, Salem, MA

Local News

October 21, 2013

Seniors Club succumbs to changing times

BEVERLY — When the Beverly Senior Citizens Club held its regular meeting a few weeks after president Peter Nuccio passed away last year, the main item on the agenda was choosing a new president.

But when members went around the room looking for volunteers, Bill Coughlin recalled, “No hands came up.”

Facing an aging membership and changing times, the Beverly Senior Citizens Club has voted to disband. The decision marks the end of an organization that formed more than 50 years ago and once boasted nearly 300 members.

Coughlin, a longtime member with his wife, Marguerite, said most of the remaining 25 members are in their 80s. They tried to recruit younger members — the minimum age to join is 60 — but found no takers.

“We refer to ourselves as members of the Greatest Generation, and there’s nobody coming behind us,” Coughlin said. “It’s just that people have other things to do. We meet at 2 p.m. during the day.”

In some ways, the Senior Citizens Club outlived its usefulness. It was formed in the 1950s as a social club for seniors in the days before the city had a Senior Center.

Rose Nuccio, Peter Nuccio’s wife, said the group would organize trips around New England that would sell out almost as soon as they were announced.

“Sometimes we’d need two buses,” she said.

The club remained active even after the Senior Center on Colon Street opened in 1992, holding private quilting and exercise classes in the building.

MaryAnn Holak, executive director of the Beverly Council on Aging, said the need for a private group became less important once the Senior Center began offering programs that were open to all seniors.

“I have mixed feelings, because you want to respect what they established, but you also want to say that in this world, the Senior Center has done a great job of meeting all the needs of seniors,” Holak said.

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