Watertown Council 259 dedicated its council Hall to the late Garry T. McGivney, giving our chapter a kinship to the very origins of the international society. Mr. McGivney, who was an active spokesman for Council 259, was a second cousin, twice removed, of the Rev. Michael J. McGivney, who founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882 in New Haven, Conn.
Garry McGivney, a native of Malone, became a member of Council 259 in November 1990. After bringing home a $20.2 million lump-sum Lotto payment in 2005, he became a benefactor of the Catholic parishes of Watertown. His pastor at Holy Family Church, the Rev. Steven M. Murray, told the Watertown Daily Times in July 2014 that the sudden wealth did not change the man. “Before he even won the lottery, he was a very generous man. He also was generous after that. He was a very quiet man and didn’t want a lot of notoriety. He hoped his generosity would spur others to be generous and to realize money is not the end-all and be-all.” He gave Holy Family $1 million, more than erasing the parish debt, and earmarked another million dollars to be divided between St. Anthony’s, St. Patrick’s and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart parishes. Holy Family subsequently benefited from additional dispersals, Father Murray said.
Another recipient was the Northern New York Community Foundation. Of a $2.5 million donation, $1 million was designated for a North Pleasant Street Scholarship Fund — a gift for students in Mr. McGivney’s neighborhood. “The real long-term legacy of his gift is for everyone to share their blessings with others,” Rande S. Richardson, community foundation executive director, said. Funds are established “to be permanently endowed … so we spend a certain percentage each year,” Mr. Richardson said recently. “A portion of his gift also supported the foundation’s general community grants program.”
Mr. McGivney, summa cum laude graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh, Air Force veteran and a 30-year employee of the state Department of Labor, and a Worthy Brother of the Knights of Columbus, died at age 75 on July 20, 2014.
Council 259 leases three rooms and storage space in the former St Anthony's School.
Meetings are held the second monday of every month at 7p.m.
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