History (draft)

A History of the New Canaan Field Club

 

How This History Came About

 

This project began in mid-2019 in a casual conversation between long-time Tennis Director Len Simard and a long-time member named King Chapin, whose family has been involved with the Club since the very early days. Len said something like, “Hey, the Field Club is more than 60 years old. Shouldn’t we have some sort of history of the Club?” and King responded with something like “Great idea!”

 

I got wind of the conversation not long thereafter and, having been a member since 1972 and having been a History major in college, I volunteered to take the project on. My children grew up at the Club and it has been an important part of my life for almost 50 years.

 

What follows, then, reflects not only the documentation that we have been able to uncover but also a lot of anecdotal material, plus some of my own recollections.    

 

Our Origins

 

The story of the founding of the New Canaan Field Club is, to a large extent, ”shrouded in the mists of time,” in that some important aspects of it are only anecdotal, and all of the persons involved are long deceased. Only recently were records found of the early years and they are incomplete, moldy and dusty. Thus the story is, in large measure, anecdotal and memory-driven, but we have resisted over-imagination and hyperbole

 

The property on which the Club started and still resides comprised some XX acres (now a bit more with the addition in 20XX of the Louis Armstrong House) and was originally owned by a man named Charles Dana. His residence at 32 Brookwood Lane,, which covered some 32 acres and included a pool, formal gardens, open fields and more, is now owned and occupied  by Paul Simon and Edie Brickell. (It is now on the market for $13.9 million.).

 

Mr. Dana was a wealthy man and a Wall Streeter of some repute, and much of his personal wealth was managed by the New Canaan office of Merrill Lynch, in the person of Edward L. “Ted” Winpenny, who lived in New Canaan until his death about ten years ago. Ted was a nationally prominent tennis and paddle player who, we think, was one of a group of New Canaanites who belonged to Roton Point but had wearied of the trek to Rowayton and back, but did not care for golf enough to join the New Canaan Country Club and wanted some place handier.

 

So the story goe that one day Ted approached Charlie Dana about making several acres at the southern end of his property available for a family-oriented recreational club, and Charlie agreed. Whether he sold the property or donated it is not known, but in any case it was transferred to an entity known as Ridgelands of New Canaan, Inc., which ultimately was subsumed by the New Canaan Field Club, Inc.in, it appears, 1956.

 

Interestingly there is no mention of the Dana  transaction in what early records that have survived, but t makes a great story.

 

The first interim governing body were known as the “Subscribers,” and they were Herbert West. Gilbert White and Erik K. Petschek  (Erik lived until 2018 and could have provided a good deal of clarification, had this history project been begun earlier). They met on September 6, 1956, with Gilbert White serving as Chairman and Erik Petschek as Secretary, both pro tem, and that group approved the first set of Bylaws (see Appendix I). That meeting was followed immediately by the “First Annual Meeting of the Membership (Incorporators),” wherein a Board of Governors was duly elected comprising Robert L. Jordan, Russell Ford, Erik K. Petschek, Gilbert Whit and Edward L. Winpenny, Jr. for two-year terms, and Thomas Tausig, Hunter Bowman, Mrs. Samuel L. Sipe, Mrs. Phyllis Babb and Herbert West for one-year terms.

 

Interestingly, it appears that the founders had been actively recruiting memberships in anticipation of incorporating, and the Incorporators were given a list of some 146 member families and individuals (see Appendix II), so the Club was off to a good start even before it became it became a functioning entity.

 

For us old-timers in the Club, it had always been assumed that a resident named Dorothy “Dottie” Chapin was a founder of the Club, but, interestingly, her name does not appear in any of the early documents. Nonetheless, it‘s clear that she was a moving force in the Club’s early history, and her son King Chapin is alive and well and has been a contributor to the story. Anyone who knew Dottie will enjoy King’s observation that she “inserted herself into the Club’s affairs,” as only Dottie could. George Brakeley recalls that when he was Paddle Chairman, the Club’s supplies of paddle  balls was kept, for reasons unknown, in Dottie’s basement, and he had to go plead with her to turn over enough of them to supply the teams. (Very tempting here to say her the balls are power. No, strike that)

 

Leadership

 

Presidents of the Club serve for two years. The current president is Mike Simko. Past presidents were:

 

2014-18 Gary Merjian

2012 Mike Donnelly

2010 Eric Glerum

2008 Bruce Berger

2006 Frank Palmer

2004 Dale Carbonier

2002 Andy Barfuss

2000 Gray Fadden

1998 Jim Fox

1996 Liz Walters

1994 Camm Morton

1992 John Gildea

1990 Gary Bisbee

1988 Steve Gamble

1986 Jim Barton

1984 Gray Castle

1982 Dan Jones

1980 Joseph Jalbert

1978 Eugene Diserio

1976 Frederick Eydt

1975 Gordon Jones

1973 Robert Salmon

1971 Nathaniel Becker

1970 Thomas Hewson

1968 Fred Gardner

1966 Frederick Nelson

1964 George Griffin

1962 Malcolm Andresen

1961 Howard Smith

1960 Tully Shelley

1959 Elmer Shumaker

1957 Robert Jordan

The Board turns over on a staggered basis, that is, a few are replaced each year.

 

Facilities

 

When the Club opened it had two tennis courts (the current courts #9 and 10) and a tennis shack that really was a shack; a pool the configurations of which remain today; a wading pool; a rudimentary clubhouse; and a shower/locker facility next to the pool where the Field House currently stands. 1n 1984 the shack was significantly upgraded under Gray Castle’s presidency (so it was known affectionately as “Castle’s Castle”) and then again in 19?? when ???? was president. In 2019, when Mike Simko was president, the upper deck was renovated.

 

The original pool had a three-meter diving board and two one-meter boards, but the three-meter board was removed in19?? for safety reasons, depriving long-time members Ellen Warden Brakeley and Gail Overbeck of their annual fully-clothed leap into the pool from the three-meter board at the annual summer parties (late in the a party, if you get our drift).

    

The Louis Armstrong House, adjacent to the Club entrance, was a private residence owned by the LaPolla family until 2006 when the Board, under the leadership of Frank Palmer, acquired it to provide housing for a number of our single tennis professionals. A mortgage was taken out which is being serviced under the operating budget.

 

The Arthur Ashe House, near the paddle courts, was Len Simard’s summer home for all 22 of his years as Tennis Director. Before that groundskeeper Rune Redin lived there for years.

 

In the early years the Club built two paddle courts, then two more, and then two more, with wooden decks and superstructure – the last two on the far side of the stream that now runs next to court 4. By the 1980’s a lot of wood had rotted in the flooring and the superstructure, and the staples holding the screens to the wood had a tendency to pull out whenever someone banged into the screens going after a shot (former member Randy Roorbach was legendary for creating a lot of concave screens.) When George and Barbara Brakeley were co-chairs of paddle in 19??-?? (and when paddle was generally on the wane), they told the Board they would rather have four state-of-the-art courts than six dangerous ones. The result was today’s courts, which have been well maintained and upgraded since then and which recently had new lights installed.

 

The paddle hut was built in 19?? The fireplace then was right in the middle of the room so that even the smallest fire made the hut uncomfortable and smoky (today you can see the window in the ceiling, which is where the chimney stood). In 19?? the fireplace was moved to its present location and much of today’s paddle hut was installed. In 20??, member Harry DeMott led the effort to upgrade the hut to the facility that exists today. In 19??, the hut was named the Paul Fowler Paddle Hut in recognition of Paul’s long and steady leadership of the paddle program at the Club and in the County, and a plaque was place above the entrance door.

 

The new Field House – during Gary Merjian’s presidency?

Pool pavilion/snack bar

Grills

Social areas – picnic spaces, pavilion – picnic decks built during Frank Palmer’s presidency?       

Efforts to acquire more land

(When was the paved area that has the basketball net built?)

 

The Tennis Program

 

List of tennis directors – 1967 – Tom Hamming; 1968 – Carroll Parry; Bob Calloway, Brent ?????, Steve Hardin, Tom Wright 1984-85, Len Simard 1997-2019, Tom Brueggeman 2020 – present

 

List of tennis chairs

Len Simard’s remarkable 22–year tenure – the culture change he brought us

Naming the tennis pavilion for Len in 2019

1984 – tennis hut refurbished under Gray Castle as president – “Castle’s Castle”

Tennis pavilion rebuilt – what year?

Men’s and women’s team track records

The perpetual issue of lighted courts vs. the curfew and the neighbors

Notable players over the years – Ted Winpenny  (we should get credit for whatever the Country Club has done in tennis since we  provide most of their players!)

Kids who have gone on to play varsity college tennis – Roger Carbonier, others?

                                                                                        

Some stories:

 

  1. Wednesday night tennis – B team versus Stamford Yacht Club. Captain Dale Carbonier tells the tam we are at SYC. SYC tells his team it is at NCFC. Both teams arrive in the wrong place. The captain reach each other by phone (this was pre-Internet) but got their signals mixed. SYC travels back to their own courts. NCFC travels back to NCFC. No match.
  2. George Brakeley travels early to Wilton Riding Club because he’;d never been there before and it isn’t easy to find. Finds Rob Revelli there for the same reason. Third guy shows up, not one of ours. George says,’ “Boy, your club is hard to find.” He says, “Not my club. I’m here for a match.” They check the schedule, and the guy finds he’s supposed to be a Patterson, way up the Merritt. George says, “Your captain is really going to be pissed at you.” He says, “I am the captain.”

 

 

The Paddle Program

 

Some people think paddle started at NCFC!

List of paddle chairs

List of professionals – Mike Gillespie, Brad Easterbrook, J.P.McConnell

Men’s and women’s team track records

1984 new paddle hut, Gray Castle, president

What year? Paddle Hut named for Paul, Fowler

The FCPTL Paul Fowler Tournament and the Charlie Scott Division

Weren’t the national APTA championships once held here?

 

Stories:

 

  1. Bruce Beresford and foot faulting: Bruce was a very good paddle player. But his foot-faulting was extreme. He was 6’4” or so, and when he served, both feet were often inside the line, and no one ever called him on it.
  2. The Randy Roorbach nets: the extra nets atop the screens on the pond side are named for Rady Roornach, who hit large numbers of balls into the pond during his years in the Club. Randy, who was no light-weight, threw himself around the court with abandon.  Wendy Fog say, “Randy never came off the paddle court unbloodied.”
  3. Instructions from King Chapin: King was notorious about telling you what you had just done wrong and instructing you what you should have done. Usually, on the next point he would do exactly what he had just told you not to do.
  4. Henry Doehla was a very fine player, but he would sometimes say to Angela during mixed doubles, “Just serve and get the heck out of the way.”

 

 

 

 

This is drafted by Paul Fowler as of May 6 2020

 

Paul Fowler has been a key figure in paddle at NCFC since 1978:

 

  • Member of the New Canaan Field Club 1978-Present
  • Captain of the Paddle Division 1 Team and Thursday Night League, 1991-2007,
  • Paddle Chair 1997-2001
  • President of the Fairfield County Paddle Tennis League, 1999-2010, which is why the League’s annual tournament bears his name.

 

Outline – Years – people to check with and review/add to content.

 

  1. The Early Days 1950’s-60’s – check Winpenny’s – get picture in madeiras, indoor championships and Zumbacks
    1. Ted Winpenny, Founder and National Champion and other players
    2. Started with four courts, expanded to six, then four in the 1980’s when the old wood courts became dangerous
    3. Match against Founding Club of Paddle
    4. The Hut
  2. The 1970’s – check Bob Callaway, Doug Wright, Pete Kaufman, Dale Carbonier…Check Gail Overbeck for the women
    1. Bob Callaway Tennis Pro marries Gail Overbeck and becomes Member
    2. Bob Callaway runs “The Paddle Tennis Center” in Norwalk
    3. Weekend Amateur Paddle – Passport, Tribuno and “the fun”
    4. Paddle Champions of the Tri-Town League
    5. Killer line-up: Bob Callaway and Henry Doehla, Wick Simmons and Jerry Whitlock, Bruce Beresford and Dick Newman, Ron Burns, Bruce Baldwin and Deke Abbott, Pete Kaufman and Doug Wright, Gray Castle (low serve, quick to net) and Dan Jones, Dale Carbonier, Paul Fowler. And a senior team of Bill Shannon and Fred Eydt.
    6. The Dale Carbonier 40th Birthday Surprise with Oddjob
  3. 1980’s – Carbo, King, Tom Wise, Gail and who else for the women????
    1. The Nationals come to the New Canaan High School – Ted Winpenny 82-83 (Poster
    2. Men’s Member Guest Tournament – Kitty and JoAnne as Playboy Bunnies
    3. The Start of the B League – Tom Wise, Captain and Charlie Scott, Commissioner
    4. Tri-Town becomes the A League
    5. A League Captain transfer from Deke Abbott (really Jean who made the phone calls) to King Chapin
  4. 1990’s – Lainey Krohley, Mike Gillespie, where are the SI Covers??
    1. Conversion from wood to aluminum for 4 of 6 courts – George and Barbara Brakeley, Co-chairs…other two on the other side of the stream ultimately taken down as a hazard
    2. The false start on the Thursday Night League (George’s story of the calculation per participant – “Get a life.”) and the night the courts weren’t there
    3. “A or Saturday League” captain transfer King Chapin to Paul Fowler – a ragged piece of paper
    4. The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit pin-ups – Barbara Brakeley, Ellen Warden (bothl George’s late wives), who else??? Carmen Wise,
    5. Charlie Scott and the growth of the “B or Sunday League” – a number of us played Saturday and Sunday. Picture from Paddle Tennis news
    6. The kids played – Pete Kaufman, David Burns, Scott Overbeck
    7. The arrival of Mike Gillespie and the gradual build-up of Pro’s in Fairfield County, The start of the Annual Fall tradition Performance Paddle Camps
    8. Some killer Men’s teams that all moved to the Country Club – Brian Overbeck, Dave Baldwin, Turner Bauer and Pete Doehla, Bob Thompson, Henry Doehla, Doug Wright, Ron and David Burns, Chuck Kontulis, Jeff Shaw (Almost won a lot of League titles – CCD, Stamford YC, Wee Burn) “75% of the Country Club Team played for me at the Field Club”
    9. Some killer teams – Bridgie Peterson, Anne Piper, Gail Overbeck, Susan Lovejoy, Gay Geiger,…Lainey Krohley (won a lot of Fairfield League championships)
    10. The decline of paddle…”The calm before the storm” – racquetball, skiing, kids stuff, no longer the environment of the 70’s….20% of NCFC played paddle vs. 80% tennis and swim
  5. 2000’s– Ed Budravich, Rick Cutler, Harry DeMott, Craig Hoelzer for Women’s
    1. The FCPTL is formed 1999-2000 season – Paul Fowler, Charlie Scott, Jim Reilly and John Arrix – one of 3 factors for the “go-go years” of paddle’s revival – the others were Pros, and Huts….also helped by the growth of the Women’s League and kids – “The Viking Cup”
    2. Hut Remodeling – Paul Fowler moved the fireplace out of the center in 1999-2000, and Harry DeMott (2014) did a major upgrade of the TV, added great furniture, and installed a counter looking out at the courts (and stole the Jeff Sturgess Kegolater from the tennis courts).
    3. The arrival of the zealots – Ed Budravich, Rick Cutler, Harry DeMott, Jeff Wilks – playing every night to make up for a gap in their paddle life
    4. The Pro-Ams
    5. Rick Cutlers New Year’s Morning Calcutta – Harry DeMott and Paul Fowler won in Year One – Harry was co-captain of Division 4 or 5 with Andy Gordon, so they didn’t think ?????
  6. 2010-Today – Brad Easterbrook, JP McConnell
    1. Member-Guests won by John Bemis and David Fowler
    2. Some really strong teams, and then a collapse in 2018, 19 and 20
    3. Drift from the Field club to the Town League at Waveny – we lost Scott Smith, Hardy Manges, Rick Cutler ….

 

(End of Fowler draft)

 

Pickleball program – Pickleball is catching on across the nation, and the Field Club got on the bandwagon is the 2010’s under Len Simard. (Is it still going? Has it gained in popularity? Need to consult Len Simard.

 

Some Thoughts about Racquet Sports Generally

 

As a relative old-timer at the Field Club, I have noted an interesting transformation over the years:

  • From 8-10 tournaments per season in each sport to today’s four or five.
  • From having 20-40 entries in each tournament to maybe a dozen now.
  • From tournaments going all weekend (elimination rounds on Saturday and semi’s and finals on Sunday) to “tournaments” of maybe half day’s duration.
  • From all matches being best of three sets to today’s pro sets in the early rounds.

 

One is not sure what this says about how times have changed, but they sure have.    

 

The Swimming and Diving Program

 

List of coaches – Jeff Bramaier, Joe Somma et al. In 1957 the Aquatic Director was Bill Yorzyk, a national collegiate champion butterflier and Olympian.

List of swimming and diving chairs

Notable swimmers and divers over the years (My daughter Kristin Brakeley Fox still holds no fewer than seven Club records 36 years after she swam her last stroke for the Field Club.)

Water polo program

The Counties – when did that stop? They were at NCFC every year for years. Talk about a parking problem!

 

Social Life

 

List of social chairs

Family Nights

50th anniversary in 2007 – dedication ceremony at flagpole

Winter and summer parties

Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day parties – when did each start? Attendance numbers?

The salutary effect of the new Field House – year-round use 

 

Summer Programs, by Michelle Clark

What is known today as Summer Camp started out around 2000 as the Fireflies under the guidance of member Michelle Clark. Earlier Fireflies had been quite small and informal, but Michelle felt that a more comprehensive program was needed, to the extent of four hours a day every week day from mid-June through early August. Her reasoning was that, with so, many mothers being so involved in the tennis and swimming programs, a more structured Fireflies program was called for (her own daughter then being a pre-schooler and she herself was playing a lot of interclub tennis!). What emerged was summer camp program that included pool time, tennis time, tennis and swimming lessons, music and dance, brown bag lunch, and more – even T-shirts, all for children age 4.  

Karen Wilson is the current Director, and the Summer Camp operates under the aegis of the Programs Committee. Michelle notes with satisfaction that the Summer Camp is profitable for the Club.

The Grounds and Administration

 

List of Club managers – Doug Rubin, 1961 Charlie Sparks, Tom Brown (since  when?) Now Tom Brown and Joe Somma as Co-Managers (?).

List of secretaries – Karen Stewart – started in 1984, 35 years of service; her predecessor was Lydia Batterson.

List of head groundskeepers – Rune Redin (20 years), Don Sweeney, Danny ????

 

Communications, by Len Berton

The web site: In 2006, Ellen Brakeley was Board Secretary and they were looking for a webmaster. Ellen knew of Len Berton’s work as a Princeton class webmaster since he was a classmate of her husband, George. So Len was hired.

The website was then hosted on LeagueAthletics. It was used for everything electronic: not only the web pages for all of the areas of the Club, but also newsletters, event registration, input forms, and membership records (including spouses and children). Later new web software was introduced for paddle court reservations, better forms functionality, and event registration (SignUp Genius).

In 2011, President Mike Donnelly decided to invest in a more-modern web appearance, to assist in attracting new prospective members. He and an experienced member reviewed the sites of other clubs in the area, and wound up hiring Cynergy Networks to implement a new site for us. After about six months of conversion and building all the pages, the new site came “on the air”.

Again, early in 2019, President Mike Simko felt that the website needed refreshing. This time one of the leading motivations was to make it “responsive”, that is, to work perfectly on all devices, especially smart phones which had become ubiquitous. The renamed company, Synergy Innovative Systems was retained, and a new site built using the popular WordPress software. A professional photographer was hired to take all-new beautiful pictures around the Club to feature on the new site. This project was completed, and the new site went live in October, 2019.

Another improvement was the email blast system. We are now using the MailChimp professional service, which has many years’ experience providing highly reliable email service, including the ability to view opens and clicks.

Newsletters: Prior to about 2010, the Club Secretary would gather newsworthy items from the various Board chairs usually monthly, type up comprehensive newsletters including all the areas on paper, and copy and send them out to all the members by postal mail!

As Len Berton evolved the web site, he started putting similar newsletters together electronically and “blasting” them to all members via email. Of course this also entailed keeping email addresses current, when “bounces” occurred.

Over the next few years, members started to find these large newsletters rather cumbersome, and didn’t actually read all the information. They seemed to prefer short – single topic blasts instead, so they could just delete those that didn’t concern them.

In 2019, the tool used to do the blasts changed from the integral technology within the web servers to the nationally popular tool called “MailChimp”. Not only was it more reliable, but provided the ability to view Opens and Clicks on hyperlinks in the content.

Finances  

 

Size of membership – 250 families (what is it now with the summer memberships?)

Paddle (for a while) and summer membership programs

1957 budget vs. today

Progression of entry and membership fees

History of special assessments

Mortgage on the Louis Armstrong House

 

Looking Forward

 

What are the current Board’s aspirations, if any?

More land?

Membership size?

Squash court?

Lights on tennis courts 5 and 6?

 

Some Presidential Reminiscences

 

From Bruce Berger (2008-09)

 

For overall context of my two years as President, I succeeded Frank Palmer.  The only substantial capital projects completed on my watch were started by Frank.  The two most prominent ones were making sure the Club’s pool was compliant with the Virginia Graeme Baker Act and the purchase of the house immediately south of the Club to house the Club’s tennis professionals.

 

I had the pleasure, and it was a pleasure for the most part, of serving as President during the Great Recession or Great Financial Crisis or whatever it ought to be called.  I am a cautious person by nature and the economic conditions back then further reinforced my inclination not to begin any significant capital projects until we had a good grasp on how stable our membership numbers would be.  I was most concerned that we would enter a negative feedback loop where we would lose members, forcing us to raise dues on the remaining members, thereby leading to more resignations and so on and so forth.  Fortunately, that did not happen and I guess that is what I would consider my legacy.  It is not that exciting to say of one’s legacy, “It could have been a lot worse”, but given the information available to us at the time I believe we took the right path.

 

I will now pass along a few recollections from my time as President. 

 

As we did the work on the pool in the late spring to make it compliant with the Virginia Graeme Baker Act, other issues regarding the pool surfaced as often happens in a construction project.  I was on the phone with Tom Brown multiple times a day as issues arose, all of which required an authorization to spend money fixing this, that and the other thing.  I remember thinking “Here I am the new President and the damn pool won’t be open by Memorial Day weekend.  What a disaster.”  So we said yes to everything and the pool was ready to open on time.  However, the inevitable happened and the weather sucked that whole weekend, so not a single soul would have cared if the pool had not been ready for opening weekend.

 

Emad, from the Apple Cart, ran the snack bar.  There was a significant contingent of the membership that wanted him replaced.  I had the pleasure, and it was decidedly not a pleasure, to sit down with him and try to get him to change his business practices, menu items, pricing etc.  That did not go very well.  Frankly, I should have directed the people on the Board who wanted him replaced to have that conversation with Emad, but as a new President I wanted to show everyone that I could handle unpleasant tasks so I took it upon myself.  In the end, we replaced him with Fabulous Feasts, which I think was best for the Club in the long run anyhow. 

 

There were a couple of disciplinary issues that I had to deal with while President, one of which became fairly nasty.  I won’t go into any details here because it isn’t applicable to what you are writing and would be inappropriate for me to disclose to anyone, even including my wife.  I bring this up simply because I, like probably every President before or since, thought the job was about projects, programs, etc.  No one thinks about the prospect of dealing with members who step outside the explicit and implicit rules of behavior of the Club.  If even 1% of the membership feels rules don’t apply to them it becomes a time-consuming and very unpleasant aspect of the President’s job to bring wayward members back in line.

 

Finally, the most important job of a President may be to find an excellent person to succeed him or her.  I believe I did that when suggesting that Eric Glerum be the next President of the Club. 

 

From Eric Glerum (2010-11)

 

I would distill my NCFC presidential accomplishments down to two items: one overtly visible and the other more back office (and sure to date me).

  1. The stone patio just below Courts 1 and 2 was designed, started and completed on my watch.  Prior to its construction you’re sure to remember events with tables precariously lined up on the grass/dirt slope and a general lack of group space.  Someone did point out the irony of adding a couple thousand square feet of fieldstone to The Field Club, but I still think it was a great addition.
  2. This may actually have overlapped with Alison and my running membership for the five years prior to me being prez, but I did move the entire application process from paper to digital (with great help from Len B).

 

Thus goes my legacy. 

 

From Mike Donnelly (2012-13)

 

Being President was largely an administrative role, but it did have its high points.  I think the most notable moment for me was the establishment of the Long Range Planning Committee (“LRPC”) segue into the reconstruction of the Pool House. 

 

The first major action of the LRPC was to run a member survey, and the results showed that by far the most desirable change to the club was the renovation of the pool house.  It has fallen into disarray and was simply unusable. The Board members agreed to take on the project and we set our on our plan.  We developed an RFP, hired a great architectural firm by the name of PH Architects, and things began falling into place.  PH was able to create an architectural plan that met the needs of all factions of the club – youth programs, various pool activities and most importantly social.  Ultimately, the renovation turned into a complete rebuild, and the end result was just fantastic.  We are very proud how it came out.

 

From Gary Merjian (2016-19)

 

With my background in the hospitality business and from my years as VP of the NCFC, I took my 3 years as President from what traditionally  an administrative role to a much more hands-on role. I spent many hours at the Club, working with the staff to increase the member experiences and always challenging all staff to think out of the box and wow our members with service. I spearheaded a major landscape renovation of the property with new trees and shrubs around the courts and pool area and sourced and replaced all the  lounge chairs and pool chairs after 20 years. I worked closely with the snack bar team, again challenging them to redefine the menu and bring the offerings to a new level. I made sure to have a presence at all major club events and seek members thoughts and ideas on what they would like to see the future of the club services grow into.  I brought on Mike Simko as our VP of Operations. We worked as a team pushing the limits of how the club should look and feel, at the same time, grooming Mike to be the great President that he is today. The ultimate reward as President for me was taking over all the detailed planning work of the LRPC regarding the pool house and bringing the building to life. It was bitter sweet being the main point of contact for over 1 year during the actual construction period. We dealt with more obstacles then you can imagine but ultimately it turned out beautiful and game changing for the club. (Editor’s note: Gary was president for four years, rather than the usual two.)

 

 

From  Dale Carbonier (2004-5)

 

I had the pleasure to be president of the New Canaan Field Club for the term 2004-2006 having served as treasurer for two previous terms. 

      *. Tom Brown was and continues to be club manager.  He was invaluable to the running of the Field Club.  Karen Stewart ran the office in a friendly and warm manner.  Presidents and board members come and go but Tom and Karen are the staple that held the club together.  Everyone should think what it would be like to have a new boss every two years.  That is what Tom and Karen handle.  They were the two who kept my term to running so smoothly.

     *. The new tennis facility was constructed during my term.  Sally Sweeney and Lauren Bromberg were the two board members who took on the task of working with the architect, John Black Lee, and the construction company to make sure this wonderful building was completed as promised and stayed on schedule.  They deserve the credit.

     *.  Membership was very strong with a one to two year waiting period. 

     *. Sport and social activities were always very successful.

     *. My Board members were extremely conscientious and for the risk of leaving someone out, you know who you are.

      *. My love of the Field Club cannot be stronger.  I have been a member for forty-two years and hope for another forty-two.

    .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming: Palmer, Bisbee, Barton