Members of Rye Recreation’s Senior Men’s Club Senior Men’s, seated, from left: Nick Loddo, Ed Dempsey, Frank Berte, Bipin Mehta; standing, from left: Alan Marasco, Sal Greco, Tom Seaver, Alex Glennon, Tony Storino, and Howard Heyel.
A Few Good Men
By Robin Jovanovich
Power is not what defines the Senior Men’s Breakfast Club, but the coffee and conversation are memorable.
You’re likely to run into an extraordinary group of distinguished men at Rye’s Memorial Day Ceremonies on Monday, but you can always find this special group at their favorite club on Friday mornings. The club isn’t exclusive, nor does it require hefty annual dues or minimums. Rye Recreation is the place to be for members of the Senior Men’s Club.
They come for “the ‘entertainment’ and Sophie’s buttered rolls and stay for the camaraderie.” Once a month, there’s Bingo as well as breakfast.
It’s hard to ever imagine growing weary of listening to their stories about childhood, serving their country, marrying the right girl, and jobs and professions they’ve long been retired from. There isn’t a grump in the bunch. They laugh and cajole guests into sharing their own stories.
Meetings begin at 9:30 with the Pledge of Allegiance, and all but the wheelchair-bound immediate rise proudly.
It has been a tough year, the men respectfully inform you, because three of their members have passed away: Dan Rich, Tim Harvey, and Dave Heller.
Nick Loddo, who turns 95 in August, smiles when telling you that he had a paper route in White Plains — before there were Marvel Superheroes — and was known as “The Streak”. Nick still tries to play golf once a week. Bet he has a pretty good handicap, too. He had his own landscaping business for 61 years, and after retiring he worked at the Gedney Farm greenhouse for another ten years.
Sal Greco and Frank Berte, both in their 80s, have been friends since childhood. They grew up in Pleasantville and played many competitive games of marbles. Frank was a bricklayer before starting his own business. Sal worked as an engineer for Bell System. Both are veterans of the Cold War
Alan Marasco, 85, worked in logistics for the newsprint and trucking industries. Now retired from work and golf, he enjoys traveling with his wife, who is a painter. Alan has recently taken up painting as well. A student in Kathy Pasquale’s painting class at Rye Rec, he shows promise.
In July, Ed Dempsey turns 97, but he still has a twinkle in his eye. After serving in the Army Air Corps in World War II, the Rye Fire Department was where he spent his working years, first as a professional firefighter, then as a volunteer. He was also an ambulance driver for United Hospital. On Saturdays you will find him attending church services at The Osborn. He’s glad to have family nearby — son Brian and his wife Lisa — and to have been able to watch his grandchildren, Jeff and Lauren, grow up.
Al Glennon, 84, served in the Marines during the Korean War. He sold advertising all over for Gannett’s nine local newspapers. What he’s discovered in recent years is that “if you relax, life isn’t bad!” He’s enjoying spending time with his grandchildren.
Tom Seaver, 80, was an engineer who specialized in high-rise buildings. A lover of the sea, he served in the Navy, and spent his free time sailing for 40 years.
Howard Heyel, who was with the Navy’s 6th Flight Amphibian Forces during the Vietnam War, went to work for AT&T. He skipped retirement and is working on designing efficient lighting.
In his career as a draftsman, Tony Storino, 84, designed parking structures.
Bipin Mehta, also 84, a microbiologist in India, was asked to come to the United States and continue his nuclear medicine research at Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. “The problem was I didn’t have a car, which I needed to get to work. I started working at Sloan Kettering in Rye and retired in 2004.” He’s been a Rye resident for 40 years and makes everyone smile. Bipin showed up for the first day of the Senior Men’s Club close to 20 years ago.
“It was Joni Ehrlich’s idea that men, especially retirees, would benefit from a social outlet,” noted longtime Rye Rec Superintendent Sally Rogol.
We were sad that the rest of the Friday morning regulars — Ben Alimena, Al Bastone, Gene Collins, Orland Jimenez, Martin Kennedy, Gary Roberts, Nelson Sales, Hal Schwartz, and Ralph Vellone — couldn’t make the meeting. But we’ll be back to listen to their stories.