto importante che tutti si alzino e sostengano vigorosamente, visitino, usino il club e continuino l’eredità che i nostri padri fondatori avevano immaginato.

More to come, stay safe and protect your family. Altro a venire, stare al sicuro e proteggere la tua famiglia.

Nick Nicora, President
nnicora@comcast. net

Colombo Club Auxiliary President’s Message

My mother always told me that we (Italians) are a strong, resilient people.  She then would go into details of how my grandparents persevered through the long arduous journey from Italy to Illinois where my Nonno found work.  For several years he would travel back and forth from Illinois to Italy.  When they saved enough money to establish a new home, my grandparents moved the family to the United States. They gave up all they knew in Italy to establish a fresh and hopeful life.  

Here we are presently in a challenging chapter of our lives. The struggle may not be as intense, but it is still a test of our resilience and resolve.  Just like my Nonno along with thousands of other immigrants, our first instinct is to protect our families and to build a community that cares about each other. This is a time we are not only concerned about our current health and economic situation, but we must watch out for each other.  The Colombo Club Women’s Auxiliary has made an effort to contact all of our members to say hello and check on their welfare.  Also, let them know how important they are to our Italian family.

Our May activities are still pending our shelter in place orders.  We miss our wonderful Italian comaraderie and the delicious food we share at our Colombo Club dinners.

Remember we are a strong and resilient people who love our famiglia and we protect and love each other.

Rimanere in salute and may God keep us safe.

Sylvia Jesuit, Colombo Club Auxiliary President

In Memoriam

John Penna
Member since 1950

Gino Riccardi
Member since 1971

Raymond Razzano
Member since 2006

Sunshine Corner

Our condolences to the families of John Penna, Gino Riccardi and Raymond Razzano, all long-time members of the Club, who passed away this past month.

If you know of a member who is ill or passed away, please let Gordon Bowman, Sunshine Chair know. Call him at (925) 449-5549.  

May 2020 Colombo Club Newsletter 4

SAVE THE DATE! Italian Heritage Night at the A’s

Saturday, August 1, 2020. Oakland A’s v. the Texas Rangers 1:07 pm. $30/ticket. Please call (510) 653-9716 ext. 353 to reserve tickets. 

Sponsorship Opportunity

Please help us publish a 12 page program for our 100th Anniversary Dinners. This program will have pictures of the three Club buildings, a short history of the Club, lists of charter members, past presidents, current Board members and Officers, as well as information about the Club’s 100 year anniversary events.  See the sponsorship options here.

Please contact Rich Puppione if you have questions at Richpup46@gmail.com. Make your check to the Colombo Club and send check and the wording for your ad to: Colombo Club Program, 5321 Claremont Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

In Memoriam – John Penna

by Rich Puppione, Colombo Club Co-Historian

John Penna passed away on March 26, 2020.  He was president of the Colombo Club in 1960-1961.  He was chairman of the Board of Directors for 10 years, and then was Club historian until his death. John’s wife Irene passed away before him.  John is survived by his three children Jim, Susan and Donna.

It was in December of 1952 that the Club held its first Children’s Christmas Party. John was again right there to volunteer his help on that committee. 

In 1958 the newsletter reported that “John Penna borrowed a gun on one of his famous hunting expeditions in Wyoming and ‘bagged’ a 400 lb. elk for the annual elk feed.” It was also reported that “Last year he had his gun, but forgot the shells. This year he found himself without his gun. The year before that he found himself facing a beautiful elk, but since he is a Knight of Columbus, he let him go.”

John established the first Past Presidents’ Dinner in 1960 and he attended almost every one of those dinners until this year. Even after being president John stayed involved.  In 1962, he and Aldo Galletti were instrumental in scheduling bus golf outings up and down the state. In 1963, he helped arrange a trip to Cal Neva to see Frank Sinatra who paid for all the expenses for a group.  

John loved to tell the story about the time he picked up Rocky Marciano at the airport, “I got a flat tire,” he said. “Rocky sat there and watched me change the tire with his arms folded. He sat there like a king.”

In 1965, John became one of the first Life Members of the Colombo Club.

The 2010 the Board voted to hang a plaque with John Penna’s picture in the Isabella Room for all of his efforts to collect and save Colombo Club memorabilia and for his work as club historian.

In 2012, John made a motion at the Assembly Meeting to create a “Military Service Wall of Honor” in the Ed Basso/ Isabella Room.

Even at 97 years old, John sat front row center at the birthday dinners so he could just take a few steps to help tear tickets for the incentive program.  At the last Club event that John attended, which was the first Birthday Dinner on March 5, 2020, John WON a 3-pound Salami!

Apprezzo i bei momenti trascorsi insieme, John. Molto Grazie for making sure that the Club grew in the spirit of our charter members.  By your example, leadership and participation, you held the Club together during some difficult times and promoted the best of our Italian culture and traditions.


August 4 – All Previous Colombo Club Board Members and Officers Dinner

  Menu: Chicken Marsala 

August 6, 13, 27 – Birthday Dinners (Family Dinners) 

Menu: Italian Pork Roast, Tortellini

August 16 – Sunday Family Dinner and Gala 100 Year Celebration

(Games & DJ) Menu: Meatballs and Spaghetti  

August 22 – Members’ Gala 100 Year Anniversary Dinner and Dance

(Big Band)  Menu: Strip Steak and Tortellini 

August 29  – Members’ and Invited Guests’ 100 Year Anniversary Dinner and Dance

(Dennis Cruda Band)   Menu: Strip Steak and Ravioli

Dinner tickets for the August 22 and August 29 dinners are now on sale on a first come first serve basis. There are tickets left, but they are selling out quickly.

Please support our individual and business sponsorships for our Anniversary program.  We will be handing out over 2,000 of these programs at all of the anniversary dinners.  Please see the flyer here for the options.  Molto Grazie!!!

Use the reservation form here to reserve your spot today!  Both events are limited to the first 500 reservations.

Download the 100th Anniversary Events flyer here.

May 2020 Colombo Club Newsletter 5

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