One of a kind: Summit honors longtime pillar Calandra

CRESSON – Summit Country Club recognized one of its most influential and supportive members this past weekend.

Jack Calandra, past club president, was honored with a life-sized bronze statue commissioned by the club’s membership and dedicated on Sunday morning. The ceremony was held prior to one of the club’s most popular events – the annual Jack Calandra Cup.

Calandra, 81, began golfing at Summit in 1944, a time when the nine-hole country club, and, like many others, had a much more formal atmosphere and was resistant to change.

By the 1950s, Calandra, a University of Pennsylvania graduate and successful businessman, was elected to the club’s board of directors. A few years later, he became the club’s president.

“Myself and some of the other younger board members were considered rebels,” Calandra said. “We felt strongly that the club needed to expand to 18 holes, but the older members resisted.”

Soon, however, Calandra had a majority of like-minded directors who approved the major renovation project of adding nine additional holes. Calandra was the driving force behind the project, closely overseeing all aspects of construction. He would inspect all the work on a daily basis and would occasionally jump on a tractor himself to mow some of the newly planted grass.

The new nine holes opened for play in the late 1960s and brought immediate success, helping to keep the club competitive with the other area courses that had already expanded to 18 holes.

Over the years, Calandra continued to support the club in many ways but was always adamant in his desire to do so in a quiet, humble manner. Few may also know that Calandra has been one of the best golfers in club history: He has captured six club championships during his years at Summit.

Last summer, current club president Vaughn Lewis spawned the idea of honoring Calandra for his life-long commitment to Summit Country Club.

“It’s hard to put into words what Jack has meant to this club,” Lewis said. “He’s had a love for this place that’s hard to describe.”

Lewis, along with club members Bernie Fabbri, P.J. Sloan and Bob Biter, formed a fund-raising committee that quickly raised sufficient funds to procure the life-sized bronze sculpture. The work was done by Snowberger Studios in Duncansville and was just recently finished

The entire project was kept a secret from Calandra until just a few weeks ago. When he was informed, the ever-humble Calandra simply said, “This really isn’t necessary.”

Lewis found himself in the awkward position of disagreeing with his long-time mentor.

“Yes Jack, for everything you’ve done for this course over the years – this is absolutely necessary,” Lewis said.

A brief dedication ceremony, which included the unveiling of the statue was held Sunday morning near the club’s first tee. A large crowd was on hand, including many club members and of a number of Calandra’s own family. Calandra’s son, Paul, took part in the ceremony.

“This club has meant so much to my father over the years,” Paul Calandra said. “It’s almost like part of his being.”

Long-time club pro Randy Repko has known Calandra ever since he was a teenager.

“Jack has helped to take Summit Country Club to another level,” Repko said. “Over the years, he’s done everything possible to promote this club and to encourage all of its members.”