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Reverse Raffle
10/20/2020

Change!
Reverse Raffle
11/10/2020



Annual Meeting
12/01/2020



Christmas Dance 12/05/2020


 

50-50 Raffle

The Unique Club's reverse raffle was a huge success thanks to Tozzi's on 12th Street and their delicious food, the 100 individuals who purchased tickets and most importantly, those who chaired the event Mark Mahon, Adam & Monica Mahon and Ray Sprankle.

The lucky winners were Ben & Sara Peters, Ron & Carmie Aguado, Paul & Betty Addessi, Roy & Linda Heinzer and Arrowhead Talent Solutions - Carl Harvey. Ray Sprankle hit the sideboard and Max Wachtel was the 50-50 winner. Congratulations to all!

Change in Meeting Dates

Our meeting scheduled for Election Day, Tuesday November 3 has been moved. The meeting will be held at Skyland Pines instead. Additionally, the date is being moved to Tuesday, November 10. A reminder will be sent prior to the meeting.

Businessman and philanthropist Guy Cecchini dies at 83

by Edd Pritchard, The Repository, Published 7:06 p.m. EST, October 7, 2020

Most folks likely knew that Gaetano M. "Guy" Cecchini owned of all of those McDonald's restaurants.

At one-time he operated 17 in Stark County, with hundreds of local residents working for him. For many in the community, Cecchini was the person who gave them their first job.

But there was more to him than restaurants and a "degree in Hamburgerology." He earned a reputation as a savvy businessman and a philanthropist who gave back to the community that became his home.

Cecchini, 83, died Monday in Florida, where he was being treated for acute leukemia at Moffitt Cancer Center.

Members of the community praised Cecchini for years of generosity, which ranged from scholarships to donations for buildings to funding for sports teams to support for the local arts.

"He touched lives and that will not stop," said Eric Belden, vice president of advancement and alumni relations at Walsh University, home to the Gaetano M. Cecchini Family Health and Wellness Complex. "The community lost, quite honestly, a titan."

Cecchini was born in central Italy. His parents were visiting relatives in the country as World War II erupted and were unable to leave until the war ended. When they returned to the United States, their son remained with family and completed his education in Italy.

It wasn't until 1957 that Cecchini joined his parents, going to work at Cicchini Fuel & Coal, a business his father started in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He took over the family business when his father retired in 1960, then sold it in 1967.

That's when Cecchini was introduced to McDonald's. He moved to Ohio and began working at a McDonald's in Warren. From there, he attended the restaurant chain's Hamburger University, along with Ed Rensi, who went on to become president and chief executive officer of McDonald's USA.

In 1972, Cecchini bought his first McDonald's in Columbus. Three years later, he sold two Columbus restaurants and bought five locations in Stark County. He gradually expanded his restaurant business and invested in real estate.

When it came to doing business, Cecchini was a tough negotiator and competitive, recalled Bob DeHoff, president of DeHoff Development.

Stark County's future success was something Cecchini worked to support.

In 2008, Cecchini paid $1.4 million for more than 300 acres that had been the Stark County Farm. He held onto the property and worked with local and state officials to extend Sterilite Avenue SW south and into the property.

That paved the way for the Stark Board of Trade, created by six community foundations, to acquire the land in 2016. Today, the property is home to a new Hendrickson USA facility.

Cecchini's investment and work with the former County Farm property showed great  foresight and will benefit the region as development continues, said Ray Hexamer, president of the Stark Economic Development Board. "He was a great asset to the community." 

"He was a hard-nosed businessman," DeHoff said of Cecchini. "But he balanced that with a generous heart."

Cecchini was known for opening his restaurants in Massillon and Alliance on Thanksgiving and Christmas to feed the community. He supported the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

In 1994, he worked with then Mayor Richard Watkins and Dr. Murli Manohar to launch the Canton Community Clinic. Today, it operates as Lifecare Family Health & Dental Center and provides services for the medically underserved at Canton and Massillon locations.

He helped Walsh University as sponsor for the Gaetano M. Cecchini Family Health and Wellness Complex. He also established the Carlo T. Cicchini Memorial Scholarship Fund, in his late son's name, given annually to area McDonald's restaurant employees.  

"He'll reach thousands at Walsh for years to come," Belden said of Cecchini's support for the university.

He also helped students through the Stark County Unique Club, a local organization for Italian-American businessmen. Mark Mahon, Unique Club president, called Cecchini selfless, fantastic and ready to help youth.

"He was an absolute philanthropist at heart," Mahon said.

Habitat for Humanity, Golden Key Center for Exceptional Children, Canton Ballet, Canton Symphony, Massillon's Boys and Girls Club, the Italian American Festival, and Pegasus Farms also were among those when benefited from Cecchini's generosity. 

Most recently, Cecchini presented a 50th birthday gift to the Cultural Center for the Arts. In August, he gave the center a statue of Italian opera star Andrea Bocelli. Carved from a single five-ton block of white Carrara marble, the sculpture depicts Bocelli in repose on an armchair.

When he offered to gift the $700,000 statue, Cecchini was undergoing treatment for cancer, said Robb Hankins, ArtsInStark CEO. Cecchini had purchased the sculpture at a charity event that benefited the Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and the Andrea Bocelli Foundation.

Cecchini was thinking about the community when he decided to gift the piece of art to the Cultural Center, Hankins said.

"It's an example of his immense generosity," he said.

Cecchini never forgot his Italian heritage – he had dual citizenship in the U.S. and Italy. In 2006, he ran unsuccessfully for a position in Italian Chamber of Deputies.

"My heart is in Italy," he said at the time, adding, "My grandfather used

to say, 'There are two kinds of people in the world: The ones who are Italian and the ones who wish they were."

Reverse Raffle

October is traditionally an exciting month for the club as we are having our annual Reverse Raffle on Tuesday, October 20 at Tozzi's this year. The raffle committee will be at Skyland on Tuesday to sell tickets.

Christmas Dance

The Christmas Dance is on Saturday, December 5 at Skyland Pines. This should be a big event. Andrew Pileggi's band is providing live music. The club is subsidizing a large part of the cost so members will be required to pay only $50 per couple and that includes dinner, Horsds d'oeuvres and 4 drinks. The cost for non-members is $100 per couple. Click here for the reservation form. 

New Member - Vince DePasqualeVince DePasquale

Our newest member was sworn in last night. Vince is from Louisville and decided to join after his daughter, Alexis, received a scholarship in 2019. Welcome aboard, Vince!

 

 

2020 Scholarship Dinner

What a fabulous group of college-bound kids who received scholarships this week from our Unique Club Scholarship Foundation. A mind-boggling 4.7 grade average; another who earned two Associate Degrees before receiving her high school diploma and all of them already having a lifetime resume' of contribution to civic programs and volunteer work.

The committee was spot-on in their selections but of course with the resumes these kids sport, it was a no-brainer. The recipients were awarded $2,500 each for a total amount of $32,500. Dinner photos of the recipients and their families will be made available soon as well as all other photos but for now, enjoy this PowerPoint presentation of the 2020 Scholarship Recipients. Click here to view the scholarship recipients and their families at the scholarship dinner or click here to view a PowerPoint presentation from the dinner.

We hope to have the remaining photos on our Facebook page soon!

Ben Battista Obituary


Ben Battista, 96, of Canton, passed away, Saturday, July 4, 2020 at Canton Christian Home. Born in New Castle, Pa. on July 25, 1923, a son of the late Henry and Rose (Baptiste) Battista, also preceded in death by two brothers, Joe Battista, Bennie Battista; two sisters, Adeline Di Battista and Esther Hendrix. Employed for many years as a salesman at Ohio Battery and Ignition Company of Canton before retiring in 1988, also a member of UNIQUE Business Club of Canton. Served in the U.S. Army as a PFC in WWII.

Besides his wife, Mary (Serena) Battista, married May 4th, 1946; he is survived by daughter, Sandy (Fred) Schumacher, of North Canton; son, Jim (Linda) Battista, of Raleigh, N.C.; sister, Stella Torcasio, of Canton; brother, Bob Battista, of Massillon; three grandchildren, Anne (Brian) Livingston, Rocco Battista, Katy Wade; three great-grandchildren, Ellie and Jack Livingston and James Wade.

A private entombment service will be held. Memorial donations can be made to Canton Christian Home. The family extends gratitude to Canton Christian Home for their sincere, heartfelt care. You may add your condolences on our website: www.waltner-simchak.com.

Waltner-SIMCHAK Funeral Home

Locally Owned Since 1917

330-455-0293

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Repository on Jul. 7, 2020.


Scholarship Dinner

Our 2020 Scholarship Dinner will not be open to all members this year due to Covid-19. Rather, only the scholarship recipients and two family members plus the Scholarship Foundation Board Members and their spouses will attend. The foundation board is extremely sorry for this decision but it has been made in the best interest of the scholarship recipients, their family members and all members of the Unique Club.

It was indicated at our July meeting plans are to have the Reverse Raffle and Christmas Dance as scheduled. Our next meeting will be held at Tozzi's on Septmeber 1, where we will hear more about plans for these exciting events.

June Meeting

Club President, Mark Mahon, has directed me to send a notice out cancelling our June meeting because of the COVID-191 and the fact so many of our members are within the ages under highest risk. Mark feels bad about cancelling but he indicated the health and safety of our club members and their families is most important to him.

July Meeting

We will be back in business for July providing the restriction for large gatherings is lifted by the State of Ohio. Our July meeting is scheduled to be held at Skyland Pines on July 7. You can assume we will be having that meeting unless you hear otherwise from us.

Scholarship Dinner

We will be updated as to the status of the Scholarship Dinner at our July meeting. We are certainly hopeful we will be able to have that dinner in the traditional manner.

Wine Pairing

Frank Ranalli has indicated the Italian Festival and Wine Pairing event has been cancelled due to the pandemic. Frank has destroyed all of the checks given to him in payment of the wine pairing. Please void the check on your check register. Any questions about the wine pairing event should be directed to him. His phone number is 330-575-1643 and his email is Frank.Ranalli@gmail.com.

Akron Rubber Ducks

Glen Buttacavoli has also indicated the social event at the Akron Rubber Ducks has been cancelled. It is unknown at this time if there will even be a game. Any questions about the event should be directed to him. His phone number is 330-936-3429 and his email is buttcafe@aol.com.

February Report

Club Treasurer, Sam Dorto, is making available Unique Club financial information to view on our website. Click here to view.

2019 Financial Report/2020 Budget

After several years of outstanding service as club treasurer, Forest Tolfo decided not to run for office for 2020. His position is being taken over by Sam Dorto but Forest has agreed to help when needed. Forest closed out his books formally at our January meeting by covering financial reports for 2019 and the budget for 2020. You can view the documents that he distributed by clicking here. Thanks so much Forest for all that you have done and for leaving us on solid financial ground to start the new year. Since Sam is taking over Treasurer duties, his position as chairman for the Christmas Party is being assumed by Frank Ranalli.

 

 

Bocce Ball Anyone?

Club Member, Nicholas Mazzocca, spoke at our January 7 meeting about putting together a Bocce Ball team for the summer league at Weis Park. Nick hopes to get eight Unique Club members which offers plenty of room for subs and alternates to allow for rotations, vacations, etc. Nick emphasized this will be a social night out for us. The club has budgeted $500 to cover shirts and possible other expenses. Cost to members will be $20 which covers prize money for the top three teams, banquet, administrative expenses, etc. If you are interested contact Nicholas by phone at 330-837-6685 or email nicholasmazzocca@yahoo.com.

 

 

Flags of Freedom

Mike Ziccardi introduced his friend Steve Toohey, Founder and President of Flags of Freedom, a non-profit 501(3)(c) organization. Its mission is to honor veterans who gave their lives in serving our country as well as the men and women who have served or are currently serving in the U.S Armed Forces. You might have noticed the flags at Perry High School or Jackson Community Center on certain holidays. This is just an example of Steve's wonderful work. Steve surprised the group by presenting a $500 check to our Scholarship Foundation. Steve's work cannot be done without financial suppport. He can be reached at 330-904-3651. Thanks so much Steve for your very generous donation!

 

 

Wine Pairing

Mark the date - The popular wine pairing event sponsored by our very own Unique Club will be held on Friday, June 12, 2020. Frank Ranalli will be chairing it again. He has indicated details are currently being worked out. The Italian Festival will be held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 11, 12 and 13 respectively. Detailed information will be given to you as soon as more is known.

Meet Isabel Lombardi

You might have read this article in the January 5 Canton Repository about Isabel Lombardi, daughter of club member Mike Lombardi. Although only 11 years old, she wrote a grant and received $2,500 for a program she helped lead to provide necessary products for Canton City School students at Allen Elementary. You can read about by clicking here. I'm stealing the words of Frank Ranalli, "What a loving and kind act!"

2020 Trustees & Board of Directors

Here are the board members for the year 2020. Forest Tolfo did not run for the Treasurer position so Sam Dorto is taking his slot. Dick Moecia agreed to remain Secretary for one more year:

President - Mark Mahon
Vice President - Adam Mahon
2nd Vice President - Glen Buttacavoli
Treasurer - Sam Dorto
Secretary - Dick Moecia
Trustee - Bob Rosetta
Trustee - Ben Stoffer
Trustee - Mark Capuano

Scholarship Foundation Donor

Max Wachtel surprised membership at the Unique Club's Annual meeting on December 3 with a $10,000 donation to the Unique Club Scholarship Foundation. This donation was in memory of his spouse, Roxanne, who passed away in September. Max is very open that he is not of Italian descent. Notwithstanding, Max served as the club Seceretary and Treasurer in the past and continues today to be very instrumental in making club policies and as the club historian. Max qualified for membership as Roxanne's spouse (DePasquale). Roxanne also volunteered for many organizations throughout her lifetime. The scholarship program meant everything to her as that's where she wanted any donations to be made in her memory upon her death. So Max, thanks so much for your generous donation. Your generousity will help college bound kids which is exactly what Roxanne wanted.

 

How about a Trip to Italy?

Mike Audi and his spouse Cindi Rossetti-Audi are going forward with their Boungiorno Italia trip to Italy. They are having a second informative dinner/meeting at their house on Sunday, December 5, from 3:00 to 5:00 and all Unique Club members are invited to attend. His address is not shown here for privacy reasons but can be obtained using our secured members page. The information will also be emailed to members. Click here for the trip flier.

Reverse Raffle

Kudos to Mark Mahon, Adam Mahon, their spouses and Ray Sprankle for the outstanding job they did in selling all tickets for the Reverse Raffle and for running the event in perfect fashion. This will help immensely for budgeting purposes in December, which believe it or not, is right around the corner. Moreover, several winners donated some or all of their winnings back to the club which will ultimately help the Scholarship Foundation. And the winners who split $2,500 were:

Board winners were:

The $100 winners were:

Food and fellowship was great. Folks especially liked the hot plate that food was served on. It guaranteed food was piping hot throughout the entire meal.

Scholarship Dinner

View the 2019 Scholarship recipients and their families by clicking here

by Chairman, Ben Stoffer: The Unique Club of Stark County completed another successful year of awarding 10 Stark County high school graduates our annual college scholarship at La Pizzaria Restaurant.  It was an extra special evening as The Unique Club honored the memory of long time scholarship committee member Sid Edwards by presenting Carol Edwards with a heart-felt presentation and a plaque in memory of Sid.  Gaetano M. Cecchini and Guy A. Cecchini were in attendance to present our first scholarship award of the evening followed by our seven current Scholarship Committee Members who presented to the other nine recipients.  This year’s scholarship recipients enjoyed a great evening with their family members as well as our Unique Club members and guests that were in attendance.  The Unique Club looks forward to continuing the tradition of awarding scholarships to Stark County high school graduates for many years to come

For older news, go to our archives page