Supreme Lodge History
Supreme Lodge 2008-2010
Supreme Lodge, SPJST, Seated: Vice President Gene McBride, President Brian Vanicek, and Secretary-Treasurer Leonard Mikeska. Standing: Supreme Lodge Chairman and District I Director Donnie Victorick, District II Director Bobby Wuensche, District III Director Johnnie Krizan, District IV Director Billy Rollwitz, District V Director Larry W. Pflughaupt, Supreme Lodge Vice Chairman and District VI Director Michael Ahlstrom, and District VII Director Bob Bayer.
Supreme Lodge 2005-2008
Supreme Lodge, SPJST, Seated: Secretary-Treasurer Lanita Anglin, Vice President Gene McBride, President Brian Vanicek, Financial Secretary Jerry Mikulas, and Legal Advisor Drew Popelka. Standing: Supreme Lodge Chairman and District I Director Donnie Victorick, District II Director Bobby Wuensche, District III Director Johnnie Krizan, District IV Director Billy Rollwitz, District V Director Larry W. Pflughaupt, Supreme Lodge Vice Chairman and District VI Director Michael Ahlstrom, and District VII Director Bob Bayer.
Supreme Lodge 2004
Supreme Lodge, SPJST, Seated: Financial Secretary Jerry Mikulas, Vice President Gene McBride, President Brian Vanicek, Secretary-Treasurer Lanita Anglin, and Legal Advisor Drew Popelka. Standing: District I Director Donnie Victorick, District II Director Bobby Wuensche, District III Director Johnnie Krizan, Supreme Lodge Vice Chairman and District IV Director Stanley Broz, District V Director Larry W. Pflughaupt, District VI Director Michael Ahlstrom, and Supreme Lodge Chairman and District VII Director Bob Bayer.
Supreme Lodge 2000-03
Supreme Lodge, SPJST, Seated: Financial Secretary Jerry Mikulas, Vice President Gene McBride, President Howard Leshikar, Secretary-Treasurer Lanita Anglin, and Legal Advisor Sidney Kacir. Standing: District I Director Donnie Victorick, District II Director Frank Klinkovsky, District III Director Johnnie Krizan, District IV Director Stanley Broz, District V Director Larry Pflughaupt, District VI Director Mike Ahlstrom and District VII Director Bob Bayer.
Supreme Lodge 1999
Supreme Lodge, SPJST, Seated: Financial Secretary Jerry Mikulas, Vice President Leonard Mikeska, President Howard Leshikar, Chairman and District VI Director Matt Vanek, Secretary-Treasurer Lanita Anglin, Legal Advisor Sidney Kacir. Standing: District I Director Donnie Victorick, District II Director Frank Klinkovsky, District III Director Johnnie Krizan, Vice Chairman and District IV Director Stanley Broz, District V Director Louis Hanus, District VII Director Bob Bayer.
Supreme Lodge 1996-97
Supreme Lodge, SPJST, Seated: Financial Secretary Jerry Mikulas, Vice President Leonard Mikeska, President Howard Leshikar, Legal Advisor Sidney Kacir, Secretary-Treasurer Lanita Anglin, District VI Director Matt Vanek. Â Standing: District I Director Andy Vavra, District II Director Frank Klinkovsky, District III Director Johnnie Krizan, District IV Director Stanley Broz, District V Director Louis Hanus, District VII Director Bob Bayer.
Supreme Lodge 1995-96
Supreme Lodge SPJST, Seated: Secretary-Treasurer Lanita Anglin, Vice President Leonard Mikeska, District III Director Sid Pokladnik, President Howard B. Leshikar, Financial Secretary Jerry Mikulas, Legal Advisor Sidney Kacir. Standing: District I Director Andrew Vavra, District II Director Willie E. Kohutek, District IV Director Stanley Broz, District VI Director Matt Vanek, District V Director Louis Hanus, District VII Director Bob Bayer.
Supreme Lodge 1992-93
Supreme Lodge, SPJST, Seated: Financial Secretary Jerry Mikulas, Vice President Bernie Gebala, President Howard Leshikar, District III Director Cyrill (Sid) Pokladnik, Secretary-Treasurer Leonard Mikeska, Legal Advisor Sidney Kacir. Standing: District I Director Andrew Vavra, District II Director Willie E. Kohutek, District IV Director Stanley Broz, District V Director Louis Hanus, District VI Director Matt Vanek, District VII Director Bob Bayer.
Supreme Lodge 1984-90
Supreme Lodge, SPJST, Seated Front Row: Vice President Bernie Gebala, District III Director Cyrill (Sid) Pokladnik, President Howard Leshikar, Financial Secretary Jerry Mikulas, Secretary-Treasurer Leonard Mikeska. Standing: District II Director Willie E. Kohutek, District I Director Andrew Vavra, District VII Director Thelma Hrncir, District IV Director Stanley Broz, District VI Director Matt Vanek, Legal Advisor Sidney Kacir, District V Director Louis Hanus.
Supreme Lodge 1984
Supreme Lodge Members, 1984, Seated, L to R: Financial Secretary Jerry Mikulas, Jr., Legal Adviser Sidney Kacir, President Nick A. Morris, District VII Director Thelma Hrncir, District V Director Louis Hanus. Standing: District I Director Ben Trcalek, Vice President Bernard M. Gebala, District II Director Henry Vitek, District III Director Sid Pokladnik, District IV Director Stanley Broz, District VI Director Matt Vanek, Secretary-Treasurer Leonard D. Mikeska.
Supreme Lodge 1981-84
Supreme Lodge, SPJST, 1981. Seated, L to R: District IV Director Stanley Broz, Legal Adviser Reuben B. Lesikar, President Nick A. Morris, District VII Director Thelma Hrncir. Standing, L to R: District V Director Louis Hanus, District I Director Ben F. Trcalek, District III Director Cyrill (Sid) Pokladnik, District II Director Henry Vitek, District VI Director Matt S. Vanek, Secretary-Treasurer Leonard Mikeska, Financial Secretary Jerry Mikulas, Jr., Vice President Bernard M. Gebala.
Supreme Lodge 1979-81
Supreme Lodge, SPJST, January 1979. Seated L to R: Legal Adviser Reuben B. Lesikar, Vice President Bernard M. Gebala (appointed 1 October 1978), President Nick A. Morris, Secretary-Treasurer Leonard Mikeska, Financial Secretary Jerry Mikulas, Jr. Standing, L to R: Directors Robert Bayer (VII), Matt S. Vanek (VI), Louis Hanus (V; succeeded Alfred Hilsher on 31 December 1976), Stanley Broz (IV), Cyrill (Sid) Pokladnik (III), Henry Vitek (II), John A. Kubena (I).
XXIIIrd Convention of the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas held June 9th through 12th, 1980, in the Convention Center in Hemisfair Plaza in San Antonio, Texas.
The delegates were welcomed by Convention Planning Committee Chairman Emil Matula and Co-Chairman Dominic Netek, president and secretary, respectively, of host Lodge No. 133 San Antonio. The opening of the convention had been preceded by impressive memorial services held in front of the Alamo and dedicated to all deceased members of the SPJST who had given their lives for their country in all previous wars and conflicts. A memorial wreath was placed by Supreme Lodge President Nick A. Morris, Vice President Bernard M. Gebala and Planning Committee Chairman Emil Matula.
Supreme Lodge President Nick A. Morris opened and convened the convention at 10:10 a.m. and introduced the four convention secretaries: Melvin Skrabanek, Johnnie Krizan, Irene Weidner, and Elaine Berkovsky. In his opening remarks in Czech and English, President Morris stated that one of the priority items in this convention was to ask approval of computerization/data processing of Home Office records.
Credentials Committee Chairman Darlene Engelke made her report that there were 344 delegates present out of a possible total of 370 and that 17 lodges were not represented by delegates.Â Sid Pokladnik was nominated to be convention chairman and was elected by acclamation. There were three nominations for vice chairman and Jerry Prochazka was elected.
Sidney Kacir was appointed parliamentarian for this convention. Oldest delegates recognized, both in age and years of attendance at conventions, were Frances Olexa, Jos. Holasek and Joe Barabas, Jr., all being 80 years of age. Dick L. Dusek, age 21. and Ronnie Rieger, age 23, were recognized as the two youngest delegates. Jos. Holasek was recognized as having attended more conventions (this his 13th) as a delegate than any other delegate.
Oldest delegates recognized, both in age and years of attendance at conventions, were Frances Olexa, Jos. Holasek and Joe Barabas, Jr., all being 80 years of age. Dick L. Dusek, age 21. and Ronnie Rieger, age 23, were recognized as the two youngest delegates. Jos. Holasek was recognized as having attended more conventions (this his 13th) as a delegate than any other delegate.
Various convention committees were appointed by the convention chairman and cochairman. After some of the committees made their reports, a question arose as to whether the mere submission of their reports was tantamount to acceptance and approval, whereupon it was agreed that the various recommendations and proposals would first be discussed on the floor, one of them being the recommendation from the Insurance Committee, ” … that the convention authorize the Supreme Lodge to expend the funds necessary to inaugurate and install an adequate operational data processing computerized record system in the Home Office.” After considerable discussion this recommendation was approved.
The Finance Committee (first time with this designation; previously the Salaries & Donations Committee) made recommendations for various compensation and per diem of delegates, the latter of which was set at $85 per day.
Salaries of officers and Supreme Lodge members and editor were approved.The Finance Committee recommended that allocations to institutions teaching the Czech language could best be handled by a lump sum allocation of $8,000 a year, with authority to disburse and administer these funds given to the Supreme Lodge. This recommendation was passed, effective immediately. The Finance Committee also recommended that the convention authorize the purchase of a van for each of the two rest homes at a cost not to exceed $17,000 per unit. This was approved.
The Finance Committee also recommended that the convention authorize the purchase of a van for each of the two rest homes at a cost not to exceed $17,000 per unit. This was approved. The Publication Committee presented its report, which included bids from various publishers for the publication of the Vestnik. The chairman of that committee stated that since all bids submitted were rather high, that the committee recommends that they all be rejected and the Supreme Lodge be authorized to negotiate for lower sums and that a member of the Publication Committee and the editor sit in with the Supreme Lodge during these negotiations. The motion to this effect carried.
(The Supreme Lodge, after several weeks of deliberation and negotiation, concluded that the best interests of the Society would be served by accepting the bid from Stillhouse Hollow Publishers of Temple and to follow up on the convention decision to change from the present format to the tabloid form, Thus, after having the Vestnik published in magazine format since 1932, this change was a significant one for the Society.)
A proposal to change some of the titles of Supreme Lodge officers and other positions in the Home Office was defeated, with the titles remaining the same. Announcements were made about the youth activities that would take place in the evenings during this convention. Another major change brought about by the convention delegates was the concurrence with the recommendation that the positions of District Sales Representatives be abolished, After considerable discussions pro and con, the motion to phase out this position passed overwhelmingly. On Wednesday morning a number of presidents and dignitaries from other organizations, fraternal and other, brought greetings to the assembled delegates.
During the discussion on by-laws one important change was that a local lodge may reject an applicant for membership by a majority vote of those present and voting, (Since 1897 an applicant was rejected if he received five negative votes.) The delegates approved funds for re-Iocating the museum in the Home Office from the ground floor to the basement. (This was accomplished by the Supreme Lodge by November of 1980.)
The Finance Committee presented two resolutions pertaining to President Morris and Secretary-Treasurer Mikeska, commending them for Morris’s work on the SPJST History and for Mikeska’s filling in in the office of Vice President after the death of Joe B. Hejny. The delegates then voted to hold the 1984 Convention in Corpus Christi after representatives of Lodge 79 in that city asked for this privilege. In the election of Supreme Lodge officers, one memqer was nominated for the office of president in addition to incumbent President Morris, In that election Morris received 32,648 votes and Richard Wahlberg, 5,690, The other Supreme Lodge officers and editor were elected by acclamation, (Vice President Joe B. Hejny died in a Temple hospital on 24 May 1978, Bernard M, Gebala was appointed by the Supreme Lodge to fill Hejny’s unexpired term in the July 1978 meeting of the Supreme Lodge, with the effective date of his appointment 1 October 1978, Gebala was elected by the delegates to this convention to his first 4-year term.)
In the districts, the following were elected:District I – District Director Ben Trcalek (after John Kubena chose not to run for re-election); District II – District Director Henry Vitek; District III – District Director Sid Pokladnik; District IV – District Director Stanley Broz; District V – District Director Louis Hanus; District VI – District Director Matt Vanek; District VII – District Director Thelma Hrncir. (The election of Thelma Hrncir marked the first time in the history of the SPJST that a woman was elected to the Supreme Lodge as a director.)
Retiring Director John A, Kubena installed the Supreme Lodge members and permanent committees, The convention adjourned at 1:10 p,m, on Thursday, June 12th, after the assembly sang the Czech National Anthem, “Kde domov muj”, and “God Bless America”, (All Supreme Lodge officers’ reports, lists of delegates, various committee reports, resolutions, texts of greetings were placed in the appendix at the end of the printed Proceedings of this convention.)
Supreme Lodge 1976-78
Supreme Lodge, SPJST, 1976, Seated, L to R: Legal Adviser Reuben B. Lesikar, Financial Secretary Ben Zabcik, Secretary-Treasurer Leonard Mikeska, President Nick A. Morris, Vice President Joe B. Hejny (deceased 24 May 1978). Standing, L to R: Directors Cyrill (Sid) Pokladnik (III), John A. Kubena (I), Matt S. Vanek (VI), Stanley Broz (IV), Henry Vitek (II), Alfred Hilsher (V; served from 6 Nov 1976 to 31 Dec 1976), Frank Veselka (VII; served from 1 May 1974 to 1 Jan 1977).
XXIInd Convention XXIInd Convention of the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas held 14th through 17th of June 1976 in the Convention Center in Waco, Texas.
The delegates were welcomed by Otto Hanus and Johnnie Krizan, chairman and co-chairman of the Convention Planning Committee, respectively. Supreme Lodge President Nick Morris convened the convention shortly thereafter and introduced the four convention secretaries previously designated by the Supreme Lodge: Pauline Shiller, Helen Oates, Elaine Berkovsky, and Catherine Walker.
An Air Force contingent had participated in the flag-raising ceremony before the convention got under way. The ceremonies were held in front of Convention Hall near the Freedom Fountain, with Air Force Master Sergeant Bernie Gebala in charge of the contingent. Sid Pokladnik was master of ceremonies for the occasion, which was held in concert with the flag-raising ceremonies that same day and hour at the birthplace of Flag Day in Fredonia, Wisconsin.
Credentials Committee Chairman Darlene Engelke reported that 18 lodges were not represented and that 96 lodges were. Three hundred twenty-four delegates were present out of a possible 339. There were 3 substitute delegates present. A delegate from a suspended lodge was present but was told that his lodge was still on suspension and deferred the matter for consideration until after the convention chairman was elected. The total delegate voting strength was 35,986 votes.
It was announced that the entire proceedings were being taped for future reference. Sid Pokladnik was nominated and elected convention chairman by acclamation. Ladis Navratil, Louis Hanus, Arnold Vrla, Matt Vanek, and Jerry Prochazka were nominated for vice chairman. After the tabulating of ballots, it was announced there would have to be a run-off held between Louis Hanus and Ladis Navratil. The results of that run-off election were that Ladis Navratil was elected.
Sidney Kacir was appointed parliamentarian for this convention. While the tabulating was taking place, President Morris called attention to his report on the licensing of our sales representatives by the State Board of Insurance and that the matter was in abeyance.
Chairman Pokladnik and Vice Chairman Navratil then assumed their places at the head table. One of the first reports was from the chairman of the Publication Committee who reported that 12 publishers had been contacted for bids on publishing the Vestnik. Chairman of the Rest Homes Board of Directors gave a report on the assets and financial condition of the two rest homes. The matter of seating the delegate from the suspended lodge was addressed, with the result being that the delegate was not seated. A motion previously passed that there be a Youth Committee was clarified with the understanding that that committee would not be a standing committee and would function only during the convention.
A motion previously passed that there be a Youth Committee was clarified with the understanding that that committee would not be a standing committee and would function only during the convention. The various committees were introduced. The official convention photographer, Glenn Psencik, was also introduced. Legal Adviser Lesikar presented a resolution for consideration which would make our charter from the State a perpetual charter and not require renewing from time to time. A motion that the legal adviser not constitute a member of the Supreme Lodge was defeated, leaving the makeup of the Supreme Lodge as it had previously been.
A motion that the legal adviser not constitute a member of the Supreme Lodge was defeated, leaving the makeup of the Supreme Lodge as it had previously been. A proposal to change the member-delegate ratio did not pass. Supreme Lodge Vice President Hejny recommended that the proposals of the Insurance Committee be accepted – that they were good and sound proposals. The chairman of the Youth Committee made a report, which included some drastic changes in the way the Youth Department was to be operated, whereupon President Morris asked for time to review the recommendations of that committee.
A proposal to waive the application fee for lodges applying for lodge building loans was approved after considerable discussion. The delegate from Lodge 18 Elgin requested that his lodge be removed from the roster of lodges in District I to those in District II, his reasons being that the lodge was geographically situated in close proximity to neighboring lodges in District II rather than in District I. His request was granted, effective January 1, 1977.
A proposal that the district director preside over the district caucus in the convention until a permanent chairman was elected was made and later passed. A later report by the Credentials Committee showed that 15 lodges were not represented and that there were 326 delegates present out of 339. The chairman of the Publication Committee reported that his committee was recommending a warding the bid for publishing the Vestnik to the Cechoslovak Publishing Company and that recommendation was approved by the delegates. Editor Sefcik reported that the Vestnik would continue to be published on a weekly basis.
After considerable discussion, it was approved that the 7% refund to lodges be increased to 8%. A motion to raise the allocation to the districts’ General Expense Fund from $150 a year to $250 was approved. There was a major change regarding the status of social members in this convention to the effect that social members should have the right of deliberation and serving on committees at the discretion of the local lodge. A by-law recommendation to this effect was approved. Ronnie Rieger was announced as being the youngest delegate at 19 and Joe Skrabanek the oldest at 86. Joe Holasek had been a delegate the most number of times, having been a delegate to every convention since the East Bernard Convention in 1928. The article in the by-laws requiring knowledge of the Czech language for members of the Supreme Lodge was brought up for reconsideration, but failed due to lack of a two-thirds majority vote.
The article in the by-laws requiring knowledge of the Czech language for members of the Supreme Lodge was brought up for reconsideration, but failed due to lack of a two-thirds majority vote. The Insurance Committee recommended that death benefits start with $1,000 and be in additional multiples of $500, but that a person over 50 years of age may purchase a minimum of $500 insurance. This was voted on and passed. On Thursday morning the matter of the Youth Report was taken up again and that committee’s report was discussed and certain deletions and amendments made. Shortly thereafter, the Youth Committee was dismissed by the chairman.
The chairman of the Salaries & Donations Committee then proceeded to report on the committee’s proposed salary adjustments for members of the Supreme Lodge. After some discussions and counter-proposals, the recommendations of salaries for Supreme Lodge members were approved. The usual donations to needy members were approved. The directors of the rest homes asked that $100,000 of their indebtedness be written off by the delegates to this convention and a motion was subsequently made and passed to this effect. Their indebtedness to the Supreme Lodge was thus reduced from $400,000 to $300,000.
A delegate then brought up the possibility of writing a history of the SPJST, since this had been discussed at a previous convention. He made a motion that the Supreme Lodge have the authority to appoint someone to write a history of the Society and this passed. Election of Supreme Lodge officers: Nick A. Morris was nominated and elected president by acclamation.
Joe B. Hejny, Silas Smith, Arnold Vrla, and Johnnie Krizan were nominated for the position of vice president. Silas Smith and Arnold Vrla declined the nomination. Joe B. Hejny was reelected with a total of 25,621 votes to 8,762 for Johnnie Krizan.
Leonard D. Mikeska was nominated and elected secretary-treasurer by acclamation. Jerry Mikulas, Jr., was nominated and elected financial secretary by acclamation. Reuben Lesikar was nominated and elected legal adviser by acclamation. Rudy Sefcik was nominated and elected editor of the Vestnik by acclamation. In the Districts the following Directors were elected: District I John A. Kubena, District II Henry Vitek, District III Cyrill (Sid) Pokladnik, District IV Stanley Broz, District V Alfred Hilsher, District VI Matt S. Vanek, District VII Robert Bayer.
Shortly thereafter, all elected officials brought their families forward, introduced them, and extended thanks to the delegates for their votes of confidence. Shortly thereafter, the districts met in their caucuses and elected the director, substitute director, member and substitute on the Insurance Committee, member and substitute on the Publications Committee and member and substitute on the Finance Committee. The results were later announced on the convention floor and ratified by the entire delegation.
Delegates from San Antonio invited the next convention to that city and this was approved by the delegation. Honorary President Edward L. Marek installed the members of the Supreme Lodge and elected committees and charged them with their responsibilities of office. The convention was adjourned with the singing of “Hej, Slovane!” and “God Bless America” at 9:40 p.m.
Supreme Lodge 1975
Supreme Lodge, SPJST, Early 1975. Seated, L to R: Financial Secretary Ben Zabcik, Secretary-Treasurer Leonard Mikeska, President Nick A. Morris, Vice President Joe B. Hejny, Legal Adviser Reuben B. Lesikar. Standing, L to R: Directors Frank Veselka (VII), Ernest J. Hanka (V), Matt S. Vanek (VI), Stanley Broz (IV), John A. Kubena (I), Cyrill (Sid) Pokladnik (III), HenryVitek (II).
Supreme Lodge 1972-75
Supreme Lodge, SPJST, early 1973. Seated, L to R: Financial Secretary Ben Zabcik, Secretary-Treasurer Leonard Mikeska, President Nick A. Morris, Vice President Joe B. Hejny, Legal Adviser Reuben B. Lesikar. Standing, L to R: Directors Frank Veselka (VII), Ernest J. Hanka (V), Matt S. Vanek (VI), Stanley Broz (IV), John A. Kubena (I), Cyrill (Sid) Pokladnik (III), Henry Vitek (II).
XXIst Convention of the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas held 19th through 22nd of June 1972 in the Rice Hotel in Houston, Texas.
The delegates were welcomed by Ernest J. Hanka, chairman of the Convention Planning Committee. Supreme Lodge Vice President Joe B. Hejny and Director Jos. Koliha, Jr., were not present due to illness. Supreme Lodge President Nick A. Morris formally convened the convention, speaking both in Czech and English.
Darlene Engelke, Leon Zavodny, and A. B. Dusek were the appointed members of the Credentials Committee. The chairman of that committee, Darlene Engelke, reported that 17 lodges were not represented by delegates and that the credentials of 6 delegates were not in order, including that of a delegate from a suspended lodge. After considerable discussion, the delegates voted not to seat the delegate in question, whereupon the Credentials Committee Chairman reported that there were 286 delegates present with credentials in order representing 100 lodges.
Sid Pokladnik and Paul Sablatura were nominated as convention chairmen. Paul Sablatura declined the nomination and Sid Pokladnik was elected by acclamation. Paul Sablatura and Ernest J. Hanka were nominated for convention vice chairmen, with the result that Ernest J. Hanka was elected.
Sidney Kacir was appointed parliamentarian for this convention. While the votes were being tabulated for vice chairman, President Morris recognized a number of individuals and introduced several committees. The convention chairmen appointed four convention secretaries: Melvin Skrabanek, Mildred Holeman, Dorothy Tomasek, and Tillie Helmcamp. After that, the chairmen continued making appointments to several committees.
J. M. Skrabanek, chairman of the Rest Homes’ Board of Directors, made a report on the progress of the rest homes in which he reported the completion of Rest Home No.2 in Needville and asked that the Society grant a loan to the rest home in the amount of $100,000 so that that amount could be used to repay the indebtedness to Sid and Justine Pokladnik and J. M. and Ara Skrabanek, who had made the funds available through personal financing.
There was then a discussion on combining the offices of secretary and treasurer, with the explanation being given that combining these offices would increase efficiency and result in less duplication of work, and this was finally achieved. A proposal had been submitted that the editor be appointed by the Supreme Lodge, but the final delegates’ decision was to leave the position elected by the convention delegates.
In the report of the Publication Committee, it was proposed that that committee have the authority to recommend a publisher to the delegates on the basis of biJs submitted. Later in the convention, an amendment was proposed that the convention would review the Publication Committee’s recommendation and select the publisher of the Vestnik, but if the convention failed to select a publisher, that matter would become the duty of the Supreme Lodge.
A proposal to reduce the number of delegates by changing the ratio was defeated. An effort to reduce the number of members on the Publication Committee to three failed and the amendment to increase it to seven passed. A discussion then followed on changing the designation “organizer” to sales representative. A proposal had been made to change the amount of a loan on one piece of property from $50,000 to $60,000, but the directors recommended $70,000 and this passed.
The convention returned again to the question of the delegate-member ratio and an attempt to adjust the ratio downward was defeated again. The statement was then made that: “You fraternalists just spent $100,000 which could be used for the youth camp.” President Morris had proposed that: “The Supreme Lodge has authority to hire any assistants or subordinates to any of the Supreme Lodge officers and also has the authority to set their salary and remuneration”, and this was passed.
A significant by-law was passed in this convention that stipulated that “Loans may be made to a lodge for building and land up to $70,000 and not more than 66-2/3% of the appraised value above $70,000.” An article passed in this convention also allowed the election or appointment of a youth leader and that person became an officer of the lodge. The salary recommendations by the Salary & Donations Committee were reviewed and discussed. Final action revealed that the president’s salary was set at $15,800 for the following year, $16,650 for the next year, and $17,550 for the next two years. The vice president’s salary was set at $13,700 for the following year, $14,450 for the next year, and $15,250 for the next two years. The salaries of the secretary-treasurer, financial secretary and editor were all set at $12,650 for the following year, $13,350 for the next year, and $14,100 for the next two years. The usual donations to needy members were passed.
In the election of Supreme Lodge officers, Nick Morris and John E. Sebetka were nominated for the office of president. The results of the ballotting showed Morris received 21,343 votes and Sebetka 7,783. Morris thanked the delegates for their support in his selection and expressed thanks to his wife for her devotion and understanding.
Joe B. Hejny’s name was placed in nomination for vice president and his absence due to sickness was acceptable to two-thirds of the delegates. He was elected by acclamation. His wife, Stacie, accepted in his behalf with thanks to the delegates. Leonard Mikeska was nominated for secretary-treasurer and he was elected by acclamation. He presented his wife and thanked the delegates for their support. Ben Zabcik was nominated for the office of financial secretary and elected by acclamation. He presented his wife and thanked the delegates.
Reuben Lesikar was nominated as Supreme Lodge Legal Adviser and elected by acclamation. He introduced his wife and thanked the delegates.
In the Districts the following Directors were elected:
- District I John A. Kubena
- DistrictII Henry E. Vitek
- District III Cyril (Sid) Pokladnik
- District IV Stanley Broz
- District V Ernest J. Hanka
- District VI Paul Sablatura
- District VII Pete Valchar
Frank Kurz and Rudy Sefcik were nominated for the position of editor. Sefcik received 27,343 votes and Kurz 2,038. Sefcik called his family to the podium, introduced his wife and family and thanked the delegates for their confidence. The Publication Committee then made its report on bids for publishing the Vestnik. Two bids had been received and although one was cheaper than the other, the committee recommended that the Society continue with the publisher at that time. A motion was subsequently made and passed to accept the recommendation.
Sid Pokladnik, Maxine Pavliska, and Dan Balusek had previously been selected as a 3- member Family Youth Camp and Recreation Park Committee and Chairman Pokladnik read his report. After the committee’s report, there was considerable discussion about the advisability of owning and operating our own youth camp. One consideration was the legality of the Society owning real estate over and above that required to locate the Home Office. The actuary concurred in this position and stated that it was not clear whether we could or could not and that the matter ought to be studied a little more. Furthermore, it was pointed out that if we committed ourselves to a $500,000 or $700,000 obligation at the rate of 70/0 interest, that that amount invested would earn the Society almost $49,000 a year in interest, and compared to the present costs of approximately $15,000 a year in leasing camps this would be a savings of $34,000 a year and this would not precipitate a major change in the Society’s financial assets. A motion was subsequently made to accept the committee’s report; they were commended for it, and the matter was tabled.
Waco was proposed as the site of the next convention and the delegates accepted.
Honorary President Edward L. Marek installed the new Supreme Lodge officers and directors. The convention adjourned at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, June 22,1972 .
Supreme Lodge, SPJST, 1971. Officers, seated left to right, Leonard Mikeska-Treasurer, R.A. Urbanovsky-Secretary, Nick A. Morris-President, Joe B. Hejny-Vice President, August Kacir-Legal Adviser, Ben Zabcik-Financial Secretary. Directors, standing left to right, John Kubena, Henry Vitek, Sid Pokladnik, R.E. Broz, Edward L. Marek, E.J. Hanka, E.P. Sralla, Jos. J. Koliha, Jr.
Supreme Lodge 1968-72
Nick A. Morris 7th President
Baker Hotel in Dallas
XXth Convention of the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas held 10th through 14th of June 1968 in the Baker Hotel in Dallas.
The convention delegates were called to order by Convention Planning Committee Chairman Sid Pokladnik at 9 a.m., who welcomed the delegates and visitors in both the English and Czech languages. Colors were presented by the US Marine Corps and Boy Scouts from Lodges 84 and 130. Past Dallas City Attorney Henry P. Kucera introduced Dallas Mayor Eric Jonsson. Mayor Jonsson then presented Supreme Lodge President Edward L. Marek with a key to the City of Dallas. Convention Planning Committee Co-chairman Arnold Vrla was introduced, as was Lodge 84 President Ben J arm a and Lodge 130 President Johnny Sebetka.
Supreme Lodge President Marek spoke in both English and Czech and he paid brief tribute to the forefathers who built our fine Society. He announced that we have only one charter member living, namely, Sis. Veronika Baca, out of the original 872 charter members. He stated that he had started in the Supreme Lodge as financial secretary in November 1932 and he thanked all those present for allowing him to serve so long. He called his wife to the podium and they both received a standing ovation. Chairman A. B. Dusek of the Credentials Committee made the committee’s report. He stated that eleven lodges were not represented by delegates. One hundred ten lodges were represented by 237 delegates.
Paul Sablatura and Sid Pokladnik were nominated as chairman of the convention. Brother Sablatura received a majority of the votes and was declared elected chairman of the convention. Sid Pokladnik and Ernest J. Hanka were nominated as vice chairman of the convention, with Sid Pokladnik receiving a majority of the votes and being declared elected.
Several delegates declined to serve as convention secretaries. Finally, Leonard Mikeska, Johnnie Krizan, and Tillie Helmcamp accepted their appointments as convention secretaries. The various committees were appointed by the two convention chairmen.
The Operations & Analysis Committee, appointed in the previous convention, gave their report and there were some differences of opinion as to the objectives of the committee and there were also objections to some of their recommendations. The question then came up as to whether to assign the matter of selecting and buying a new Home Office site to the O&A Committee, and the decision was finally made to create a separate 3-man committee for that purpose.
The Publication Committee then made its report in which they referred to their several meetings with the editor and members of the Supreme Lodge, all of which were routine and harmonious. During that period also, a special 70th Anniversary Commemorative Edition of the Vestnik was published and the committee had high praise for that project. The rest home directors made their report.
They stated that the SPJST has an investment of about $225,000 in the rest home in Taylor, of which $68,000 is still owed the Supreme Lodge. They reported that the rest home was in dire need of an additional hospital wing and an additional sixteen beds for intensive care patients. If this wing is added, it would give the rest home an additional capacity of seventy guests. The rest home directors asked the delegates to increase their outstanding indebtedness of $68,000 to $140,000 so that the additions and expansions could be carried out. This was later approved. The rest home directors also recommended an additional rest home in a “thickly populated area”. They went on to state that with a donation of $100,000 and a loan of $150,000 that a new rest home could be built comparable to the one in Taylor. In discussing the matter on the floor, a motion was finally made to grant a loan of $72,000 for the addition of a wing to the Taylor Rest Home. Later on, a motion was passed that the convention chairmen appoint a 7-man committee to study the proposal of another rest home.
The discussion then turned on substituting the word “Society” for “Organization”, and after some discussion, this was accepted. A proposal was defeated to raise the membership-delegate ratio from 20 to 150. A proposal to change the word “alternate” to “substitute” wherever it appears in the by-laws was approved. A motion to restrict the election of anyone over 65 to an office in the Supreme Lodge failed by a large majority. A subsequent motion to reduce the number of Supreme Lodge officers from five to four also failed. A motion was made to change the designation “district youth directors” to “district youth leaders”. A substitute motion was made to come up with another suitable title. Later, the designation “district youth counselors” was accepted.
A question then arose on the floor as to whether the Supreme Lodge did or did not recommend that the position of district organizer be abolished. The answer from Vice President Hejny was: “The Supreme Lodge did not recommend that, but the Supreme Lodge would authorize full time state organizers in addition to the district organizers. The recommendation for field organizers has been turned over to the Insurance Committee.” Additionally, Vice President Hejny stated, “We support the recommendation of the Supreme Lodge to employ full time field men in addition to district organizers. This is the Organization Committee’s recommendation approved by the Supreme Lodge.” Since there had been considerable discussion on this point by one delegate, the convention parliamentarian stated that according to Roberts Rules of Order if any person employs tactics to obstruct or hinder the business of the convention, the chairman has the right to not recognize that individual.
The chairman announced the 7-member committee on the rest home. It was then announced that Rudolph Troubil, manager of the Taylor Rest Home, suffered a fatal heart attack the previous evening. The Committee on Salaries & Donations made a report in which they recommended that the delegates receive $40 per diem and members of all committees while active, $45 per diem. Recommended travel pay was the same as from previous conventions. The Insurance Committee then made its recommendations, which included insuring applicants up to and including age 35 for $25,000, up to and including age 40 for $15,000, to and including age 45 for $10,000, to and including age 55 for $1,000. A new class of modified life for a minimum of $25,000 was accepted, as was the recommendation to add a 10-year endowment policy. The committee supported the recommendation that the Supreme Lodge employ full time field men to devote all their time to organization work, in addition to district organizers and lodge organizers.
A director-delegate stated that he felt that the vice president should consult with the district director before appointing district organizers, that the district directors have the right to be consulted on such appointments. Two delegates spoke in favor of the vice president being divested of being Head of the Youth Department, stating that the insurance work was as much as he could take care of.
A lengthy discussion then came onto the floor regarding the authority of the Publication Committee having jurisdiction over the editor vs. the Supreme Lodge. The final decision was that the editor would be under the general jurisdiction of the Publication Committee, but that the Supreme Lodge would have the final decision on his dismissal.
Actuary David Huff gave his report to the delegates. He spoke on the 6% premium refund to lodges and stated that a study would have to be made of the possibility of increasing this amount. This amount was later increased to 7% and passed by the convention.
An article that would have denied the right of members of the Supreme Lodge being delegates to conventions was defeated. Joan Pavliska, Miss SPJST, was introduced to the delegates and spoke briefly. She had been selected the previous evening. Editor Morris moved that the Vestnik return to being published with one front page and this passed. The Rest Home Committee, in its follow-up recommendations, recommended that an additional rest home be built in District V, specifically, the Rosenberg-Needville area, and recommended a loan of $150,000 and a donation of $100,000. Later, a motion to this effect was made and passed. Subsequently, motions were introduced and passed to designate the two homes as “S.P.J.S.T. Rest Home No.1” and “S.P.J.S.T. Rest Home No.2”, with one board of directors.
The Salaries & Donations Committee made a partial report and recommended the following Supreme Lodge salaries: President $13,000, $14,000 and $15,000 for the last two years before the next convention; vice president $11,000, $12,000 and $13,000 for the last two years before the next convention; secretary $10,000, $11,000 and $12,000 for the last two years before the next convention; treasurer and financial secretary the same as the secretary; legal adviser $5,400 for the next four years plus the usual percentage of loans up to a certain amount; directors $1,200 annually and $50 for the first day of a Supreme Lodge meeting and $40 for the other days, $40 per diem, $20 for final inspection; chief medical examiner $3.50 for each application examined; editor $10,000 a year, $11,000, and then $12,000 for the last two years before the next convention. Except for the remuneration of the attorney, the salary recommendations were voted on and passed. Later, the matter of the attorney’s salary was returned to the floor and it was voted for the attorney’s salary to remain at $3,600 a year. The usual donations to needy members were approved.
The Youth Committee made its report, one of the big items in their report was the proposal that the president of the Supreme Lodge is to be the Head of the Youth Department to replace the vice president in that capacity. Their proposal included, and the delegates increased, reimbursements to the local lodge youth clubs at the rate of 25¢ per active youth per quarter, and the districts be increased from 10¢ to 15¢ for every certificate held by those 15 years of age and older, with a minimum of $300 to those districts not qualified for that amount. The O&A Committee continued its report.
They recommended that the Society approve the purchase of land for the construction of a new Home Office, and then they gave the negative points of the present Supreme Lodge building located at 2nd and Central in Temple. They proposed that a 3-member committee be appointed before the adjournment of the convention to guide and supervise the construction of the new Home Office, which should have the approval of the supreme Lodge officers. They also recommended the approval of a special Archives Room for display of SPJST artifacts. The question then arose of whether to remodel the building, purchase a used building, or build a new building, and exactly how to go about selling or getting rid of the present building. Some wanted to wait four years before a decision was made; some wanted to dispose of the old building before planning a new one; others thought the Supreme Lodge should have four years to study the problem and bring back their recommendations to the next convention; others were against postponing the matter until the next convention; others supported the idea of giving the whole project to the Supreme Lodge and supporting Temple as the site. The latter motion began to pick up support from a number of delegates. The question then came up about the site of the new building and that that should be decided upon and then give the Supreme Lodge authority to secure the site. Offers of land donations were made in various parts of the state. It was suggested that the convention select the site and leave the rest up to the Supreme Lodge. Other delegates suggested that the Supreme Lodge should decide on the site and the building. There were so many motions and counter-motions that the parliamentarian ruled that the delegates must dispose of the first motions first and then take up the subsequent motions. There were then suggestions as to sites, among them being Taylor, Austin, and Temple, the latter being preferred because it seemed to be centrally located. Finally, a vote was taken and it was in favor of Temple. G. Louis Kudrna of Lodge 25 in Ennis moved to turn the entire matter over to the Supreme Lodge to handle as they see fit and that motion carried. The question then arose as to how much money can be spent, whereupon Frances Olexa of Lodge 88 Houston moved that the Supreme Lodge have authority to spend up to one-half million dollars for the new building, and that passed; later the Resolutions Committee recommended that the new Home Office include space for a museum, library, and archives.
The Resolutions Committee then gave its report, thanking the two host lodges, Lodges 84 and 130, and the various committees, honored guests and visitors, Governor Preston Smith for visiting fhe convention, and US Senator Roman Hruska, banquet speaker, and the Supreme Lodge officers and employees for their diligent work on behalf of the Society.
The Salaries & Donations Committee then made its final report, among which was to donate $1,500 a year to the rest home and $2,000 annually for scholarships for those studying the Czech language. They also recommended that the convention allocate the annual net gain from the investment of $300,000 to be turned over to the youth for their activities, with the understanding that the next convention has full control over this amount and whether to continue to use it for youth purposes. It was later passed that funds allocated for camping expenses in each district stay within that district if not used, and to be used for the following year’s camp.
In their resolution favoring the increase of the loan to the present rest home and the construction of an additional rest home in the Needville area, the Resolutions Committee recommended that the charter for the rest homes specify a separate corporate entity from the SPJST, to be governed by a separate board of directors, and that the SPJST will not own or operate either of the rest homes. It was later decided, however, that the Supreme Lodge should have a voice in setting up this separate corporation, in as much as the financing came from the SPJST, and this passed.
In nominations for Supreme Lodge president, the names of Nick Morris, Raymond Urbanovsky. Sid Pokladnik, and Louis Hanus were put forward. Sid Pokladnik declined the nomination, as did Louis Hanus. The results gave Morris 10,960 votes and Urbanovsky 10,128.
Joe B. Hejny and Melvin H. Skrabanek were nominated for vice president; Skrabanek withdrew, whereupon Hejny was elected by acclamation. Raymond Urbanovsky was nominated and elected secretary of the Supreme Lodge by acclamation. Leonard Mikeska was nominated and elected treasurer of the Supreme Lodge by acclamation.
Ben Zabcik was nominated and elected financial secretary of the Supreme Lodge by acclamation. Ernest Hanka and August Kacir were nominated for the position of legal adviser. The result showed Kacir with 11,316 votes and Hanka with 9,893. The newly elected officers were presented to the convention and spoke briefly.
Before the close of the convention, the nominations of the following directors was announced: District I Director John A. Kubena, District II Director Henry Vitek, District III Director Sid Pokladnik, District IV Director R. E. Broz, District V Director Ernest Hanka, District VI Director E. P. Sralla, and District VII Director Jos. Koliha. Jr. The delegates ratified these nominations. In the final hours of the convention, a motion was made and passed that the chairman and cochairman appoint the 5-member Publication Committee. These were Frances Olexa, Frank E. Hejl, Jr., William Miculka, Ed Mazanec, and Stanley Vrla.
Among the recommendations of the Salaries & Donations Committee was the one that designated $200 to Rogers High School as being the only public high school in the State of Texas and in the entire United States that was teaching the Czech language as an accredited course. The funds were to be used for equipment and teaching aids materials.
The Salary & Donations Committee also recommended that retiring Supreme Lodge President Edward L. Marek, after 36 years of service, be subsidized to bring his retirement benefits up to $250 per month. This was passed. Brother Marek thanked the delegates and stated that he would always be available to help whenever possible. He then installed the officers and committees. After the singing of “God Bless America” and “Hej, Slovane!”, the convention adjourned at 5:15 p.m. on June 14, 1968.
Supreme Lodge 1964-68
Edward L. Marek (President)
Raleigh Hotel in Waco
Joe B. Hejny (Vice President)
XIXth Convention of the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas held 15th through 19th June 1964 in the Raleigh Hotel in Waco.
Supreme Lodge President Edward L. Marek convened the convention at 9 a.m. Otto Hanus, president of host Lodge 66, welcomed the delegates and visitors in the Czech language. Emma Ceska, co-chairman of the Convention Planning Committee, welcomed the delegates and visitors in English. Waco Mayor Roger Conger gave a short address of welcome and the response to his address was given by Frank Bruns. President Marek assumed the gavel and proceeded to call for the election of a chairman and vice chairman. E. J. Hanka, George Kacir, and Paul Sablatura were nominated as convention chairmen. Paul Sablatura and George Kacir were forced into a run-off, with Paul Sablatura receiving a majority of the votes and being elected convention chairman.
E. J. Hanka, George Kacir, and Sid Pokladnik were nominated as vice chairmen. Bro. Kacir withdrew in favor of Sid Pokladnik, who then received a majority of the votes as vice chairman.
The matter came up again about whether the convention was to be conducted in the Czech or English language and a motion was subsequently made that the by-laws and the minutes be in the English language, but that any delegate could express himself in either the Czech or English language. Later, however, it was agreed to publish the by-laws in both Czech and English.
Ernest Hanka, Sid Kacir, and Frank Steiner were appointed as convention secretaries. The chairman then appointed delegates to the several committees. The chair then announced that 106 lodges were represented by 196 delegates and that 20 lodges were not represented.
The Supreme Lodge officers all submitted supplemental reports. Dr. Marvin Lesikar, medical examiner, made a brief oral report in addition to his written report and said that he would address the changes proposed when they are brought onto the floor for discussion.
The Publication Committee reported that Nick Morris had been unanimously elected as editor of the Vestnik out of seven applicants to succeed the late L. O. Hosek who deceased in October of 1962 and that Morris had edited his first Vestnik the first week of December of that year. Editor Morris also made a written supplemental report. J. M. Skrabanek made a report on behalf of the Rest Home Board of Directors, in which he cited some financial figures from the operations of the rest home, and that the board is not recommending adding another wing to the rest home at that time because of the proliferation of rest homes all over the state by the state and federal governments.
The Supreme Lodge directors rendered a brief report which was favorable from all aspects. The chairman then read several requests that the next (XXth) convention be held in Dallas. (Toward the end of the convention, the delegates voted to hold the next convention in the Baker Hotel in Dallas.) The convention then proceeded to discuss and vote on by-law changes. A proposal to give the authority to appoint the chief medical examiner to the Supreme Lodge was defeated, leaving that prerogative with the convention.
The convention chairman then introduced Jerry Valchar, president of RVOS, grandson of Terezie Valchar, the oldest living charter member of the SPJST at the age of 102. Brother Valchar brought greetings from his grandmother.
Once again, there was considerable discussion as to whether members of the Supreme Lodge should be permitted to serve as delegates and wording was approved to the effect that they could be, provided they were elected in the local lodges as other delegates are.
The convention chairman thanked Lodges Cottonwood No.6, Elk No. 35, Jaromir No. 54, and West Lodge No. 36 for the reception given to the delegates, wives, and visitors the previous evening.
The Committee on Salaries & Donations made their report, in which they recommended a per diem of $25 to the delegates; $65 per diem to the chairman; $45 to the vice chairman; $45 to each of the convention secretaries; $35 to the members of the Committee on By-laws; and to members of all other committees while active, $30 per diem; the same mileage remuneration as from the previous convention; Supreme Lodge president, $10,500 annually; vice president, $9,500; secretary, treasurer and financial secretary, $9,000 annually each; legal adviser, no change from previous convention, except an increase of $35 per diem when out of his office attending to affairs of the Order and 10 cents a mile; directors, $600 a year, plus $50 and mileage the first day of a Supreme Lodge meeting and $35 a day for other days of the meeting. $35 per diem plus mileage for other services for the Society; editor, $9,000 a year. Most of the committee’s recommendations were approved and adopted, however, that portion pertaining to Supreme Lodge officers’ and directors’ salaries received considerable pro and con discussion on the floor. The matter was finally submitted for a vote by secret ballot and 12,424 voted for accepting the committee’s recommendations and 6,789 voted against. Donations to needy members and toward a Czech language instructor were approved, as had been the custom in past conventions.
An announcement was made that the convention banquet and the selection of the “Miss SPJST” would take place in the Karem Shrine Temple in downtown Waco.
The Insurance Committee made a partial report and Supreme Lodge Vice President Joe B. Hejny requested permission to meet with that committee before any further recommendations were made. His request was granted.
At the request of the chairman, the delegates approved the procedure of a by-law change passing if there is no opposition voiced.
The By-law Committee had recommended the refund of 3% of all premiums submitted during the year to the lodges, but later changed their recommendation to 4%. A motion off the floor moved that it be increased to 6% and after considerable discussion that motion prevailed.
The Insurance Committee came back to the floor and stated that there had been some dissatisfaction among local lodge sales representatives about remuneration as compared to the remuneration of the district sales representatives, and the committee was proposing a compromise by giving local sales representatives three more years of renewals of 5% of the first year’s premium. As for district sales representatives, they recommended a 10% override commission on all insurance sold within the district, 15% if they made 75% of their quota, and 18% if the full quota is reached or surpassed. Their report was approved except those provisions pertaining to the district sales representatives, which was taken up lat,er. The Insurance Committee recommended that the Supreme Lodge inaugurate a modified family plan, that the Classes Wand 20-year pay have a $5,000 minimum and $10,000 maximum. The Class W only would have a minimum of $20,000. They also proposed a new Educational Plan for $3,000 and $5,000. The delegates addressed themselves to the Insurance Committee’s report, section by section, with various individuals giving their views. Their recommendations were approved, except for some deletions.
The Miss SPJST from the previous convention, Sandra Watson, was introduced.
Vice President Hejny then introduced the seven district youth directors (titles at that time).
Vice President Hejny proceeded to give a detailed report about the district organizers’ system and that the local sales representatives had requested that the district organizers be dispensed with. He then gave a report on the amount of insurance written and the override commissions paid to the district organizers, district by district. He then gave an overview of the premium income, commissions, expenses, and insurance written in 1963. J. M. Skrabanek was in favor of dispensing with the district organizer system and supported his position with facts and figures. Most of the district organizers then spoke in favor of retaining the system and gave their reasons why. There was much pro and con discussion until finally, a vote was taken on Art. 36, dealing with the district organizers. A motion to retain the article as written was seconded and passed.
The chairman asked Editor Morris to speak on the matter of the Vestnik. He informed the delegates that he was opposed to two front pages for the Vestnik and that it should be simplified with only one front page. The Publication Committee was in favor of two front pages and their recommendation prevailed.
The Committee on Salaries and Donations then made their recommendations on donations to the elderly and disabled.
A considerable discussion came about as to the committee’s recommendation on funds to support Czech instruction and scholarships in those institutions teaching the Czech language, and it was finally decided to leave it up to the Supreme Lodge about how to disburse $1,000 annually to those institutions teaching the Czech language.
The convention then dealt with a request from Lodge 66 Waco for reimbursement for the rent of the Karem Shrine Temple where the banquet and Miss SPJST Coronation had taken place and this request was later granted by the delegates. Betty Jo Machann from Lodge No. 88 Houston won the crown and title of Miss SPJST, the second such award.
Bids were then read for publication of the Vestnik and the only bid received, that from the Czechoslovak Publishing Company of West, was accepted by the delegates.
The convention chairman then asked the delegates to give a standing ovation to the ladies of Lodge 66 for decorating the Karem Shrine Ballroom for the banquet and coronation the evening before.
A motion was made to increase the rest home donation to $1,500 a year, and it carried.
The Resolution Committee then submitted a long list of resolutions, in which they thanked the many people who had contributed, in one way or another, towards the success of the program the evening before, the beginning of the convention, the various speakers and guests. The committee closed with the recommendation that the SPJST go on record that it favors and will cooperate with other Czech organizations in Texas in any program designed to establish and maintain a Texas-Czech museum. All the recommendations of the Resolution Committee were adopted.
The Youth Committee rendered its report in which it concurred with the convention action that a State Youth Director be appointed by the Supreme Lodge and briefly stated what they thought the position would entail. They also recommended that a certain amount of money be set aside for the reimbursement of youth activities in each district, and that a standing committee be appointed to investigate the possibilities of an SPJST Youth Camp and to make their report in the next convention. The Youth Committee’s report was accepted and a motion was subsequently made that the sum of $250,000 be set aside and that the net gain from that investment be used for youth activities and camping for the youth and further, that the next convention would have full control over the disposition of this amount and whether to continue it or not.
Supreme Lodge Treasurer Jos. Koliha, Jr., was in favor of buying land for the new Home Office building and constructing a new office building and disposing of the present building in downtown Temple. The other Supreme Lodge officers had also made similar recommendations in their reports to the convention. A motion was subsequently made that this matter be turned over to a 3-man committee and that that committee make its recommendations to the next convention.
The floor was then opened for nominations to the Supreme Lodge officer positions. Edward L. Marek, Rudy Sefcik, and Nick Morris were nominated for president. Morris stated that he had not been a member of the SPJST for the required minimum of five years and that in order for his name to be left on the ballot the convention would have to set aside that by-law requirement by a two-thirds majority. Instead, he asked that his name be withdrawn. Edward L. Marek received 13,413 votes and Rudy Sefcik received 5,532 votes. Edward L. Marek thanked the delegates for their vote of confidence and stated that he would not be a candidate for this office at the next convention.
Melvin H. Skrabanek and Joe B. Hejny were nominated for the position of vice president. Hejny received 10,672 votes and Skrabanek 8,142. Raymond A. Urbanovsky was nominated and elected secretary of the Supreme Lodge by acclamation. Jos. Koliha. Jr. and Alvin Nesuda were nominated for the position of Supreme Lodge Treasurer. Koliha received 15,636 votes and Nesuda, 2,800.
Ben Zabcik was nominated and elected financial secretary of the Supreme Lodge by acclamation.
August Kacir was nominated and elected Supreme Lodge Attorney by acclamation.
Dr. Marvin Lesikar was nominated and elected Medical Director by acclamation.
Nick Morris was nominated and elected editor of the Vestnik by acclamation.
The chairman then announced the appointment of a Management and Operations Analysis Committee to serve through the 1968 Convention: Melvin Skrabanek, G. Louis Kudrna, and F. J. Olexa. These nominations were approved by the delegates.
District election results were as follows:
Dist. Director Alternate
I John A. Kubena Alternate V.H.Barina
II Henry Vitek Alternate Reuben B. Lesikar
III Sid Pokladnik Alternate John Krizan
IV R.E.Broz Alternate Emil Holub
V Ernest J. Hanka Alternate L. Hilsher
VI E. P. Sralla Alternate Chas. Holy
VII Chas. Holasek Alternate John Hranicky
The delegates gave a standing ovation to J. M. Skrabanek and Robert Cervenka, the latter for his service to the SPJST for over 40 years.
Hugo Schefcak, Rudolph Troubil, and Frances Olexa were elected to the Publication Committee.
F. J. Olexa installed all the Supreme Lodge officers, directors, and committee members in an appropriate ceremonial manner.
The delegates then sang “Hej, SlovantW’ and “America” and the convention adjourned at 5:05 p.m. on June 19th.
Supreme Lodge 1960-64
Seated L to R: Legal Adviser August Kacir, Financial Secretary Ben Zabcik, Secretary R.A. Urbanovsky, President Edward L. Marek, Vice President Joe B. Hejny, Treasurer Jos. Koliha. Standing: Directors J.M. Skrabanek (V), Robert Cervenka (III), Henry Vitek (II), R.E. Broz (IV), John A. Kubena (I), Charles Holasek(VII), and Ed P. Sralla (VI).
The Gunter Hotel in Downtown San Antonio.
XVIIIth Convention of the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas held from 13 to 17 June 1960 in the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio.
The convention was opened by William J. Mares, president of Lodge No. 133, San Antonio. A welcome was given by San Antonio Mayor J. Edward Kuykendall. Jaroslav Kleprlik responded to the mayor in both Czech and English, whereupon William Mares introduced Supreme Lodge President Edward L. Marek, who formally convened the convention.
A. B. Dusek, chairman of the Credentials Committee, reported that 124 lodges were represented by delegates and 26 lodges were not represented. There were 177 delegates present. George Kacir, Paul Sablatura, and Frank Olexa were nominated as convention chairmen. In a run-off election Kacir received a majority and was therefore declared elected convention chairman. Sid Pokladnik was the only nominee for vice chairman and he was elected by acclamation. Frank B. Steiner, Lydia Kubena, Frank J. Olexa, and Chas. D. Sazavsky were appointed as convention secretaries.
The Supreme Lodge officers made their supplemental reports, followed by a report from the Publication Committee. Vestnik Editor L. O. Hosek made his report.
The chairman and vice chairman appointed the regular committees.
The convention chairman brought up the question about which language was to be used in the convention, and a motion was made and passed that the Czech language be used.
Oral reports of the Supreme Lodge officers were recorded on tape. The Chief Medical Examiner delivered his report in English.
Supreme Lodge Treasurer Joseph Koliha, Jr., spoke in favor of instituting a retirement plan for Supreme Lodge officers and employees and recommended the appointment of a committee for that purpose. His motion was adopted. Robert Cervenka announced that the Supreme Lodge directors had no additional reports and that what they had had previously appeared in the Vestnik.
The Committee on Salaries & Donations rendered a partial report as follows: Delegates $20 per diem – chairman $50 per diem – vice chairman $35 per diem – secretaries $35 per diem Committee on By-laws $30 per diem – members of other committees while active $25 per diem; mileage at 9¢ per mile; from 25 miles to San Antonio, nothing; from 25 to 50 miles, one-quarter of a day; from 50 to 150 miles, one-half day; from 150 to 250 miles, three-quarters of a day; from 250 to 350 miles, one day; over 350 miles from San Antonio, one and one-half days. Report was adopted.
There was some further discussion about whether the deliberations should be in the English or Czech language and that when translation of some of the English does not correspond with the Czech, ironing out all conflicts in wording was assigned to the By-law Committee. Supreme Lodge Secretary Chupick explained the value of having the proceedings in English for the benefit of the state examiner.
Frank Steiner moved that the accepted wording be “Statu Texas” instead of “Texasu”, This was seconded and adopted.
The convention chairman appointed Ernest Hanka as parliamentarian to see that Roberts Rules and proper parliamentary procedure are observed.
The convention chairman announced later that the selection of a “Miss SPJST” will take place at the banquet on Wednesday evening.
The bid for printing of the Vestnik was read from the Cechoslovak Publishing Company of West and that bid was accepted unanimously.
Rudolph Troubil and Chas. Navratil both gave financial reports on the rest home in Taylor.
There was then considerable discussion about Art. 30(d) which, as recommended, stipulated that a district director could not hold any other paid position in the Society, such as an organizer, After several pro and con statements on the article, it was finally adopted as submitted by the By-law Committee.
The convention re-affirmed the limit placed on individuals or corporations on loans not to exceed $50,000, but excepting the S.P.J.S.T. Rest Home, which would qualify for a loan of up to $100,000.
It was later announced that Actuary Werkenthein is working with the Committee on Resolutions on the Retirement Plan for Supreme Lodge officers and employees and wishes to address the convention as soon as possible because of his forced departure.
The Resolution Committee rendered its report concerning the Retirement Plan for Supreme Lodge officers and employees and it was to be made effective Jan. 1, 1960. The convention chairman asked Actuary Werkenthein to explain the retirement plan and he answered the questions to the best of his ability. A motion then was made to make the effective date of the Supreme Lodge Retirement Plan January 1, 1961.
The Organizational (Insurance) Committee recommended and the convention adopted the proposal that the Supreme Lodge reinsure those amounts of insurance in excess of the limits provided under the by-laws and that non-medical applications be increased to $5,000.
A lengthy report was given by the Publicity Committee.
On Friday morning the delegates were introduced to Sandra K. Watson of Lodge 166 Beaumont, who had been chosen the first “Miss SPJST” the previous evening. She spoke and thanked the delegates for the honor. The runner-up, Jerry Ann Urban of Lodge 84 Dallas, was also introduced.
There were then comments pertaining to the salary recommendations of the Supreme Lodge officers and attorney.
The Committee on Salaries & Donations then submitted its final recommendations as follows: President, $10,200 a year; vice president, $9,000 annually; secretary, $8,500; treasurer, $8,500; financial secretary, $8,500; legal adviser, $3,600 plus 1 % of loans up to $25,000, P/2 % on loans over $25,000; for loans less than $25,000 he could charge an additional fee of $15 for handling such a loan; $25 a day when out of his office attending the affairs of the Order, and 9¢ a mile; medical director, $3 for each examination; directors, $250 a year, plus $35 per diem and mileage for the first day of the meeting at the Supreme Lodge and $25 for other days; for services for the Society, $25 a day and mileage; editor, $7,500 a year and traveling expenses. It was also voted to pay Senator Ralph Yarbrough traveling expenses in connection with his trip to the convention as the main speaker. A donation of $500 annually to the rest home was approved.
In the election of Supreme Lodge officers, Edward L. Marek was nominated and elected president by acclamation. Joe B. Hejny was nominated and elected vice president by acclamation. J. F. Chupick and Raymond Urbanovsky were nominated as Supreme Lodge secretary. The result: Chupick 9,214; Urbanovsky 9,706. Urbanovsky was elected and thanked the delegation. Jos. Koliha was nominated and elected treasurer by acclamation. J. F. Chupick and Ben Zabcik were nominated for the position of financial secretary. Results: Chupick 9,280; Zabcik 9,495. Ben Zabcik was elected and thanked the delegates.
August Kacir and Ernest K. Hanka were nominated for the position of legal adviser, but Ernest Hanka declined and moved to elect August Kacir by acclamation.
L. O. Hosek and Jaroslav Kleprlik were nominated as editors of the Vestnik. Results: Hosek 9,527; Kleprlik 9,251. Hosek was elected and thanked the delegates for electing him.
Dr. Marvin Lesikar and Dr. Joseph Kopecky were nominated as Chief Medical Examiners. Results: Dr. Lesikar, 11,725; Dr. Kopecky 6,892.
The districts then held their elections, with the results as follows:
I John Kubena Alternate Vaclav Barina
II Henry Vitek Alternate Ben Mikolaj
III Robert Cervenka Alternate Ed Mazanec
IV R. E. Broz Alternate Emil Holub
V J. M. Skrabanek Alternate A. L. Hilsher
VI E. P. Sralla Alternate Chas. Holy
VII Chas. Holasek Alternate John Hranicky
The following were elected to the Publication Committee: Paul Sablatura, Frances Olexa, and Rudolph Troubil.
Delegates of District II presented a resolution expressing their gratitude to the long and faithful and unselfish service of J. F. Chupick who had served the SPJST for 20 years, and to Bro. Chas. Navratil who had served for 18 years.
Delegates spoke in favor of Waco and Dallas as being the site of the next convention, with the results of the election being in favor of Waco.
Bro. John Gajevsky installed and administered the oath of office to the new officers.
The convention adjourned at 9:32 p.m. with the singing of the Czech National Anthem “Kde domov muj?”.
Supreme Lodge 1956-60
Supreme Lodge, SPJST, 1957 through 1960. Seated, L to R: Treasurer Jos. Koliha, Director R.E. Broz (IV), President Edward L. Marek, Vice President Joe B. Hejny, Legal Adviser August Kacir, Secretary John F. Chupick. Standing: Financial Secretary R.A. Urbanovsky, Directors Robert Cervenka (III), Charles Navratil (II), Charles Holasek (VII), Frank V. Stepan (I), Ed P. Sralla (VI), and J.M. Skrabanek (V).
Hawn Hotel in downtown Temple, across the street from the then SPJST Home Office. (Courtesy Temple Public Library).
XVIIth Convention of the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas held 25th through 30th of June 1956 in the Hawn Hotel building in Temple.
The convention delegates were welcomed by Stanley Kacir, president of Lodge 87 in Temple. Reuben Lesikar gave the response to the mayor’s representative, Mr. Laramey, whereupon Stanley Kacir turned the proceedings over to Supreme Lodge President Edward L. Marek for the formal convening of the convention. The first report was given by the Credentials Committee, which reported that 14 lodges were not represented and that 10 lodges had not elected delegates to the convention, resulting in a total of 24 lodges not being represented in this convention.
The delegates agreed to elect the chairman and co-chairman of the convention on one ballot. George Kacir and Paul Sablatura were nominated as convention chairmen. Cyrill (Sid) Pokladnik and J. H. Siptak were nominated as co-chairmen. George Kacir and Sid Pokladnik were elected as chairman and co-chairman of the convention and were given the authority to appoint convention secretaries. Frank Steiner and Jaroslav Kleprlik were named as convention secretaries. Paul SablatUlra and (fnu) Kubena were also appointed, but declined, whereupon L. O. Hosek and J. H. Siptak were appointed.
A 7-member Tabulating Committee was appointed, followed by a 3-member Resolution Committee. Joe Holasek. Frances Olexa. Antonie Horak, Rudolf Troubil, J. J. Mikeska, and Josef Hornak were appointed to the Publication Committee.
The district directors reported that all the delegates from their districts were present or accounted for.
Supreme Lodge President Edward L. Marek proceeded to give his report. He stated that the assets of the Supreme Lodge had increased to almost eight and one-half million dollars. solvency stands at 120.12, that certificates in force increased by 3,769, and insurance in force by $4,844,176. Fifty percent of the new members written up were in the age bracket from 1 to 16 and that is the age bracket in which the greatest progress was made. He then gave the losses due to terminations.
Vice President John A. Kubena read his report. He spoke against adding another active officer to the Home Office. including making his own position. the vice president, an active one. He was particularly critical of articles in the Vestnik criticizing and berating the Supreme Lodge officers and directors. He went on to say that he was in favor of the districts as long as their business was conducted in the spirit of brotherly love. The delegates later decided to make the position of vice president an active one in charge of all organizational (insurance) work, two major decisions that were to affect the future growth rate of the Society.
Secretary J. F. Chupick gave his report and referred to his report previously distributed. He then answered questions from the floor pertaining to the purchase of some stock, which resulted in a lively debate.
Additional committees were named. namely, the Grievance Committee and Salaries & Donations Committee.
Treasurer Joe Koliha, Jr. gave his report in which he noted that the SPJST has 1,444 mortgage loans on the books, representing a total of $6,096,642.44.
Financial Secretary Raymond Urbanovsky gave his report, in which he gave a broad review of the administrative work of the Supreme Lodge. He recommended that the composition of the Supreme Lodge remain as it is, stating that he could not understand that certain changes were being recommended without anyone having checked into whether they are necessary or not. He also pointed to the critical articles of the Vestnik editor, stating that we could not expect our sales representatives to have much success in writing up new members when representatives of competitive companies point to articles in our Vestnik and what the editor is writing. As long as Art. 66 of the by-laws is not changed, the situation cannot be expected to improve. He added that a CPA, Mr. Reginald Evans, had recently reported that the work of the Home Office is commendable, especially in view of the fact that there are not that many office personnel involved and that the work could never be achieved without the conscientious and loyal officers and personnel that we have. Urbanovsky then proceeded to give a lodge-by-Iodge report and whether there were increases or decreases in membership.
Attorney Adolf Pavlicek then gave his report in which he stated that a total of 747 mortgage loans were closed in the amount of $4,667,138 for the period he has been in office. He then repeated what he had previously suggested and that was the setting up of an “Executive or Finance Committee” whose responsibility it would be to accept or reject mortgage applications. (Note: Presently the Investment Committee.) He also recommended that the youth of our Society be more acquainted with our organization and awaken in them an awareness of the SPJST and the insurance program. He also proposed that the general public be more advised of who and what we are.
Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Marvin Lesikar rendered his report. He stated that his chief problem has been incomplete or improperly filled out applications. He then gave the number of applications that he had examined for the years 1953, 1954, 1955, and one-half of 1956.
The Insurance Committee was appointed by the chairman and co-chairman.
Robert Cervenka gave a report on behalf of the directors. The directors recommended that there be no changes in the organizational setup of the districts and that there be no change in the publication, size, or frequency of publication of the Vestnik. They did recommend that the editor and the publication of the Vestnik be under the supervision of the Supreme Lodge, just as other affairs of the Society are.
The committee on salaries and donations gave its report and recommended salaries as follows: Convention chairman, $50 a day; co-chairman, $30 a day; convention secretaries, $30 a day; members of committees, $20 a day; convention delegates, $15 a day and 7¢ a mile; up to 25 miles travel, no reimbursement; up to 50 miles, onefourth day; from 50 to 150 miles, one-half day; from 150 to 250 miles, three-fourths of a day; from 250 to 350 miles, one day; over 350 miles, one and one-half days. The committee’s recommendations were approved.
The convention chairman asked the Building Committee if they were prepared to give their report about the purchase of a new Home Office building. The chairman of that committee, Frank J. Olexa, reported that the committee did not meet and that their report was published in the Vestnik and it was, therefore, not necessary to report anything since their work is completed. The chairman dismissed the committee. The ones on this committee were J. H. Siptak, Frank Matush, Hugo Sefcak, Otto Stehlik, Frank J. Olexa, Paul Sablatura, and H. W. Marcak.
The delegates then proceeded to deal with bylaw changes, which was interrupted briefly by the report of the Publication Committee. This committee recommended that the editor and publisher continue to be under the control of the Publication Committee and then outlined the conditions under which the editor could be relieved of his duties.
The convention chairman then placed before the delegates the matter of a home for the aged and requested that the matter be decided one way or the other. A long debate followed about this matter and finally a committee was appointed to deal with the whole matter of the establishment of a rest home or home for the aged. A motion was then made to let a representative from each district comprise this committee. These representatives were Henry J. Schovajsa (I), Chas. Navratil (II), Frank Laznovsky (III), Otto Stehlik (IV), Steve Valcik (V), Paul Sablatura (VI), and H. W. Marcak (VII).
The convention chairman then asked the delegates to resolve the question whether the Publication Committee is to remain a standing committee. After a good many delegates spoke, a motion was made that the Publication Committee be abolished. The vote of the delegates resulted in keeping the Publication Committee a standing committee by a large majority.
Before the delegates resumed consideration of the by-laws, the two oldest charter members of the SPJST were introduced: Josef Motl, Lodge 47 Seaton, 102 years old; Frantiska Bilek, Lodge 54 West (age not given).
Consideration of the by-laws was interrupted to hear the bid by the Cechoslovak Publishing Company for publication of the Vestnik, which was accepted.
The convention delegates returned to a report from the Rest Home Committee and after that committee read its report, an intense debate and discussion took place, whereupon a motion was made and accepted and passed that further debate of this matter would be postponed to such time when the report would be distributed to all delegates.
Frank Steiner read his recommendation about the duties of the vice president in Art. 41, which was accepted without change.
Later on in the deliberations, there was considerable discussion about a proposal from J. R. Bartek of Lodge 92 Ft. Worth for the Supreme Lodge to refund 2% of the mortuary premiums paid in during the year to the local lodges. After considerable discussion, this proposal passed.
The Organizational (Insurance) Committee gave its report, which resulted in considerable discussion about the question of district organizers. They had recommended that there be a district organizer for each district, elected by the district and approved by the Supreme Lodge. These district organizers would receive 12% overriding commission of all insurance written in their districts.
The Rest Home Committee then rendered its report and the matter came onto the convention floor for the delegates to decide whether or not they wished to have a home for aged members. The resulting vote showed that there were over 10,000 votes in favor of a rest home and over 8,000 opposed. The committee had recommended the designation “SPJST Rest Home”, which was accepted after further discussion. The committee’s recommendation included the establishment of a board of directors, one from each district.
J. F. Chupick proposed raising the insurance limit to $100,000. but a majority of the delegates were opposed.
A lengthy debate then took place about Art. 63 which pertained to the Vestnik, the editor, and the 3-member Publication Committee. A second ballot revealed that over 18,000 votes were cast in favor of the article as proposed and over 7,000 against. A motion that the editor and the Publication Committee be under the supervision and jurisdiction of the Supreme Lodge did not receive the required two-thirds majority. In the article dealing with social members, the phrase was added, “only such member who is not insurable.”
Chairman Kacir recommended a maximum amount of a mortgage loan to anyone individual would be set at $50,000, which was approved.
Shortly before noon the delegates completed their discussion and actions on all the articles and the by-laws, through Article 164, inclusive.
The delegates then turned their attention to the method of electing district directors, and a motion was subsequently made that the district directors be “nominated” in district caucuses instead of elected. This is where the present system of selecting district directors originated. Steve Valcik made the suggestion to use the word “nominated”.
Frank Olexa proposed that the Supreme Lodge pay 5¢ per member in each district to finance the operations of the districts. This was accepted.
The committee on the Home for the Aged gave its report and after it was completed, Hugo Sefcak moved that the convention allocate $100.000 for a home for the aged. It was also agreed to use the Moucka Fund as a “sponsorship fund” for maintenance of the rest home. The Home for the Aged Committee proposed, among other things, the following for the operation of the rest home: That in order for the home to be legally incorporated, it would be advisable to set up a non-profit corporation whose purpose it would be to purchase, construct, own, and furnish a home for the aged, according to a plan approved by the convention; the ownership of such an institution would be independent and separate from the SPJST, with no claims or privileges granted individual members or the Society; that the administration of such an institution be in the hands of seven directors; that no member of the SPJST would have any exclusive right, on the basis of his membership, for admission into the Home; that each application or request to live in the Home would be considered, but in no case would membership in the SPJST be regarded as a legal requisite for admission; that the institution be called “S.P.J.S.T. Rest Home”; that the implementation of the construction and maintenance of such a Home be in the hands of seven directors, one from each SPJST district; that the Home be located in the central part of the state and no further north than the city of Waco; that the Home would begin with quarters for 40 occupants, 14 married persons or couples, 14 private quarters, a kitchen, dining room, office, solarium, laundry, space for employees, etc.; persons 65 years or older would be eligible to take up residence in the Home, but each request for residence would be considered on an individual basis according to need, and. those applicants confined to beds or who should be in hospitals will not be accepted; that the construction of such a Home is estimated to be $100,000 and the furnishing of all rooms to amount to $15,000, and monthly maintenance, $65; that the initial funds for the construction of the Home be financed entirely or for the most part by the SPJST at a figure agreed upon by the delegates, and that the remainder come from monetary donations from individual lodges, organizations and individuals; that the furnishing of the individual rooms in the Home be by local lodges, organizations and individuals; that the necessary steps for incorporation of a separate and independent organization be at the expense of the SPJST with the help of the SPJST legal adviser.
A list of donors was then read by the chairman of the Home for the Aged Committee as follows: $100 donations – Josef Koliha, Jr., J. J. Krusinsky, Cyrill Pokladnik, J. J. Mikeska, F. J. Olexa, Carrie Bohacik, Edward L. Marek, E. J. Kadlecek, Sr., Mr. & Mrs. John J. Bravenec, J. M. Skrabanek, A. L. Hilsher; $50 donations V. H. Barina and Charlie Navratil; $40 donation – Felix Volcik; $25 donations – Ostoja Muniza and Otto Hanus; $10 donations – Jan Srubar, Sophie Hradecky, John & Albina Stasa, Rudolf Troubil, Antonie Horak, Marie Vala, Mrs. A. V. Franek.
The committee on Salaries and Donations gave its recommendations for salaries as follows: President $600 a month, active vice president $500 a month, secretary $500, treasurer $500, financial secretary $500, legal adviser $200 plus 1 % of mortgage loans up to $25,000, liz % of mortgage loans over $25,000; for mortgage loans under $2,500 he could charge an additional $15 for the preparation of legal papers, $25 a day when out of the office on official business for the Society, plus 9¢ a mile travel expense other than for meetings of the Supreme Lodge. Medical Director – $1.50 for every application reviewed; directors $150 a year, plus $35 and mileage for meetings of the Supreme Lodge, plus $20 a day and mileage for transacting official business for the Society; editor $500 a month, plus travel expenses.
A motion was later made to increase the salary of the secretary to $600 a month, and then a motion was made to increase the salaries of all the officers to $600 a month. A vote was taken on the motion to raise the secretary’s salary to $600 a month, which passed. A motion to raise the president’s salary to $750 passed. The motion to increase the salary of the vice president to $600 passed. Subsequently, motions to raise the salaries of the treasurer and financial secretary to $600 a month passed. Motions were made to increase the medical adviser’s fee to $2 passed, and a motion to raise the editor’s salary to $600 also passed.
Ignac Senkyrik called attention to the fact that the convention delegates had not extended congratulations and acknowledgements of the services of Mrs. Birdie Hilsher as the directress of the Youth Department. This was done, and Mrs. Hilsher gave her annual report. It was then pointed out that this activity would now be under the supervision of the active vice president.
Then the matter of paid sick leave for the officers was discussed, the result being that all officers would get a 14-day paid sick leave per year. The same applied to the editor.
Delegate Chas. Holasek brought up the question of a museum which was discussed, but no action taken, however, it was agreed that the editor of the Vestnik ought to be the curator of the museum.
The delegates then got around to discussing the site of the next convention. It was pointed out that the delegate strength was growing and that conducting conventions in small towns and small hotels is no longer practical, to say nothing of the uncomfortable temperatures that the delegates must endure. Jaroslav Kleprlik rose and gave an impassioned invitation to hold the next convention in San Antonio. His suggestion was received and accepted with loud applause.
The chairman announced that the floor was open for nominations of Supreme Lodge officers. Edward L. Marek and Rudy Sefcik were nominated for president. The secret vote showed that Edward L. Marek received 15,604 votes, Rudy Sefcik 3,252.
Steve Valcik, Otto Hanus, Joe B. Hejny, and John A. Kubena were nominated for vice president. The tally of the secret votes resulted in a run-off between John Kubena and Joe B. Hejny. Results: Hejny 12,097, Kubena 6,511.
John Chupick was elected secretary by acclamation. Jaroslav Kleprlik, Josef Koliha, Jr., and B. F. Sebesta were nominated for the position of treasurer. The election tally showed that Josef Koliha polled a majority of 12,422 votes and was therefore elected.
Raymond Urbanovsky was nominated and elected as financial secretary by acclamation. August Kacir, Henry Schovajsa, Ernest J. Hanka, and Adolf Pavlicek were nominated for the position of legal adviser. The results of the election showed that August Kacir received a majority of 12,733 votes and was declared elected legal adviser.
L. O. Hosek, Stephan Valcik, and Jaroslav Kleprlik were nominated as editor of the Vestnik. Kleprlik declined the nomination. Hosek received 12,186 votes and Valcik 6,463, so that L. O. Hosek was declared elected editor.
A number of people were nominated to the Publication Committee, but after a motion was made and passed that the three with the highest votes comprise the Publication Committee, the three with the next highest votes be declared alternates, the chair declared Eduard Micek, Hilda Brtis, and Frances Olexa as committee members, and Rudolf Troubil, Vladimir Straznicky and Otto Hanus as alternates. The delegates then proceeded to elect the district directors, their alternates, and the Bylaw Committee members and their alternates, with the results as follows:
I Frank V. Stepan Alt. Director Ed G. Vavra
II Chas. Navratil Alt. Director Henry Vitek
III Robert Cervenka Alt. Director Johnny Hrabina
IV R. E. Broz Alt. Director Frank Coufal
V J.M.Skrabanek Alt. Director A. L. Hilsher
VI Frank Rod Alt. Director E.P. Sralla
VII Chas. Holasek Alt. Director John Hranicky
District By-law Committee
I Ed. E. Krenek Alternate B. H. Barina
II F. E. Hejl, Jr. Alternate Frank V. Spanhel
III Arnold Vrla Alternate Geo. Strunc
IV Otto Stehlik Alternate Josef Holubec
V Stephen Valcik Alternate A. V. Franek
VI Frank Hlozek, Sr. Alternate Emil Kutac
VII Roy Hranicky Alternate Frank Elsik
John Gajevsky installed the officers and members of the committees, after which the convention was adjourned at 2:48 p.m. with the singing of “Hej, Slovane”.
Supreme Lodge 1952-56
Â Joe B. Hejny (State Organizer)
Frank Svadlenak (Vice President)
Rice Hotel in Houston. (photo by Larry W. Pflughaupt, Houston)
XVIth Convention of the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas held 23rd through 27th of June 1952 in the Rice Hotel in Houston, Texas.
The convention delegates were welcomed by Frank J. Olexa, chairman of the Convention Planning Committee. The response was given by Frank Svadlenak. Visiting dignitaries from other fraternal organizations were introduced and spoke briefly.
The convention was convened by Supreme Lodge President Edward L. Marek.
C. H. Chernosky and George E. Kacir were nominated as convention chairmen. Rudy J. Sefcik and Ed Vavra were nominated for vice chairmen. The results showed that George E. Kacir was elected convention chairman and Rudy J. Sefcik as convention vice chairman.
The chairman and vice chairman named the following as convention secretaries: Frank J. Olsovsky, Paul Sablatura. Chas. Navratil. D. A. Juren, Otto Hanus, and Marie Svadlenak.
Various committees were appointed by the chairman and vice chairman. Supreme Lodge President Marek tendered his report in which he called attention to the good progress made by the Society in the intervening four years. He noted an increase in assets of $447,028; solvency rose to 116.82; net gain for the year 1951 was 4.62%. He then called attention to two major items facing the convention: 1) The question of new quarters for the Supreme Lodge; he appealed to the delegates to make a decision in this convention one way or the other and announced that he was in favor of the Society owning its own building. 2) The question of a home for the aged. In regard to the latter, Marek called attention to the establishment of the Moucka Fund, which is on deposit in the Supreme Lodge, the disposition of which will be made in this convention. He stated that Bozena (Bessie) Valcik, supported by Antonie Horak and Joseph F. Holasek, have been in the forefront of this movement to establish a fund for the construction of a home for the aged.
In conclusion, Marek exhorted the delegates to accept the recommendations of the various committees in order to save time on the convention floor.
Secretary J. F. Chupick then tendered his report. As part of his report. he called attention to the SPJST’s membership in the Texas Fraternal Congress and the National Fraternal Congress. the latter of which had elected him a director and a member of several important committees. He urged the delegates to work to gain young people as members, but show respect and honor to the older members.
Vice President Frank Svadlenak gave a very brief report which was accepted unanimously.
The treasurer’s report was given by Josef Koliha, Jr., who stated that he would not repeat the figures given in his written report. The same applied to Financial Secretary R. A. Urbanovsky. Legal Adviser August Kacir gave a brief oral supplemental report, which was unanimously accepted. Director Chas. Navratil gave a supplemental report for the directors. He reported that the Society had $300,000 in available funds, but that enough mortgage loan applications had been submitted covering that amount and that as soon as they were approved the funds would be exhausted. He stated that Director F. J. Kubala had been sick for some time and was unable to attend the meetings of the Supreme Lodge. The report of the directors was accepted.
Editor Steve Valcik gave his report.
The Publication Committee rendered its report and made a number of recommendations: One was to improve the quality of the paper used in the official organ, and to hire an assistant editor for the English portion of the Vestnik. They reported that on the 22nd of July 1950 that Publisher Holasek informed the chairman of the Publication Committee that Editor Moucka was seriously ill and was no longer able to handle the work of the editor, whereupon the Publication Committee prevailed upon Steve Valcik to handle both language sections, to which he agreed. It was announced that Frank Moucka had passed away on the 6th of January 1951.
A report from the Credentials Committee showed that there were 207 delegates from 142 lodges.
The delegates’ debate then turned to the matter of the Society owning its own headquarters building. After some discussion, a vote was taken and it showed that the delegates were unanimously in favor of the Society owning its own Home Office. Various sums were proposed as the limit that could be expended for the building, but these were neither debated or acted upon. The question then turned to possible sites. The towns of Fayetteville, Bryan, Temple, Houston, Austin. and Rosenberg were all mentioned as possible sites, and a few minutes were allowed to the proponents of each location. A total of 18,150 votes were cast for the various cities and towns mentioned, whereupon a run-off was held between the cities of Temple and Fayetteville. Voting in favor of Fayetteville were 8,294 votes and in favor of Temple, 9,568. Frank Matush thanked the delegates for relocating the Supreme Lodge in Temple, Texas.
The committee on salaries and donations recommended $25 a day for the convention chairman, $20 for the vice chairman, $20 each for the convention secretaries, and $15 for members of committees during the time of their functioning, and $13 per diem to the delegates. Some amendments were offered to this pay scale which were taken up later.
Delegate Ostoja Muniza of Hungerford Lodge 58 proposed that in the event that the state was divided into districts that two members from each district discuss and decide the matter of a building for the Supreme Lodge. Another motion wanted to make all the members of the Supreme Lodge a part of these deliberations, and then it was decided to put off this matter until a decision is reached later as to how many directors there will be.
The chairman and vice chairman announced a 3-member committee to work up plans for the home for the aged, consisting of Edward L. Marek, Joseph Holasek, and Jan Skrabanek.
A discussion and consideration of the by-laws and their changes then was undertaken. In discussing the by-laws there was a recommendation that no one could be elected a member of the Supreme Lodge who had reached the age of 70, or who would reach that age by the time of the succeeding convention. This proposal was defeated.
In the afternoon session of June 25th, the convention chairman explained the matter pertaining to the districts and the election of the district directors and their substitutes. He explained that the delegates from the various districts would vote for their directors with the same amount of votes that they had in deciding other issues in the convention.
Joe Holasek submitted a report on behalf of the committee for the Home for the Aged and said that the committee did not have any specific plans and is leaving that matter up to the convention. The committee then reported that a necessary amount for the start of the Home would be in the sum of $50,000; six employees at a salary outlay of $9.000 annually, and $720 a year for each resident. In addition. there would be costs for doctors, nurses, cooks, and an administrator. Money on hand at this time: $828.16. Thanks were given to Bessie Valcik and Antonie Horak for their efforts in collecting this sum.
An addition to Art. 74 included the insuring of applicants to age 45 without a doctor’s report.
(In the morning session of 26 June, we see that a motion was made to not photograph the delegates to the convention, which was accepted and passed by the delegates. This explains the absence of convention pictures from the conventions from 1948 through 1972.)
In a supplemental report of the Publication Committee, they recommended that the editor of the Vestnik edit both the Czech and English sections, that he must have a mastery of both the written and spoken forms of both languages, have newspaper or journalistic experience or a college education. He must also be a member of the SPJST. These recommendations were accepted unanimously, with the amendment that in the case of need that either the Czech or English sections could be larger or smaller, according to need.
Dr. John Halamicek’s report was not given due to his illness.
A recommendation was made that district training classes be held for the training of “organizers” (sales representatives) and for employing a state organizer. Frank Olexa from Lodge 88 gave his 13-point plan for sales activities, which included the selection of a state organizer.
The convention delegates turned to the question of the building for the Supreme Lodge Headquarters. A motion was made to allocate $200,000 for the construction of, or the purchase of, a suitable building. Another motion was made to allocate $250,000 and an additional 20% of that sum in the case of necessity. Another recommendation set the sum at $150,000. After considerable discussion the delegates voted in favor of the $250,000 allocation, with an additional 20% of that amount in the case of necessity.
The bid for publishing the Vestnik was presented and accepted from the Cechoslovak Publishing Company.
The motion was made that the maximum insurance that a member could have would be $10,000, and a subsequent motion was made and passed that the amount of any double indemnity coverage wouldn’t be included in the$10,000.
Delegate Joe B. Hejny proposed that the Society inaugurate mortgage insurance for members of the SPJST and this was passed, limiting it however to members up to 50 years of age.
Later the Organizational (Insurance) Committee made its final recommendations which included having the Supreme Lodge in charge of all insurance sales; that a state organizer be hired, that seven district organizers be set up and that the latter work closely with local organizers; that the Supreme Lodge set aside a certain sum to operate the Insurance Sales Department; that the state organizer receive a regular monthly salary set by the Supreme Lodge on the condition that he write a certain amount of insurance every month; that the state organizer will be on a trial period of six months to prove his competence and that he will recommend qualified people as district organizers to the Supreme Lodge; that a district organizer could not be recommended for that position until he writes a prescribed sum of insurance on his own in three months or with the help of the state organizer; that all expenses for insurance sales work be listed and carried separately so that the Society could see what the Sales Department is costing, compared to the mortuary premiums charged; that members be admitted for $3,000 worth of insurance up to age 45; and that the Society assume “war risk” insurance for service men and women and that in the case of their death the beneficiaries receive only the amount of premiums paid on those policies.
After a brief debate, all of the above recommendations were accepted, which marked the beginning of the district organizer system in the SPJST and the hiring of a state organizer.
A discussion was then held about the composition of a committee to see to the construction or purchase of a building for the new Home Office. Before a decision was made on this matter, the following recommended salaries were read: Supreme Lodge President – $500 a month, vice president, $150; secretary, $475; treasurer, $475; financial secretary, $475; legal adviser, $150 a month, plus 1/2 of a percent of the loan amounts based on guaranty title policies and 1 % of those loans based on abstracts; medical examiner, $1.50 for each application; directors, $100 a year plus $25 a day and mileage for Supreme Lodge meetings and $15 a day and mileage for other services performed on behalf of the Society; editor, $475 a month, plus travel expenses.
The delegates then turned to the matter of election of Supreme Lodge officers. A motion to elect the directors first failed.
Edward L. Marek was nominated as president of the Supreme Lodge and he was elected by acclamation.
Frank Svadlenak was elected vice president by acclamation.
J. F. Chupick and Rudy Sefcik were nominated as Supreme Lodge secretaries. J. F. Chupick received 11,627 votes and Rudy Sefcik, 5,966 votes. Josef Koliha, Jr. was elected treasurer by acclamation. R. A. Urbanovsky and Frank B. Steiner were nominated for the position of financial secretary. Urbanovsky received 12,466 votes, Steiner 5,151 votes. In his remarks thanking the delegates’ for their votes, Frank Steiner recommended that the next convention do away with the office of financial secretary. August Kacir, Ernest Hanka, and Adolf Pavlicek were nominated as legal advisers. In a runoff election between August Kacir and Adolf Pavlicek, the results showed that Adolf Pavlicek was elected legal adviser with 9,623 votes, August Kacir, 8,302 votes.
Stephen Valcik was elected editor by acclamation.
Doctors Marvin Lesikar and J. A. Halamicek, Jr., were nominated as medical directors. Dr. Halamicek withdrew and Dr. Lesikar was elected by acclamation.
District directors were elected as follows:
Dist. I John A. Kubena; New Home Office Building Committee J.A. Syptak
Dist. II Chas. Navratil; New Home Office Building Committee Frank Matush
Dist. III Robert Cervenka; New Home Office Building Committee Hugo Schefcak
Dist. IV Frank Cerveny; New Home Office Building Committee Otto Stehlik
Dist. V J. M. Skrabanek; New Home Office Building Committee Frank Olexa
Dist. VI Frank Rod; New Home Office Building Committee – Paul Sablatura
Dist. VII Chas. Holasek; New Home Office Building Committee – H. W. Marcak
After the new officers and directors were presented to the delegates, a motion was made that the next convention be held in Temple.
The chairman and vice chairman named members to the By-law Committee as follows:
Frank Olexa, Frank B. Steiner, A. M. Vrla, Josef Slavik, Emil Kutac, Vaclav Barina, George Kacir, Vladmir Straznicky, Frank Hlozek. Frank B. Steiner declined to serve on the committee and his place was taken by Joe B. Hejny. Former president of the Supreme Lodge C. H.Chernosky installed the new officers. The convention was adjourned with the singing of the hymn”Hej Slovane!”
Supreme Lodge 1948-52
Supreme Lodge In Fayetteville, cca. April 1948. Front, L to R: Legal Adviser August Kacir, Treasurer Jos. Koliha, Jr., Director J.M. Skrabanek, Financial Secretary Raymond Urbanovsky, Secretary J.F. Chupick. Rear: Directors Frank Svadlenak, Steve Valcik, Chas. Navratil, J.C. Eineigl, President Edward L. Marek, Director Frank Rod. (Photo by Crayton Studios, Giddings & La Grange)
Texas Hotel in Fort Worth
(Courtesy Fort Worth Fire Department; photographer D.H. Zurovetz. Obtained through Carl Zich, Fort Worth.)
XVth Convention of the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas held 19th through 24th of July 1948 in Ft. Worth, Texas on the top floor of the Texas Hotel.
J. R. Bartek, president of Lodge 92, welcomed the delegates and guests to the XVth Convention. He and Sis. Aloisie Becan welcomed the convention delegates on behalf of Lodges 92 and 154 in Ft. Worth. The response was given by Supreme Lodge President C. H. Chernosky.
Frank J. Olsovsky read the names of all delegates and their alternates. One hundred fortyfive lodges were represented by 187 delegates. The Credentials Committee reported that 13 lodges were not represented by delegates.
George E. Kacir and Edward L. Marek were nominated as convention chairmen. A motion was made to vote for the chairman and vice chairman on the same ballot at the same time, whereupon Josef Zemanek and Frank J. Olexa were nominated as vice chairman. George Kacir and Frank J. Olexa were elected convention chairman and vice chairman, respectively.
A motion was subsequently made and passed that there be six convention secretaries. John Holecek, Robert Cervenka, Frank Kincl, Frank J. Olsovsky, Chas. Navratil, and J. H. Huser were named as convention secretaries.
The various committees were then named by the chairman and vice chairman. The question of whether to relocate the Supreme Lodge was brought up and debate was postponed until in the afternoon. It was also agreed that those speaking for and against relocation of the Supreme Lodge be limited to 10 minutes for each location, regardless of the number of speakers.
A motion to have the Supreme Lodge refund 2% of the premiums submitted by a lodge during the previous year failed.
The following salaries were recommended by the committee on salaries and donations and approved by the convention, although there were some efforts made to increase and decrease the amounts:
President: $450 monthly
Vice President: $100 monthly
Secretary: $375 monthly
Treasurer: $325 monthly
Financial Secretary: $325 monthly
Legal Adviser: $100 monthly, plus 1 % of mortgage loans closed and 1 % of those mortgage loans rejected
Medical Adviser: $1 for each application
Directors: $25 for regular meeting of the Supreme Lodge, plus $10 a day for other services to the Society, and 5¢ a mile travel expense
Editor: $325 monthly
Supreme Lodge elections: C. H. Chernosky, John A. Kubena, and Edward L. Marek were nominated for the office of president of the Supreme Lodge. C. H. Chernosky declined nomination and the voting results between Marek and Kubena were as follows: Marek, 13,053, Kubena 3,487. Frank G. Svadlenak, Rudy Sefcik, C. H. Chernosky, D. A. Juren and J. M. Skrabanek were nominated for vice president. Chernosky and Sefcik declined the nomination and Frank Svadlenak was elected with 8,813 votes.
Robert Cervenka and J. F. Chupick were nominated for the office of secretary. J. F. Chupick was elected with 9,041 votes.
R. A Urbanovsky was elected financial secretary by acclamation.
Josef Koliha, Frank Rod, and D. A. Juren were nominated for the office of treasurer. D. A. Juren declined nomination and Josef Koliha was elected with 9,711 votes.
August Kacir, Dan Hruska, Adolph Pavlicek, and Ernest J. Hanka were nominated for the office of legal adviser. A rlln-off between August Kacir and Dan Hruska resulted in August Kacir being elected with 9,414 votes.
Dr. John Halamicek was elected chief medical examiner by acclamation.
Frank Moucka was elected editor of the Vestnik by acclamation.
The results of the elections of directors were as follows:
Northern District: F. B. Steiner, Robert Cervenka, and Jno. F. Kubala were nominated. In a run-off election Jno. F. Kubala was elected.
Central District: Chas. Navratil and J. J. Mikeska were nominated, with Chas. Navratil being elected.
Eastern District: J. M. Skrabanek and Frank Stepan were nominated, with J. M. Skrabanek being elected.
Southern District: John Holecek, Josef Zemanek, Ed Vavra, and Chas. Hilsher were nominated. Ed Vavra withdrew. Josef Zemanek was elected.
Western District: J. E. Eineigl and Leo Sladek were nominated, with Eineigl being elected.
Temple and Houston were both nominated as sites for the coming convention, with Houston receiving the majority of votes.
A previous debate had broken out regarding the sale of Property No. 4 in Atascosa County and who was responsible for its sale, after which the report of Secretary Chupick was accepted by a wide margin.
Financial Secretary R. A. Urbanovsky gave his report and answered several questions.
Legal Adviser August Kacir made his report, which was accepted.
The five directors then made a joint report, which was very favorable. Medical Director Dr. J. A. Halamicek gave his report and stated that he had examined 3,680 adult and 1,049 juvenile applications from 1 January 1945 to 14 July 1948; 122 applications were rejected.
The Organizational Committee rendered its report, among which were the following recommendations: That the Supreme Lodge employ a competent state organizer who would be under the constant supervision of a full time officer of the Supreme Lodge; that the members be paid a dividend, the details of which are to be worked out between the Supreme Lodge and the actuary; that male applicants be accepted without a medical to age 45 for $2,000 and women to age 35 for $2,000, both to be cleared through the Retail Credit Bureau; that mortuary coverage be increased for adults to 40 years to $10,000; from 40 to 50 years of age, $5,000; and juvenile certificates increased to $5,000, except JT. which is limited to $1,000. The committee further recommended additional insurance coverage for sub-standard risks and that such insurance be reinsured with a reinsurance company.
The committee on convention order made its report, among the suggestions being that a motion for nominations to cease cannot be used or accepted.
The Publication Committee made its report. President Chernosky made his report and made an appeal for better office quarters for the Supreme Lodge, and an improvement in the Organizational (Insurance) Department. He also recommended a state organizer and that there be provisions to pay “dividends” as an incentive to gain new members. A motion was later made that such dividends be paid as long as the solvency of the Society is at least 110%.
Vice President Edward L. Marek made his report in which he reported that the Society had made great gains in the last 3-11z years in securing new members, both adults and juveniles.
Supreme Lodge Secretary J. F. Chupick rendered his report which was quite comprehensive and detailed.
Supreme Lodge Treasurer Josef Koliha made his report.Â The convention delegates then returned to the question of the possible relocation of the Supreme Lodge. The following towns were mentioned: EI Campo. Temple, Taylor, Houston, Austin, Fayetteville. A vote was then taken and the results showed that 6,587 votes were in favor of relocation and 10,046 against.
A motion was accepted to have the chairman and vice chairman of the convention name the members of the By-law Committee and the Publication Committee, and this passed.
Josef Hornak, Frances Olexa, and Antonie Horak were named to the Publication Committee.
Frank J. Olexa, Frank Steiner, Josef Slavik, Vaclav Barina, Frank Hlozek, F. E. Hejl, Englebert Jelinek, Leo Sladek, and George Kacir were named to the By-law Committee.
Just prior to the adjournment of the convention, C. H. Chernosky thanked the membership for their cooperation and the privilege of serving in the Supreme Lodge for 24 years.
The XVth Convention was adjourned with a brief closing message by J. R. Bartek, after which the hymn, “Hej Slovane”, was sung by the entire delegation.
Supreme Lodge 1944-48
Some of the members of the Supreme Lodge in Fayetteville, Early 1948, L to R: Legal Adviser August Kacir, Director Joe Zemanek, Director J.C. Eineigl, Director J.M. Skrabanek, Director Chas. Navratil, Financial Secretary Raymond Urbanovsky, President C.H. Chernosky, Secretary J.F. Chupick, Vice President Edward L.Marek, Treasurer Jos. Koliha, Jr., Bookkeeper John Kubala. (Photo by Del’s Studio)
Supreme Lodge and office personnel taken in front of the Supreme Lodge office in Fayetteville cca. 1948. Rear, L to R: Legal Adviser August Kacir, Bookkeeper Ed Kubala, Director Chas. Navratil, President C.H. Chernosky, Vice President Edward L. Marek, Vestnik Editor Frank Moucka, Office Employee J.F. Kubala, Director J.C. Eineigl, Treasurer Jos. Koliha, Jr., Secretary J.F. Chupick. Front row: Director Joe Zemanek, Office Employee Charlie Kovar, Financial Secretary R.A. Urbanovsky, Director J.M. Skrabanek, Office Employees Margie (Chovanec) Kneblik, Bernice (Kovar) Wecheta, Maxine (Mynarcik) Wrobletski, and Joe Holasek, Vestnik Publisher, Czechoslovak Publishing Company.
Officers and Office Personnel Of the Supreme Lodge, SPJST, cca. 1945 in Fayetteville, L to R: Raymond Urbanovsky, Adele (Sefcik) Meyer, Ed Kubaba, Rosalie (Haisler) Rek, J.F. Chupick, Marie (Plachy) Smith, Jos. Koliha, Jr., Charles Kovar
Plaza Hotel in Corpus Christi
(obtained by Jerry Elzner of Corpus Christi)
XIVth Convention of the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas held 26th June through 1 July 1944 in Corpus Christi, Texas on the top floor of the Plaza Hotel. (This hotel is now known as The 600 Building. It was converted from a hotel to an office building in 1971 and is still standing.)
The convention was called to order by Josef J. Krusinsky, Jr., and formally convened by Supreme Lodge President C. H. Chernosky.
Edward L. Marek and Stephen Valcik and J. H. Hurta were nominated as convention chairman, the latter declining nomination. Edward L. Marek was subsequently elected convention chairman. Josef Zemanek, Josef J. Krusinsky, Jr., and H. E. Beseda were nominated as vice chairman. There was a run-off election between Zemanek and Krusinsky, but Krusinsky withdrew from the race and Zemanek was declared vice chairman of the convention.
J. A. Holecek, Robert Cervenka, Josef J. Krusinsky, Jr., Josef Siptak, Chas. Holasek, Chas. Navratil, and J. J. Mikeska were nominated as convention secretaries, whereupon a motion was made for the chairman and vice chairman to appoint the convention secretaries. The following were appointed: John Holecek, Robert Cervenka, Chas. Holasek, Eduard Micek, J. J. Mikeska, and J. H. Siptak. Eduard Micek declined the appointment and Josef J. Krusinsky, Jr., was appointed, and when he declined, D. A. Juren was appointed one of the convention secretaries.
All of the various committees were appointed. The officers of the Supreme Lodge proceeded to render their reports to the convention.
The report of the Credentials Committee showed 157 lodges represented by 198 delegates.
Stephen Valcik rendered a report as “Chairman of the Board of Directors”, which he said had been published three months prior to the convention.
The Organizational Committee rendered its report, in which it recommended that all organizational work (sales of insurance) be entrusted to one officer of the Supreme Lodge, whose duty it would be to visit the various lodge meetings and consult with the lodge officers and organizers (sales representatives), look after the work of the sales representatives, help them, and encourage them to seek new members, conduct schools and training classes pertaining to the selling of insurance, set out appropriate compensation to those sales representatives writing up the largest number of new members, conduct district and state training classes for sales representatives, and that the Supreme Lodge officer to whom these duties are assigned have full authority and responsibility for all insurance sales activities. The committee also reported 3,694 new members from January 1941 to June 1944, which, they pointed out, was a nice increase, but that they had no way of ascertaining the number of terminations. As a final recommendation, the committee urged that the SPJST become a member of the National Fraternal Congress, with annual dues of $105, which was later accomplished.
In the report of the By-law Committee, it was recommended that “All deliberations, in conventions, in meetings of the Supreme Lodge, and in local lodge meetings, are to be conducted in the Czech language, but in the case of need, such deliberations are to be translated into the English language, orally and in writing.”
An article was passed requiring that in order to be elected a delegate from a lodge a member had to belong to the lodge he is representing at least a year and had attended at least one-half of the meetings of his lodge in the year of the delegate’s election.
A bid for printing the Vestnik was submitted by the Cechoslovak Publishing Company in West at a rate of $1.40 a year per subscriber per issue. The representatives of the Cechoslovak Publishing Company requested the convention to not hold them responsible for the contents of the Vestnik, stating that they do not know what is in the Vestnik until it is published and do not consider themselves responsible for the contents, but only for the printing and dispatch of it to the membership. Their bid and request was approved unanimously.
Eduard Micek later submitted a proposal that the Czech spelling of the name of the Society be changed to ” … Jednota Statu Texasu”, instead of Jednota Statu Texas. The amendment was accepted and later incorporated into the application for charter renewal to the State Board of Insurance for a period of fifty years.
The delegates later addressed themselves to the question of moving the Supreme Lodge Headquarters. A second ballot was taken which showed there were 6135 in favor of moving and 8501 against moving the headquarters from Fayetteville.
I. J. Gallia, first president, was not present in this convention due to illness, and a resolution was passed expressing regret at his absence and wishing him a speedy recovery. The same action was taken in tribute to Josef Dusek, former president of the Supreme Lodge.
President Chernosky recommended that the Supreme Lodge consist of a president, vice president, secretary, financial secretary, and treasurer, and not less than three and not more than five directors. Delegate Sebesta moved that the Supreme Lodge consist of a president, secretary, financial secretary, treasurer, and five directors. Another delegate supported that motion and added an amendment that there be two vice presidents. Another delegate moved that the legal adviser be included as a member of the Supreme Lodge, but the original maker of the motion did not accept the amendment. This was then replaced by another motion that the legal adviser be a member of the Supreme Lodge and the vote came out in favor of such a move, in addition to the above-named officers and five directors. After a vote, it was decided that the six officers and five directors comprise the Supreme Lodge of the SPJST, and the business affairs of the Society are to be conducted by the six officers and monitored by the five directors. In the event of death, resignation, or incapacity of any member of the Supreme Lodge, that position is to be filled by the entire Supreme Lodge.
The Sick Benefit Department then rendered a lengthy report, noting that the Supreme Lodge was in no way responsible for this sick benefit fund nor for paying out benefits out of that fund.
The Supreme Lodge was given permission in this convention to inaugurate higher mortuary payments on those policies held by members engaged in hazardous occupations, with the help of the ‘actuary. The convention adopted an article limiting anyone mortgage loan on one piece of property to $50,000.
(In other instances where the term “directors” was used, the convention delegates substituted the words Supreme Lodge.)
This convention made the position of vice president an active one for the first time. giving him mainly the responsibilities of the entire Insurance Department and all activities related thereto. In addition, he was to be responsible for all mortgage property held by the Society and to see that these properties were in good order. He was also to render reports to the president at the president’s request, about various administrative, investment, and membership activities in the Society.
In Article 29, the directors were left with the responsibility of having ” … constant control and supervision over the affairs and progress of the Society.” They are to see that all articles of the by-laws, all convention decisions, and all decisions of the Supreme Lodge are adhered to and implemented properly. They also were given the responsibility, among other things, of examining the books of the Supreme Lodge officers and had the right to call attention to mistakes on the part of a Supreme Lodge officer or office help. The entire Supreme body was thus given broad responsibilities, including many of those that had previously been exercised only by the directors.
Mortuary benefits were set at $250, $500, $1,000, $1,500, $2,000, $2,500, $3,000, $3,500, $4,000, $4,500, and $5,000. Those applying for insurance above $3,000 were required to have a physical from two doctors.
Monthly salaries recommended were as follows: President $150; active vice president $300, secretary $300, financial secretary $225, treasurer $200, editor $200 (a later motion to raise this amount to $250 passed), chief medical examiner 50¢ per examination, directors $10 a day while attending Supreme Lodge meetings and $5 a day for other days devoted to services for the Society, plus 5¢ a mile for their automobile (later, a motion was made to raise this amount to $25 a day for Supreme Lodge meetings and $10 a day for other services to the Society, and 5¢ a mile automobile allowance, which passed); legal adviser $75 a month, plus 1 % of the amount closed in mortgage loans. This was later amended to include an additional salary of $100 a month.
C. H. Chernosky and Frank G. Svadlenak were nominated for the office of president of the Supreme Lodge. The votes revealed that Chernosky was elected.
Edward L. Marek, F. K. Bucek, and J. J. Krusinsky, Jr., were nominated as vice president. Edward L. Marek was elected vice president by a wide margin.
J. F. Chupick was nominated as secretary of the Supreme Lodge, and since there were no other nominations, Chupick was elected by acclamation.
R. A. Urbanovsky was nominated for the position of financial secretary, and since there were no other nominations, he was elected by acclamation.
D. A. Juren and Josef Koliha, Jr., (re-election) were nominated for the office of treasurer. Josef Koliha was elected.
August Kacir, Josef Frnka, and Adolf Pavlicek were nominated for the office of legal adviser. Pavlicek withdrew because of not having been a member long enough, and August Kacir was elected.
Dr. J. A. Halamicek and Dr. W. A. Chernosky were nominated for the office of chief medical examiner. Dr. Chernosky withdrew in favor of Dr. Halamicek, who was elected by acclamation.
Frank Moucka was nominated for the position of editor, and he was elected by acclamation.
The following were elected directors for the various geographical areas of Texas: Northern – John Kubala, Central Texas – Chas. Navratil, Southern Texas – Josef Zemanek, East Texas – J. M. Skrabanek, West Texas – J. E. Eineigl.
Shortly after the election of officers a motion was made to purchase war bonds in the amount of $250.
The following were named to the By-law Committee: George Kacir, John Holecek, Engelbert Jelinek, F. K. Bucek, Josef Vesely, Alois Vaja, Frank Olexa, F. B. Steiner, and A. V. Franek.
Eduard Micek administered the oath of office to the members of the Supreme Lodge.
A previous motion had been made to hold the next convention in Ft. Worth, whereupon the XIVth Convention adjourned at 6 p.m. on the 1st of July 1944.
Supreme Lodge 1940-44
Lodge Praha No. 29 east of Taylor, 13th Convention
Frank B. Steiner (Supreme Lodge Treasurer)
J.F. Chupick (Secretary)
XIIIth Convention of the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas held 29 July through 3 August 1940 at Lodge 29 Praha east of Taylor, Texas.Â
The convention was convened by Supreme Lodge President C. H. Chernosky, who welcomed the delegates and introduced Frank Svadleiiak, president of Lodge 29. Taylor Mayor R. H. Hewitt also welcomed the delegates.
Frank Svadlenak, Stephen Valcik, Frank Ancinec, and Dr. Josef Kopecky were nominated as convention chairman. C. H. Chernosky was also nominated but declined. Stephen Valcik was elected chairman of the convention. Frank Svadeleiiak and Dr. Kopecky were nominated as vice chairman, whereupon Frank Svadlenak was elected.
Although a shorthand stenographer had been hired to take verbatim minutes of the proceedings, it was still thought appropriate to elect convention secretaries who were to make notes of the most important points of the convention deliberations and submit them when requested. Josef Vytopil and John Holecek were elected convention secretaries.
The chairman and co-chairman appointed a 5- member Resolution Committee, Grievance Committee, Organizational Committee, Sick Benefit Committee, Salary & Expense Committee, Election Tellers, and two Sergeants-At-Arms.
President Chernosky gave his report, the highlights of which are as follows: From 1 January 1937 to 1 July 1940 the Society gained 4,757 new members. Breaking it down, this meant 3,245 adults and 1,512 juveniles. During the same period there were 558 deaths and 1,709 members suspended or expelled. The gain in new members required a lot of time and personal contact with the organizers (term used at that time for sales representatives), and he recommended a field supervisor (polni dohlizitell to be hired by the Supreme Lodge. The field supervisor would perform any other duties prescribed by the Supreme Lodge president. The field supervisor would devote full time to his responsibilities.
President Chernosky pointed out that the current solvency is 110.97% and that if it dropped below 110 that the reductions or discounts in mortuary premiums to older members would be in jeopardy. He spoke in favor of continuing such reductions to older members. He also recommended the sale of real estate owned by the Society in several counties.
Vice President Stephen Valcik referred to his report in the Vestnik and asked to be excused from reading it in the convention, however, as the result of a voice vote, he read his report. He appealed to the delegates to systematically and thoroughly prescribe the duties of the Supreme Lodge officers and then gave his recommendations as to how the work should be divided in the Supreme Lodge itself: Administrative, Organizational (insurance), and Investments.
The report of Secretary Joe R. Kubena was read to the delegates due to his illness with the flu. (J. R. Kubena had been killed in a pedestrian-automobile accident in Galveston in May of 1938, and his son, Joe, was appointed to fill his unexpired term.) His report was brief and he called attention to the fact that new equipment and additional employees were needed in the Supreme Lodge, as well as a modern filing system.
One hundred seventy-five delegates represented 162 lodges in this convention.
Financial Secretary Edward L. Marek rendered his report, which was also brief and included the following statistics: Number of lodges on 1 July 1936 amounted to 157, with 2 lodges having been disbanded since that time, leaving 155 lodges. Seven new lodges were organized during the same period, for a current total of 162. The two disbanded lodges were 137 in Louise and 104 Texassti Bratri in Yorktown. The newly-organized lodges were 137 Taft, 158 Texasky Kvet near West, 159 Rosenberg, 160 T. J. Masaryk in Rio Hondo, 161 La Parita in Jourdanton, 162 Pokrok Brazoria, 104 Eagle Lake. Number of certificates as of 30 June 1940 was 16,293, covered by $14,491,695.25 in life insurance. Since the last convention there were 624 deaths and 1,761 members terminated and these were included in the figures above. He reported $77,873.01 cash on hand in four banks and $3,440,804.92 in the Mortuary Fund. $1,541,016.30 was invested in loans on real estate and other city and. rural properties. He also appealed for more modern accounting equipment and machines for the various offices in the Supreme Lodge to facilitate a more efficient operation and administration of the Society’s business. He also recommended the organization of the Supreme Lodge into three departments: Executive, Administrative, Finance & Property, to be administered by four officers, namely, an active vice president, secretary, financial secretary, and treasurer, with the Supreme Lodge to consist of these four officers, plus an inactive president, legal adviser, and a 3- member Auditing Committee for a total of 9.
Frank Steiner rendered his report as treasurer of the Supreme Lodge. He reported that the mortgage loans had increased from 507 in May of 1937 to 770 by the time of this convention. He reported that many of the borrowers had not paid interest on their loans for five and sometimes more years, amounting to over $10,000, and that his first objective was to collect this delinquent interest. He stated that for the most part he was successful, but that in some instances this was not possible and the Society had to repossess the property. He further stated that some borrowers had not paid their taxes for as many as five or six years, amounting to as much as $1,000, and that he had made every effort to have the taxes brought to current status.
Legal Adviser August Kacir then submitted a rather lengthy and detailed report in which he pointed out some shortcomings in the membership campaign, plus the legal ramifications of the transactions involving bonds and landholdings in the Rio Grande Valley.
The Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Kopecky, then gave his report. He ended with the caution that the Society must be just as careful in accepting members as it is in investing its funds. After he ended his report, Dr. Kopecky announced that he was not a candidate for reelection as Chief Medical Examiner.
Vestnik Editor Frank Moucka then gave his brief report in which he pointed to the cooperation between the Supreme Lodge and the Executive Committee. He stated that he thought that this convention was going to be a historic milestone. He made an appeal to strengthen the Czech language and to foster the ideals of the founding fathers. He cautioned against seeking members ” who do not understand us, who are alien to us but we should see to it that our youth is reminded of their heritage and origin and be proud of them.”
Will Nesuda reported for the Auditing Committee (also referred to as the Finance Committee). He stated that they had a free hand in going over the books and records of the Supreme Lodge. State examinations cost in excess of $900 and take over a month to complete and the Auditing Committee could not take that long or be that thorough. Instead they conducted “spot checks” and if such revealed mistakes or shortcomings this would signal that there were other mistakes elsewhere. He ended his report by recommending that the Supreme Lodge in the future be composed of nine members, just as it is now, to consist of the president (inactive), vice president, secretary, financial secretary, treasurer, legal adviser, and 3-member Auditing Committee. The other two members of this committee were Raymond Prasatik and Chas. Navratil.
The Publication Committee (tiskovy vybor) rendered its report. They reported that the latest press run consisted of 6,455 copies of the Vestnik and that the Supreme Lodge maintains the mailing list of all those receiving the Vestnik. They quoted increases in newsprint, which had come about largely because of the war in Europe. They also called attention to the fact that the future for securing competent Czech linotype operators was very bleak. The editor was receiving about 35 letters a week for publication, and 49 letters had been forwarded to the Publication Committee for the entire period since the last convention, of which 27 were rejected for publication. The committee further recommended that there be four pages of English reading material in the Vestnik. The report was signed by Josef Hornak, John Holecek, and Josef KrusinskY. There was a lively and lengthy debate about the inclusion of English language pages in the Vestnik. The recommendations of the Publication Committee were accepted.
A report was then rendered by the Pre-Convention Auditing or Finance Committee. Net assets of the Society amounted to $3,460,644.61. The report was signed by Frank Ancinec, F. B. Vrla, and Alois Kircin.
The committee on convention expenses rendered its report and recommendations as follows:
Convention chairman, $10 a day; convention secretaries, $5 a day; convention committees, $5 a day; delegates, $4 a day, plus 4¢ a mile for travel expenses; time spent travelling to the convention’ – first 50 miles, no remunerat”ion; from 100 to 150 miles, 1/2 day going and 1/2 day returning; anything over 150 miles was counted as 1 day there and 1 day back. The report was signed by J. J. Neuman, C. H. Cmajdalka, Louis Svacina, B. W. Pavlicek, and Liddie Kubena. All their recommendations were accepted.
The Organizational Committee rendered their report. Their report was quite lengthy and contained a number of statistics and a number of recommendations. Their report was rendered by Frank Olexa of Lodge 88 Houston. He reported that 998 new members were accepted into the Society for the year 1939, with a total of 29 members suspended, expelled or lapsed, which resulted in a lapse rate of 2.8%. Fifty-two organizers solicited 536 members during 1939 without any lapses, 13 organizers solicited 462 members with a loss of 29 members. All terminations for the year left a net gain of 433 members, which was considered a nice gain. For the preceding three years, 4,557 new members were solicited, 458 died, and 1,709 terminated for one reason or another. They recommended that the Supreme Lodge furnish all organizers with the necessary sales aids and send all of them a review of their work each month, together with the number of members that they solicited. If a certain organizer becomes inactive, the Supreme Lodge would be authorized to send a neighboring organizer into his area in order to carryon the work. Each organizer was to submit a monthly report of his activities to the Supreme Lodge. They were cautioned to solicit only honorable and conscientious members, without regard to financial gains. (It should be pointed out that this Organizational Committee was a new committee making its first report in this convention.) The report was rendered by Frank J. Olexa, J. R Bartek, J. S. Sebesta, Viclav Kvasnicka, James Hradecky, J. A. Klinkovsky, and Chas. Holisek. Their report was accepted by acclamation.
The Grievance Committee rendered its report. In one case, they had heard pro and con arguments and their recommendation was that the convention listen to the principals involved.
The Sick Benefit Committee made its report.
It recommended graduated fees for voluntary membership in the Sick Benefit Department and ended its report with the statement that sick benefit provisions are not obligatory for the department or for the Society and that benefits therefrom are paid only as funds are available, and requested the XIIIth Convention to decide whether they wish to leave this department within the framework and administration of the Society or dispense with it. The chairman then called for a vote and the vote was overwhelmingly in favor of retaining the provisions for sick benefits.
(The chairman expressed a desire to get into the by-laws the next morning and for the By-law Committee to be prepared to go to work.)
(Note: The Proceedings from the Taylor Convention consist of 137 printed pages. It is significant that the first 74 pages deal with the Supreme Lodge officers’ reports, but mostly with debates and questions regarding the transaction of bonds and property holdings bought and sold in the Rio Grande Valley. The convention convened on Monday morning, July 29th, and the delegates did not get around to discussing changes in the by-laws until mid-morning on Thursday, August 1st. The debate and questions were often emotion-packed and consisted of long explanations.)
Consideration Of By-laws. The convention immediately got bogged down in considering changes in the article pertaining to the ratio of membership to delegates. After considerable debate, proposals and counter-proposals, the convention accepted the provision that every lodge is entitled to 1 delegate for up to 199 members; up to 299 members, 2 delegates; 300 to 399 members, 3 delegates; 400 to 499 members, 4 delegates; for every additional 100 members, 1 delegate. In voting in the convention, the delegate receiving the smaller number of votes represented the odd or smaller number of members. Those members who had exchanged their certificate for a paid-up policy, members of the Juvenile Department and social members were not figured into this calculation, however, those members having a 20-year or more paid-up policy and pay their local lodge dues, have full rights as do other insured members, including being elected a delegate and a member of the Supreme Lodge.
A move to have the By-law Committee meet three months prior to the convention was defeated in favor of having them meet one month before the convention on the grounds that lodges submitting their proposed amendments would probably not be getting them to the By-law Committee until a month before the convention. Additionally, it was also voted by a big majority that the By-law Committee meet 2 days before the convention, if it deemed it essential, to put the final touches on those recommendations received just prior to the convention. The By-law Committee was also responsible for codifying and arranging the new by-laws and for translating the by-laws into the English language with the help and advice of the legal adviser and this must be done within 90 days after the convention. The By-law Committee consisted of 9 members elected by the convention, as well as 4 substitutes or alternates, and in the event these 4 had to serve, their replacements would be selected by the By-law Committee. The committee also elects its own chairman, vice chairman, and secretary.
Travelling expenses and per diem of the delegates and all miscellaneous expenses of the convention were paid out of the surplus funds of the Society, as long as the solvency stayed above 104%.
At this point in the convention proceedings, the chairman called for the consideration of a new article which dealt with the composition of the Supreme Lodge and duties of officers. This article dealt with the creation of, and broad authority vested in, the 5-member Board of Directors.
In considering amendments to Article 11 (under Section IV of the old by-laws) there arose a challenge as to why the position of financial secretary had been omitted by the By-law Committee as being one of the positions in the Supreme Lodge. A motion was finally made to retain the office of financial secretary, together with five directors. (Note: This was the first mention of the word “fiditele” – directors. The correct Czech spelling for the word directors is reditele.) A question was then asked whether the president, secretary, and legal adviser are permanent members of the Supreme Lodge according to the new by-laws. A By-law Committee member replied that: “In addition to the president, vice president, legal adviser and directors, the other officers will be permanent members of the Supreme Lodge.”
Finally, an amendment to a previous motion was made as follows: “The Supreme Lodge is to consist of a president, active vice president, secretary, treasurer, financial secretary, legal adviser, and five directors who are to be elected in the convention. The various affairs of the Society between conventions are under the supervision of the directors and transacted by the six officers of the Supreme Lodge, who are the president, the active vice president, the secretary, financial secretary, treasurer, and legal adviser. This controlling body, consisting of five directors and six executive officers is known as the Supreme Lodge of the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas (S.P.J.S.T.).”
A question was asked as to why there is to be an active vice president;that the president should be active as well. It was then explained that the present space conditions in the Supreme Lodge building are very crowded. It is intended that the vice president be in charge of the sales force and thereby by in a position to sign commission checks in the office and not have to wait as is presently the case. It is also planned to give him supervision of the Finance Department – all bonds, all properties, and transacting of mortgage loans. The secretary will be responsible for the administrative department. The supervisory authority will rest with six directors and five officers (odbornici) so that the majority will control over the minority.
A motion was made again that there be five directors so that the Supreme Lodge would not be controlled by those outnumbering the officers, since the directors could tell the officers to do something that is not to their (officers’) liking. An amendment was then proposed that the directors not have too much authority and not be the controlling group within the Supreme Lodge.
Returning to the by-laws and the composition of the Supreme Lodge, a vote was finally taken on Dressler’s motion for six officers and a 5- member Board of Directors (” … peticlennehosboru riditelskeho.” – statement by Convention Chairman Valcik from the convention Proceedings). The discussion narrowed as to whether the delegates wanted to make the office of vice president an active and full time one with specific duties. His responsibilities and duties were outlined in detail again by Delegate Cmajdalka. A vote was finally taken on the question of an active vice president. The results were that 237 votes were in favor of an active vice president and 311 votes against.
The rest of Dressler’s motion pertaining to the make-up of the Supreme Lodge was then addressed – five officers and five directors. A counter-motion was made for six directors and then a question arose as to whether the office of financial secretary should be retained. The increase in the directors to six was opposed on the grounds of economy.
The delegates finally got around to voting by secret ballot whether they wanted to retain the office of financial secretary or not. The final vote was 391 votes for retaining the office of financial secretary and 157 against.
Once again, the delegates turned to the rest of the article pertaining to the composition of the Supreme Lodge as recommended by the By-law Committee as follows: “The Supreme Lodge is to consist of a president, vice president, secretary, financial secretary, treasurer, legal adviser, and six directors, all of whom are to be elected by the convention. The business affairs of the Society between the conventions are under the supervision of the six directors and transacted by the six officers – president, vice president, secretary, financial secretary, treasurer, and legal adviser. This governing body consisting of six controlling (kontrolujiCÂ£ch) and six executive (vykonnych) officers is known as the Supreme Lodge of the SPJST.”
It was pointed out that this was an even number, and that sparked more discussion. It was pointed out that the president should be in a position to cast the deciding vote. One of the delegates asked for a motion that one of the directors be eliminated which would result in an odd number. A motion was made for five directors and six officers. A counter-motion was made that there be six directors. Finally, on a voice vote, the majority were in favor of seven directors. A vote was then taken on the original recommendation by the By-law Committee, with the subsequent amendments and changes, and this was accepted by the majority of the’ delegates. As a clarification, the convention chairman stated that there were now six officers and seven directors. The delegates had to address themselves to the realignment of the duties between the directors and officers and this was done as they came to the pertinent articles. In view of the change in the composition of the Supreme Lodge, the articles pertaining to a majority needed to transact all business had to be adjusted accordingly.
A very short but vital discussion took place about the authority of the president to call special meetings of the Supreme Lodge. One motion would have given him the authority to call it when necessary. Another motion would have given him the authority at the request of all seven members of the Board of Directors (vybor fiditelu). Another motion gave him the authority at the request of the majority of the directors, that is, four, and this finally passed. Before this one action, however, a delegate made this observation: “If we have seven directors, then they must have their own chairman and he may have the right to summon a special meeting at the request of four other directors. It might happen that all the directors will not be able to attend such a meeting, so I support the motion that special meetings may be called at the request of four directors. The final article as passed stated: “Special meetings are called by the president with the assent (or on request) of four directors.”
An amendment was made to the recommendation of the By-law Committee that only those people may be members of the Supreme Lodge who can speak and write the Czech and English languages. The chairman cautioned against such a stringent provision.
In the article dealing with a vacancy in the event of death, resignation or incapacity of any officer or director of the Supreme Lodge, such office will be filled by the directors.
The president of the Supreme Lodge made the observation that in the past few years that all of the officers of the Supreme Lodge participated in the buying of bonds and making of loans and .. that he recommended this method very much so that everyone would share the responsibility.
A question was later raised as to whether a 10-year old child could become a voting member of the Society. The legal adviser stated that the current state laws do not state at what age a person becomes an adult member. He pointed out that in the beginning the age was 21, later it was dropped to 18, and currently stands at 16, and that the 10-year old child had no individual rights as a member until he attained 16 years of age.
On Friday morning, the chairman asked the delegates to proceed at a more rapid pace than they had up to this time and to not dwell on minor matters – that there were still some important points to be covered. While waiting for the By-law Committee to resume their work, a letter was read from the CSA in Chicago. The letter was an invitation to the officers of all Czech fraternal organizations to come to Chicago for the purpose of improving communication and strengthening the Czech fraternal movement and to more or less form a united front with a common goal. One delegate stated that before we consider any sort of unity “with Chicago” that we should work towards unifying and merging all of the fraternals in Texas, whereupon he made a motion that a 3-member committee from the SPJST would see to the possibilities of merging all of the fraternals in Texas. The chairman pointed out that this was an entirely different motion than the purpose set forth in the letter from Chicago. A motion was subsequently made to send a delegation to the meeting in Chicago, and still another motion was made that the SPJST be represented by the Supreme Lodge president in that meeting, the expenses to be borne by the Society. This was also amended to read that in the event the president couldn’t go the vice president would attend, and this passed by an overwhelming majority.
The Sick Benefit Committee then rendered its report. The chairman indicated that this benefit had not been properly administered in those instances where need was quite pressing and recommended that the convention itself stipulate sick benefits to some of the members who had requested it since the last convention. Examples were given of several cases of members who were either bed-ridden or could not walk. Motions and counter-motions were offered, but after a lengthy discussion, a motion was finally accepted that each one of these individuals would receive $50 from the convention as a sick benefit. The Sick Benefit Committee was then dismissed.
The convention then returned to the by-laws, specifically the one dealing with the qualifications of Supreme Lodge officers – (Art. 13 in the proposed by-laws at that time.) A new article was added entitled “Directors”. The Convention Chairman (Valcik) pointed out that the” … Bylaw Committee had worked until midnight the evening before setting forth the qualifications and duties of the directors (tiditelu) and that it appears that the directors now have absolute and complete authority over the operations of the Society.” The chairman of the By-law Committee read the entire article, which, in effect, gave unquestionable and final authority to the directors, among which was the authority to discuss and suspend any officer of the Supreme Lodge, and with the consent of at least five out of seven directors to recommend the discharge of a Supreme Lodge officer to the local lodge for their vote. Additionally, the directors filled vacancies in the Supreme Lodge, except in the president’s office, appointed organizers by a vote of not less than five out of seven directors. The directors could accept or reject mortgage loan applications by vote of no less than five out of seven; were responsible for investigating all irregularities and by-law violations in the entire Society, and in order to achieve a correction of same had the authority to suspend Supreme Lodge officers, local lodge officers or committees; the ” … directors had full supervisory authority with power over the entire Society with the right to inaugurate the initiative and referendum.”
This proposal appeared to be stronger than any previous proposal and gave absolute and final control to the seven directors. Some of the delegates wanted to discuss this matter after they were to receive the printed proposal. Th-en the article was read sentence by sentence, even though the Convention Chairman warned that this would prolong the convention. Article 49 was then accepted unanimously.
The convention turned again to the article dealing with qualifications of officers. Again there was an appeal to have the pertinent article printed and before the delegates. The chairman announced that if the delegates insisted on it that by the time the article is transcribed and distributed a half day will have passed. The article was accepted unanimously.
The responsibilities of all the Supreme Lodge officers were then covered in the pertinent by-laws.
A motion was made to change the remuneration to the Supreme Lodge attorney from the 1-1/2 % to a straight salary to be set by the committee on salaries. That motion failed and the original provision of paying him Ph % of the mortgage loan amount as his legal fee passed again.
The motion was then passed that the Board of Directors has the authority to hire a certified public accountant prior to the convention.
A lengthy debate took place about the interest rate on mortgage loans. Motions were made to set the rate at 5% and a countermotion was made to set it at 4%0 Finally, the percentage rate was set at 5%, with a discount of 1/2 % for those paying their principal and interest on time.
(In as much as the convention was getting prolonged, there was increased pressure to dispense with certain formalities, such as reading of the names of delegates. One of the delegates suggested a night session. The convention delegates then went from one subject matter to another, covering a number of articles).
The convention then returned to the consideration of some of the articles. (The version in the original copy by the shorthand stenographer, Hilgert, and the version in the final printed form are at some variance.
A lengthy discussion took place about the Juvenile Department, local lodge dues, and physicians’ statements. At various times there were repeated exhortations to “Move on!”
The Supreme Lodge president spoke in favor of offering discounts to those members who had been in the SPJST thirty-five years and over at least 75 years of age and that such discounts would not cost the Society over $1,500 a yearo This had been recommended by the actuary who had stated that members could not receive cash refunds but that they could be given this type of discount in their mortuary premiums. It was decided not to include this in the by-laws but leave it up ” … to the Board of Directors or the Supreme Lodge, who at the beginning of the calendar year would announce such discounts.” A motion was then made to include classes of insurance and mortuary premiums in the bylaws, which was approved.
The By-law Committee decided to recommend that only the numbers of articles be used in the printing of the new by-laws, which was later accomplished fact. It was then announced that the by-laws would be translated into English by the By-law Committee, together with the legal adviser.
The by-laws were then approved as a whole on a standing vote, after which a I5-minute recess was declared.
I. J. Gallia, first president of the SPJST, then spoke, exhorting the delegates to unity and to back their new officers, whoever they may be, and if a vote is taken to move the Supreme Lodge to another town, that the delegates support that decision.Â The Convention Chairman then asked the delegates to approve the remuneration to John Hilgert who had been requested by the Supreme Lodge to come to this convention and record it in shorthando It was agreed to pay him according to the agreement that he had with the Supreme Lodge. ($200, plus expenses).
A report was then rendered by a 3-member committee on appraisal of land held by the Society in the Rio Grande Valley. Two members of this committee recommended that the entire matter be left up to the Supreme Lodge for their resolution. The final decision was to accept the majority report and leave the matter up to the Supreme Lodge.
The report of the committee on salaries and donations was giveno Various salary increases were recommended, except in the case of the editor, who was recommended to be decreased from a monthly salary of $200 to $150. A lengthy discussion took place and finally, a vote was taken by secret balloto Then a debate arose as to the procedures in conducting a secret ballot.
While the vote was being taken, discussion continued about the other proposed salaries. After further discussion and alternate motions for salary changes it was finally decided to vote on the recommendations of the Salaries & Donations Committee.
Final decision on the salaries was as follows: President … $75 a month, vice president … $25 a month; secretary … $150 a month, financial secretary … $150 a month, treasurer … $150 a month, legal adviser … (a motion had been made to pay him $2,500 a year, which failed and his salary was approved as recommended at $75 a month), editor .. 0 (a motion to raise the salary to $200 was defeated and the recommendation of the committee was approved to pay the editor $150 a month); directors … $10 a day for meetings in the Supreme Lodge, plus $5 a day for services to the Society; officers and directors, all travel expenses, plus 5¢ a mile when traveling in the interest of the Society; first new employee of the Supreme Lodge not more than $100 a month, with additional employees not more than $75 a month. All of the salary recommendations by the committee, as amended, were approved.
Then a lengthy debate took place over donation to the Czech National Union in Texas (Ceske narodnf sdruzenil. Finally, a motion was made and passed that the lodges donate a dollar for each one of their members and for the Supreme Lodge to make an appropriate donation. The convention then donated $200 a year to the Texas Higher Council of Education, $100 a year to the Council of Higher Education in Chicago, $100 to the American Red Cross, plus a $100 scholarship to the University of Texas in Austin. The convention decided to authorize the Supreme Lodge to establish a fund in the amount of $500 and of that money, $50 to be donated to those communities teaching Czech during the summer vacation months, but only to those where Czech was taught at least for one month.
The Resolution Committee rendered its report in which the usual acknowledgements and thanks were expressed to all of those connected with the convention, with a special resolution being adopted in tribute to the late longtime secretary of the Supreme Lodge, J. R. Kubena.
In discussing the possible moving of the Supreme Lodge to another location, it was decided to first approve whether the Supreme Lodge should be moved or not. The pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages of moving or not moving then took place. Emotional appeals were made for both sides. Two hundred eighty-five votes were cast against relocation and 253 in favor of relocation.
The chairman then called attention to the fact that in the re-organization and increase in the members of the Supreme Lodge, thirteen persons, officers and directors, would be meeting and that the present headquarters building is not adequate. A delegate from Lodge No.1 in Fayetteville stated: “We will take care of this matter.”
After clearing up some loose ends on matters previously covered, the delegates finally got around to nominating and voting on Supreme Lodge officers.
C. H. Chernosky, Stephen Valcik, Frank Svadlenak, and F. K. Bucek were nominated for Supreme Lodge president, but Svadlenak withdrew his name from consideration. Chernosky received 215 votes, Valcik 200, and Bucek 125. In the tun-off election between Chernosky and Valcik, Chernosky got 278 and Valcik 260.
Chernosky was thereby elected president for another term.
F. K. Bucek, Stephen Valcik, and Frank Svadlenak were nominated for the office of vice president. whereupon Steve Valcik withdrew his nomination. F. K. Bucek received 296 votes and Svadlenak 243. Robert Cervenka. J. F. Chupick, C. H. Cmajdalka, and (fnu) Konvicka were nominated for the office of secretary. Since Konvicka was not present. it was announced that he could not be a candidate. Cervenka received 145 votes, J. F. Chupick 273 votes, and Cmajdalka 117. Consequently, J. F. Chupick was elected secretary.
Edward L. Marek was elected financial secretary by acclamation.
Frank B. Steiner, Joseph Koliha, Jr., D. A. Juren, and Robert Cervenka were nominated for the office of treasurer. Steiner received 274 votes, Juren 172, and KoUha 82. Having received a majority, Frank B. Steiner was elected treasurer. August Kacif and Karl Hutt were nominated for the position of legal adviser. Kadt obtained 283 votes and Rutt 114, resulting in Kadr’s reelection. Frank Moucka was nominated for the position of editor and was elected by acclamation.
Drs. A. Cernosky, John Siptak, George Pazdral, and Josef Kopecky were nominated for the position of Chief Medical Examiner. Since Dr. Kopecky was not present in the assembly, he could not be nominated. Dr. Cernosky received 185 votes, Siptak 164, and Pazdral 163. In a runoff election between Dr. Cernosky and Siptak, Cernosky received 263 votes and Siptak 239, resulting in the election of Dr. CernoskY.
A motion was made and passed that delegates receive a total of $25 for the five days of the convention, with $3 to be remitted by the Supreme Lodge in each delegate’s name to the Czech National Union (CNS), which was determined would amount to $534.
In order for the delegates to proceed to the election of seven directors, it was first necessary that the article pertaining to the creation of the directors be effective immediately. The counter-motion to make the by-law effective January 1st was withdrawn. Before the elections took place, the chairman called attention to the fact that the seven directors should be elected from all geographical sections of the state and further, that twelve or fifteen nominees be proposed and the seven receiving the largest number of votes be declared the directors. Since the Convention Chairman could not make a motion, a delegate made a motion to that effect. In discussing how vacancies in the Board of Directors would be filled, the delegates were reminded that the new by-law gives them the authority to fill vacancies, in which case they could also govern themselves according to the votes cast in this convention.
The following were nominated as directors: Valcik from Houston, Svadlenak from Taylor, Sebesta from Caldwell, Siptak from Caldwell, Frank Olexa, Sr., of Houston, Frank Matush of Temple, Chas. Holasek of Corpus Christi, Will Nesuda of Dallas, F. B. Vrla, Ennis; E. J. Novosad, Joe Hornak; Jelinek from Granger; J. J. Jaresh of Schulenburg; Rudolf Koci of Ft. Worth; Raymond Prasatik from Austin; Jan Stasa, and Robert Cervenka of West. Remarks were made to have directors from the eastern sections of the state, northern, central, western, and southern. It was pointed out that there were two nominees from Caldwell. It was decided to write the names of the nominees on the blackboard and indicate where they were all from.
The results of the election of directors was as follows: Stephen Valcik 401 votes; Chas. Holasek, 335; Frank Svadlenak, 282; Robert Cervenka, 261; Frank Matush, 252; J. Siptak, 242; Julius Sebesta, 200.
The above seven, having received the largest number of votes, were declared elected directors for the next four years. A motion that the remaining candidates be alternates to the Board of Directors in the order of the number of votes received was approved unanimously.
The Convention Chairman, in announcing the election results stated: “…The first named with the highest number of votes is chairman.” (of the Board of Directors.) Earlier, in discussing the proposed election of a “Board of Directors” (sbor riditelu), Convention Chairman Valcik had also asserted that from among the seven persons to be elected directors the one receiving the highest number of votes would be the chairman of the board. “ … otherwise it would be necessary to elect each director separately and the election would last too long,” he stated. The ones receiving the rest of the votes, in descending order, were as follows: Frank Olexa, Sr., F. B. Vrla, E. J. Novosad, Joe Hornak, Engelbert Jelinek, J. J. Jaresh, Rudolf Koci, Raymond Prasatik, Chas. Navratil, Jan Stasa, and Will Nesuda.
The ‘next item of business was naming or electing a new 9-member By-law Committee. It was decided that this committee would be named by the chairman and vice chairman, with the following persons named to the committee: Josef Kalousek, Rudolf Koci, J. B. Vrla, Engelbert Jelinek, Frank Lesikar, V. H. Barina, J. Sebesta, B. W. Pavlicek, and George Kacir. The following were named as alternates to this committee: Frank Olexa, Sr., James Hradecky,F. J. Mikeska, and Jos. Holasek.
The chairman and vice chairman named the following to the Publication Committee: Joe Hornak, Louis Dressler, and Joe N. Morris.
The cities of Corpus Christi, Galveston, Ft. Worth, and Schulenburg were mentioned as possible sites of the next convention. The usual glowing reports for each city were given, with the result that Corpus Christi received the largest amount of votes, so that the XIVth Convention would be held in Corpus Christi.
A delegate made a suggestion that the officers of the Supreme Lodge seek better accommodations and quarters for the Supreme Lodge so as to reflect upon the Society in a dignified manner. The chairman agreed and stated that if the officers do not address the problem that the Board of Directors would. Then he announced that the Board of Directors would, in fact, see to the situation and inform every member of the Society.
The convention closed with former President I. J. Gallia administering the oath of office to all members of the Supreme Lodge and members of the By-law and Publication Committees. With the singing of “Hej, Slovane”!, the chairman adjourned the convention at 7:15 p.m. on Saturday, the 3rd of August.
Supreme Lodge 1936-40
August Kacir (Legal Advisor)
Longtime secretary of the Supreme Lodge, SPJST
One of the leaders that spearheaded the efforts at reform in the national C.S.P.S. and eventual withdraw and formation of the new SPJST in Texas. Kubena has been widely referred to as the “Daddy of the SPJST”. He was killed in a tragic auto-pedestrian accident in Galveston on May 3, 1938.
XIIth Convention of the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas held August 3-7, 1936 in East Bernard, Texas.
(The convention was held in what is known today as Riverside Hall on the eastern edge of East Bernard on Hwy 90 on the banks of the San Bernard River. In addition, tents were set up adjacent to the hall for the delegates’ food and refreshments.)
The convention was called to order by Supreme Lodge President C. H. Chernosky, who welcomed the delegates and introduced Jan Gajevsky, delegate of Lodge Karel Jonas No. 28 in East Bernard. Brother Gajevsky also introduced the first president of the SPJST, I. J. Gallia.Â Steve Valcik and Josef Kopecky were nominated as convention chairman. Steve Valcik was elected convention chairman.
Jan Holecek, Josef Vytopil, Karel Laznovsky, Jan Stasa, Ferda Miculka, and Will Nesuda were nominated as convention secretaries. It was decided that the four who received the most votes would be declared secretaries and these were J an Holecek, Josef Vytopil, Karel Laznovsky, and Jan Stasa.
A motion was made and accepted that all those members from lodges attending the convention in a capacity other than a delegate and whose expenses are being paid by their local lodges have the right of deliberation, but not to vote. The same privilege was accorded members of the Supreme Lodge, unless they were elected delegates from their lodges; the same to apply to Editor Frank Moucka and to all organizers (sales representatives). The following members comprised the By-law Committee: J. R. Kubena, Frank Steiner, John Gajevsky, Josef Vesely, F. E. Hejl, Engelbert Jelinek, Josef Hornak, Josef Zemanek, and J. L. Kocurek. This committee was appointed prior to the convention.Â The Publication Committee, Grievance Committee, Sick Benefits Committee, and Resolution Committee had also been appointed prior to the convention.
President Chernosky then gave the president’s report in which he replied to those who had been critical of him and Secretary Kubena since the last convention in Ennis and gave his reasons for certain actions taken in the Supreme Lodge. He also pointed out the tremendous strides that the Society had made since the Houston and Temple Conventions despite the severe economic crisis of the Depression. His report covered several pages in the Convention Proceedings. His report was accepted in the same manner as other Supreme Lodge officers’ reports.
One hundred fifty-seven lodges were represented by 167 delegates, with 3 lodges not being represented.
Financial Secretary Edward L. Marek gave his report.
Treasurer J. N. Vavra gave his report as follows: Left-over funds on 1 July 1932 amounted to $1,979.59. Monies received from the secretary of the Supreme Lodge amounted to $72,786.34 for a total of $74,765.93. Disbursements amounted to $72,059.85, leaving a balance of $2,706.08.
The Auditing Committee rendered its report. Robert Cervenka, who rendered the report on behalf of the Auditing Committee, also stated that the Society should not buy too many bonds of one particular issue and too many bonds in one particular county, but rather, to invest more money in first-rate farm loans. He further recommended that the Supreme Lodge keep a precise record and entries of all mineral rights; that the 3-member trustee arrangement be replaced by a 5-member Auditing Committee, such committee to have full and complete authority to investigate and inspect all records and business of the Society, in much the same manner as the State Insurance Department in Austin; further that mortgage loans be made for a longer period of time, but that a set sum be collected each year; that the legal adviser would not charge a percentage for renewals on notes, but that he should be paid a “decent annual salary”. Another member of the Auditing Committee, Will Nesuda, made a report in which he pointed out how the members of that committee had divided the work involving the audit among themselves, each assigning himself a certain sector of work. He also pointed out that since the last convention more than one-third of the lodges had losses in membership (about 350 members), so that it took almost 2,000 new members to create the increase of 1,600 new members since the Ennis Convention; that the Juvenile Department in many lodges is being neglected; that there should be a more precise collection of interest and mortgage loan payments.
Steve Valcik, as a member of the Auditing Committee, rendered his report verbally and recommended that the Supreme Lodge institute a bookkeeping system for the lodges.
The Publication Committee rendered its report and stated that they had had to pass on “a number of ‘hot’ letters sent to them by the editor”. They expressed regret that the XIth Convention in Ennis had elected a Publication Committee but failed to set out guidelines or give directions to the committee and asked this convention to correct that oversight. They continued with their report, recommending pretty much what had previously been passed on, with the additions that the size of print for the Vestnik be ten point and on newsprint of the present quality, and that the editor not publish more than one letter from one lodge pertaining to the same subject.
A suggestion that two pages of English text be added to the Vestnik was protested and a lengthy debate ensued as to whether the organ should continue to be printed solely in Czech or English for the younger generation. The addition of English pages was defeated on a vote of 56 to 63. The motion was later made to reconsider the inclusion of English language pages, but it also failed on a vote of 241 against 220, which lacked the necessary two-thirds vote for reconsideration. There were suggestions to increase the size of the Vestnik to 24 pages and this was approved.
The salary for the secretaries was set at $4 a day, convention chairman at $25 a day, and the co-chairman declined any remuneration.
After the 3-member Trustee Committee rendered its report. Committee member J. H. Hurta recommended that the trustee arrangement be dismantled, since it is not practical under the new system. This was approved. (This marked the end of the Supreme Lodge trustees (dozorci vfJbor) which had been in effect since 1897.)
Later, the convention voted in favor of voluntary sick benefits, and that this matter be separately administered.
Bids for publishing the Vestnik were as follows: Messrs. Sulak and Tapal offered to print a 24-page Vestnik for $1 a year. Cechoslovak Publishing Company made the same bid for the same amount of pages. In the voting that followed the contract was awarded to Cechoslovak Publishing Company with 346 votes, with the Sulak-Tapal Company receiving 121.
The By-law Committee made its recommendations for amendments. Some of these still appear in our by-laws to this time and can be summarized as follows:
They recommended that neither the Supreme Lodge or any of its officers, its subordinate lodges, salesmen or agents, any officers or members have, nor may they assume, any rights or authority not expressly given by the by-laws; further that members of the Supreme Lodge are not eligible to serve on the By-law Committee, but may participate in the work of this committee in an advisory capacity; delegates to the convention are to be elected in the annual meeting in December or in the nearest meeting after that to serve in the period from one convention to the next; officers of the Supreme Lodge have the right to participate in convention debate, but do not have the right to vote unless they are delegates from the lodges that they represent. Local lodges can elect one representative to attend the convention as an observer but his expenses must be paid by his local lodge. Such representatives can participate in all debates, but cannot nominate or vote.
Further, the Supreme Lodge is to consist of a president, a vice president, secretary, financial secretary, treasurer, legal adviser, and a 3-member Finance Committee, all to be elected by the convention. (Note that one of the vice presidents was dropped,) The vice president is to assist the president in fulfilling his duties and obligations and act in his absence.
Local lodges were designated as independent units under the control of the Supreme Lodge and may adopt such rules and regulations as long as they do not conflict with the by-laws of the Society and convention decisions. Local lodge meetings were designated to take place at least once a month, and quarterly meetings in March, June, September, and December. Annual meetings were to take place every year in the month of December.
A new article prescribed that a lodge “Property Committee”, consisting of as many members as the lodge deems fit, look after and manage all properties of the lodge. Also, each lodge will have an Orphans Committee to look after orphans of members in the lodge. Every member is entitled to visit meetings of other lodges, but does not have the right to deliberate, unless called upon by the president of that lodge. No one member can hold membership in more than one lodge. AU requirements and obligations apply to female members, with the exception of having to attend lodge meetings.
A newly organized lodge is free to select its own name, except that it cannot select the name of a living person.
(The number designation was not mentioned, but left up to the Supreme Lodge. Until 1 January 1941, the Supreme Lodge assigned numbers of lodges that had disbanded to new lodges, resulting in some confusion. After that date the practice was discontinued and new numbers were assigned new lodges).
Another recommendation made was that a woman applicant for membership in a pregnant state must submit to a doctor’s examination after the birth of the child. It was left up to the individual lodges to extend death benefits to its members according to its means and local rules and regulations. Certificates offered by the Society and the various tables were left unchanged, however, one of the articles proposed left it up to the Supreme Lodge and the actuary to adjust mortuary premiums for those members engaged in hazardous occupations. A member suspended for non-payment of mortuary premiums could become a member again, provided that he paid all premiums and assessments due, plus one month in advance. He could become a member again without a doctor’s examination up to 12 months at his original age, but after that he must submit to a doctor’s examination at his own expense.
A new section was added pertaining to the duties of the Chief Medical Director. Generally speaking, his responsibility was to examine all documents and physical examinations of local lodge doctors, and if everything was in order he recommended that the Supreme Lodge issue a life insurance contract to that member. If the documents were not completed to his satisfaction, he had the authority to reject the application and return it to the Supreme Lodge, and at the same time, render a written report to the secretary of the local lodge. The rejection or acceptance of a member for a life insurance contract is up to the Chief Medical Examiner and his decision is final. No applicant could submit himself to an examination again until after six months had elapsed, and a person rejected twice could not be re-examined. He was also required to keep a complete record of all accepted and rejected members, date of the examination, name of the sales representative, name of local lodge doctor, and number of lodge to which the applicant wished to belong. The Chief Medical Examiner had complete control over all local lodge doctors and had the authority to reject their findings if he found them to be lax in their duties.
All elder members attaining the age of 75 who have been members of the Order for 35 years are entitled to a 50% discount in their mortuary premiums, but only so long as the solvency of the Society does not fall below 104%. The Supreme Lodge is authorized to pay the full face value of the policy to any member attaining the age of 80 on the advice and recommendation of the actuary, or to pay a certain amount to the member every year within the financial limitations of the policy.
A recommendation to employ a stenographer for the next convention failed, as did a recommendation that those members attaining the age of 75 would no longer have to pay mortuary premiums. Likewise, a proposal that those members who have been a member of the Society 35 years be no longer required to pay mortuary premiums failed.
Additional convention actions: In the event the solvency of the Society drops below 104%,the Supreme Lodge would have the authority to change the rate of interest on all financial transactions.
The sum of $100 was allocated toward the erection of a memorial marker for Augustin Haidusek. (Located on US 77, south of La Grange near the road to Hostyn).
A motion was passed that the convention recommend Method Pazdral as a member of the State Board of Pardons. Motion was also passed that Dr. Josef Kopecky be recommended as a member of the University Board of Regents.
The convention allocated $100 to the Czech Exhibit at the State Fair in Dallas.
The recommendation was made that the Supreme Lodge set aside a certain amount of money out of its financial resources to set up a Sick Benefit Fund. Five amounts were suggested, but no action was taken.
Juvenile Department: The table of mortuary premiums was changed to begin at the age of 1 through 5, to expire upon attaining age 16. (Previous minimum age was 2). The other by-laws pertaining to the Juvenile Department remained pretty much as they had been.
The salary of the president was recommended at amounts varying from $100 a month to $2,000 a year. A salary of $150 a month was finally approved.
A salary of $500 a year was recommended for the vice president, which was approved.
The salary recommended for the secretary ranged from $200 a month to $3,000 a year, with the result that the salary of $3,000 annually was approved.
A salary ranging from $150 a month to $250 a month was recommended for the financial secretary. $250 a month was approved.
A salary ranging from $100 a month to $500 a month was recommended for the treasurer. $200 a month was approved. The salary recommended for the legal adviser ranged from $1,000 annually to $1,500 annually. $1,000 a year was approved.
The editor’s salary was recommended ranging from $150 a month with $10 a month mileage allowance, to $200 a month. $200 a month was approved.
A remuneration of $5 a day plus mileage was recommended for the Auditing Committee and this was approved.
F. K. Bucek and C. H. Chernosky were nominated for the office of president. Before the votes were counted, F. K. Bucek withdrew and C. H. Chernosky was elected president by acclamation. Steve Valcik was nominated and elected vice president by acclamation.
J. R. Kubena was nominated and elected secretary by acclamation. Edward L. Marek was nominated and elected financial secretary by acclamation.
Frank Steiner, Will Nesuda, T. H. Skrabanek, and J. N. Vavra were nominated for treasurer.
F. B. Steiner was elected.
August Kacir was nominated and elected legal adviser by acclamation.
A. A. Lesikar, R. Prasatik, Will Nesuda, Robert Cervenka, Josef Syptak, Jr., and T. H. Skrabanek were nominated to the Auditing Committee. Josef Syptak withdrew from the nomination. The three getting the most votes and elected were Ray Prasatik, A. A. Lesikar, and Will Nesuda. Dr. Josef Kopecky was nominated and elected Chief Medical Examiner by acclamation.
Frank Moucka was nominated and elected editor of the Vestnik by acclamation.
Josef Hornak, Jan Holecek, and Josef Krusinsky were nominated and elected members of the Publication Committee by acclamation.
The following were elected to the By-law Committee by acclamation: Josef Zemanek, Frank V. Urbish, F. K. Bucek, F. E. Hejl, Josef Vytopil, Dr. Edward Micek, Ed Snapka, Engelbert Jelinek, and Josef Kalousek, with alternates being George Kacir, John Stasa, Josef Kocurek, and C. Adamek.
Chas. Navratil, Josef Zemanek, Joseph Holasek, F. R. Barton and John Toupal were elected to the Sick Benefit Committee. This committee is to work out a plan of sick benefits, with the help of the Supreme Lodge.
John Holecek, Frank Kadanka, and August Kacir were elected to a committee for drafting, codifying, and arranging the new by-laws, and Miss Marie Kalousek was to help this committee. The Supreme Lodge was also to see to it that the by-laws are translated into the English language.
A report was made that the convention expense so far had amounted to $6,306.39. The cities of Taylor and Corpus Christi were proposed as sites of the next convention. While the voting was going on, it was halted with the announcement that Corpus Christi yields to Taylor and Taylor was announced as the site of the next convention by acclamation.
A motion was made that Fayetteville remain the site of the Supreme Lodge, which was passed without any debate.
Former President 1. J. Gallia installed the newly-elected officers by means of a special oath administered by him.
The convention adjourned at 9 p.m. on August 7,1936.
Supreme Lodge 1932-36
Charles H. Chernosky 5th President
Lodge 25, Ennis known as “National Hall” is where the delegates met in 1932.
XIth Convention of the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas held August 2-5, 1932 in Ennis, Texas in the former lodge hall of Lodge 25 on Hwy 34 East, known communitywide as the “National Hall”.
(The convention was held in the lodge home of SPJST Lodge No. 25 (locally known as the “National Hall”) located just off Hwy 34 approximately 3 miles east of Ennis and just off Hwy 34. That building burned during the early morning hours of July 4th, 1970 and was later replaced by a new structure on Hwy 34 approximately 2 miles toward the west and the city of Ennis.)
The opening and welcoming address was given by Josef Hejny, president of Lodge 25. T. H. Skrabanek introduced the Mayor of Ennis, George Tidwell, who welcomed the delegates. President of the Supreme Lodge C. H. Chernosky responded to the mayor.
President Chernosky appointed a 3-member Credentials Committee, which later reported that 148 lodges were represented by 152 delegates.
Dr. Josef Kopecky, Frank Ancinec, J. H. Hurta, and Josef Dusek, Jr., were nominated as convention chairman. After a run-off election, Dr. Kopecky was elected convention chairman. Josef Krusinsky, Frank Ancinec, Josef Dusek, Jr., and Otto Stehlik were nominated as convention vice chairman. Otto Stehlik declined. After a run-off election, Josef Dusek, Jr., was elected convention vice chairman. Robert Cervenka, F. K. Bucek, Will A. Nesuda, and John Holecek were nominated and elected as convention secretaries by acclamation.
The chairman and vice chairman appointed the usual committees, By-law Committee to consist of 15 members, all others, 5 and 7.
The committee on convention order and procedure rendered its report, among which was the provision that the only acceptable excuse for a delegate not being present is illness and that no delegate had the right to leave the convention hall without permission. A proposal was made to amend the committee’s recommendation to allow up to 15 minutes to discuss a matter before the delegates, but this effort was defeated. There was also an effort to have all committees elected by the convention delegates, but this failed. On explanation by August Kacir, the provision about being excused only in the case of illness was deleted.
The following were named to the By-law Committee: August Kacir, J. H. Hurta, Josef O. Dusek, Tom Hosek, C. H. Chernosky, J. R. Kubena, A. L. Trojacek, W. F. Rubac, Tom Prikyl, Frank Holub, Edward L. Marek, J. J. Frnka, Josef Mikeska, Tom Drozda, and F. E. Hejl.
Motion was made and passed that the delegates receive remuneration in the amount of $3 a day and 5 cents: a mile for travel from their home to the railroad station. This was later amended to 4 cents a mile for the first 10 miles and 4 cents a mile for the return trip home.
The actuary, Mr. Werkenthin, was called upon for his report. He recommended a new 15 and 10- Year Term policy for adults and 15 and 20-Year Endowment policy for adults, and a 18 and 20- Year Endowment policy for juveniles. Considerable discussion followed. (Later on in the Proceedings and By-laws published from this convention, the convention did accept Mr. Werkenthin’s recommendations and instituted a 20-Year Pay, a 15-Year Pay, a 10-Year Pay, 20- Year Endowment and 10-Year Endowment Plans, outlined in Tables A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, respectively.) Mr. Werkenthin was requested to give his opinion about reduced premium payments for older members. He recommended that a discount be given to those 75 years old and have been members of the SPJST for 35 years, provided that the solvency of the Society does not fall below 102% or 1012%. Under further questioning, Mr. Werkenthin said that it would be possible to use 10% of the net gain in assets and 35% of the first premium payments for payment of sick benefits, so long as the organizer (sales representative) did not receive more than 65% of the first premium payment.
The secretary of the Supreme Lodge rendered his report and reported that in the period from 1 July 1928 to 30 June 1932 three lodges had disbanded, for a current total of 148 lodges. He also reported that since the last convention the Order gained 1,454 new members for an increase of 12,326. Subtract from this figure the amount of terminations and this leaves a current total net membership of 10,739.
The Juvenile Department consists of 572 certificates as of 30 June 1932. From the 1st of July 1928 to 30 June 1932 the sum of $619,124.62 was paid into the Mortuary Fund by the members, and benefits were paid out in the amount of $377,131.20. Surplus fund amounted to $241,939.42. Assets of the Order amounted to $2,502,976.72. After subtracting the benefits to minors, this left the net assets in the amount of $2,465,916.23, for a net gain since the previous convention of $626,496.02. Unadmitted assets amounted to $33,020.25. Juvenile Department assets amounted to $3,911.37. The solvency as of 30 December 1931 was 105.51%, and the mortality in relation to expected mortality of 100% amounted to 64% in 1928 and 86% in 1931.
Supreme Lodge Treasurer J. N. Vavra rendered his report. Left over from previous Supreme Lodge Treasurer J. J. Frnka was $858.76. Deposited from the secretary of the Supreme Lodge were funds in the amount of $62,538.14, for a total of $63,969.90. Disbursements amounted to $61,417.21, leaving a balance of $1,979.79.
J. H. Hurta reported on behalf of the trustees, stating that his report was the same as, and coincided with, the report of the secretary of the Supreme Lodge.
Robert Cervenka reported for the Auditing Committee (Ucetni vybor) and stated that they had fulfilled their responsibilities.
Steve Valcik, as a member of the Auditing Committee, submitted quite a lengthy and detailed report. He made a number of recommendations and proposals aimed at streamlining the bookkeeping in the Supreme Lodge, along with a more precise and detailed accounting of funds, real estate loans, assets, purchase of bonds, etc. He also reminded the delegates that a thorough review of the Juvenile Department is in order because some of the insurance certificates in that department are not recorded in the Supreme Lodge, even though they had been mailing their payments regularly and were received in the Supreme Lodge. He recommended a new form of bookkeeping for local lodge financial secretaries, and he also reminded the convention that the Society does not have a complete listing or record of its members. Most importantly, he recommended the new position of financial secretary in the Supreme Lodge, to be filled by a competent and dependable individual who would proceed immediately to institute a reliable accounting and bookkeeping system. He ended with the statement: “I wish my successor much success.”
Valcik’s report was transmitted to the By-law Committee to be studied and for possible incorporation into their recommendations.
The Publication Committee then made its report and among other things, recommended the following:
1) That the official organ be published once a week in the present format containing at least 12 pages of reading material.
2) That the contents of the organ be arranged as follows:
A. Current news articles
B. Letters from members
C. Items of interest to women and children
D. Editorials, not to exceed one page in length
E. Reports from the Supreme Lodge
F. Lighthearted or entertaining articles
G. Directory of lodges to be published once a month
H. Excerpts from Czech history and histories of lodges and news of deserving brothers and sisters of the SPJST
3) That every issue contain Czech lessons for the youngsters in the Youth Section.
4) The acceptance of advertising in good taste.
5) In order to gain new younger members into the Juvenile Department that children’s games, poems and other entertaining articles appear from time to time.
6) Additionally, that the Supreme Lodge send reprints of children’s games, poems and similar material of interest to young people to the lodges at no cost and at their request.
7) The editor is to live at the place where the organ is published.
8) That a 3-member Publication Committee be elected by the convention and this committee will decide on objectionable or questionable articles.
The motion was subsequently made that the Vestnik be published every Wednesday and that the directory of lodges include the dates that lodge meetings are held. All the recommendations, with the additions, were later accepted.
In their report, the By-law Committee adhered mostly to previous precedents. Among them: That the president and vice president of the Supreme Lodge name a 9-member committee of delegates who will assemble two days before the convention and make their recommendations for amendments to the bylaws; also, a 3-member Finance Committee to meet one day before the convention to go over the books during the convention; regarding the ratio of delegates to lodge membership, it was recommended that delegates’ credentials be signed and attested to by the president and the secretary of the local lodge, one copy of which was to be sent to the secretary of the Supreme Lodge and the other brought to the convention by the delegate. An effort to compel lodges with less than 25 members to merge and send one delegate to the convention was defeated, as was a proposal to require every delegate to attend local lodge meetings.
One of the recommendations of the By-law Committee was to institute the offices of a 1st and 2nd vice president and assistant secretary. The positions of the two vice presidents passed, but a motion was made and passed that instead of an assistant secretary that there be a financial secretary; in the event of death, resignation or incapacity of any officer of the Supreme Lodge, such position will be filled by the Supreme Lodge president, with the consent of 2/3rds of the members of the Supreme Lodge; that the Supreme Lodge is to meet quarterly and all members are to be present, with the exception of the members of the Bond & Surety Committee, but these could be summoned by the president; the two vice presidents are to assist the president in the fulfillment of his obligations and represent him in the event of his absence; the duties of the new office of financial secretary assigned him the responsibility for the correct accounting of all monies and funds of the Order, receives all monthly reports, accounts, and documents, enters all income and expense, as well as all property held by the Order, and submits all of his records to the Auditing Committee for their inspection; further, he receives bank deposits and receipts from the secretary and sends receipts to the proper individuals. He submits a report at the end of the year and sends it to the State Insurance Commissioner; he also publishes his report monthly in the official organ concerning income and expense on a form approved by the Supreme Lodge and he reminds lodges of their obligations if they do not fulfill them by the 25th of each month.
The responsibility of the Bond & Surety Committee is to examine the books, documents, and all records of property every six months according to the By-laws in the following manner: The first trustee elected in the convention fulfills this function for the first six months of the year, the second one elected for the next six months, and the third elected for the third six months, and continuing in this fashion until the next convention.
In their recommendations concerning the organization, structure and administration of local lodges there were very few changes, except the duties of the local lodge financial secretary were outlined to conform with the duties of the Supreme Lodge financial secretary, to whom he is chiefly responsible. The matter of not allowing political, pro or anti-religious discussions in lodge meetings was reaffirmed. No lodge could disband as long as there were six members in favor of its continued existence. A new member, after his acceptance in the local lodge, was obliged to appear for initiation no later than the third regular meeting and should he fail to do so his acceptance was to be cancelled. An applicant for membership also had to sign a statement whereby he would forfeit a certain amount of his mortuary benefits in the event he committed suicide, or died as a result of excessive use of alcohol, drugs, and similar items to the degree that they would adversely affect his health, or if he should die as the result of a duel or any voluntary act. In such cases, benefits would be payable as follows: 1/4th of the face value within the first year, 1/2 up to 2 years, 3/4ths up to 3 years, and after 3 years, the full face value. The ages and amounts of insurance underwritten by the Order were left as previously designated.
Juvenile Department: The schedule of payments and benefits at given ages remained the same in this department, and the option to convert the policy upon reaching age 16 remained intact. Restrictions on the use of funds from payments into this department were reaffirmed, but a new provision was added that stipulated that any young person reaching the age of 16 and converting his policy would be paid a bonus of 25% of all premiums paid in on their policy and that such amount would be paid to the local lodge as a down payment on future mortuary premiums of that individual. This applied to those reaching age 16 on or before December 1932.
J. R. Kubena, in rendering his report for the By-law Committee, recommended that the exact wording of the responsibilities of the various offices and officers be left up to the new Supreme Lodge, who would have the authority to change these responsibilities in the event of necessity. The new administration, By-laws, and Proceedings of this convention would become effective 1 January 1933. This recommendation was accepted.
A recommendation was made and accepted that, for the first time, the certificates of members be printed in English as well as Czech, and that they include the date of the member’s acceptance into the Order.
A motion to dispense with the office of treasurer of the Supreme Lodge was defeated.
All By-law Committee recommendations were then accepted under one motion, which passed overwhelmingly. The Resolution Committee presented its usual acknowledgements, thanks, and recognition to the various individuals and lodges responsible for the success of this convention. They also presented an item, No. 10, as follows: “Since we were handed a resolution whose objective was the merging of the Western Bohemian Fraternal Association with the SPJST, and since this resolution was signed by a number of our members, we recommended that this be decided by the delegates to this convention.” The matter was then briefly discussed and tabled.
Secretaries of the convention are to receive $5 a day. The Sick Benefit Fund recommended the following:
1) That 10% of the net gain at the end of the year, minus all expenses, be placed into the Sick Benefit Fund.
2) That members contribute 3¢ a month on a regular basis to this fund;
3) That 35% of the bonus for writing up a new member be put into this fund.
They further recommended that sick benefit funds be dispensed as follows: $1 a day up to 90 days in the event of care in the home, and $2 a day for the same period in the event of hospital confinement during any calendar year. No payments to be made for the first week for house care. Proof of illness would have to be provided by a doctor’s statement, approved by the local lodge membership, signed by the lodge president and certified by the lodge secretary, and delivered to the secretary of the Supreme Lodge, whereupon the Sick Benefit Committee would see to it that the funds would be paid to the proper individual. A motion was subsequently made to table the report of the Sick Benefit Committee by vote of 86 delegates for tabling and 38 against, which translated into 245 votes for tabling and 150 votes against tabling. (With this action, it appeared that the Sick Benefit Fund and the entire structure of sick benefits died a silent death. In the Supreme Lodge meeting of 1 January 1930 Actuary Werkenthin had recommended the discontinuance of sick benefits to members because ” … the Order would be hurt by it”, and it was thus agreed not to support this any further in this convention.
The Cechoslovak Publishing Company, represented by its secretary, Joseph F. Holasek, submitted its bid for the publication of the Vestnik at a cost of 65¢ per issue.
The Vestnik Publishing Company submitted its bid for the publication of the Vestnik at a cost of 70¢ per issue, and called attention to the fact that they had been faithfully serving the membership of the SPJST for 16 years. That bid was submitted by Joseph Tapal.
In discussing which of the two bids was cheaper, 238 votes were cast in favor of the lower bid, and 142 against, whereby the Cechoslovak Publishing Company was awarded the bid to publish the Vestnik.
The salary of the Supreme Lodge president was set at $500 a year; $200 a month for the secretary; $200 a month for the financial secretary; $100 a year for the treasurer; legal adviser, $250 a year.
The Auditing Committee and trustees’ salaries were set at $5 a day when working for the Society; editor, $100 a month.
C. H. Chernosky was elected president by acclamation.
Dr. Josef Kopecky, J. L. Kocurek, Eng.
Jelinek, Karel Laznovsky, Josef Dusek, Jr., Josef Mikeska, and Tom Dusek were nominated as vice presidents. Josef Dusek and Dr. Kopecky declined nomination. Voting then took place with the understanding that the two receiving the highest votes would be elected as first and second vice presidents, respectively. Josef Mikeska and Eng. Jelinek were elected first and second vice presidents, respectively.
J. R. Kubena and Edward L. Marek were nominated for secretary. J. R. Kubena was elected secretary after Edward L. Marek declined.Â Edward L. Marek and Will Nesuda were nominated as financial secretary of the Supreme Lodge. Will Nesuda withdrew in favor of Edward L. Marek, who was then elected by acclamation.
Robert Cervenka, Josef N. Vavra, and F. K. Bucek were nominated for treasurer. After a run-off election between Cervenka and Vavra, Vavra was elected treasurer.
August Kacir, John G. Bubak and Chas. Rutta were nominated as legal adviser. Kacir received a majority of the votes and was elected.
Frank Moucka and Josef Tapal were nominated as editor. Tapal declined in favor of Frank Moucka, whereupon Moucka was elected editor by acclamation.
Auditing Committee: Josef Siptak, F. K. Bucek, J. J. Frnka, Robert Cervenka, F. Maly, A. A. Urbis, Steve Valcik, Chas. Navratil, and Will A. Nesuda were nominated. Nesuda and Cervenka were declared elected since they received the two highest numbers of votes, and in a run-off between Bucek and Valcik, Valcik was elected as the third member of the Auditing Committee (ucetni vybor).
Trustees (dozorci vybor): J. H. Hurta, Frank Ancinec, F. J. Marek, Joe L. Kocurek, John Sulda, F. A. Bezecny, and Tom H. Skrabanek were nominated. J. H. Hurta was elected because he received the most votes. In a run-off election, Ancinec and Skrabanek were elected the other two trustees.
Publication Committee. John Gajevsky, Karel Laznovsky, and Josef Krusinsky were nominated and elected by acclamation as members of the Publication Committee.
The cities of East Bernard, Corpus Christi, Ennis, and Hallettsville were all proposed as sites for the next convention. Corpus Christi and Ennis withdrew in favor of East Bernard, which was then selected as the site of the XIIth Convention in 1936. A motion was made that a copy of the Convention Proceedings be sent to each delegate, as well as a copy to each lodge.
In answer to the question about where the Supreme Lodge was going to be located, a motion was made that the Supreme Lodge would be located in the same location where the secretary of the Supreme Lodge resides. This was accepted.
Dr. Kopecky installed the new officers, and the convention adjourned at 8 p.m. on August 5th.
Supreme Lodge 1928-32
Temple High School in downtown Temple, site of the 10th Convention in 1928.
Xth Convention of the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas held 31 July through 2 August 1928 in Temple, Texas.
(The convention was held in what used to be the Temple High School situated between North 3rd and North 1st Streets between Elm and Downs. It is significant to note that this site is across the street and a half block away from the location of the present SPJST Home Office. The building was demolished in the mid ’60s. The convention was held in the auditorium in the east wing of the building.)
The opening welcoming address was given by J. H. Hurta, president of Lodge 47, who introduced Temple Mayor Lem Burr. This convention was hosted by Lodges 24 Cyclone, 47 Seaton, 86 and 87 Temple.
The president of the Supreme Lodge appointed a 3-member Credentials Committee, which reported that 149 lodges were represented by 167 delegates.
Engelbert Jelinek, Method Pazdral, J. M. Vavra, J. H. Hurta, C. H. Chernosky and Frank Ancinec were nominated to be convention chairmen. Pazdral and Chernosky declined. After a run-off election, Engelbert Jelinek was elected convention chairman and J. M. Vavra vice chairman.
Robert Cervenka, Stepan Valcik, F. K. Bucek and W. J. Rezek were nominated as convention secretaries, and on motion adopted, the first two nominated were elected convention secretaries and the latter two as assistants.
Frank Mozola was elected guide for the period of the convention by acdamation.
The usual committees were appointed, the By-law Committee to consist of 15 members, and all others 5 and 7.
Each delegate had the right to name his alternate. A motion to extend the time permitted for each delegate to talk to 10 minutes was defeated.
The Supreme Lodge Secretary reported that 8 new lodges had been accepted into the SPJST since the last convention for a total of 150; with 1 lodge having disbanded, leaving a total of 149 lodges as of 30 June 1928. Since the last convention 1,126 new members were accepted into the SPJST for a total of 11,667. During the same period a total of 795 were terminated, leaving a total of 10,872 members.
A total of $574,541.58 was remitted to the Supreme Lodge in mortuary premiums. Mortuary benefits were paid out for the same period in the amount of $273,723.87. Interest earned amounted to $306,712.91. Assets of the SPJST amounted to $1,853,893.90, and liabilities were listed in the same amount.
The following was reported as the solvency of the SPJST from the year 1916:
31 December 1916 75.77%
31 December 1917 76.08%
31 December 1918 76.46%
31 December 1919 75.88%
31 December 1920 89.44%
31 December 1921 91.60%
31 December 1922 86.72%
31 December 1923 86.33%
31 December 1924 96.20%
31 December 1925 97.44%
31 December 1926 98.90%
31 December 1927 100.50%
The mortality experience was given for the past several years as follows:
It was announced that among those who had deceased since the last convention were two members of the Supreme Lodge, Engelbert Pollach and Frank Stefka.
(Note: In the Proceedings of this convention the terms “Hlavna Rad” and “Hlavni Uradovna” are used interchangeably; the term “Executive Committee” (Vykonny Vybor) is also used in the By-laws after this convention, whose composition was, in fact, the same as the Supreme Lodge or “Hlavni Rad” or “Hlavni Uradovna”. The term “Vykonny Vybor” had been used in years past.)
By-law recommendations and changes were as follows:
The mortuary benefits remained as before, with the addition of policies in the amounts of $4,000 and $5,000. The $5,000 policy was available to members ages 20 through 45; $3,000 from 16 to 50 years; and $1,000 from 16 to 55. Members desiring insurance in excess of $3,000 must submit to a medical examination; any member could change their beneficiary designation by submitting the request to the Supreme Lodge and upon payment of a 25<1: fee. In the event that a policy is lost, another one would be issued for the same fee, the funds from these services going into the treasury of the Supreme Lodge; in the event a member neglected to change his beneficiary upon marrying, one-half of the proceeds of his certificate are to be paid to the wife (or to the husband) and one-half to the children; mortuary premiums on a $250 policy were designated as being one-half of that paid on a $500 policy; one-half of a $1,000 policy for a $500 policy; rates for $2,000 policy to be twice that of what was due on $1,000 policy, three times that for a $3,000 policy, four times that for a $4,000 policy, and five times that for a $5,000 policy; the interest rate on certificate loans was increased from 5% to 6% per annum, payable in advance, according to the applicable table; the value of city property was raised from 40% to 50%, and the maximum amount that could be loaned to anyone member was raised from $12,000 to $50,000; new article: That the Supreme Lodge has the authority to inaugurate new plans of insurance according to need, and that the Supreme Lodge is also authorized to set the remuneration for those writing up new members and to appoint members to a Membership Committee; in the organization of new lodges, the minimum number of new applicants required was raised from 6 to 7; a new article recommended the inauguration of double indemnity coverage, which was made available at the rate of 15¢ a month per thousand dollars of coverage and which was to end the date the policy was paid up; the overall maximum insurance coverage for one member could not exceed $5,000; new article and new department – The Bylaw Committee recommended the creation of a Juvenile Department for the insuring of children. The stated purpose was: “To insure children from 2 years to 16 according to the table and articles contained in the By-laws.” (Maximum coverage, $500). The request for such coverage had to be submitted on a special form along with one month’s premium, which would be returned to the applicant in the event the application was rejected. The monthly premium sent in would be for the current month in which the certificate takes force, and additional premium payments are payable in advance on the first of each month. The applicant must report with the child and one member of the lodge to a local physician for a physical examination. The cost of such examination was borne by the applicant (parent or guardian). The physician was to send his completed form to the secretary of the Supreme Lodge, who, upon ascertaining the good health of the child, issues a certificate in accordance with the laws of the State. A special table of premium payments was set up for the Juvenile Department. This table showed that monthly payments of 20<1: applied from ages 2 through 9, and 30<1: per month for ages 10 through 15. Mortuary benefits were graduated from $34 at age 2 to $500 commencing with the 13th year. Upon reaching age 16, the certificate expires and is convertible to another and larger policy. In the event of an increase in the face value of the new certificate after age 16, the applicant must submit to a physical examination, however, the Order could convert the child’s insurance once he reached 16 into the Adult Department, and assess premiums accordingly. The coverage further provides for suspension after 30 days of non-payment of premiums, and reinstatement up to 90 days, provided that proof of insurability was given. After 90 days of no action, the certificate automatically lapsed, and the member could only be reinstated with the issuance of a new certificate. In converting his Juvenile Certificate after age 16, the insured had the full right to designate a beneficiary(ies), In the event that the purchaser (parent) of a juvenile certificate died, the certificate could remain in force, provided that another individual responsible for the support and care of the child assumes payment of the premiums. All mortuary premiums collected from such certificates will be placed into the Juvenile Benevolent Fund, and together with interest earned thereon, will form the fund from which mortuary benefits will be paid on such certificates, and this fund can in no case be used for any other purpose. Monies from other funds in the Order may not be used for the payment of mortuary benefits in the case of juvenile deaths. This Juvenile Fund is to be under the full control of the Supreme Lodge, which must maintain this fund as a separate and special fund, independent of other funds of the Society.
All of the recommendations by the By-law Committee regarding the new Juvenile Department passed by vote of all delegates, except four who were not present.
Remuneration to convention delegates was set at $5 per day; convention secretaries, $5 a day.
A motion was made that the Publication Committee be abolished, but it failed, whereupon the Publication Committee made their report as follows: Bids for publishing the official organ are to be submitted on a sealed bid basis and that the successful bid will be awarded by the convention to a Czech language publisher in Texas under the most favorable terms to the Order; unwarranted criticism (bezduvodna kritika) must first be submitted to the Publication Committee before it is published in the official organ; that the Publication Committee consist of three members elected in the convention, and this committee is to be sent the questionable articles by the editor for a decision. The personal surety bond for the editor was raised to $1,000.
The Vestnik Publishing Company submitted its bid of 80¢; per year per member; Cechoslovak Publishing Company, 70¢; Josef Hejl in Rosenberg, 80¢; and Texan, 80 cents. The vote showed that the convention awarded the publication of the official organ to the Vestnik Publishing Company by a very comfortable margin.
A discussion followed about the sick benefits to members, and it was finally decided the Supreme Lodge was to work out a table of payments and benefits within one year.
Speeches were made in favor of supporting Czech instruction at the University of Texas, which were favorably received.
In their report, the Resolution Committee rendered thanks to the Mayor of Temple; tribute to the deceased members of the Order; that the proper thanks and recognition be expressed to the officers of the Supreme Lodge for their fine work the past four years; thanks expressed also to the Temple Daily Telegram for their interest and publication of news about the convention; to Professor Eduard Micek for his work at the University of Texas in favor of and in support of the Czech language and his work throughout Texas and that he be subsidized in his teaching position at the University of Texas by an amount up to $3,000 a year, and that the University be requested to raise his rank from instructor to professor; and that the Supreme Lodge support the Czech Club (Klub Cechiel at the University of Texas in Austin and support all of the lodges that are endeavoring to support summer Czech courses in the various towns, financially and morally. Thanks were also expressed to Lodges 24, 47, 86 and 87 for their efforts in hosting this convention.
The Convention Committee announced that the expenses with this convention amounted to $5,451.72, to which the amount of $600 allocated for the support of needy members was added, making a total of $6,051.72.
In setting the salaries for the officers of the Supreme Lodge, they were left the same, except that the president’s remuneration was raised to $500 a year.
C. H. Chernosky was elected president of the Supreme Lodge by acclamation.
Engelbert Jelinek, F.A. Bezecny, Josef Mikeska, J. N. Vavra, and J. H. Hurta were nominated for vice president. In a run-off election Engelbert Jelinek was elected.
J.R. Kubena was elected secretary by acclamation.
J.J. Frnka and J. N. Vavra were nominated for treasurer, with Vavra being elected. August Kacir, Method Pazdral and J.V. Frnka were nominated for Legal Adviser, with August Kacir being elected. Josef Tapal and J. R. Anton were nominated as editors, with Tapal being elected. Robert Cervenka, Steve Valcik, Tom Syptak, F. K. Bucek, F. V. Urbish, Albert Psencik, Ed Batla, and Tom Hosek were nominated to the Auditing Committee of the Supreme Lodge. Robert Cervenka, Steve Valcik and Tom Syptak were elected. F. J. Marek, F. V. Urbish, Tom Drozda, F. K. Bucek, Frank Ancinec, J. H. Hurta and J. J. J aresh were nominated to the Trustee Committee. J. H. Hurta, F. J. Marek and Frank Ancinec were elected.
Jan Gajevsky, Vavrin Drobil and Albert Psencik were elected to the Publication Committee.
Motion was duly passed that the Supreme Lodge be authorized to hire additional help for the secretary.
The towns of Galveston, Ennis, Corpus Christi, and Temple were suggested as the site of the next convention, with Ennis receiving a majority of the votes.
Josef Dusek, Jr., installed the new officers into their positions and the convention was adjourned at 7:20 p.m. on Thursday, 2 August 1928.
Supreme Lodge 1924-28
J.J Frnka (Treasurer)
Charles H. Chernosky 5th President
August Kacir (Legal Adviser)
IXth Convention of the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas held 28 through 31 July 1924 in the City Auditorium in downtown Houston, Texas.
Houston Mayor H. A. Haverton welcomed the delegates on behalf of the City of Houston and Method Pazdral responded.
Supreme Lodge President Josef Dusek, Jr., greeted the delegation and named Engelbert Jelinek, Vaclav Paul and F. A. Bezecny to the Credentials Committee. This committee later reported all delegates present, except that a few delegates could not furnish the proper credentials.
Tom Drozda, J. No Vavra and Method Pazdral were nominated for convention chairman. Method Pazdral was elected after a secret ballot. This was the third time for him to serve in this capacity. One hundred fifty-five delegates represented 144 lodges. (From the delegate listing to this convention it is interesting to note that J. R Kubena was a delegate from Lodge No. 1 Fayetteville and also from Lodge 134 Crowell. This was apparently permitted. He was apparently allowed to represent Lodge 134 in the absence of the regular delegate, and that lodge may have asked him to represent their lodge with their (1) vote. Another lodge was not represented in the listing, Lodge No. 118, but apparently there had been no request or provision for any other delegate to represent them with their vote.)
J. No Vavra was elected vice chairman of the convention by acclamation.
Robert Cervenka, Vaclav Paul, F. K Bucek, and Frank Moucka were nominated as convention secretaries. The delegates decided to name the first two as permanent secretaries, the last two as assistant secretaries.
Jan Mozola was elected as guide. The committee on Convention Order made its recommendations, which were pretty much in keeping with those that had been passed in the previous convention.
The By-law Committee consisted of 17 members, two of whom were Supreme Lodge officers and one Supreme Lodge trustee. The committee on Convention Order had recommended that the By-law Committee consist of 13 members, but a motion was made off the floor that this be expanded to 17 and it was accepted. The rest of the committees were appointed by the chairman and co-chairman of the convention and consisted of five members, with the exception of the Publication Committee, which was recommended to consist of seven.
The secretary of the Supreme Lodge reported that during the period from 1 July 1920 to 30 June 1924, two new lodges were accepted into the Society, making a total of 146, with four lodges having been disbanded, leaving a current total of 142 lodges. (Note: The listing of delegates in the Convention Proceedings of this convention clearly shows the consecutive listing of 144 lodges. Kubena, in his report, states that the current total of lodges as of this convention stands at 142. No explanation is given for this discrepancy.)
During the same intervening period, the Society grew by 1,446 new members, making a total of 11,480. Subtracting the total number of terminations, the total current membership stood at 10,541.
In the same intervening period $235,801.24 has been disbursed in mortuary benefits.
The Publication Committee made its recommendations, which were largely the same as had been made before, with the added stipulation that the editor reside in the place where the organ is published and that the amount of his personal bond be set by the convention, and that any type of controversial or critical material must be first submitted to the Publication Committee for their action; further that the Publication Committee again consist of three members, to whom the editor is to send questionable letters and articles and whose disposition shaH be decided by the Publication Committee.
Deletion of the requirement that new members be conversant in the Slavic language or be of Slavic descent with the amendment that as long as the husband or the wife is conversant in the Slavic language, both may become members. (The requirement about being of Slavic extraction was thus deleted.); the application fee and lodge dues were to be determined by the individual lodges, but in no case could lodge dues exceed 10¢ a month; an applicant for membership must be a citizen of the United States, or declare his intention of becoming a citizen; loans could be made on city property after a thorough investigation by the Supreme Lodge, not to exceed 40% of the appraised value. (In this last change we note the use in Czech, for the first time, of the term “Hlavni Uradovna” – literally, Main Administrative Office. Up to this time the term “Hlavni Rad”, ”Main Lodge “, was used in all references to the Main Administrative offices.) Throughout the printed by-laws of the IXth Convention, however, there are repeated references to “Hlavni Rad” and only a few references to “Hlavni Uradovna”.
A new article was added that provided that in the event the Society had to repossess property to satisfy a mortgage, the Supreme Lodge would be required to sell such property and announce the sale in the official organ at least 30 days before the sale; the expenses connected with each mortgage loan will be paid by the applicant in the amount of 2% of the amount applied for;Â in the organization of new lodges, the request should be signed by at least 10 persons of good character of the Caucasian race; there must be at least six applicants for membership; the minimum amount of insurance coverage was changed to $500, $1,000, $2,000, and $3,000. Those up to age 40 could purchase $3,000 in coverage, to age 45 years, $2,000; to age 50, $1,000; and to age 55, $500; no lodge may disband as long as there are six members for continuing its existence; new article – a member who wishes to pay his mortuary premiums a year in advance may do so at a discount of 5% and the local lodge must remit such premium immediately to the Supreme Lodge; mortuary payments are to be paid by every member accepted before 1 January 1925 in accordance with an amount set forth in Table “A” according to the age of the member as cited in his certificate; those admitted after 1 January 1925, will make mortuary payments in accordance with either Table “B” (Ordinary Life) or according to Table “C” (20-Year Pay) and according to the age of the member upon admission as cited in his certificate. Mortuary premiums are to be paid monthly to the local lodge.
Those members who have been members for three consecutive years may apply to the secretary of the Supreme Lodge for a loan in the amount necessary to pay mortuary payments, with the stipulation that the amount borrowed be adequate through the end of the calendar year, including the interest at 5% per annum. Such amount borrowed will be charged against the proceeds of the certificate in the event of the member’s death, and can be repaid at any time. In the event that the total indebtedness exceeds the face value of the certificate the secretary of the Supreme Lodge is to let the member know immediately. The member is then to immediately start paying interest on the indebtedness owed to the Society, in addition to his regular mortuary payments, and failure to do so will result in the cancellation of his certificate and membership.
By-laws passed by unanimous consent go into effect on 1 January 1925.
In their report, the Board of Trustees reported that the assets of the SPJST stand at $1,242,024.05.
A telegram was read from the City of Taylor outlining the advantages of Taylor being selected as the site of the next convention. Temple area lodges sent a letter in the same vein outlining the advantages of the next convention being held in Temple.
A tribute was paid by the entire delegation to those delegates who had served in the Armed Forces in World War I, and the parents of two members who had made the supreme sacrifice, Mojmir Vita and J. J. Mikeska. There were 32 delegates whose sons had served with Uncle Sam in the World War. It was decided to publish all their pictures in the official organ. (The records show that 23 members of the Society made the supreme sacrifice in that war. See Chapter XVI). It was decided to photograph the delegates to the convention at 6 p.m.
Delegates’ remuneration was set at $5 a day. A discussion was held about what to do with the $650 collected since the last convention for the Legionnaires who fought on the side of the Allies, and it was decided that the Houston lodges, working with the Supreme Lodge, be authorized to decide what to do with the $650 collected.
A motion to create an Orphans’ Fund failed.
A motion was made to elect a Chief Medical Director, but it failed.
The convention donated $50 to the Council of Higher Education (Matice Vyssiho Vzdelani), and $100 was contributed to the Wilson Memorial Fund (apparently in tribute to Woodrow Wilson).
The convention donated $50 to a monument to Sam Houston to be erected in Houston.
The cities of Temple, Taylor, and Ennis were suggested as sites for the coming convention. Taylor and Ennis withdrew in favor of Temple, making it the site of the next convention in four years.
Bids for publishing the official organ were opened from the Texan Publishing Company, Cechoslovak Publishing Company in West, Mrs. Vala (no first name given), and Vestnik Publishing Company. Texan offered to publish the organ for $1.25 per issue up to 5,000 issues and $1 for every issue over that amount. Mrs. Vala put in a bid of 80¢: per issue without an editor and $1 per issue with an editor. Cechoslovak Publishing Company bid 95¢ per issue. Vestnik Publishing Company submitted a bid for 80 cents per issue. In the voting, 12 votes were cast for Texan, 18 for Cechoslovak, 112 for Mrs. Vala, and 263 for Vestnik Publishing Company, so the publication of the organ was awarded to the Vestnik Publishing Company.
Salary for the president of the Supreme Lodge was set at $250 annually; secretary, $250 a month; treasurer, $150 a year; legal adviser annual honorarium of $500; editor, $125 a month; Supreme Lodge auditors and trustees, $5 a day.
C. H. Chernosky, Josef Mikeska, F. J. Marek, Josef Dusek, Jr., Frank Ancinec, J. N. Vavra, Engelbert Jelinek and F. A. Bezecny were nominated for president of the Supreme Lodge. Brothers Dusek, Jehnek, Marek, and Ancinec withdrew. Midway through the tabulation of the votes, a motion was made that C. H. Chernosky be elected president by acclamation. A standing ovation was given Bro. Dusek for having served so long.
Engelbert Jelinek, Josef N. Vavra, F. A. Bezecny, Frank Ancinec, and Josef Mikeska were nominated for vice president. After’ a very close run-off election between Vavra and Mikeska, Josef Mikeska was elected vice president.
J. R. Kubena, Stepan Valcik, Robert Cervenka, and F. K. Bucek were nominated as secretary. Cervenka and Bucek withdrew in favor of Kubena, as did Stepan Valcik. Brother J. R. Kubena was then elected by acclamation.
J.J. Frnka, F. J. Marek, Frank Bucek, Tom Drozda, and J. N. Vavra were nominated for treasurer. Marek and Bucek withdrew. After the votes were cast, Vavra and Drozda withdrew in favor of J. J. Frnka, who was then elected by acclamation. August Kacir, J. V. Frnka, and Method Pazdral were nominated as legal advise:r. In 11 run-off election between Kacir and Pazdral, Kacir was elected. Josef Tapal and Mrs. Vaia were nominated as editor. Tapal was elected. Robert Cervenka, Stepan Valcik, Josef Syptak, Anton Vavra, J. R. Bucek, Albert Psencik, F. Ancinec and Frank Moucka were nominated to the Auditing Committee of the Supreme Lodge. Frank Moucka withdrew. Cervenka, Valcik and Syptak were elected as Main Lodge auditors. J. N. Vavra, Engelbert Jelinek, F. E. Hejl, Josef Stasa, F. J. Marek, Vaclav Paul, and Tom Drozda were nominated as Supreme Lodge Trustees. Jelinek, Vavra and Drozda were elected. Jan Hurta, Jan Holecek, Anton Mikeska, F. Ancinee, Albert Psencik, and Vaclav Paul were nominated to the Publication Committee. Motion was made and passed that the first three nominated be elected by acclamation.
After brief remarks by the newly-elected officials. the convention adjourned at 3:30 p.m.
Supreme Lodge 1920-24
Josef Dusek, Jr. 4th President (1906-1924)
Turner Hall in Schulenburg, site of the 8th SPJST Convention in 1920
VIIIth Convention of the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas held 26th through 29th of July 1920 in Turner Hall in Schulenburg, Texas.
The convention was formally convened by Main Lodge President Josef Dusek, Jr., preceded by a welcome by F. A. Bezecny, president of local Lodge No. 67 in Schulenburg, the host lodge. Mention was made of the appointment of E. E. Buzek to the position of auditor in the Main Lodge, who also resigned to fill that position. Mention was also made of the resignation of Engelbert Pollach as trustee and the naming of F. J. Marek to that position.
One hundred fifty-two delegates represented 144 lodges in this convention.
Method Pazdral, Josef Mikeska, Tom Drozda, Josef Mondrik, Sr., and V. J. Prasek were nominated as convention chairman. Method Pazdral was elected. Josef Mikeska was elected vice chairman by acclamation. Josef Tapal was elected the principal convention secretary, with Robert Cervenka and Frank Moucka elected as assistant convention secretaries.
Debate on the floor of that convention was restricted in that no delegate could speak twice on a matter as long as those who had not yet spoken asked to speak. Those desiring to speak a third time on the same subject could do so only with the permission of the entire convention. All recommendations for amending the by-laws had to be submitted in writing and to the proper committee, and they could be discussed on the floor only when the By-law Committee rendered its report on that particular article. Amendments to the by-laws could be approved by two- thirds vote of those delegates present and voting; the other motions were voted on according to the usual manner. The names of delegates proposing changes to the by-laws were to be recorded in the Convention Proceedings. Each delegate had a right to name his replacement in the event of illness, which was the only bonafide excuse acceptable for a delegate’s absence from the convention. No delegate had the right to leave the convention without the approval of the chairman. Voting on all proposals is the responsibility of every delegate. In order to constitute a quorum in the convention a majority of the delegates had to be present.
Report of the secretary of the Main Lodge showed that as of 1 July 1916 there were 129 lodges, with 16 new lodges having joined the SPJST since that time. This made for a total of 145 lodges, and with one lodge reported as having been disbanded, left a total of 144 lodges as of 30 June 1920.
Membership report was given as follows: 8,694 members a-s of 1 July 1916; 2,127 new members since the last convention, for a total of 10,821. Four hundred sixty members were suspended or expelled and there were 327 deaths, which left a total membership of 10,034 as of 30 June 1920.
Assets of the SPJST included: $688,971.91 in securities; cash in banks amounted to $29,655.30. Cash on hand in the Main Lodge, $6,626.79, for a total of $725,254. Liabilities included $408,618.23 in the mortuary fund, $290,620.57 in the reserve fund, $6,626.79 in the Main Lodge expense fund, and $19,388.41 in interest earned since 1 January 1920, for a total of $725,254.
In this convention it appeared that for the first time they had only one committee on bylaws, whereas, in previous conventions they had a committee for the Main Lodge by-laws and another one for the by-laws of the Society. Two members of the Main Lodge served as members of the By-law Committee. Other committees consisted of five or seven members. The Convention Proceedings indicated that a photographer was present to photograph the delegates, which was accomplished during a 15-minute break.
In their report to the delegates, the Main Lodge trustees (dozord vybor) reported that funds were safely invested in real estate loans in the amount of $303,283.80. A recommendation was made by the trustees that 6% interest charge be levied at the time the loan was closed and for a period of one year; after that, they recommended that the interest be increased to 8%, the extra 2% to cover various expenses connected with the loan transaction. They also recommended that the Main Lodge attorney secure all the necessary legal documents for closing the loan so that the applicant for the loan would not have to hire his own attorney to close the loan. After some debate, the convention decided to retain the present method of making real estate loans, except that the borrower would be responsible for the expenses connected with securing abstracts and supplements.
The Publication Committee, in its report recommended that: The organ of the Society be published once a week; that the convention elect an editor and accept bids for publishing and editing the organ at the most favorable terms to the Society; that the format of the publication be the same as before, and that its contents consist of 12 pages in addition to advertising; the organ would consist of timely articles, letters from the members, women’s and children’s sections, editorials to consist of less than one page, Main Lodge reports, amusement page, directory of lodges to be published once a month, excerpts from Czech history and history of the lodges and life histories of deserving members; that advertising in good taste be accepted; that unnecessary polemics and personal disagreements are not to be published; there are to be no articles pro or against religion; all addresses are to be signed with the full name of the writer; a 3- member Publication Committee is to be elected by the convention. The recommendations were all acted upon and accepted.
The changes in the by-laws were as follows:
a) Only that person can become a member (man or woman) who speaks the Slavic language or is of Slavic extraction, except in cases where only one of the couple is of Slavic extraction, both will be admitted as members.
b) Mortuary benefits are to be in the amounts of $500, $1,000 or $1,500, according to the wishes of the member.
c) A husband must declare his wife and children as beneficiaries and the wife must declare the husband and children as beneficiaries.
d) In the event the member neglected to change his beneficiary upon marrying, the proceeds of his certificate are to be paid to the wife (or to the husband) and children.
e) The limit on funds to be invested was raised to $15,000.
f) The beneficiaries of a member dying during the first year of membership would receive one-fourth the face value of his certificate; during the second year, one-half; during the third year, three-quarters and after three years the full face value.
g) Mortgage loans to members were set not to exceed $12,000 on anyone loan, and with loans in excess of $2,000, the Main Lodge was to dispatch someone to inspect the security (land).
The by-laws from this convention went to considerable lengths in a section entitled “Lodge Juries And Indictments Of Members” in which was spelled out the procedure of “trying” a member for certain infractions of the Order, constitution and by-laws. The pertinent articles speak of a jury being chosen, a trial being held in the lodge room, the defendant, the accuser, and punishment according to the verdict. The verdict could be appealed within 30 days to the Supreme Lodge, whose decision would be final.
Considerable attention was also paid to the duties of the guide, inner guard and outer guard. The latters’ duties also spelled out what they were to do regarding the password and allowing people into the lodge meeting, etc., etc. This attests to the fact that as late as 1920, there was considerable attention paid to the “secretiveness” of lodge meetings and lodge business.
The case of orphans was also dealt with in an entire article, which showed the concern of the leadership. A portion of the article stated that “The Committee on Orphans sees to it that the orphans are treated in a humane manner, and that they receive proper training, when possible, in both Bohemian and English, and present a quarterly report to the lodge of its action … and present this report to the Executive Committee of the lodge for incorporating it in its quarterly report.”
The duties of the Trustee Committee were spelled out to the effect that this committee had to thoroughly inspect the books, securities and all property of the Order every six months, a practice carried over and still maintained to the present by the directors of the Supreme Lodge.
In this convention, each lodge was entitled to be represented by one delegate who had one vote for every 25 members of both sexes. Those lodges not having 25 members were entitled to one representative without regard to the number of members. When a lodge reached a membership of 200, they were entitled to send two delegates to the convention. There was no provision for lodges being represented that had members in excess of 200, which indicates that was not anticipated at that time.
There was considerable discussion about the creation of a Fund for Orphans. In the end, there were several donations to this fund by delegates, and they were encouraged to return to their lodges and be in the forefront of an effort to set up similar funds in their lodges. The idea of actually building an orphanage was postponed until the coming convention.
I. J. Gallia, as president of a committee for the construction of a “National Hall” or “Home”, submitted a detailed report and suggested that the city of Houston be the site of such a home if it is ever built.
Later a delegate requested the reading of the plans for the establishment of an Orphans’ Home, which called for the election of an Administrative and an Executive Committee. The monies collected for this purpose in this convention were to be sent to the treasurer. Local lodges were encouraged to hold various celebrations to benefit this fund.
A bid from the Vestnik Publishing Company was read, which was pretty much in line with the recommendation of the Publication Committee. The bid was submitted by Jaroslav Rolak and Josef Tapal. The bid was to publish the Vestnik as recommended at the cost of $1.70 per year per member.
The president of the Main Lodge was to receive $250 annually, the office of vice president remained an inactive position with no pay” The salary of the secretary was set at $200 a month from which he was also to pay the salary of an assistant. The treasurer’s salary was set at $150 annually.
The salary of the legal adviser was set at $400 a year. Salary of the editor was set at $125 a month.
Compensation of the Finance and Trustee Committees was set at $4 a day during the convention.
Josef Dusek, Jr., F. A. Bezecny and Tom Drozda were nominated for Main Lodge president. Josef Dusek, Jr., was elected” Josef Mikeska, F. A. Bezecny, Tom Drozda, Otto Stehlik and Engelbert Jelinek were nominated for the position of vice president of the Main Lodge. Jelinek withdrew his name. F. A. Bezecny was elected vice president.
J. R. Kubena, Robert Cervenka, F. K. Bucek and Frank Moucka were nominated for the position of secretary of the Main Lodge. Cervenka and Moucka withdrew in favor of J. R. Kubena. J. R. Kubena was elected secretary.
Treasurer J. J. Frnka was re-elected by acclamation.
Method Pazdral, Jindrich Zdaril and Josef V. Frnka were nominated for the position of legal adviser. Method Pazdral was re-elected. Josef Siptak, Robert Cervenka, A. Psencik, J. F. Chupick, J. C. Eineigel, Frank Kostelnik, Frank Moucka and A. A. Spacek were nominated for the Auditing Committee. Brothers Cervenka, Psencik and Moucka were elected. Engelbert Jelinek, J. R. W oytek, Tom Krajca, F. J. Marek, J. F. Chupick and O. Janek were nominated as trustees of the Main Lodge. O. Janek withdrew. F. J. Marek, Engelbert Jelinek and Tom Krajca were elected trustees.
Marie Kulhanek-Cerna and Josef Tapal were nominated to be editors of the official organ. Josef Tapal was elected.
J. A. Farek, F. Toupal, Josef Mikeska, F. J. Mika and J. H. Hurta were nominated to the Publication Committee. F. Toupal, Josef Mikeska and F. J. Mika were elected.
Remuneration of $5 a day for the convention chairman and convention secretaries was proposed and accepted.
Galveston, Houston and Dallas were proposed as the sites of the next convention. Dallas withdrew in favor of Houston, which was designated as the site of the next convention. A motion was made and passed that the convention be held again in four years, the dates to be set by the Main Lodge.
It was suggested that the convention award some monetary award to the member having the greatest number of his family as members of the SPJST. Apparently no action was taken. A suggestion was made that the Main Lodge purchase a membership pin not to exceed $25 in cost, but a motion that the local lodges handle this matter prevailed.
Motion was made that all convention decisions and actions, except those dealing with the by-laws, be effective immediately.
The motion was made that greetings be sent to President Thomas Masaryk acknowledging the independence of the new State of Czechoslovakia.
The convention adjourned at 7 p.m. on the 29th of July 1920.
(The Proceedings of the VIIIth Convention were, as always, recorded and printed in final form in Czech, however, for the first time since 1897, the By-laws of this convention were printed in English, and it is interesting to note that whoever was responsible for the translation into the English language used the term Supreme Lodge for the first time when the bylaws pertained to what had previously been referred to in Czech as “Hlavni Rad”, and that term will be used hereafter in this work.)
Supreme Lodge 1916-20
Supreme Lodge, SPJST (Hlavni rad) 1917. Front row, L to R:Legal Adviser Method Pazdral, Secretary J.R. Kubena, President Jos. Dusek, Vice President Joe Mikeska, Treasurer J.J. Frnka. Standing L to R: Engelbert Jelinek (trustee), Ed Mikulenka (Auditing Com.), Robert Cervenka (Auditing Com.), E. Pollach (trustee), and A.A. Spacek (Auditing Com.), (Tom Krajca, trustee, not pictured)
VIIth Convention of the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas held 24 through 28 July 1916 in Galveston, Texas, in the Municipal Auditorium located at the corner of 27th and Q Streets in that city.
Before the convention was convened, J. E. Krizan of Galveston introduced the mayor of that city, the Hon. Louis Fisher, who brought greetings to the delegates, and Method Pazdral of West extended thanks in English and welcomed the delegates and guests in the Czech language. Lodge No. 67 of Schulenburg was host to this convention.
The convention was convened by the president of the Main Lodge, Josef Dusek, Jr. One hundred twenty-nine lodges were represented by 146 delegates.
The 7-member Publication Committee rendered its report. They recommended that the official organ be published by the Society once a week, and that the Main Lodge was to draw up the most acceptable and favorable contract with the publisher. It was recommended. that the format be 11″ x 15″ in size, and to contain 8 or 10-point type. The publication and editing were to be entrusted to a “competent brother”. It was also pointed out that the organ was not to publish anything pertaining to religion, be politically neutral, and not contain any personal disagreements. The editor of the official organ was to edit the paper “according to directives and guidelines from the Main Lodge”. The recommendations of the Publication Committee were approved, with the addition that the editor be elected by the convention, put up personal bond, and in the event he didn’t fulfill his duties, that he be removed from office. Passed overwhelmingly.
Article 1, Section 19, was changed to read as follows: “Main Lodge and its purposes: The convention of the SPJST is to consist of elected delegates from among the membership, plus officers of the Main Lodge, and is the highest legislative body in the Society, sets up the by-laws for the entire Society, designates the place where the Main Lodge is to function until the next convention, and designates the place of the next convention.”
Article 2 under the same section was amended to read as follows: “In the event of death or incapacity of a Main Lodge Officer, the vacancy is to be filled by the president of the Main Lodge, with the agreement of a majority of the Executive Committee of the Main Lodge.”
Article 6 under the same section was amended to read that the Society publish and distribute its official organ at its expense to every member who wishes to receive it.
A new article was added to the effect that former presidents of the Main Lodge remain as permanent members of every convention, with the right of deliberation but not the right to vote unless they are delegates from their lodge.
A telegram was read from the mayor of Waco asking that the city of Waco be designated as the permanent site of the Main Lodge of the SPJST. A motion was subsequently made to this effect, after which a 5-member committee was designated to research this entire matter.
Salaries were set as follows: President, $100 a year; secretary, $100 a month; treasurer, $100 a year; legal adviser $250 a year. Pay for the delegates was set at $2.50 a day. The editor’s salary was set at $75 a month.
Josef Dusek, Engelbert Pollach, Josef Mikeska, and J. R. Kubena were nominated for president of the Main Lodge. The voting resulted in no one getting a majority, whereupon Pollach, Mikeska, and Kubena withdrew from the contest in favor of Josef Dusek, who was then elected by acclamation.
J. A. Farek, Josef Mikeska from Guy, Josef Mikeska from Wesley, Tom Drozda, Engelbert Pollach, and Frank Stefka were nominated for vice president. The election resulted in no one getting a majority, after which all the candidates withdrew in favor of Bro. Josef Mikeska of Guy who was then elected. J. R. Kubena, Robert Cervenka,. and Anton Mikeska were nominated for the position of secretary of the Main Lodge, with J. R. Kubena receiving a majority of the votes. J. J. Franka was elected treasurer of the Main Lodge by acclamation.
Method Pazdral, Emil Motis, and Karel H. Cernocky were nominated for the position of legal adviser, with Method Pazdral being elected.
The following were elected to the 3-member Auditing Committee of the Main Lodge after several nominations: A. A. Spacek, Robert Cervenka, and Ed Mikulenka. After several nominations, the following were elected as trustees (present-day directors): Tom Krajca, Engelbert Pollach, and Engelbert Jelinek.
Josef Tapal, Frank Fabian, Sr., J. Drozda, and August Morris were nominated for the position of editor. Josef Tapal was elected editor by acclamation after the others withdrew.
Schulenburg, Waco, Taylor, and Houston bid for the next convention. A run-off resulted in Schulenburg being selected the site of the next convention, and a subsequent motion was made and passed that the next convention would be held in four years.
Permission was granted to the Main Lodge to hire an assistant to the secretary at a salary not to exceed $50 a month.
The offer from the city of Waco to locate the Home Office in that city was answered to the effect that since the Society is not yet large enough and not expected to be by the coming convention that the proposal to construct a headquarters in Waco would be postponed to a more appropriate time. An expression of gratitude was nevertheless extended to Lodge 66, Sokol Tyrs, and the Young Men’s Business League of Waco for their kind offer.
A resolution was also passed acknowledging the very impressive speech made to the delegates by Mr. Vojta Benes. The convention was adjourned at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 28th.
Supreme Lodge 1912-16
The Supreme Lodge members taken after the 6th Convention held in Granger in 1912. Seated L to R: Legal Adviser Method Pazdral, Vice President Josef Mikeska, President Josef Dusek, Jr., Secretary J.R. Kubena,and Treasurer J.J. Frnka. Standing: Trustees Engelbert Pollach, Frank Stefka, Tom Krajca, Auditing Committee J.E. Krizan, Robert Cervenka, and Pavel Malina. (From Jno P. Trlica of Granger)
VIth Convention of the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas, held 8, 9, and 10 July 1912 on the second story of the Lodge 20 lodge building in Granger, Texas.
The convention was convened by the president of the Main Lodge, Josef Dusek, Jr. 108 lodges were represented by 121 delegates. Frank Stefka was elected convention chairman, and Engelbert Pollach was elected vice chairman by acclamation.
Vaclav Paul and J. E. Krizan were elected convention secretaries. The Main Lodge secretary reported that an additional 26 lodges were added to the roster of the Society since the last convention, making a total of 108. He also reported that 1,883 new members were added to the membership since the last convention, for a net membership of 6,684 as of 30 June 1912. A report was also made on the mortality of the members and the causes of death. Fourteen died because of tuberculosis, 10 because of pneumonia, 8 of heart attacks, 9 committed suicide, 6 because of lockjaw, 6 with typhus, 4 with cancer, 4 with Bright’s Disease, 4 with blood poisoning, 3 with stomach cancer, 3 because of acute appendicitis, 3 of strokes, 2 were killed by trains, 2 by accidental shooting, 2 of asthma, and 1 each because of the following: inflammation of the brain, burns, cirrhosis of the liver, hardening of the liver, chronic nephritis, fall from wagon, explosion of steam engine, stomach catarrh, death during premature birth of child, insanity, rheumatism, homicide, kicked by mule, fever, cholera, old age, and liver failure. A report was given breaking down the deaths by age and the highest mortality, 7, occurred at the age of 52, and the next to the highest occurred at age 47 (5), and age 30, also 5.
A total of $78,000 was paid out the preceding three years to beneficiaries of deceased members, and $4,125 was “saved” because of the by-law provision pertaining to suicide.
The assets of the Society were listed as follows: $183,481.41 – bonds; $11,027.53 in cash deposits in banks; $2,761.84 in the hands of the treasurer. Liabilities were listed as follows: $138,807.68 in the mortuary fund; $53,151.27 in the reserve fund; $2,761.84 held by the Main Lodge; $2,549.99 in interest.
A time limit of 5 minutes was set for each delegate to speak on one issue, unless approval by the convention delegates was given to speak longer. Every delegate had the right to appoint his own substitute in the event of illness, that being the only excuse for not being present in the convention.
Josef Dusek, Jr. informed the convention that he had been approached by the Western Bohemian Fraternal Association about the SPJST merging with that organization. The convention minutes state briefly: “There was no discussion of the matter.”
For the first time, a committee on convention expenses was appointed, and a door guard was appointed.
The committee on convention expenses recommended $3 per diem for the delegates, but this was rejected in favor of a motion to set the amount at $2.
Society by-law changes:
Funeral expenses allowed were raised from $75 to $100. A motion for the local lodges to retain and handle all funds, including mortuary funds, was overwhelmingly defeated. Disability benefits were approved in the amount of one-half of the face value of the member’s certificate, and such disability must be supported by a doctor’s statement and must be notarized by a notary public and sent to all the lodges in the Society, and on approval of two-thirds of the members voting in each lodge, the Main Lodge would pay such sum to the disabled member, however, such member is obliged to pay mortuary premiums on the full value of his coverage until his death, at which time the other half will be paid to his beneficiary.
Main Lodge by-law changes:
The Main Lodge or Executive Committee was increased to eleven members, with the addition of the legal adviser. (Note: Thus we see, for the first time, the inclusion of the legal adviser as a member of the Main Lodge.)
A motion was made and later withdrawn that the Society elect a chief medical adviser.
Article 6, pertaining to the duties of the legal adviser, was brief and accepted unanimously:
The Legal Adviser must represent the Society and its lodges in all legal matters and give legal advice. He examines abstracts and real estate documents prior to the Main Lodge approving a loan. Loan expenses are to be paid by the borrower.
Lodge representation in convention was amended so that a lodge attaining 200 members (instead of 250) would be entitled to two delegates to a convention at the expense of the Society.
Before a new lodge could be organized and chartered, at least 10 persons of Slavic descent of good reputation, healthy physically and morally responsible, had to request such a move. At least 6 of those must be new applicants for membership.
President Dusek made the motion for the SPJST to have its own independent publication. The vote was 204 for, 49 against, and 9 abstentions. A motion was made that the organ be published twice a month, and after a lengthy debate, 199 voted for, 60 against, 3 abstentions. Josef Tapal and F. Fabian submitted their applications as editors of the publication. After Fabian offered to act as editor for $40 a month, Tapal withdrew his application, and Fabian was elected editor by acclamation. The motion was made that the publication contain 16 pages. In the event that the editor or publisher were unable to fulfill their obligations, the proper committee (Publication Committee) would have the authority to revoke the agreement and draw up a new one.
A committee for drawing up guidelines to help financially destitute students of the Czech language rendered its report and it was agreed to allocate $300 a year for this purpose, to be disbursed out by a 3-member committee, with the agreement that a larger allocation would be set aside in the future.
Josef Dusek, Jr., Paul Malina, and Engelbert Pollach were nominated for president of the Main Lodge. Before a vote was taken, Malina and Pollach withdrew in favor of Dusek, who was re-elected by acclamation.
Jan Damek, J. E. Krizan, Paul Malina, Engelbert Pollach, and Petr Mikeska were nominated for vice president. All the nominees withdrew in favor of Mikeska, who was elected by acclamation.
J. R. Kubena was elected secretary by acclamation, as was J. J. Frnka, treasurer. Method Pazdral was re-elected legal adviser by acclamation. Robert Cervenka and Malina and Krizan were elected to the Auditing Committee.
Krajca, Stefka and Pollach were elected as Main Lodge trustees (dozorci vybor).
The Resolutions Committee adopted a resolution warmly thanking the officers and members of Lodge Komensky No. 20 for their hospitality and warm reception during the convention, since the convention was held in their building on the second floor.
Galveston, Waco, Taylor, and Sealy were suggested as the site of the next convention. Waco withdrew in favor of Galveston, with Galveston being subsequently selected as the site of the VIIth Convention. The VIIth Convention was to be held in four years in July.
The salary of Secretary J. R. Kubena was raised to $100 a month. The legal adviser’s salary was set at $100 a month, with $25 to be paid him for past services. The by-laws and Proceedings of the convention were to be printed and go into effect in thirty days. Convention adjourned.
(This was the beginning of quadrennial conventions and they have been held every four years since. The Granger Convention was historic also because for the first time, the SPJST decided to own and publish its own official publication. This marked the inception of the new name, “Vestnik” (Herald), which has remained the name of the publication to this date. This came about as a result of the recommendation of the Publication Committee’s report in this convention.)
The delegates of the 6th Convention outside Lodge 20, Granger in 1912.
Supreme Lodge 1909-12
Delegates to the 5th Convention of the SPJST posed for this picture beside the lodge hall of Lodge 54, West. The Convention was held the latter part of December in 1909.
Vth Convention of the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas, held 27, 28, and 29 December 1909, in the Lodge 54 lodge hall on North Davis Street in West, Texas.
(It should be noted here from the outset that all previous conventions to this one had been noted as “Conventions of the Main Lodge of the SPJST”. This Vth Convention was the first one noted as a “Convention of the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas” . It was also the first and only convention held in the month of December, rather than June or July, as was the case with all the other conventions.)
The convention was called to order by the president of the Main Lodge, Josef Dusek, JR., at 9 a.m. on the 27th of December. The delegates were welcomed by Method Pazdral, on behalf of the City of West, and trustee of the Main Lodge, Josef Mikeska.
The Credentials Committee announced that 82 lodges were represented in this convention by 93 delegates. Nominations were made for convention chairman; F. Stefka and I. J. Gallia withdrew their nominations in favor of Josef Vavra, who was then elected convention chairman by acclamation. F. Stefka was elected parliamentarian unanimously. F. Fabian and Albert Psencik were elected convention secretaries. The convention chairman appointed Josef Cizka and Jan Mozol as guards. A committee on Order of the Convention was appointed, and its chairman, I. J. Gallia, rendered their report. Before a delegate was seated, he was asked to make out 11 check for the amount owed the Society and he was then allowed to be seated as a bonafide delegate. A letter was read from the “Matice Skolska” in Bohemia, Czechoslovakia, but action was deferred until later in the convention. A letter was read from the Czech Club of the University of Texas requesting support for Czech studies at our universities.
The three-member Publication Committee made its report and recommended that the convention consider the bids of two publishers, F. Fabian and J. Drozda, for publishing the SPJST house organ, and the final selection be made by secret ballot, The bid from the publisher of Texas, J. Drozda, contained the stipulation that the publication contain eight pages, each page consisting of six columns, each column thirteen picas wide and nineteen and three-quarter inches long, containing material pertaining to the Society and of general interest. It is to be published once a month at a cost of 30¢ a year per member; semi-monthly, 50¢ a year per member; weekly 80¢ a year per member; twice a week (one issue to consist of eight pages, the other four), $1.50 a year per member.
The publisher of Obzor, F, Fabian, bid to publish the organ for the SPJST, either according to a contract from the previous convention (weekly) consisting of four pages one week and the next week eight pages for 60¢ a year per member – or – in a bigger format, a six-column weekly for $1 a year per member, with the general contents to be as follows:
1) Articles and information pertaining to the SPJST
2) Official reports and notices from the Main Lodge
3) Important news about Texas and a review of world events
4) Economic news, with emphasis on the South
5) A “lighter” section, to include stories, humor, etc.
6) Other articles which would make Obzor a good device and tool for advertising the SPJST
Action on the publishers’ bids was postponed until the various committee members returned to their seats, with the result that F. Fabian was elected the publisher/editor.
There was a night session, commencing at 7 pm. The Finance Committee rendered its report and stated that the Mortuary and Reserve Funds consisted of $6,366.16, deposited in the following banks: New Ulm State Bank, First National Bank of Shiner, and in the Orphan Fund, which was in the hands of J. R. Kubena. The books of the treasurer, J. J. Frnka, were audited and found to be in order. Monies on hand: $273.20.
There was considerable discussion on how to distribute the Sick Benefit Fund.
The next day, December 28th, the By-law Committee made its report.
The following are highlights of by-laws passed by the delegates for the Society:
Art. 1, Sec, 3, Only that person, man or woman, may become a member of the SPJST who knows the Slavic language, is at least eighteen and not more than fifty-five years old; wherever the word “member” is used in the bylaws, it pertains to both sexes.
A motion to have a chief medical examiner was made and then withdrawn.
Article 6 provided that a prospective member receiving less than five unfavorable votes will be accepted; if he receives five negative votes, his application for membership is to be postponed to the next meeting and those who voted against his acceptance were obliged to give their reasons therefor in writing to the lodge president. In the latter event, if no written complaints were submitted, the applicant was automatically admitted to membership. If the signed complaints were given to the president, he announced them in the next meeting, with those who made them to remain silent, The lodge was then to vote a new 3-member committee to investigate the charges to see whether they could be substantiated or not. The committee was then to submit its written report to the next meeting in writing, at which time a new vote was to be taken. If the prospective member received no more negative votes than he did the first time, he was accepted for membership. If the prospective member received more than five negative votes on the first vote, his application was rejected, but he could re-apply after a period of six months, The rejection of a member was to be announced and his acceptance fee was to be returned to him, after deducting expenses for the physician’s examination.
Article 1, Section 4, The application fee for a new member was set at $4, one-half at the time of application and the remainder at the time of initiation. No one is to be initiated until his entire fee is paid, The sons and daughters of SPJST members, Sokol units, and members of Czech benevolent organizations are to be accepted without any payment, provided they are not over thirty years old; such persons must, however, pay for their doctor’s examination.
Article 2, Section 4. The amount of local lodge dues is to be determined by each local lodge, but is not to be less than 10 cents a month.
Death benefits were set at $250, $500, or $1,000, according to the wishes of the member. Only those members not having attained the age of 45 would be insured for $1,000; up to 50 years for $500; and up to 55 years, $250.
A long debate occurred when a motion was made that the Society buy real estate notes (vendors lien notes) when the property is at least half paid off, and that the same notes could be used for construction of lodge halls. Attorney Pazdral explained that the laws pertaining to fraternal benefit Societies do not permit lodge halls to be constructed from the mortuary fund.
The debate lasted almost half a day. It was later approved that the main lodge could invest the entire reserve and mortuary funds in excess of $10,000, necessary for the payment of death benefits, in vendors lien notes on which the land was being cultivated and on which at least 50% of the present value had been paid off. In the event of such notes not being available, the Main Lodge was authorized to invest these funds in various bonds. The president, secretary, and treasurer of the Main Lodge made up a committee which was to pass on all loan applications and such documents were to be secured in a fireproof vault (safe deposit vault) which could be opened only in the presence of at least two members of the Main Lodge.
To audit the books, assets, various properties, and the reserve and mortuary funds, the convention is to elect a 3-member audit committee from among the delegates. This committee is obliged to conduct an inspection or audit, without notice to the Main Lodge, of all books, securities, and various properties, funds, and to generally inspect the books and business practices of the Main Lodge, in such a manner that one member of the committee acts as the auditor during the first six months, the other one the following six months, and the third during the following six months, then publish the results of their examination and audits in the organ of the SPJST.
The local lodge officers were to be as follows:
President, vice president, secretary, financial secretary, treasurer, guide, inside and outside guard.
Any money left over from death benefits to minors remained in the Main Lodge, which invested the money under interest, in the event that the local lodge did not have a trustee or guardian to take care of such funds for officers or minors.
The vote was taken to increase the price of the organ per member to $1 a year. A committee was set up to draft and draw up the form for a local lodge charter, and later presented a quickly drawn sample by L. O. Hosek which recommended to omit the pictures of Washington and Columbus from the charter and substitute the pictures of the secretary and president of the Main Lodge.
Changes in by-laws of the Main Lodge:
Article 2 of Section 1 provided that in the event of the death or incapacity of a member of the Main Lodge, that the vacancy was to be filled by the president of the Main Lodge, with the consent of the majority of the Executive. Committee, with a capable member of a local or the nearest lodge closest to the Main Lodge.
The composition of the Main Lodge, or Executive Committee, remains the same (10 members), and will continue to be elected by the convention. Meetings of the Main Lodge were to be held quarterly.
Each lodge was entitled to one delegate to the conventions, and to one vote for every twenty-five members in his lodge, plus one additional vote for members over 25 but not less than 15. Any lodge not having twenty-five members was entitled to one delegate. A lodge having 250 members was entitled to two delegates to the convention whose expenses would be paid by the Society. Delegates were to be elected in the annual December meeting and served from convention to convention. One delegate could represent another, provided that his credentials so stated, and he would also have his votes, Travel expenses and per diem of delegates for the duration of the convention was to be paid out of the treasury of the Main Lodge, which was to assess the individual lodges for these funds according to their membership.
Josef Dusek, Jr., was elected president of the Main Lodge unanimously.
Josef Kristek and Josef Mikeska were nominated for vice president; Mikeska was elected.
J.R. Kubena was elected secretary unanimouslv.
J.J. Franka was elected treasurer unanimously.
Jan Kucera, Albert Psencik, and J, M, Halamicek were elected to the Auditing Committee. Tom Krajca, Jr., Frank Stefka, and Jan Damek were elected as Main Lodge trustees.
Granger, Galveston, Cameron, and West were suggested as the sites of the next convention; Granger got the majority of votes, The coming convention was set to take place between the 1st and 10th of July in 1912.
A salary of $75 a month was set for the Main Lodge secretary; $100 a month for the president; and $100 a month for the treasurer.
The Main Lodge Auditing Committee was paid $2.50 a day for the period of the convention, plus travel expenses. The remuneration of the trustees were set at $3 a day and travel expenses when their duties required them to travel. Delegates received $2 per diem, plus actual cost of mileage expenses by train, and 5¢ a mile round trip from their homes to the nearest railway station.
Method Pazdral was elected the legal adviser for the Society. Convention secretaries were paid $10 for their work at the convention.
The delegates were excused from their responsibilities and the convention was adjourned.
(Note: It is interesting that in this convention the 3-member Trustee Committee could inspect or audit the records of the Main Lodge “without notice to the Main Lodge”. The practice was still continued of having both an inside and outside guard for the local lodges. Another interesting by-law that was proposed provided that in the event of a vacancy in the Main Lodge the president of the Main Lodge could fill that vacancy, with the consent of the majority of the Executive Committee” … with a capable member of a local or the nearest lodge closest to the Main Lodge.” Apparently, the matter of distance and geographical proximity to the Main Lodge was the overriding concern in submitting this proposal. This, of course, did not pass. Another interesting feature was that of the Society bearing the expenses of two delegates of a lodge attaining 250 members. This might have been some sort of “membership incentive”. Accordingly, all those having less than 250 members would send delegates at the local lodge’s expense, except for per diem and travel.)
Supreme Lodge 1907-09
The Piwetz Building in Caldwell, Texas at the
time of the 4th SPJST Convention.
IVth Convention of the Main Lodge SPJST, held 17, 18. and 19 June 1907 on the second floor of the Piwetz Building on the Square in Caldwell, Texas, at that time housing the Frank Ginzel General Mdse. store.
The convention was called to order by the president of the Main Lodge, I. J. Gallia at 9 o’clock in the morning. The Credentials Committee reported that 70 lodges were represented by 70 delegates and that the delegate from Lodge 65 was not present, which would have made a total of 71 delegates representing 71 lodges. (That one delegate was present for the afternoon session, making a total of 71).
Motion made and passed that the votes of each delegate in the convention be according to the number of members present in the June meeting of each lodge of that year (1907).
Anton Kulhanek was elected chairman of the convention. from among four nominees. Out of four nominations for parliamentarian, Josef Mikeska was elected for the duration of the convention.
F. K. Bucek and F. Fabian were elected convention secretaries; Anton Svoboda was elected guide, and F. Haisler, guard.
I. J. Gallia. K. Svoboda, Josef Kristek, P. Malina, and Anton Lesovsky were elected to the c.ommittee on Convention Order and rendered its report as follows:
Committee for the Society By-laws, 7 members
Committee for By-laws of the :Main Lodge, 7 members
Grievance and Investigating Committee, 5 members
Finance and Auditing Committee, 6 members
Resolutions Committee, 3 members
Publication Committee, 3 members
Random Suggestions or Motions Selection of Site and Date of the Next Convention
Election of Main Lodge officers
Installation of new officers
Adjournment of convention
The chairman of the convention and the parliamentarian named members to the various committees. The various committees gave their reports. Among the amendments to the by-laws were the following:
An applicant for membership must first acquaint himself with the by-laws and get a member to submit a written request for acceptance. Such a request must be signed, indicating age, marital status, occupation, place of residence, amount of death benefits, references from two members, and 1/2 of the application fee. Every applicant is responsible for providing proof of age. The request for membership, along with a doctor’s statement, must be entered and recorded by the secretary of the local lodge and filed in the local lodge in duplicate. Such a request becomes part of the minutes of that lodge, and must be numbered. The original of the request and the doctor’s statement must be forwarded by the local lodge secretary to the secretary of the Main Lodge.
Every applicant must submit to a physical examination at the expense of the local lodge and by a doctor authorized by the local lodge in the presence of at least one member of the Investigating Committee. Results of this physical examination (on a form approved by the Main Lodge) must be forwarded to the secretary of the local lodge, and in the event he ascertains that same is in order, determines that all requirements were met; if found to be otherwise, request is to be rejected. The expense for the physical examination is paid by the lodge out of the applicant’s application fee. In the event of rejection of an applicant, the remainder of the applicant’s fee is returned to him, after the doctor has been paid;
Applicant newly accepted for membership, whether man or woman, is obliged to report to a lodge meeting for initiation no later than the third regular meeting after acceptance, unless excused by grave extenuating circumstances; otherwise. his acceptance is rejected and 1/2 of his application fee goes into the lodge treasury; Women members have the right to attend lodge meetings, but under no circumstances will they be penalized for not attending meetings; however, they must report for initiation.
Application fee for new applicants of both sexes was set (and reduced) at $4.00 – 1/2 payable at the time of application and 1/2 at the time of initiation. Children of members are accepted at no cost up to age 21, but must pay for the doctor’s examination costs; Every lodge is obliged to provide sick benefits for its members for 30 days before aid can be requested from other lodges. Such requests must be approved by the Main Lodge.
No changes in mortuary payments or death benefits.
The three Main Lodge trustees are to designate several national or state banks as depositories where bonds are to be bought and held.
They must not exceed $5,000 in anyone bank. Each lodge must earmark or credit 5% out of both the Mortuary and Reserve Funds to the Main Lodge, but the local lodge may hold 1/4 of the Mortuary Fund without interest. Each lodge must furnish the Main Lodge with security bonds for all funds held by them in the Mortuary and Reserve Funds. Such security bonds must be approved and confirmed by the president and secretary of the Main Lodge as being adequate. The Main Lodge has the right to require a new security bond from lodges at any time it deems proper. Those lodges that cannot furnish a security bond must send its funds to a reserve bank, so designated by the trustees. Bonds and funds may be withdrawn from banks only in the presence of at least two trustees, and then only upon the written approval of the president and secretary of the Main Lodge. Each lodge is responsible for its own funds, as long as it has possession of them; as soon as they are transferred to the hands of the trustees or the bank, the responsibility of the lodge ceases. The trustees do not have anything to do with the approval of the security bonds of individual lodges; they only deposit funds which the lodge cannot draw interest on.
The following amendments to the by-laws of the Main Lodge were proposed and accepted as follows:
The Main Lodge, or Executive Committee, consists of 10 members as follows: president, trustee, secretary, treasurer, a 3-member Auditing Committee, and a committee of 3 trustees for the mortuary and reserve funds. This Executive Committee is responsible to see that all state laws are adhered to and all legal requirements are met so that all the lodges will be protected by law. No officer of the Main Lodge can fill more than one position.
Meetings of the Main Lodge will be held quarterly; all members are required to be present, except the trustees for the mortuary and reserve funds.
The secretary of the Main Lodge keeps the proceedings of all meetings, renders his report quarterly, sees to all the administrative requirements of his office, maintains all of the account books for the Society, prepares a detailed report about the financial condition of the Society quarterly and sends it to the individual lodges. He keeps an accurate record of all members of the Society, sends out all mortuary assessments, and maintains all mortuary records. All payments and other funds (other than mortuary funds) are sent directly to him, which he turns over to the treasurer quarterly and for which he receives a receipt, and reports this in meetings of the Main Lodge, as to from whom and for what the monies were received. He is generally responsible for fulfilling all the duties required by his office. For the proper fulfillment of his responsibilities he will receive an annual salary as determined by the convention.
The secretary, treasurer, and trustees for the mortuary and reserve funds must furnish a security bond for the proper fulfillment of their duties of office, as outlined to them by the convention. For the present, the following security bonds are in effect: For the secretary $2,000; for the treasurer $2,000; for each trustee of the mortuary and reserve fund, $2,000. These security bonds must be submitted within 30 days after their election; the Auditing Committee audits the books of all officers quarterly in order to insure that the business is being properly taken care of, and they must sign every quarterly report, as well as the books of the secretary and treasurer of the Main Lodge, provided they can attest to the orderly handling of their offices and report same to the Convention.
By-laws can be amended or changed only in convention.
Main Lodge Trustees will be paid according to what the Convention decides. In the meantime, they will receive $3.50 a day for loss of time and travel, but their official duties must be concluded within one day.
The Auditing Committee will receive $2 a day during the convention, plus mileage. Their business is to be completed in only one day.
The secretary’s salary is set at 12¢ annually for each member, whether previously accepted or to be accepted in the future. The salary of the treasurer is set at $25 a year, with mileage reimbursement to meetings of the Main Lodge.
Remuneration to the retiring president of the Main Lodge for the previous five years is set at $50; postage expense $22.65.
The salary of the president of the Main Lodge is set at $25 a year, plus mileage while attending to official business of the Society.
One of the grievances submitted by the Grievance Committee was that one of the lodges accepted a 60-year old lady for $500 insurance coverage. The grievance was rejected because the lady had been suspended and expelled for incorrectly stating her age.
The report of the Publication Committee was as follows (and accepted): The official organ is to be published twice a month and is to consist of eight pages, in size 13 x 20 inches each, of which at least six must be devoted to reading material and up to two to advertisements. All letters pertaining to Society matters must be signed with the full name of the writer. Subscription price is set at 60¢ annually per member.
The Ritual Book is to contain references to the feminine gender in parenthesis.
The motion was accepted for the Society to contribute $50 annually to the Council of Higher Education, up to the time of the next convention.
It was agreed that a 3-member committee was to seek 15 or more Czech students to study at a given institution in the state, so that the services of a Czech professor would be insured for that institution. Those named to the committee were F.K. Bucek, J.R. Kubena, and C.A. Habernal.
It was agreed to end the convention in the New Tabor Hall on Wednesday, followed by a dance. It was agreed that the delegates to the convention would be photographed.
It was agreed that the next convention would be held after three years. West was selected as the place of the next convention and the date set for 4 July 1910. The following were elected as members of the Main Lodge President, Josef Dusek, Jr. Trustee, Josef Mikeska Secretary, J.R. Kubena Treasurer, J.J. Frnka, Auditing Committee, Jan Kucera, Josef F. Ressler, and Josef Hejl-Fund Trustees: Anton Lesovsky, Rudolf Valenta, and J.C. Lesikar.
Delegates are to receive $2 per day for loss of time, reimbursement for travel by rail, and $5 a mile for those traveling by wagon.
Total convention expenses: $1,094.80.
The Resolution Committee extended thanks to I. J. Gallia for his impartial and sincere opening speech of the convention; to Anton Kulhanek for his good and impartial conduct of the convention as chairman, to J.R. Kubena for his five years of work; thanks were extended to all Caldwell brothers and sisters who, in any way, contributed to the pleasure and comfort of the delegates while in Caldwell, and to those brothers and sisters who so tastefully decorated the meeting place of the convention; and that all delegates extend their thanks to the Caldwell SPJST and C.S.P.S. lodges for their invitations to the celebration in New Tabor.
After installing the officers of the Main Lodge the convention was adjourned until 4 July 1910 in West, Texas.
(Notes: From the highlights of the Fourth Convention we can see that the SPJST continued to enjoy modest growth with an increase from 52 delegates representing 43 lodges in 1902 to 71 delegates representing 71 lodges in 1907.
We can see that a great deal of emphasis and importance was attached to the ritual of initiation; the acceptance or rejection of an applicant for membership depended on whether he attended meetings to be initiated. Women were declared to “have the right to attend lodge meetings”, so while we see the inclusion of women as members in the fledgling Society, it is apparent that they were still not accorded equal status. A good deal of the minutes from the Fourth Convention deal with two funds – the Mortuary and Reserve Funds, and with the security bonds that ‘were required from lodges and from people in leadership position.)
For the first time we see the definition of the “Main Lodge” or “Executive Committee”. The present requirement that the Main Lodge hold its meetings quarterly goes back to this convention because the practice has continued since that time.
The official organ changed size again in this convention and frequency of publication was set at twice monthly, consisting of eight pages. Members had to pay a subscription rate of 60¢ annually.
We see the beginnings of the SPJST’s support of the Council of Higher Education and also the beginning of financial support to Czech language studies.
Supreme Lodge 1902-1907
Delegates to the 3rd SPJST Convention held in Fayetteville in 1902. Here the delegates are shown in front of the Kubena-Knesek building that was torn down after the Taylor Convention in 1940 to make room for what was later the Home Office of the SPJST and in 1979 the Chovanec Grocery. This was a 2-story structure with steps along the right side of the building leading up to the second floor. The convention was held on the second floor. (Note: This is one of the few photographs where former Secretary J.R. Kubena is shown wearing a mustache. He is shown seated in the center of the front row holding a white hat across his left knee. (Photo by H. Tauch, Fayetteville)
IIIrd Convention of the Main Lodge SPJST, held in the Kubena-Knesek Building on the city square in Fayetteville, Texas, on 16 and 17 June, 1902.
Delegates assembled for business at 9 a.m.
Trustee of the Main Lodge, Tom Hruska, convened the convention in place of J. J. Holik, president of the Main Lodge, who explained his absence with a letter in which he asked to be excused from attending the convention because of the grave illness of his son. He concluded with the following: “I wish the convention much success and hope that everything will be taken care of to the general satisfaction of all. My experience has been that the less laws and rules and regulations, the less violations you are going to have, and if the brothers and sisters will not work toward the progress of our Society out of love, the by-laws arid other rules will not force them to do so. During my time in office the present constitution and by-laws have served our Society well and if we continue in the same fashion as we have during the last three years we can honestly say that our outlook for the future is the best of all fraternal benefit Societies. To Bro. J.R. Kubena, secretary of the Main Lodge, I extend my sincere thanks for his fine work because he deserves the greatest recognition for the progress of our Society.”
After the reading of Holik’s letter, the names of the delegates were read. There were a total of 52 delegates representing 43 lodges. I. J. Gallia was elected chairman of the convention, Josef Mikeska as (parliamentarian), Josef N. Vavra, secretary, Jindrich Fisl as assistant secretary, and Josef Mikeska, guide. Various committees were appointed and subsequently gave their reports. Reports from the Grievance Committee showed that one member was complaining that the wording of his certificate did not fulfill the requirements of the state laws because it did not contain the proper legal language, which he claimed created difficulties in determining survivors of members. It was also recommended by that committee to take into consideration the complaint of one member who claimed that some of the members are not fluent in the Czech language. That same committee also made the recommendation that the ritual for the SPJST be changed to include a ritual for burial services, as well as the ritual for the installation of a new lodge. The articles in the by-laws requiring fluency in the Czech language and the suicide clause remained practically unchanged. One change that was incorporated was the fact that the children of members will be accepted at no cost.
The age limit was raised from 45 to 55 on new members, and the ceiling raised on the mortuary fund to $10,000. An article was also passed that in the event a member was disabled through no fault of his own or who was confined to a mental institution for more than five years and declared incurable, that on the request of his family 1/2 of the mortuary benefits to which he would have been entitled would be payable to the family. Such claims would have to be based on a doctor’s statement and notarized. The new Article 2 also provided that every member in a lower class of insurance would enter a higher class, provided he has not passed the age provided for that amount and if he provides a doctor’s statement to that effect.
It was also stipulated that regular lodge meetings are to be held once a month. Those members who did not come to the meetings on time or who did not behave properly in the meeting and refused to leave the meetings when the president requested him to do so would not receive the benefits of the sick benefit provision. Further, whosoever betrays the name of a member who voted against the acceptance of a new member, and who speaks disrespectfully of the Society, or who violates any of these by-laws is not entitled to sick benefits.
Provisions were made for members to transfer from one lodge to another, provided they fill out the appropriate forms which cost 50 cents:, and such form would be good for a period of three months. All obligations binding on male members are likewise binding on female members. with the exception of the obligation to attend meetings.
The following change was suggested and accepted. Every delegate would be entitled to one vote for every 25 members in his lodge of both sexes, with a minimum of 15 members. Those lodges not having 25 members are entitled to 1 delegate regardless of the number of members. One delegate could represent another, provided the credentials so state, Such a delegate would also cast the votes of the delegate he is representing, Travel expenses and per diem of delegates for the duration of a convention would be paid out of the treasury of the Main Lodge. Every application for membership will contain the name, age, and attending physician’s statement, along with a $15 “down payment”. This amount belongs to the Main Lodge which in turn, installs the new lodge.
It was agreed that the official organ would be published twice a month and include 12 pages of reading material pertaining to this Society, agricultural, and related articles, and 4 pages with announcements. Cost: 15¢ quarterly.
It was agreed that a standard doctor’s form, certificates, bonds, and other forms be published and printed in the Czech and English language.
Thanks were extended to Lodge No. 1 Fayetteville, and all those who made the convention a pleasant and enjoyable one; and to Kubena and Knesek for the use of their building for the convention at no cost, and for their hospitality.
The amended by-laws pertaining to the Main Lodge were approved.
Officers of the main lodge were elected M follows: President L J. GaIlia (second time), Josef N. Vavra, trustee, J.R. Kubena, secretary and treasurer, Auditing Committee, Tom Hruska, Josef Mikeska and Josef Pokorny. Salary of the secretary and treasurer of the Main Lodge set at $300 a year, The pay of the delegates was set at $2 a clay with reimbursement for travel expenses.
Caldwell was selected as the site of the next convention, which will be held after 5 years, unless the lodges recognize a need for an earlier convention by 2/3rds vote of the members present in the lodge meetings.
Supreme Lodge 1899-1902
Joseph Holik 2nd President (1899-1902)
(Translated from the original Czech)
IInd Convention of the Main Lodge of the SPJST, held 19 June 1899 in Flatonia, Texas.
The president of the Main Lodge, I. J. Gallia, convened the convention and asked the secretary of the Main Lodge to call out the names of the delegates and for him to accept their credentials.
All lodges were represented with the following named delegates:
Lodge No.1 Tom Hruska
Lodge No.2 Jos. Pokorny
Lodge No.3 F. Dusek
Lodge No.4 F. Fabian
Lodge No.5 Josef Sumbera
Lodge No.6 Ondrej Rydel
Lodge No.7 Jan Jurcak
Lodge No.8 Jan Barta
Lodge No.9 F. F. Sebesta
Lodge No. 10 R. Valenta
Lodge No. 11. Jan Michal
Lodge No. 12 Jiri Hromadka
Lodge No. 13 Tom Kocourek
Lodge No. 14 Jan Psencik
Lodge No. 15 Josef Mondrik
Lodge No. 16 Josef Dusek
Lodge No. 17. Josef J. Holik and J. N. Vavra
Lodge No. 18 Vinc Siller
Lodge No. 19 H. Haidusek
Lodge No. 20 J. R. Wojtek
Lodge No. 21. Josef Holub
Lodge No. 22 Jan Damek
Lodge No. 23 Frank Kubala
Lodge No. 24 Anton Sodek
Lodge No. 25 Josef Skroh
Lodge No. 26 Petr Mikeska
Lodge No. 27 J. R. Kubena
Lodge No. 28 F. Janik
Lodge No. 29 Jindrich Fisl
The chairman announced that election of convention officers was now in order. The former chairman and secretary were elected by acclamation. J. J. Holik was elected auditor and F. Fabian, assistant secretary.
Rudolf Valenta was installed as guide by the chairman and Jan Michal as guard.
Secretary of the Main Lodge, J.R. Kubena, presented his report of the activities and current status of the Society.
After Kubena’s report, it was moved that a 5-member committee on Convention Order be elected. The motion was accepted and the following installed on this committee: Jan Barta, F. Fabian, Jiri Hromadka, Tom Hruska, and F. F. Sebesta. The committee on Convention Order rendered the following report:
Honored delegates of the SPJST assembled in Flatonia, Texas: Dear Brothers: Your committee on Convention Order recommends that the convention proceed with the following committees and in the following order:
1) Committee on by-laws or constitution, 5 members
2) Committee on by-laws for the Main Lodge, 5 members
3) Grievance and Investigating Committee, 5 members
4) Finance and Auditing Committee, 5 members
5) Resolution Committee, 3 members
6) Publication Committee, 3 members
7) Suggestions for the good of the Society
8) Election of Main Lodge officers
9) Date and site of the next convention
The above recommendations on the Order of the Convention, were accepted with one addition, namely, that the convention convene and adjourn according to the wishes of the brother delegates.
It was agreed that the chairman and auditor appoint necessary committees, with the following results:
1) Committee for the Society By-laws: J. R. Wojtek, Jan Barta, Josef Holub, Hynek Haidusek, and Josef Mondrik.
2) Committee on By-laws and Constitution for the Main Lodge: Jindrich Fisl, F. Kubala, R. Valenta, Jan Jurcak, and Petr Mikeska.
3) Finance Committee: Tom Hruska, F. Fabian, Josef Skroh, Jan Damek, and Jan Psencik.
4) Resolution Committee: Jan Michal, F. Dusek, and Josef Sumbera.
5) Publication Committee: J. R. Kubena, Vinc Siller, and Jiri Hromadka.
It was agreed that all committees would commence their work immediately.
After the convention was called into order in the afternoon, the chairman asked the various committees who have completed their work to make their report.
Finance Committee made a report that the books of the secretary and treasurer were found in good order and commended the secretary-treasurer’s report on the status of the Society, and their report was approved by acclamation.
The committee for amending the Society’s by-laws reported on the results of its work and the delegates began discussing individual articles. The following changes were accepted:
Section III (Membership). Article 1. Only that man or woman can become a member who knows the Slavic (Czech) language, is at least 18 and not more than 50 years old, in completely good health, is of good moral character and leads a decent life and capable of making a living in a decent manner in an employment not less than six months, who requests to be accepted and personally thoroughly known by the rest of the members.
Article 8 (Amendment). Every member requesting insurance with the SPJST must sign the following statement: “I herewith declare that in the event of my suicide or in the event I start using intoxicating beverages, opiates and similar drugs to the extent that they would injure my health permanently or cause my death, or if I were to die as a result of a duel in which I voluntarily participated or by some other voluntary act, or at the hands of those who are beneficiaries of my policy or who would according to the law be the beneficiaries, or in the event it were determined that information given’in my application for insurance was falsely and knowingly given for the purpose of deceiving the Society, then I renounce all claims that I or my survivors might have or any other benefits deriving from my policy, and particularly agree that such policy would be declared null and void.”
Article 9. Women members have the right to attend lodge meetings, but in no instance are they to be penalized for non-attendance at meetings. For current expenses by the lodge, such member is to pay 30¢ quarterly.
Section IV, Art. 1. The application fee (vkladne) of a member in any lodge is to be $2.50, half of that is to be paid at the time of application and the second at the time of initiation. No one is to be initiated until this amount is paid.
Art. 2. The lodge dues are set at 10¢ a month. Section IV (Support). a) Art. 1. Every lodge is to have sick benefit supports according to the wishes of that local lodge. b) Benefits in the event of a member’s death.
Art. 1. Death benefits in this Society are set at either $250, $500, or $1,000, according to the member. Only those applicants can be accepted for $1,000 coverage who have not yet reached the age of 45. This amount will be paid to the survivors of those members who have faithfully fulfilled their lodge obligations and whose death has been declared legal and official.
Age At Time
Of Admission $250 $500 $1,000
From 18 to 21 15¢ 30¢ 60¢
From 21 to 25 18¢ 35¢ 70¢
From 25 to 30 23¢ 45¢ 90¢
From 30 to 35 25¢ 50¢ $1.00
From 35 to 40 30¢ 60¢ $1.20
From 40 to 45 35¢ 65¢ $1.30
From 45 to 50 40¢ 75¢
(Note: It is presumed that these rates are monthly rates.)
Art. 9. In the event of an outbreak of cholera or other disastrous epidemic that would affect a large number of members, the Main Lodge has the authority, in the event that the mortality reached 5 per month, to lower the mortuary benefits to the beneficiaries by 1/4; in the event of 8 mortalities a month, by liz, and in the event of 12 mortalities a month, by 3/4. The remainder of the death benefits are to be paid by the Society according to financial ability within five years to those beneficiaries entitled to same.
Art. 11. Member insured for $250 in death benefits may increase his coverage to $1,000, provided he is not more than 45 years old, and provided that he subjects himself to a doctor’s examination, according to Art. 4, Section III.
In order to curtail the number of unnatural deaths, it was agreed as follows:
Art. 12, Subsection 5b: In the event that any member, man or woman, commits suicide or causes their own death, or takes his own life within 5 years after becoming a member, the Society will pay the survivors of such member 1/4 of the total face value of the policy; up to 10 years, 1/2 of the face value of the policy, and up to 15 years, % of the face value, and over 15, the entire face value.
Art. 13. Lodges that are unable to collect mortuary premiums from members must make up this amount from the lodge treasury.
Art. 14. Each trustee (duvernik) must announce the total amount sent him in mortuary premiums from the lodges in the next issue of the organ.
Art. 15. In the event of an unusually large mortality and the monthly income would not suffice for the payment of mortuary claims, the Main Lodge will issue a special assessment, not to exceed more often than once a month.
Section VI. (Reserve Fund). Art. 1. Every member of this Society is obliged to pay 25¢ annually in the month of September into a Reserve Fund if he is insured in the sum of $250; 50¢ in the event of $500 coverage, and $1 in the event of $1,000 coverage.
Art. 3 (Amendment). Funds paid into this Reserve Fund are to be sent to the treasurer of the Main Lodge for his safekeeping.
Committee for amending the by-laws for the Main Lodge made its recommendations and the delegates proceeded to discuss these in detail. They accepted the following amendments:
Section I, Art. 4. The administration of the Main Lodge, that is, Executive Committee, is composed of seven members, who are as follows: President, trustee (dozorce), secretary, treasurer, and a 3-member Auditing Committee (Ucetni vybor). This Main Lodge is obliged to obey the State laws so that the lodges would be fully protected and have recourse to such laws.
Art. 6. The Society will publish and send a copy of its official organ to each member at the Society’s expense. The secretary of the Main Lodge will add the expense of such organ to the expenses of the Main Lodge.
Section III, Art. 3. The secretary of the Main Lodge will receive an annual salary for the satisfactory fulfillment of his duties according to the amount set by the convention.
Section IV, Art. 1. The convention of the Main Lodge, as far as the site and time is concerned, will be according to the decision of the delegates.
Art. 9. Those by-laws enacted in the convention go into effect within 30 days.
Section IV, Art. 3. The initial fee for newlyorganized lodges was decreased from $25 to $15.
The following report was read by the Resolutions Committee and accepted:
1) We thank the members of the Main Lodge for all their work and activities for the good of the Society in the past period, and especially extend thanks to brother secretary and treasurer of the Main Lodge for his two years of work, and wish him much success in his future work.
2) We respectfully recall the work of F, Fabian, editor of our organ, not only for the good of our Society, but also in the field of fraternalism and free thought in general.
3) We thank the officers and committees of this convention, who, with their hard work and conscientiousness, expedited convention business and brought about good results.
4) With sadness we recall those brothers who have departed from our fraternal circles since the time of the last convention and have left us forever, especially those who died an honorable death.
R. Valenta proposed that singing be used during the initiation of members and at the opening and closing of lodge meetings. Accepted.
The following were nominated for the office of president: Tom Hruska, Jindrich Fisl, Josef Mondrik, R. Valenta, and J.J. Holik. Holik was elected.
The following were nominated for trustee: Jurcak, Fisl, Mondrik, and Hruska. Hruska was elected trustee.
Motion was made and seconded that J.R. Kubena be elected secretary by acclamation. Accepted.
J.R. Kubena was elected treasurer in the same manner. It was agreed that the salary of the secretary and treasurer of the Main Lodge be $200 a year.
Nominated and elected to the Auditing Committee were Josef Pokorny, Jan Psencik, and Frank Pivec.
Motion was made and seconded that the position of Chief Medical Adviser be abolished. After a lengthy debate, 13 voted in favor of retaining the position and 18 against. Position was therefore abolished.
It was agreed that every male member of the Society pay 20¢ quarterly toward the official organ and that this publication be increased to 12 pages; that in addition to Society reports and news, that it contain also current news items, world news, and economic-agricultural articles. The expense of publishing the organ is to be born by the Main Lodge.
The following towns were suggested for the next convention: Cameron, West, Caldwell, Taylor, and Fayetteville. In a run-off election, Fayetteville received 20 and Taylor 13, thus Fayetteville was the site of the next convention.
It was agreed that the Main Lodge hold the next convention after three years and specifically on the third Monday in June.
The officers of the Main Lodge were installed. Motion was made and seconded and passed that every delegate receive $2 a day and travelling expenses for the duration of the convention. Passed. Convention adjourned.
Note: By the time the lInd Convention was completed, we can see many organizational decisions and terms which are in use in the SPJST to this date. Note that there was no vice president in the Main Lodge at this time. This came much later.
The early fathers of the SPJST borrowed terms like Hlavni rad (translates as Main Lodge), dozorce (trustee) and ucetni vybor (auditing committee) and numerous other designations which are used to this day in the SPJST, as evidenced in our by-laws and convention Proceedings.
Regarding the term “Hlavni rad”, which translates as “Main Lodge”, it is not clear exactly when and how the current application “Supreme Lodge” came into use. We find that as late as the VIIth Convention in Galveston in 1916 the term “Hlavni rad” was still very much in use. This was definitely terminology carried over from the highest administrative body in the C.S.P.S. By 1944 the term applied to the highest administrative body had become “Hlavni uradovna” (Main Administration). In recent years, the term “Hlavni rad” has come back into vogue, but in English, the term “Supreme Lodge” has remained.
We also see that by the time of the IInd Convention that 29 lodges were represented with 30 delegates, Lodge No. 17 having two delegates.
We also see the Proceedings being brief and to the point, with very few references to the details of discussions and who said what. The delegates were about very serious business. Considerable emphasis was placed on death benefits and support to widows and survivors. The article about a possible cholera epidemic no doubt stemmed from the experience of the C.S.P.S. in St. Louis a few years before when the cholera epidemic took a heavy toll in that city over 4,000 persons within three months.
We see that the subject of suicide was a matter of considerable concern to the delegates. We also see the start of the Reserve Fund, which was later a statutory requirement for insurance companies. Considerable emphasis was also placed on the ritual and the attendant “secrecy”. Paradoxically, the position of Chief Medical Advisor was abolished in this convention.
Finally, we see that the delegates were not sure about how often to hold a convention and that accounts for the intervals between the first five conventions to be two years, three years, five years, two years, and then three years before the VIth Convention in Granger in 1912 decided that conventions would be held every four years from that time forward.
Supreme Lodge 1897-99
I.J. Gallia 1st and 3rd President of the SPJST
Gallia was one of the Texas leaders who lead the effort for reform in the national C.S.P.S. and eventually withdrawal and formation of the SPJST.
The first meeting of 25 Czech-Texans on December 28th, 1896 in the Fayette County Courthouse in La Grange was the meeting that preceded the First Convention. In fact, as the original minutes by Bro. Kubena indicate. it was at the December 1896 meeting that the First Convention was called for the 20th of June 1897. The meeting of 28 December 1896 is covered in detail elsewhere. What follows is a review of that convention and the highlights of all the conventions held since and through the XXIIII’d Convention. Because of their brevity, the first two conventions are covered according to the minutes (protocol) of those conventions.
The First Convention
Delegates of the SPJST lodges met in La Grange, Texas on the 20th of June 1897. The convention was called to order by Engelbert Pollach. The following lodges were represented:
Pokrok Texasu No.1 in Fayetteville……………..J.R. Kubena
Kopernik No.2 in La Grange……L. V. Vanek
Novohrad No.3……………….Frank Dusek
Karel Havlicek No.4 in Hallettsville……………..Josef Jahn
Jaroslav No.5 in Ammansville………….Josef F. Kristek
Moravsti Bratri No.6, Cottonwood…………………Ondrej Rydel
Rovnost Caldwell No.7……Josef Dusek, Jr.
Prapor Svobody No.8, Weimar…….Jan Barta
Slovan No.9, Snook…………..F.F.Sebesta
Texasky Mir No.10, Shiner..JosefF. Kopecky
Svojan No.11, Praha………..Josef Hodanek
Dubina No.12……………… Frank Tymel
Texaska Orlice No.13, Dime Box………………..M. F. Valigura
Veseli (Wesley) No. 14,….. Josef Mikeska
Svornost Jihu No. 15, Buckholts………………….. Josef Mondrik
Bila Hora No.16……….. Josef Dusek
Novy Tabor No.17, Caldwell…………….Engelbert Pollach
Jan Zizka No.18,Elgin……… Jan Janota
Velehrad No. 19 …….., Ferdinand Breska
Komensky No. 20, Granger…….J. F. Martinec
Frantisek Palacky No. 21, Engle………..I. J. Gallia
Jiri Washington No. 22, Cat Springs……………… Franta Hana
As permanent officers of the convention, I.J.Gallia was elected chairman, J.R. Kubena secretary, and Jan Michal as trustee. (Note that Jan Michal was not a delegate.)
The committee on by-laws gave its report.
Engelbert Pollach proposed that mortuary premiums of the younger members be increased, which was defeated. Pollach then proposed that the official organizational date of the SPJST be designated as 15 July instead of the 1st of July, and this was also defeated. Josef Dusek, Jr., moved that the by-laws be approved as proposed.
Election of Supreme Lodge officers to serve for two years resulted in the following:
President – I. J. Gallia; trustee – Ferdinand Breska; secretary-treasurer – J. R. Kubena. Jan Michal, Josef F. Kopecky, Josef Hodanek, and Frank Dusek were elected to the Finance Committee. The salary of the secretary-treasurer was set at $300 a year and his bond at $1,000.
J. R. Kubena moved that every member who secures a new member be awarded the sum of $1 by his local lodge, and for organizing a new lodge, $10. The $10 is to be paid by the Supreme Lodge, and the person receiving this money is obliged to install the new lodge. Motion was passed.
A motion made to require lodges to conduct open and public meetings was defeated.
J.R. Kubena and Lad Vanek were appointed to draw up a charter for the new organization, along with Augustin Haidusek.
The secretary of the Supreme Lodge was directed to draw up procedures for keeping local lodge books and to distribute them to all lodges.
It was moved and accepted that a committee be elected to draw up a ritual for conducting local lodge affairs. and the following were elected: L.V. Vanek, J.F. Kopecky, and Josef Mondrik. In a little while the committee submitted a set of rituals, which were accepted. L.V. Vanek, J.R. Kubena, and Engelbert Pollach were appointed to a committee charged with the publication of this ritual. It was moved and accepted that the Supreme Lodge secure the necessary forms for a physical examination. It was moved and accepted that the Society have a chief medical director, who would be obliged to approve all medical examinations of new applicants and recommend same to the Supreme Lodge, either for approval or rejection. The Executive Committee [sic] of the Supreme Lodge is to secure the services of a good doctor, and it was likewise approved that each applicant for membership was to pay 50¢ to the Chief Medical Adviser.
It was moved and accepted to publish an independent organ. Frank Lidiak was requested to submit a bid for publishing such an organ. It was agreed that Frank Lidiak would publish a monthly organ approximately 11 x 14 inches, consisting of 12 pages, 4 of which Bro. Lidiak was to keep for himself and the other 8 to consist of material for the good of the Society. It was further agreed that Bro. Lidiak would be responsible for publishing, editing, and dispatching of the organ on the first of each month and was to receive $300 annually for 1,000 copies. The first edition is to be published August 1, 1897, with the cost to be 50¢ a year per member.
It was agreed that every delegate be authorized to request $2 from his local lodge treasury for every day that the convention is in session, and the same sum was authorized to the By-law Committee for the time devoted to drafting the by-laws.
Flatonia was selected as the site of the next convention, which was set for the third Monday in June of 1899. Convention adjourned.
Thus we see that in the First Convention 22 lodges were represented by 22 delegates. It should be noted, however, that Lodges 23 Moravia, 24 Cyclone, and 25 Ennis were organized very shortly after that First Convention and before July the 5th. (See the following.) In an issue of Svoboda dated 8 July 1897, a report by the secretary of the Main Lodge in Fayetteville dated 5 July, there is an announcement of the organization of the three new lodges, so that the SPJST ” … now consists of a total of 25 lodges. ” This was virtually on the heels of the First Convention. These three lodges were not represented in that First Convention because they had not yet been officially organized at the time. However, since they were organized so soon after that First Convention, they were admitted into the Society as of 1 July 1897 and are considered charter lodges.
The reference to the “Executive Committee” (in Czech, Vykonny Vybor) appears for the first time and it can be assumed that this was to consist of the Supreme Lodge President, Secretary-Treasurer, and Trustee. The Czech for “trustee” is “dozorce”. We also see reference to the “Finance Committee”, a Chief Medical Examiner, a ritual, and provision for an official publication. These were all significant decisions, all of which served as precedents from that convention to the present. The “trustee” was no doubt the earliest forerunner of the present directors in the Supreme Lodge. It should also be noted here that the original minutes by Kubena referred to “Hlavni rad” (a carryover from C.S.P.S. days), which translates as “Main Lodge”. The term “Supreme Lodge” came into use much later, probably when the by-laws and convention Proceedings appeared in the English language for the first time. This will be covered later. It is interesting that the original minutes of this First Convention do not have any reference to motions to create an Executive Committee or trustee. This was something that was borrowed from the organizational structure of the C.S.P.S. of which all or most of the delegates were members.
Our First Charter
Shortly after the adjournment of the First Convention in La Grange, the appointed committee of three met and drew up the charter for submission to the Secretary of State. You will recall that in the December 1896 meeting this committee of three was to have consisted of J. R. Kubena, Augustin Haidusek, and Frank Eihal From reading this original document we see that Gallia must have replaced Eihal in the interim. Under Article 7 of the charter we see that the signers were the three trustees of the new organization for the first year. It is not known who actually drafted the text of the charter. The charter was typewritten, with the date of July 10th written in at the very end by the notary. J. R. Kubena might have been the principal drafter of the charter, but it is also logical to assume that Augustin Haidusek, a lawyer, played a significant role in the language of the charter, since it does refer to a certain Title of the Revised Statutes of Texas.
Because of the historical significance of the document the original charter is printed here verbatim. Note that all three signers had their signatures acknowledged separately before three different notaries public on three different dates, two in Fayette County and one in Lavaca County in the City of Moulton.
THE STATE OF TEXAS:
County of Fayette.
KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS:
That we, I. J. Gallia, John R. Kubena and Lad V. Vanek. resident citizens of said State and County, and such other persons, as may associate themselves with us, in accordance with the provisions contained in TITLE XXI. of the REVISED STATUTES OF TEXAS, concerning private corporations, do hereby organize ourselves into an incorporated association, for benevolent, charitable and educational purposes, and for the protection of women and children of deceased members of this corporation.
The name of this corporation shall be “SLOVANSKA PODPORUJICI JEDNOTA STATU TEXAS”.
The purposes for which this corporation is formed, are,
(a) To extend benevolent assistance to the members of this association, and to those who are dependent upon them, in accordance with the Constitution and By-Laws of the association, to be hereafter adopted, and to promote charity among all such persons.
(b) To promote and encourage the education of the members of this association and their families, in the Bohemian and English languages, and to advance their moral and literary inclinations.
(c) To create and sustain by voluntary contributions or assessments of its members, a relief fund for the benefit of the widows and children of deceased members of this association, to be distributed in accordance with the Constitution and By-Laws of this corporation to be hereafter adopted.
This corporation is to be a mutual benefit organization, and its business shall be conducted through such lodges and councils, as may be hereafter provided for by its Constitution and By-Laws, and it has not and will not have any capital stock whatever.
This corporation does not now own any property of any kind, real or personal, and the purpose is to own only such personal property as may be sufficient to furnish its lodges, and conduct its business, such lands as may be necessary, upon which to erect suitable buildings, in which to hold its lodges and councils, and such funds as may accumulate to carry out its purposes and objects [sic], – the value of same cannot now be estimated, as it has not been acquired, and will depend entirely upon the growth of the association.
The principal office and place of business of this association [sic] shall be in the town of La Grange, in Fayette County, Texas, and at such other places as may be hereafter decided upon by this association.
This association is to exist for a term of fifty years from the date of the filing of this charter, in the office of the Secretary of State, unless sooner dissolved in accordance with law.
The business of this association shall be transacted by a board of three trustees, and such other officers as may be provided for by the Constitution and By-Laws to be hereafter adopted. The trustees for the first year are, I. J. Gallia of Engle, Fayette County, Texas, John R. Kubena of Fayetteville, Fayette County, Texas, and Lad V. Vanek of La Grange, Fayette County, Texas, who shall hold their office until their successors are elected and qualified, under the laws of this association.
In testimony of all of which we hereunto sign our names, this the 10th day of July A.D. 1897.
lsI Lad. V. Vanek
lsI I. J. Gallia
lsI J. R. Kubena
The State of Texas)
(County of Fayette)
Before me, R. Klatt, Clerk of the County Court in and for Fayette County, Texas, on this day personally appeared Lad. V. Vanek, known to me to be the person whose name is subscribed to the foregoing instrument and acknowledged to me that he executed the same for the purpose and consideration therein expressed.
Given under my hand and seal of office this 10th day of July, A.D. 1897.
/s/ R. Klatt, Clerk County Court,
Fayette County, Texas.
State of Texas
County of Fayette
Before me, W. A. Beckham, a Justice of the Peace and ex-officio Notary Public in and for Fayette County Texas personally appeared I.G.[sic] Gallia to me well known who acknowledges to me that he Signed the foregoing instrument for the Purpose and consideration therein expressed this the 2nd day of August AD 1899.
/s/ W. A. Beckham
Justice of the Peace and ex-officio
Notary Public in and for Fayette
The State of Texas
County of Lavaca
Before me, T. F. Jackson, a Justice of The Peace and Ex-officio Notary Public in and for Lavaca County Tex on this day formally appeared J. R. Kubena known to me to be the person whose name is subscribed to the foregoing instrument and acknowledged to me that he executed the same for the purposes and consideration therein expressed.
Given under my hand and seal of office at Moulton, Tex., this the 5th Day of August AD 1897.
a Justice of The Peace and
Ex-officio Notary Public
Charter of “The Slavic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas.”
No Cap Stock Fran. tax $10
(The above in the original longhand of Bro. J.R. Kubena)
Charter of Slovanska Podporujici Jednota Statu Texas.
Filed in Dept of State Aug 12th 1897.
Department of State
I, J. W. Madden, Secretary of State of the State of Texas, do hereby certify that, the foregoing is a true copy of the original charter “The Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas” with the endorsement thereon, as now appears on record in this department.
Witness my official signature, and the Seal of State affixed, at the City of Austin, this the 13th day of August, A.D. 1897.
/s/ J. W. Madden Secretary of State
One of the most prominent pioneer Czech figures in Texas around the turn of the century, Haidusek was one of the prime backers of the SPJST fraternal Society in Texas, founded the first Czech language newspaper of that time, Svornost, was the first lawyer of Czech origin to be licensed by the bar to practice law in Texas and was the first person of Czech descent to be elected to the Texas State Legislature. He was one of the original three appointed to draft the original charter for the SPJST, withdrew shortly after his appointment, but is believed to have played a major role in the drafting of that charter, along with J.R. Kubena and Frank Cihal.
Veronika (Kozlovsky) Baca
She was the last charter member of the SPJST Sis. Baca had joined Lodge No.15 in Buckholts on July 1, 1897, later transferring to Lodge No. 89 in Rosebud. She died in a Temple nursing home on December 10, 1968.
Officers of the C.S.P.S. Main Lodge in Texas in 1886, taken in Schulenburg, Texas, and who were among the leaders in forming the new SPJST a decade later. Back row, L to R: F. Pelikan, A. M. Koniakovsky, Tom Krajca, I.J. Gallia, L. Russek, F. Marcak, J. Hodanek. Second row, L to R: Anton Kulhanek, J. Dolejsi, Frank Lidiak, J. Stavinoha, Jakub Vackar. Front: Josef Kopecky Vojta Kveton, and J. Marcak.