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Sixty years for Casey Women’s Club

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Step back in time to 1960. Northern Virginia was booming, and with it the Catholic community. Two years earlier, Catholic men in the Fairfax County parishes founded the Fairfax Knights of Columbus. That year, 35 women, Knights' wives and female relatives, became the charter members of the Casey Women’s Club, named for the abbreviation for the Knights of Columbus — KC.

Marion E. Scaffidi, a parishioner of St. Michael Church in Annandale, was the club’s first president. Her husband, Alfred, was a Knight. George Anders, her co-worker at the Navy Annex and the council’s first Grand Knight, approached her about forming a sister women’s organization. It was difficult to socialize as Knights and their families went to different parishes and some of the wives were not Catholic, said Scaffidi. “We wanted to be a social organization, so people could get more acquainted and do things together,” she said. 

The Casey Women’s Club had all kinds of fundraisers to support the Knights and other charities — hat sales, fashion shows, raffles, dances and spaghetti dinners. In 1962, the council completed its clubhouse and pool, and the women's club purchased a playground, kitchenware, draperies, electric coffee pots, an air conditioner and an ice machine, among other things. They donated to seminarians, gave to a nearby women’s shelter and made Christmas baskets for families in need. “We gave a gift certificate for the grocery store and a goody bag for the woman of the house,” said Scaffidi. 

They also supported the Knights in their fundraisers, such as bingo nights. “I headed the group that did the cashiering and payoffs and some other ladies did all the food,” she said. 

Over the years, the Knights council and the women’s club shrank as Knights began to establish parish-based councils instead of regional ones. Today, the Fairfax Knights are known as the Pope John Paul II Council and are based out of Queen of Apostles Church in Alexandria. They sold their clubhouse on Little River Turnpike and moved into one on Martin Avenue in 2005. 

The Casey Women’s Club continues, holding twice a year candy sales, donating baby supplies to Catholic Charities and hosting monthly retiree luncheons followed by bunko games. The women haven't forgotten their history — this fall they held their 60th anniversary party, one year late due to the pandemic. They honored the founding president, Scaffidi. “Marion is, and always has been, the backbone and heart of the club — a friend, confidant and adviser to all,” said the party program. 

Scaffidi, now 96 years old, has given back to the community in other ways, too. For seven years she ran the St. Michael Seniors, a group for those 50 and over. This year, she is receiving the Elly Doyle Award from the Fairfax County Park Authority for her years of service at Frying Pan Park in Herndon, including helping to facilitate events there with the Friends of Frying Pan Park. But the Casey Women’s Club means a lot to her, she said. Through it, women were able to help the Knights and support one another. 

“A lot of friendships developed,” said Scaffidi. “And for some of the women it was a chance for a day out or an evening out just to be with other people … to have a cup of tea or a sandwich.” 

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021

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