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Elks farewell gala a trip down memory lane

Joyce Rudolph

Memories were on the minds of Burbank residents attending “The

Eleventh Hour Farewell Gala” at the Burbank Elks Lodge on Palm Avenue the

evening of Nov. 20.


Helping in the kitchen, Elaine Paonessa, president of the Elks’

women’s auxiliary -- Burbank Emblem Club No. 86 -- said the evening went

very well and brought out more than 290 Elks members and past and present



The chairwoman was Elks’ member Lynda Willner, who will serve as the

lodge’s first female exalted ruler in two years. Both Willner’s

grandfather and father were exalted rulers. Coordinating the buffet

supper was Ethel McGee.

After 69 years of fund-raising dinners, Christmas parties for needy

children and social gatherings at the downtown Burbank lodge, the Elks

are relocating their headquarters. The old building is being razed to

make way for the improved AMC Theatre and parking complex.


The lodge will have its new building constructed on Hollywood Way,

replacing the trailer park south of the airport. Elks members will

continue to meet at the Palm Avenue location for two months and then take

up temporary quarters at The American Legion Hall on West Olive Avenue

until the new building is finished in August. The Legionnaires extended

the neighborly invitation for the Elks to join them, Paonessa said.

Although the gala’s invitation said proceedings started at 6 p.m.,

people began arriving at 5 for the social hour. On the front lawn,


Monnett and Rene Arambula from Take Two Portraits in Burbank snapped

photographs of couples as they arrived. The lodge officers saw to it the

old pink neon sign was illuminated, making a nostalgic backdrop for the

souvenir portraits.

Familiar faces were seen waiting in line for their pictures including

Burbank Historical Society officials Mary Jane and Harry Strickland,

Animal Shelter Superintendent Fred and Barbara Delange and Elks members

Michael and Connie Ward.

The Stricklands’ first date was at the Elks Lodge. Fred DeLange’s

father, Fred, has been a member of the Elks for 40 years. The younger

Fred has been a member for 17 years and was exalted ruler in 1995-96.

Barbara and Fred were remembering the many New Year’s Eve parties,

holiday parties for children and fund-raisers for the crippled children’s

charities held at the lodge. The couple’s two daughters had their wedding

receptions there.

“It’s been just a lot of fun,” Fred said. “We’re going to miss this.”

Michael Ward is leading knight of the lodge while Connie has

membership in both the Elks and Emblem groups.

“I take pride and take part in the Elks’ major projects for crippled

children as an officer and member,” Michael said.

After the photos were taken, the Elks enjoyed a complimentary light

buffet and dancing.

Checking in people at the reservations desk were Marge Jandt, whose

late husband Harry was exalted ruler in 1961-62 and June Lynn, a member

of the Emblem Club since 1982.

Jandt remembers when the Elks refurbished the floor of the ballroom.

They worked on their hands and knees, she said.

“I brought my record player and we made sandwiches,” she said. “That

was a fun time -- when all the officers did things together.”

Everyone dressed up in costumes for the Halloween parties and members

held bowling tournaments at Pickwick and took camping trips to many

different places.

Lynn recalled getting to know so many nice people and making

friendships that will last forever.

Not to be missed is the Burroughs Vocal Music Association Holiday

Cabaret and Silent Auction on Thursday at the Los Angeles Equestrian

Center, 480 Riverside Drive.

The evening will feature singing entertainment from more than 150

students representing four choirs and will be conducted by longtime

director Mary Rago.

The host for the show is Gary Grubbs of TV’s “Jag.”

There will be a live and silent auction to raise funds for the

association’s competition expenses, sets, musicians and costumes.

Proceeds also go to choreographers, royalty fees and printing costs.

The school’s top two choirs have competed in the Showstoppers National

Competition at EPCOT and at Disneyland and recently were honored as

National Grand Champions.

For tickets, call Sue Orbison at 845-5247.

* JOYCE RUDOLPH is features editor. Her society column runs each

Saturday. To have an event covered, call her at 637-3241 or fax

information to 241-1975.