Haberdashery Affair Passes Hat for Charity

Jan Hofmann is a regular contributor to Orange County Life

When you’ve got an award for “Most Likely to Bid for an Evening With Dan Quayle to Swap War Stories,” who but Supervisor Gaddi H. Vasquez, Orange County’s own up-and-coming boyish Republican, would even be considered?

Vasquez was one of the high-powered models to receive awards at last Thursday’s 10th Annual Gentlemen’s Haberdashery Luncheon at the Irvine Hilton & Towers, sponsored by fellow Supervisor Thomas F. Riley.

The off-the-wall awards, chosen by a panel of female judges, also included such distinctions as “Most Likely to Get a Date at the Bachelor Bid,” won by Joseph D’Ambrosio, vice president of American Airlines’ Western Division; “Most Likely to Commute in a Helicopter Complete With Phone and Fax,” awarded to Alan Cummins of Shapell Industries Inc., and “Most Likely to Buy a Lifetime Membership From Tans R Us,” which went to George O’Connell of O’Connell Landscape Maintenance and Bill Harris of Rampart General.

The luncheon itself fell into the most-likely-to-succeed category, having raised about $100,000 to benefit the Heart of Jesus Retreat Center operated by the Sisters of the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart in Santa Ana.


In addition to the more than 700 guests who paid $100 each to attend the luncheon, 31 people also contributed $1,000 each to join the center’s Heart of Gold Club.

“There’s something very magical about these nuns,” Riley told the gathering. “You can tell that God’s hand is on their shoulders.”

The retreat center is the only such facility for children in Southern California, according to Sister Susan Blaschke, one of 47 members of the order. About 5,000 Catholic children from public, private and parochial schools visit the center each year, she said. The center is also used for religious programs by Catholic and non-Catholic groups.

“We want children to know that when they hear the name Prince, that’s not only a seductive rock star but the Prince of Peace,” said Sister Jane Stafford, the order’s Superior General. “We want them to know that Madonna is not just a teen idol, and that Jesus is not just a word you use at the end of a joke or the beginning of an argument.


“It’s an uphill struggle, because we’re offering them an invisible reality in a very physical, proof-giving society,” she said.

The luncheon began a decade ago, the brainchild of Riley’s wife, Emma Jane.

“We used to have to beg guys to be in the fashion show,” said Anthony Moiso, president of the Santa Margarita Co. and one of the people involved from the beginning.

“This year we tried to keep it to 50 (models), but we ended up with 66,” Riley said. “And we turned away 100.”


There were a few cutups among those who made the cut, including Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Brad Gates, who was dressed as a marshal from the Wild West; Harbor Municipal Court Judge Calvin P. Schmidt, who walked down the ramp in a clown costume, carrying the suit he was “modeling” on a hanger, and priests Kenneth A. Schmidt and Michael Harris, who appeared in surfer attire and were dubbed “our favorite unwed fathers” by show coordinator Kitty Leslie of Fashion Island, who served as commentator along with announcer Paul Salata.

Other models included hamburger mogul Carl Karcher, Supervisor Don R. Roth, Orange County Republican Party Chairman Thomas A. Fuentes, former Supervisor Ralph Clark, Tom Nielsen, Richard O’Neill, Gilbert Aguirre, Terrance Barry, Jim Dale, John Crean, Thomas Malcolm, Peter Muth, Stanley Pawlowski, Tim Strader, William D. Lusk, Ernie Vitucci and Bill Yacobozzi.