Celebrating Father’s Day
History tells us that the Father’s day “campaign to celebrate the nation’s fathers did not meet with the same enthusiasm” as celebrating mothers. On July 5, 1908, a West Virginia church sponsored the nation’s first event honoring fathers, “a Sunday sermon in memory of the 362 men who had died in the previous December’s explosions at the Fairmont Coal Company mines in Monongah.” However, it was only celebrated once. Then, in 1909, a woman from Spokane, Washington by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd tried to establish a day to honor fathers. She was successful, but the sources vary as to the first Father’s Day celebrated. According to Ellen Jackson, “Father’s Day was first observed on June 13, 1910 in Spokane, Washington.” But the website www.History.com says “Washington State celebrated the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day on July 19, 1910.”
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson “honored the day by using telegraph signals to unhurl a flag in Spokane.” In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge “urged state governments to observe Father’s Day.” But, many men did not favor this idea. Some felt it wasn’t “manly” or another attempt “to commercialize a day to sell more products that the father often ended up paying for himself.”
Throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s there was a movement to do away with both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. An activist and radio performer, Robert Spere wanted to have a “Parent’s Day.” But the Great Depression came and the idea lost ground. Retailers rallied in support of Father’s Day to get people to shop for gifts. Then, when WWII began, advertisers pushed Father’s Day as “a way to honor American troops and support the war effort. By the end of the war, Father’s Day may not have been a federal holiday, but it was a national institution.” Then, in 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson made Father’s Day a national holiday. Finally, “in 1972 President Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making Father’s Day a federal holiday at last.”
In our own neighborhood, we honor on this Father’s Day, Francis (Bud) Keefe. He was born in Minnesota and joined the Navy during WWII, settling in California. That is where he met the love of his life, Renee Windsor. They were married on September 16, 1944. They moved to Temple City in the early 1950’s. The family started off in a small house on Hart Street that Bud built and then moved to a two story house, where he finished the entire upstairs. Versatile doesn’t even begin to describe Bud’s numerous talents! Bud and Renee had 7 children: Larry, Kevin, Ann Marie, Karen, Brian, Elaine, and Carol. He has 10 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. Bud and Renee were happily married for 64 ½ years. Sadly, Renee passed away in 2009. Bud suffered another loss in 2011 when his son, Kevin, passed away unexpectedly. Currently, Bud enjoys retirement and keeps busy with his family, especially all of his grandchildren. He is fondly referred to as “GGP, great-grand pa” by his family. According to Bud, he doesn’t expect gifts for Father’s Day. “It is a time to reflect on your past and your family and think about your kids.”
Another local dad we honor on this Father’s Day is Anthony (Tony) Farinella. He was born in Mattapan, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. He moved to California in 1954. He met his wife Sally in 1965 and they have been married for 46 years. Tony and Sally moved to El Monte in 1967. They have 4 children, Teri, Geri, Christopher, and Danny and 9 grandchildren. Tony served in the Army for 18 years, 4 years in the Coast Guard, and 16 years in the California State Military Reserves. According to Tony, the best way to explain how he feels about Father’s Day “is to break down the word. F is for faithfully supporting the family, especially the mother; A is for a loving dad and just as important, a loving husband; T takes the time to spend time with the kids and their mother; H is for the hugs which are plentiful; E is every time you need him, he is there; R is for the times that he rushes home to be with the kids and their mother.”
Another local dad we honor on this Father’s Day is Frank Buccola. He was born in El Moro, Colorado. He moved to California in 1945. He met his wife and best friend Pat in 1947. They will be married 65 years this June! They have lived in Temple City since 1954. Frank and Pat have 4 children: Linda, Kathy, Mary, and Frankie. They have 6 grandchildren and 1 great- grandchild. Father’s Day for Frank is a time to think about his dad. One of his greatest gifts is having the love and respect of his children. Frank is proud of all of his children and grandchildren, especially Cassian, who will be ordained into the Benedictine Order of the priesthood on July 20th. Frank says he is “a happy father” and only hopes other fathers share that same happiness. Frank and Pat remain active at St. Luke’s Parish in Temple City.
Every Father’s Day I remember my dad, Sam Jeffre. He passed away in 2004, but he is with me every day. All of the things he taught me have influenced and molded me into the person I am today. I will be forever grateful for his love and support. What better way to celebrate Father’s Day, than to honor all of the special dads in your life.
So to all fathers,
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!