Knights of Columbus Assembly 780
Knights of Columbus Assembly 780
Charlotte Assembly Number 780 was formed in 1923 as part of Council 770 and was named as Charlotte 770 Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus until 1975 when it was named as Assembly NC-0780. Charlotte Fourth Degree Assembly NC-0780 was the 3rd to be formed in North Carolina. The State Economy was still based on textile and tobacco industries at the time and this was the depression times between the World Wars. The state was nearly all Baptists and the Knights of Columbus were not popular and often confused with the KKK. St. Peter's Catholic Church was the center of Catholic Life in Charlotte during that time.
The activities of Assembly 780 centered around the Third Degree Knights of Columbus Council 770. Under the leadership of the First Faithful Navigator, M.I. Benner, the activities were in the old army hut from Camp Green, behind St. Peters Church in the center of Charlotte until 1929. In 1928, a home was purchased and converted to a Club House on West Seventh Street. A Clubhouse was built on a tract of 140 acres near Mint Hill from 1953 to 1971. The present brick Club House for 770 and 780 is on East Kingston Avenue. This was built in 1971 and has been the center of Assembly 780's activities for over the past 30 years.
Assembly 780 Knights continued to promote patriotism throughout the years. The Honor Guard was quite active and by 1953, it numbered over 30 at the fifty years anniversary celebration of Council 770. It helped in the formation of two Charlotte and surrounding area Assemblies 2208 and 2531. The Knights of Columbus from 780 and surrounding areas lead the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade every year in Charlotte, which starts at St. Peters Catholic Church and marches down the main street (Trade) of Charlotte. The Priest blesses the parade to start the procession each year. and in 2002 we had over 50 knights in Regalia and a 40-foot float filled with Knights and Families of the Knights of Columbus.
Since Bishop Bagley of Charlotte and Bishop Curlin took his place as his home in Charlotte, we are constantly called to honor the activities of the Bishop in dedications, honoring the unborn, Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals and opening Catholic Churches, Schools and any event the Bishop requests for our presence in Regalia. The latest was a celebration of the Chinese New Year for the new Vietnamese Catholic Church, in which Bishop Curlin was the guest of honor. In addition, the City of Charlotte has an annual Patriotic Day, honoring the veterans and celebrated citizens. The Knights of Columbus from 780 always participate in Regalia to show their faithful patriotic spirit to the city of Charlotte.
The Charter Members for Assembly 780 in 1923 were led by the 35 Knights of 770 and the first Faithful Navigator, M.I Brenner. They expanded rapidly in Charlotte and became very active in the North Carolina State Officers and Activities. The expansion of the Fourth Degree Organizations into Western North Carolina was recognized on August 19, 1973, when the Supreme Master, Daniel Coruet, established a General Assembly (similar to a Regional Fourth Degree Organization) with the Fourth Degree Councils of 770, Charlotte and 6451, Hickory. This new assembly was named the Charlotte General Assembly. The Fourth Degree Council's of Western North Carolina continue to hold joint activities, Honor Guards and Initiation of officers throughout the years. In November, 1988, the Faithful Navigator, Ed Comiskey, initiated a name change to the present George L. Gettier Assembly NC-0780. George L. Gettier was an inspiration to the Assembly for years and because of his memory and his efforts in personally invigorating the Assembly NC-0780 after the World War II, the Assembly has honored his memory.
The Past Faithful Navigators are as follows: M.I. Brenner (1922-23), R.H. Johnston (1923-24), Thomas E. Rea (1924-26), James Montague (1926-27), George T. Carey, Sr. (1927-29), C.F. Linthicum (1929-31), Charles F. McCollum (1931-32), Dennis Dunn (1932-34), Herman J. Hoose (1934-36), Edward H. Cannon (1936-38), Thomas Rea (1938-40), A.L. Lacy (1940-42), Robert M. Skurla (1942-44), George L. Gettier (1944-47), D.J. Dunn (1947-50), L. Minnick (1950-51), J. Bernard Eck (1951-52), J.L. Spencer (1952-53), William B. Rea (1953-54), L.H. Phelan (1954-55), J.N. Kerns (1955-56), J.L. Smith (1956-58), C.J. Holtshulte (1958-60), George E. Lund Jr. (1960-62), Ernest R. Vaillancout (1962-64), Charles J. Babula (1964-66), Michael J. Mitchell (1966-68), J.E. Fairley (1968-70), John Balas (1970-72), George Balog (1972-74), Daniel F. Balls Jr. (1974-76), Bob Keller (1976-78), Joseph J. Hunt (1978-80), Richard C. Grebner (1980-81), Roscoe P. Simpson (1981-82), Harold J. Sheppard (1982-84), Joseph P. Gotta (1984-85), George M. Kutcher (1986-88), Edward F. Comiskey (1988-89), Wallace J. Mason (1989-90), Leander B. Reinhardt (1990-91), Arthur A. Turner (1991-1992), Robert Wilusz (1992-93), James Steven Nass (1993-94), Edwin D. Childers (1994-96), William L. McKenna (1996-98), Charles B. Bowling (1998-2000), William A. Phieffer (2000-01), Clarence W. Lear (2001-2003), William McKenna (2003 – 2005), Charles Wigger (2005 – 2007), Stephen Wilfong (2007 – 2009), Art Enderle (2009 – 2011), David Spinks (2011 – 2013), Greg Kent (2013 – 2015), Johannes C. Reif (2015 – 2017), Charles R. Elgin (2017 – 2019).
Brian McGahan (2019 - present).
Another degree open to members of the Knights of Columbus is that of the Fourth (or Patriotic) Degree. On February 22, 1900, the first Fourth Degree exemplification or degree ceremony was held in New York City. The Fourth Degree imparts a lesson on the virtue of patriotism. The primary purpose of this degree is to foster the spirit of patriotism in members and the community at large and encourage active Catholic citizenship. Today there are some 300,000 Fourth Degree Knights out of the total 1.8 million member Knights of Columbus.
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