George Broadhead named president of Society of Old Brooklynites
Boroughwide Civic Group Was Founded in 1880
Brooklyn native George R. Broadhead has been elected as the 49th president of the Society of Old Brooklynites (SOB) at the SOB’s annual meeting at Brooklyn Borough Hall. A retired executive for Newhouse newspaper chain, Broadhead is a lifetime SOB member. The boroughwide civic organization dates back to 1880, when Brooklyn was an independent city and the third largest in the nation.
Broadhead joins a long list of distinguished Brooklynites who have served at the helm of the society. They have included former Brooklyn mayors, members of Congress and the state Senate, military leaders, banking and business executives, attorneys, professors, newspaper publishers and editors, writers and two highly regarded women — one a DAR Regent (Margaret Skinner) and one an ASCAP song writer and civic leader (Theresa Rosen). The first society president was former Brooklyn Mayor John Ward Hunter.
Broadhead replaces Brooklyn Borough Historian Ronald Schweiger, a retired educator, who had served two terms as the society president, and declined nomination for a third term. Instead, Schweiger was elected to the society’s Board of Directors. He was also the immediate past president of the Brooklyn College Alumni Association. In 2002, he was appointed to the non-salaried position of Borough Historian by the then-Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.
Broadhead, who enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, is a Korean War veteran. As a combat infantryman, he was awarded the Silver Star Medal for his gallantry in action, in addition to a Purple Heart Medal and other military decorations. He is a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans, has served two terms as Kings County Commander of the VFW and has been serving as the president of the Gerritsen Beach Property Owners Association. In 2011, he was installed in the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame.
Other officers re-elected for another term were Ted General, a veteran columnist for two Brooklyn weekly newspapers and a local civic leader, as first vice president; Michael Spinner, president and CEO of Sunset Park-based Spinner Industries, who chairs the group’s annual Prison Ship Martyrs Memorial ceremonies in Fort Greene Park, as second vice president; Sherman Silverman, a retired airline consultant and member of the Bay Ridge Chapter of AARP, as treasurer; Holly Fuchs, a member of Community Board 8 and a retired banking supervisor, as corresponding secretary; and Linda Orlando, a retired court stenographer, as recording secretary.
Among some of the more prominent members of the society have been poet and editor Walt Whitman, Columbia University President Seth Low, a past Brooklyn and then-New York City mayor; and the true father of baseball, Henry Chadwick.
The society which lobbied the city, state and federal governments for a suitable monument in memory of the Prison Ship Martyrs from the American Revolution, has held an annual memorial tribute at the base of the 159-foot tall Prison Ship Martyrs Monument on the top of the hill in Fort Greene Park. Under the monument is a crypt where the remains of 11,500 patriots are entombed. This is the largest American Revolution burial site in the nation. The monument which was designed by Stanford White was dedicated in 1908 by President-elect William Howard Taft, representing President Theodore Roosevelt who was in Panama at the time.
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