A Cape Coral Legacy
It was in April 1966 that Joe and Grace Raso, along with Jim and Shirley Pampinella, were chit-chatting about things Italian, when one of the foursome suggested that they form a club. Before you could say, “Pizza Pie”, they were off and running, telephoning friends to see how the idea struck them. The first get-together was held later that month at St. Andrew’s Parish Hall, with all guests contributing their own gastronomic specialty, creating in effect an Italian feast. Right then and there, they elected officers, with Joe Raso as the club’s first president; Mike Beck, vice president; Grace Beck, secretary; and Frank DeGidio, treasurer. About two years later the members gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony, and later that week construction was underway, the clubhouse being the first one built for a social club here in Cape Coral. The grand opening took place on October 6, 1968. A four-block parade heralded the event and the club’s swelling membership grew to have six-hundred members in the first three years.
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Italian American Club founders:
Joe Raso, Grace Raso, Shirley Pampinella and Jim Pampinella were beaming with pride when the clubhouse had its grand opening ceremonies in 1968.