1953 - Korean War Armistice
Before the founding of the St. Louis Chapter of UNICO
National in October. 1953, more than 500 friends of Dr. Andrew J. Signorelli
attended a banquet at the Congress Hotel on July sixteenth. At this banquet
a bronze plaque was presented to him by the national officers of UNICO
National. The presentation was made by Dr. Nicholas S. Vitale, founder
of the St. Louis Chapter and Dr. D. M. Nigro of Kansas City who was Executive
Vice President of UNICO National.
1956 - Transatlantic Telephone Cable
Many programs were outlined for the UNICO National Thirtieth
National Convention in St. Louis which was to be held in 1958. Some of
the events included a tour of the Anheuser Busch brewery, a fashion show,
and tours of Grant’s Farm and Faith Hospital.
This was the year when the St. Louis Chapter really improved
its membership. The year was titled the "Hot Sizzlin Membership Year".
Meetings were held at Ruggeri’s where "Hot Sizzlin Steaks" were prepared
at the dinner meetings. A gourmet testimonial dinner was held at which
Henry Ruggeri was honored on July sixteenth.
1957 - "On the Road" is published
The Second Annual Charity Dinner and Ball was held on
Saturday, October twelfth (Columbus Day) at the Khorrassan Room of the
Chase Hotel. The dinner raised $50,000 and these funds were distributed
to the Pope Pius XII Library, which was under construction at St. Louis
In addition money was donated to expand the library facilities
for Welfare and Educational organizations, and Boys Town of Missouri. Several
athletic scholarships were provided, including a few for students from
Santo Domenico Orphan Home.
The Honorable Dr. Roberto DeCardona, Italian Consul for
St. Louis, presented the Legion of Merit Award to Anthony Salamone at this
1958 - Explorer I
The Thirtieth Annual Convention of UNICO National was
held in St. Louis at the Chase Hotel in August. Vincent A. Carrafiello
received the Major Don S. Gentile Memorial Award. Some of the other awards
presented at this convention included: Perry Como, for Outstanding Television
Star of Italian descent; Frank Sinatra, Outstanding Star in all media of
entertainment of Italian descent; Rosalind Calcaterra, of St. Louis, Outstanding
Women Athlete; Andrew Robustelli, Outstanding Professional Athlete; Frank
Torre (Joe Torre’s brother), Outstanding Baseball Player; Linda Darnell
for her untiring and unselfish contributions to Girls Town and Boys Town
of Italy; and the Gaylords for popularizing Italian songs.
1959 - Alaska, Forty-Ninth State and Hawaii,
Joe Garagiola receives the UNICO Charity Ball and Dinner
"Man of the Year Award" on September nineteenth at the Korassan Room of
the Chase Hotel.
Sixth Annual Officer Installation Dinner Dance was held
the at Forest Park Hotel on May twenty-third.
1960 - First Weather Satellite
The Italian Orphan Home received a donation from the St.
Louis Chapter of UNICO National.
The Officer Installation Dinner Dance was held at the
Missouri Athletic Club on May twenty-eighth and the Charity Ball was held
at the Chase Hotel on September third.
A family picnic was held at Holy Family Church in July.
Over twenty donations were made this year to charities throughout the metropolitan
1961 - Mercury Space Capsule
The Charity Ball was held at the Korassan Room of the
Chase Hotel on September sixteenth.
At the UNICO National Convention the following awards
were presented: Ernie Brolio, of the St. Louis Cardinals, Outstanding Baseball
Player; Alan Ameche,
Outstanding Football Player; Joseph Bellini, of the United
States Naval Academy, Outstanding Amateur Athlete.
1962 - John Glenn Orbits Earth
Monsignor Carl Poelker and Father Salvatore Polizzi were
present at the May meeting to solicit donations and pledges for the proposed
new Cor Jesu Academy.
The Italian Consul of St. Louis was in favor of a projected
plan for an Italian week in St. Louis.
1963 - John F. Kennedy Assassinated
Tenth Anniversary of the St. Louis Chapter of UNICO National.
There was a Memorial Mass for John F. Kennedy at St. Charles
Borromeo Church on December twenty- second.
1964 - War On Poverty
A Charity Dinner was given to honor J. Arthur (Cubby)
Baer, President of Stix, Baer and Fuller in recognition for the work he
did in presenting the Italian Festival in his stores.
1965 - Gateway Arch Topped Off
On Sunday, April nineteenth a bowling party was held at
the Red Bird Lanes for members and their wives.
Plans were under way for a testimonial dinner honoring
Captain Nicholas Valenti of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police, the first
Italian American promoted to the rank of Police Captain. The Fratellanza
Society and the Italian Club of St. Louis participated at this event.
1966 - Medicare Begins
The St. Louis Chapter of UNICO National culminated phase
two of a program titled "Avanti". The Fiesta program was held at the Colony
Hotel. The members and prospective members were in a gala mood especially
when Anthony Miceli led the group in singing parodies of Dr. Andrew Signorelli,
Judge Peter Maniscalco and acting Italian Consul, Ermanno M. Chionio. The
group was accompanied at the piano by then President Dr. Jasper R. Signorelli.
Alphonse Lordo presided at the meeting and Anthony Miceli was the Master
1967 -Apollo Fire
A Testimonial Dinner was given to Captain Nicholas F.
Valenti of the St. Louis Police Department at Stan Musial and Biggie’s
Restaurant. Captain Valenti went from a patrolman to captain in a period
of twenty-four years, receiving eight citations for meritorious service
in the line of duty.
1968 - USS Pueblo
A Charity Dinner was held at the Norwood Hills Country
Club and a style show was held in conjunction with the dinner dance.
The St. Louis Chapter obtained permission from UNICO National
to raise money for the Pope Pius XII Library. UNICO National endorsed their
endeavors. The St. Louis Chapter donated $22,000 and raised the remaining
$53,000 for a total contribution of $75,000.
1969 - First Man Walks on Moon
Joseph Martino, Alderman of the Eighth Ward of the City
of St. Louis was given a testimonial dinner. This was last of many "Cadillac
Dinners" that preceded the Man of the Year and Annual Banquets that have
been the major function of the Chapter.
1970 - Earth Day
It was decided to have an Annual Banquet at which individuals
of Italian descent would be honored. The first was scheduled for 1972 and
it was to be called the 1972 Gourmet Awards Dinner Dance.
1971 - Voting Age Lowered
The Officer’s Installation Dinner Dance was held on May
eighth at Stan Musial and Biggie’s Restaurant. The Stouffer’s Riverfront
Hotel was selected as the location for the 1972 Gourmet Awards Dinner Dance.
1972 - Watergate Burglary
The Magnificent Seven was the name given to the first
gourmet Man of the Year Awards Banquet which was held on Saturday, February
twenty-sixth in the Grand Ballroom of the Stouffer’s Riverfront Hotel.
The proceeds were designated to go to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital
Kidney Research Program. It was a magnificent year for the St. Louis Chapter
of UNICO National as it was the beginning of many yearly award dinners.
The Master of Ceremonies was Spencer Allen and the President of UNICO was
There were seven men honored and each received a silver
Revere bowl. The honorees included Gabriel Alberici for business; Paul
Berra for government; Yogi Berra for sports, Joseph Garagiola for communications;
Joseph Salmeri for labor; Dr. Andrew Signorelli for medicine; and Professor
Joseph Simone for education.
Bishop Charles Koester offered benediction to the huge
crowd which numbered at 1500 people. The Food Committee was headed by Dr.
J. C. Cacioppo and he was assisted by Dora Kemoll of Kemoll’s Restaurant.
The Ladies Auxiliary was formed. Charter members were
Goldie Tacchi, Jean Passanante, Rose Titone, Nina Lordo, Joyce Mossotti,
Arlene Sciortino, Barbara Schembre, Susan Rizzo, Millie Vitale, Vera Frisella,
Gloria Vitale, Carmela Vitale, Judy Coleca, Sally Messina, Dora Kemoll,
Bertha Palazzolo, Lucille Guccione, and Sistine Caccioppo. The Ladies Auxiliary
held their first officers installation dinner at LaRocca’s Restaurant.
The Columbus Day Queen was Sharon Talley.
1973 - Skylab
Twentieth Anniversary of the St. Louis Chapter of UNICO
National. At the Second Annual Gourmet Awards Dinner Dance, the Reverend
Lawrence Chiuminatto, S.J., Spiritual Director of the White House Retreat
House and Aldermanic President Joseph Badaracco were honored with the Men
of the Year Awards.
Bishop Charles Koester was in attendance to give the Invocation
and Dr. Mario A. Montecalvo, the Italian Consul was also in attendance.
There was a special dinner honoring Aldermanic President Joseph Badaracco
at the Chase Hotel on April first.
The Ladies Auxiliary held a dinner dance on September
twenty-second. The colors of Italy, green, white and red were featured
at this dinner. They called their program "Little Italy Dinner Dance".
The Columbus Day Queen was Camille Gambaro, daughter of
Ben Gambaro of Missouri Bakery.
1974 - Energy Crisis
The Third Annual Gourmet Awards Dinner Dance was held
at the Chase Hotel. The honorees were Dr. Nicholas S. Vitale of Faith Hospital
and Richard Mantia, the top labor official in St. Louis.
There was a record attendance this year and a Galliano
Carabinere (a replica of the Italian State Police) was stolen toward the
end of the program. The 1400 people in attendance failed to notice the
missing replica which was placed near the entrance.
Alphonse Lordo, who furnished the Galliano liquore as
well as the policeman, which incidentally was the only one in the United
States at that time. Al knew that he had this to return this statue which
was six feet tall, so he advertised in the newspaper and via radio requesting
its return. Al never gave up and after nine months he was able to locate
the carabinere, but it cost him four tickets for the 1975 Banquet.
Monsignor Carl Poelker celebrated his fortieth anniversary
as a priest on December eighth. A procession preceding the Mass at Our
Lady of Good Council was held and a reception was held afterwards. Monsignor
Poelker was chaplain of the St. Louis Chapter of UNICO at the time. The
Ladies Auxiliary made a sizable donation to Rainbow Village. This organization
served the needs of the mentally disabled. Mrs. Ben Messina was the chairperson.
Dr. Andrew Signorelli, the Director of Faith Hospital,
was recognized as "Doctor of the Year" at a banquet at the Missouri Athletic
The St. Louis Chapter of UNICO celebrated its fourth consecutive
year of participation in the St. Louis Columbus Parade.
1975 - Chorus Line and Jaws
Two outstanding St. Louisans, Fred Giacoma and Mr. Charles
Rallo, Jr. received the annual Italo-American Distinguished Service Awards
for special achievements in their respective fields of endeavor.
This happened on April thirteenth, in the Korassan Room
of the Chase Park Plaza Hotel. Entertainer Nick Noble was accompanied by
the Johnny Polzin Orchestra. At the time Fred Giacoma was Executive Vice
President of Southwest Bank and Charles Rallo was President of Rallo Construction
The St. Louis Chapter took over sponsorship of the St.
Louis Columbus Day Parade. They sponsored it until 1980 when they invited
other Italian American organization to participate.
The Columbus Queen was Pia Maria Botteni.
1976 - American Bi-Centennial
The Dr. Nicholas S. Vitale Distinguished Service Award
was presented to Anthony Salamone at the Cherry Hills Country Club during
the installation of officers. Anthony Salamone was given the award for
his work in assisting the elderly.
For the first time the President of the St. Louis Chapter
of UNICO National and the Ladies Auxiliary were held by the same family.
Angelo Tacchi was the president of UNICO and his wife, Goldie, was president
of the Ladies Auxiliary.
Linda Saputo was the Columbus Queen.
1977 - Star Wars
Jack Valenti was honored as "Man of the Year" by the St.
Louis Chapter on October ninth. Mr. Valenti was the president of the Retail
Store Employees, Local 655. The banquet was followed by the Columbus Day
Angelo Tacchi was president of UNICO and he presided over
the parade which started at Grand and Russell and ended at the statute
of Columbus in Tower Grove Park. Lucy Bommarito was the Queen.
1978 - Camp David Accords
The Columbus Day Dinner Dance was held at the Cherry Hill
A farewell dinner was given the Italian Consulate Office
at Ruggeri’s Restaurant. The dinner was sponsored by the St. Louis Chapter
of UNICO and the Italian Club of St. Louis. Mario Pertici, President of
the Italian Club was emcee and UNICO President Noel Bianco was the Banquet
Chairman. Both men presented plaques to Consul Dr. Arnaldo Bucciero, Chancellor
Ettore DiBona and Secretary Antonino Tito. All three men expressed regrets
on having to leave since they had made many friends in St. Louis.
This was especially true for Tony Tito. He lived in St.
Louis for sixteen years.
Members of the Fratellanza Society, the Misericordia Society
and Hill 2000 were also present.
The Officers were installed on May twentieth at the Mayfair
Hotel. Noel Bianco was the new president. Hilda Giganti became president
of the Ladies Auxiliary.
John Passanante was awarded the Dr. Nicholas Vitale Distinguished
Service Award for his many years of excellent secretarial service.
A wine tasting program was held at the Cheshire Inn on
August twenty-fourth. The wines were all from France. Cheese was included.
Something different occurred at the regular meeting of
November twenty-first when Richard Palazzolo and Angelo Tacchi were the
"Gourmet Chefs" at Hagiparis Restaurant. They served Carne Ammudicata,
Mostaccioli alla Palazzolo and Insalata alla Tacchi.
1979 - Iran Hostage Crisis
The Annual Dinner Dance was held on Saturday, May nineteenth
at the Swiss Inn Restaurant. Dr. Anthony Berni was installed as president.
Bertha Palazzolo became the president of the Ladies Auxiliary.
The Award Banquet was held on Saturday, October sixth
at the Carpenter’s Hall. Joe Tangaro was the honoree. Joe was a former
professional wrestler and owner of Tangaro’s Chariton Restaurant. He was
also a past president of the PBM.
The Columbus Queen was Gina Squitieri. The St. Louis Chapter
of UNICO decided to move the Columbus Parade to the Hill. The date was
Sunday, October seventh.
1980 - Mount Saint Helens Erupts
On Sunday, October nineteenth, the St. Louis Chapter of
UNICO sponsored their Annual Charity Dinner Dance for the benefits of St.
Mary’s Special School at St. Raymond Hall. Carmelina Maria Corso was crowned
This year was the first time that all the Italian American
organizations sponsored and supported the Columbus Parade. The St. Louis
Chapter invited all the clubs to become involved with the parade. The parade
was once again held on the Hill and UNICO Member Dr. Anthony Berni was
the president of the Parade Committee.
1981 - Space Shuttle
Vincent J. Bommarito of Tony’s Restaurant was named the
"Man of the Year" by the St. Louis Chapter of UNICO. The Charity Banquet
was held on October eighteenth at St. Raymond’s Hall.
Paula Marie Reidelberger was the Columbus Day Queen.
The Ladies Auxiliary was thanked for their excellent and
memorable assistance in making 1981 one of the most successful.
1982 - Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The St. Louis Chapter of UNICO held their Annual Award
Banquet on Sunday, October seventeenth at the Cedars Room of St. Raymond’s
Hall. Dr. Anthony Berni was the honoree. Tony was a past president of UNICO
and a past District Governor of the State of Missouri.
The Queen was Rosetta Failoni.
1983 - Cabbage Patch Dolls
The Thirtieth Anniversary of the St. Louis Chapter of
National. There was a dinner meeting held on March twenty-third at Faith
Hospital. Dr. Andrew Signorelli and the Faith Hospital Management donated
their facilities and dinner for this occasion. After the dinner, Richard
Palazzolo, Sr. was elected President. In addition donations were made to
St. Mary’s Special School and the Sunnyhill School.
The Awards Banquet was held at St. Raymond’s Hall on October
sixteenth. The honorees were Dr. Francis Xavier-Paletta, professor of plastic
surgery at St. Louis University Medical Center and Alphonse Lordo, owner
of Lordo’s Diamonds.
UNICO member Angelo Sita was elected Chairman of the Columbus
The Columbus Day Queen was Linda Lombardo, daughter of
UNICO member Tony Lombardo. Tony publishes the Il Pensiero newspaper.
1984 - Trivial Pursuit
The UNICO National Convention was held at Paradise Island
in the Bahamas on August first through the fifth. New York Governor, Mario
Cuomo addressed the convention via a special telephone link. Charles DiMartino,
the St. Louis President went to this convention which held on August first
Michael J. LaMonica, was the honoree at the Annual Awards
Banquet which was held on October fourteenth at St. Raymond’s Hall.
Angelina Maria Vitale, daughter of Pete and Grace Vitale
of Vitale’s Bakery on the Hill, was the Columbus Day Queen.
1985 - Titanic Found
The Installation of Officers Dinner Dance was held on
May nineteenth at Felice’s Restaurant. At the same dinner the Ladies Auxiliary
installed their officers.
This year there were three queens for the Columbus Parade.
The Queen was Angela Francis Sabella, Teen Miss Columbus was Josephine
Gandolfo and Junior Miss was Kristina Temporiti.
1986 - Tax Reform
The Annual Awards Banquet was held at the Chase Park Plaza
Hotel on April twelfth. The honorees were the owners of The Pasta House
Company Restaurants, John Ferrara, J. Kim Tucci and Joseph Fresta.
Jennifer Lee Shepard was the Columbus Day Queen.
1987 - California Raisins
The theme song for the UNICO National Convention was "Meet
Me In St. Louis" as the 1989 convention was scheduled to be held here.
The Installation Dinner was held at Garavelli’s Restaurant on September
Records show that there were sixth-seven members in good
standing at this time. The Columbus Day Queen was Valerie Marie Pullizze.
1988 - Yellowstone Fires
Monsignor Elmer Behrmann celebrated his fiftieth anniversary
as a priest. Monsignor Behrmann was the founder of St. Mary’s Special School.
He has probably been to more UNICO functions that anyone else. Ned Taddeucci,
President of the St. Louis Regional Commerce and Growth Association and
Frank Leta, President of Leta Honda and Accura were selected as the "Men
of the Year.". The Awards Banquet was held on May fourteenth at the Chase
UNICO member Joseph LaGreek, Sr. was elected Chairman
of the St. Louis Columbus Parade Committee.
Gina Marie Polizzi was Miss Italian St. Louis
1989 - San Francisco Earthquake
The St. Louis Chapter of UNICO honored John Temporiti
and Richard Palazzolo, Sr. at the Annual Awards Banquet which was held
at the Marriott Pavilion Hotel on Saturday, April twenty-second. John Temporiti
was Chief of Staff to Mayor Vincent Schoemehl and Richard Palazzolo, Sr.
was the former owner of the Italo-American Importing Company.
The Sixty-Seventh Annual Convention of UNICO National
was held in St. Louis on August sixteenth through twentieth at the Marriott
Pavilion Hotel. Reverend Leo Spezia and Kaye Quentin were instrumental
in making many of the arrangements for this convention. The St. Louis Chapter
hosted a reception for all the conventioneers. The members wore suits that
were popular at the turn of the century. In addition, they wore bow ties
and straw hats.
The Dr. Nigro Memorial Award went to Olympic swimmer Matt
Biondi and the Vincent T. Lombardi Award went to Dodger Manager Tommy Lasorda.
Lasorda could not attend so his good friend and UNICO member Charlie Gitto
accepted the award on his behalf.
UNICO member Peter Ferrara received a plaque from the
Italian Club of St. Louis for his many years of service as Honorary Vice
Italian Consul. Peter is one of the charter members of the Chapter.
1990 - Germany Reunited
The Annual Award Banquet was held on Saturday, SeptemberTwenty-ninth
at the St. Louis Airport Marriott Hotel. Monsignor Salvatore Polizzi and
State Representative Anthony Ribaudo were honored. Monsignor Polizzi was
assigned to St. Ambrose on the Hill for many years but was currently pastor
of St. Roch’s. Anthony Ribaudo represented the Hill in the Missouri Legislature
and was Majority Floor Leader.
In July there was a picnic a Wilmore Park.
On May sixth, the Chapter sponsored an Italian Style Brunch
at Baldo’s Restaurant.
At the Christmas Party a new tradition was started. A
member was selected as the UNICO Member of Year. Baldo Gandolfo was the
first man to receive this award.
The Columbus Day Queen was Monica Giuseffi.
1991 - Desert Storm and Desert Shield
This was a rebuilding year. There was no Annual Awards
Banquet but there was an Italian Style Brunch at Baldo’s Restaurant in
Anthony Lucido organized a night at the Bocce Club for
members and their guests.
The officers were inducted at a special party during June.
The District Governor, Alex Mara, was invited from Kansas City alone with
the Presidents of the two Kansas City Chapters, Jim Murray and Joe Brocato.
The Christmas Party was well attended. Anthony Lucido
and Baldo Gandolfo offered a few vocals and Vito Cipponeri teamed up to
present a puppet show. Anthony Lucido was selected as the UNICO Member
of the Year.
1992 - Columbus Quincentenial
The St. Louis Chapter of UNICO hosted the Honorable Liborio
Pascale and his fellow representatives from Valle D’Aosta, Italy and representatives
from Italian Multimedia to an American Style Breakfast at Aldo’s Restaurant
in Union Station.
The Annual Awards Banquet was held on April eleventh at
the Frontenac Grand Hotel. General Patrick P. Caruana, United State Air
Force, and Cesare Vitale of Vee-Jay Cement Contracting Company were honored.
General Caruana was in charge of all air missions during Dessert Storm.
Scott Air Force Base provided the color guard at the opening of the banquet
but Cesare’s granddaughter stole the show with a poem she wrote.
The Christmas Party was dominated by numerous singers.
President Franco Giannotti, Anthony Lucido, Vince Monteleone, Ersil Rolfi,
Franco Gusumano, Baldo Gandolfo all took turns singing. Treasurer George
Stark was selected as the UNICO Member of the Year.
This document was created by the late
Comm. Mario Pertici in occasion of the 1993 Awards Banquet and was further
revised by the board members of the St. Louis Chapter of Unico. It is currently
edited and maintained for the web by members and past presidents Franco
Giannotti and Angelo Sita.
Copyright © 1997-2003 Italy at St.Louis. All rights
Last updated on December 29, 2000.
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