“To have reached the age of retirement is a credit to a person. Everyone is not granted this privilege. After all, we have been through three wars, a depression, and various illnesses in getting there,” touted Edward Gherig on September 15, 1959, as then President of the Senior Men's Club. And that is how the SMC began…
Founded in 1959 by Edward Gherig and John Lake, Director of the War Memorial at that time, to be a men's social organization, no one knew or believed how influential this group could become. Nine local and prominent leaders, John Lake, Ed Gehrig, Eugene Hoelzle, Harold Merrill, Sam Shenefield, John Kuivinen, Wilbur Kamm, Lorenz Hittle, and Stanley Schlingman gathered on July 15th, 1959 to explore the idea of a men’s social organization. Only after just a few more meetings, the SMC blossomed into a full-fledged club to operate for social, charitable, literary, and educational purposes. Eighty-Two men were present at the first general meeting on September 15, 1959, where Red Jones, a well-known American League Umpire, was the very first speaker.
Just a few years ago in 2019, the Senior Men’s Club wanted to attract younger men to the Organization and changed the name to The Men’s Club. With over 400 members who are 55 or older, it is now recruiting younger and younger professional members and achieving its many goals. The Men's Club Foundation supports various philanthropic organizations and prides itself on assisting Grosse Pointe non-profits with their mission. In addition, this fabulous group of gentlemen has an amazing array of activities. Whether it's their choral company, tennis or bowling league, golf gathering, bridge table, investment strategists group, readers club, pool, or billiards fan club, they have it all. These various subclasses and social camaraderie assure that each member is enjoying themselves in good company. And if that isn’t enough, they meet two times a month and enjoy various well-known speakers, some local and some not. Whatever their fancy, they are sure to hear about it, support it, or do it.
After meeting with Jim Callahan, President of The Men’s Club, it is clear why the Organization has been so successful. A retired Navy man and Judge, he joined the SMC to be active with his friends and colleagues. He says he loves the people and all that it has to offer. His favorite part of the Organization, besides the notable speakers that it attracts and the good that it does for our Community, is his participation with the coral. He loves the glee club and the joy that it brings to people. “The camaraderie with these professional men is like no other,” he exclaims.
Gatherings for the SMC had been traditionally conducted at the War Memorial. However, since the pandemic, they have been Zoom only. The first in-person meeting back for the Men’s Club will be May 11th and will be held at The Arc at St. Ambrose church.