Elks remember those they have lost: Emotional annual memorial service focuses on nine members gone in last year

B y Derek Liebig

 

Members of Whitehall Elks Lodge No. 1491 paid tribute to their former members during an emotionally touching ceremony held at the lodge on Sunday afternoon.

Members were joined by friends, family, members of the youth Antlers group, Boy Scout Troop 83, Girl Scout Troop 3435, and local dignitaries in honoring nine members who have passed away during the past year.

Those in attendance began arriving at the lodge shortly after noon and local girl scouts and boy scouts escorted folks to their seats.

After everyone had taken their seats, Exalted Ruler Martin Rocque welcomed those in attendance and explained why they had all gathered together.

“We are here to pledge our fidelity to our former members,” said Rocque, who proceeded to read the names of the nine individuals they had come to honor: Janice Oliver, Philip Neddo, Joseph Golden, Hayden Reed, Terry Leroy, Wilbur Abbott, Francis E. Lavin, Charles Fountain and Francis W. Lavin. “Their remains shall endure forever.”

After a rendition of “Air for Brother James,” sung by the men’s choir and accompanied by keyboardist Peg Ashline, and the singing of “Amazing Grace” by Tammy Stevens and Thomas Abbot, former members were honored during a Lighting of the Candles ceremony.

A single Boy Scout and a single Girl Scout walked to the center of the room and lit a candle in honor of each of the former members.

As the candle was lit, the family of those members stood and watched; the emotion clearly visibly on their face.

Afterwards, the scouts presented each family with a memorial book and a bouquet of flowers.

Following the ritual lighting of the candles, Father Michael Flannery of Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church took the lectern and delivered an oration.

He said he had the great joy to know some of those who were being recognized and the honor of laying some of them to rest.

He then discussed an incident at the barber shop in which a man with a full head of hair came in requesting it be shaved off.

Flannery, who could be described as hair challenged himself, said he turned to the barber and asked why anyone with such a beautiful head of hair would want it shaved to which the barber replied, “men with curly hair want straight hair, men with straight hair want curly hair, men with no hair want hair and men with lots of hair don’t want any hair.”

His point was that we are never satisfied with who we are, but the same can’t be said of family and friends, who we love and cherish unconditionally for who they are.

He went on to say the best gift we can give our deceased brothers and sisters is a life well lived.

Later in the ceremony Ladies auxiliary president Pat Manor recited “My First Christmas in Heaven,” and the tolling of the bell was struck 11 times to impress on everyone the significance of the 11th hour.

Following the ceremony attendees were invited to join members as they enjoy a buffet lunch of ziti, salad, cake and other refreshments.

Rocque said the purpose of the event, which is held annually on the first Sunday of December at every Elks Lodge in the country is to ensure that “living or dead, departed Elks are never forgotten,” and judging from Sunday’s ceremony, it was clear they are not nor will they be.

Comments

comments

Read more in this week's Sentinel in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Read more in this week's Times in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2014 Washington County Fair Guide

Classifieds 08/20/14

Fire Co. renews search for lost horn

By Dan King Thirty years ago a silver plated presentation horn was stolen from the Whitehall Fire Company and the […]

Town finalizes speed reduction proposal

By Dan King Back in July, the Town of Whitehall drafted a proposal to reduce the speed limits of a […]

Superintendent upset with test scores

Whitehall Central School District Superintendent Elizabeth Legault has been analyzing data and researching educational policy in an attempt to turn […]

Increase in traffic hasn’t led to increase in accidents at intersection

By Dan King The intersection of County Routes 18 and 21 in Whitehall has always been a difficult intersection for […]

Enerjazz to conclude concert series

Whitehall’s summer concert series will be coming to a close on Friday, Aug. 22 at 7 p.m. and to say […]

Cheerleading made an official sport

By Dan King After years of being a club sport and funding all expenditures on their own, Whitehall cheerleaders have […]

State says their own building has code violations

By Dan King New York State Canal Corporation recently stopped by the new location for Friends of the Washington County […]

Storefront undergoes rebirth

A storefront that has stood on West Main Street for more than 100 years has been given new life. When […]

W. Pawlet auction Thursday

The West Pawlet Volunteer Fire Department will host its annual auction this evening at the West Pawlet Firehouse, Route 153, […]

State orders town to monitor former landfill

The state has threatened to take legal action against the town if it doesn’t begin submitting monitoring reports of groundwater […]