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Celebrating its 40th Anniversary: The Ridgefield Men’s Club

Reflecting on four decades of camaraderie among Ridgefield's esteemed gentlemen!

Fellowship is the focus for The Ridgefield Men’s Club, which is marking its 40th anniversary this year. In a recent Ridgefield Historical Society Community Conversation recorded with interviewer Dr. Darla Shaw, the president of the club, and three other veteran members, the discussion centered on how the club has maintained its active and engaged membership and what the club means to those members. Participating were Bill Osgood, Jack Malloy, Men’s Club president Greg LoBasso, and Ted McCormick.

Founded in 1984, the Ridgefield Men’s Club is a group of retired or near-retired men from varied careers in business and the professions. It was, in fact, a woman who got the group organized, Mr. McCormick said. Louise Cole, with the Ridgefield YMCA, knew of the very successful Greenwich Men’s Club and thought corporate retirees in Ridgefield might enjoy a similar opportunity for fellowship. In July 1984, the Ridgefield Men’s Club formally organized.

According to its website, “There are no required qualifications for membership other than residence in Ridgefield, timely payment of the annual dues and attendance at a minimum of 8 meetings per year. The Club has a constitution and an operating format, with officers selected in June of each year. Club membership is limited to 150 to permit one-on-one fellowship interaction and has full seating for all in our meeting room.”

Jack Malloy, a member since 1999 and a retired engineer with Perkin-Elmer Corporation, recalled spending five years on the waiting list before a slot opened up to become a full member. Each new man is sponsored by a club member; Mr. LoBasso explained that if a prospect doesn’t know a club member, he can ask the club to introduce him to one, who can meet and sponsor him.

The club meets twice a month at Lund Hall at the First Congregational Church, a large space that can accommodate the 150 enrolled members, plus waiting list members who are invited to attend as guests. In addition to the twice-monthly meetings where business is conducted and there’s a fellowship interval and a speaker, the Men’s Club offers more than a dozen interest groups organized by the members, with focuses ranging from bridge, to hiking, to luncheon and dinner groups. Members are free to propose and organize new groups.

Ted McCormick, also a 25-year member and a former president, runs the wine-tasting and gourmet luncheon group and said the club is where he’s made many friends in Ridgefield, friends who are there for fellowship as well as to lend a hand if needed. Mr. Malloy agreed that the Men’s Club was how men who were once oriented to their careers became part of a Ridgefield community and found new interests and new friends in their retirement years.

There are four traditional club events each year involving all members and applicants: two Ladies Luncheons, one in June and another in December, to which wives are the invited guests, and two Annual Picnics, one in the summer and the second in September.

The Club has established itself as a prime forum for speakers on both local and national issues and hosts candidates for public office, space scientists, and internationally noted celebrities such as Pulitzer Prize authors and foreign diplomats. Bill Osgood, a 33-year member of the Men’s Club, noted that all of the club’s speakers volunteer their time and expertise and said the range of topics has been exceptional.

To learn more about the Ridgefield Men’s Club, visit the website, https://ridgefieldmensclub.org/ To listen to the full conversation, go to the Ridgefield Historical Society’s YouTube channel, Community Conversations: Ridgefield Men’s Club.

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