Community : Bradford West Gwillimbury
Description : Town Gathers for Joe Magani
"I don't know if I really deserve all this, just because I gave a stinkin' 20 years of my life to the town." - Joe Magani, January 28, 1977.
More than 180 persons were on hand at the Bradford
Community Centre Friday night to honor "Uncle Joe" Magani on his retirement from 20 years in Bradford politics, the last 16 of those as mayor.
Reeve Ken Wood was chairman for the evening, and he opened the meeting by introducing head tables guests, and then handed the microphone over to Charlie Evans, former reeve, county warden and town solicitor for Bradford.
Mr. Evans conveyed apologies on behalf of former Ontario Lieutenant-Governor Earl Rowe who was unable to attend because of the storm.
"Earl told me to say he's sorry that he and his wife couldn't come because he would have loved to be here tonight," said Mr. Evans.
He went on to read a message from Mr. Rowe: "Joe should be commended for his tremendous service to the community of Bradford, and Bradford is a much better place because Joe Magani lived here."
Mr. Rowe's statement was greeted by warm applause from the audience.
Continuing, Mr. Evans said, "I sure would like to pay tribute to our guest of honor. I sure would have liked to see Joe's mother here tonight, but I understand he ordered there was no way she was to come out on the roads tonight.
"Joe's mother would sure be proud and pleased with her little boy tonight," he added, and this was also applauded.
He pointed out that Mr. Magani had been involved in municipal politics for more than one-eighth of Bradford's life, and that he had been mayor for more than one-ninth of its life as a municipality.
"I have been close friends with Joe for a long time, and any good things for Bradford, one of the guys in there on top was Uncle Joe," he said.
Mayor Roy Gordon was then called upon to present Mr. Magani with a set of monogrammed golf clubs.
Mr. Evans quipped, "Well, Joe, I gave you lessons with these (the clubs) 30 years ago, and I'll be glad to give you more lessons."
The microphone was then turned over to the guest of honor, and he said, "I heard a few rumours about this...that's beautiful. First of all, I want to thank you all. That's a beautiful gift... I don't know if I really deserve all this, just because I gave a stinkin' 20 years of my life to the town."
"I don't know if you know it or not, but these (golf) clubs are the best in the world. I really love all of you, and I think you're fantastic people. I just don't know how to thank you."
Chairman Ken Wood then called on Bradford Fire Chief Harold "Butch" Boyd to make another presentation.
Mr. Boyd said, "We have a little gift here for Uncle Joe. He's been tellin' me what to do for the last 20 years and I've had to go along with it...And now I've got him on the spot, I don't know what to say."
The gift from the firefighters was a gold-plated fire helmet naming Mr. Magani as honorary chief of the Bradford Fire Department.
"By the way, ladies and gentlemen, we've got the best fire department in the province of Ontario. And I said that before I got this gift." said Mr. Magani. "You know, I've always wanted one of these," he added as he placed the helmet on his head.
Spotting former fire chief, Ted Gapp in the audeince, he said, "Hey Gapp, now I'm in the same class as you."
Mr. Gapp replied, "Joe, you always backed the fire department 100 percent, but I remember one time when I was manager of a ball team and you thoght you were a ballplayer."
Mr. Boyd said, "Joe, the first good Sunday that you're home I'll let you wear that hat and drive the fire truck."
Mr. Magani replies, "I really thank you from the bottom of my heart."
He went on to introduce his daughter, Denise, and her husband, Mike Gasko, as well as other relatives and close friends. "But you know, the closest family I have," he said with an expansive gesture, "they're all here."
Mayor Gordon was then introduced, and he said, "I think Joe Magani is a super guy, and I can't say enough about him. He's a lovely guy, and I'm not gonna miss him because I'm gonna get him to do a whole bunch of things."
Turning to Mr. Magani, he said, "I think you're the father of Bradford."
Simcoe Centre MPP Art Evans said, "I have played golf, baseball and hockey with Joe, and we've been on council together. Joe was a driving force behind our centennial.
"But I probably know a few more things about Joe than you do," he added, and recounted a couple of anecdotes about Mr. Magani.
Mr. Evans told about one morning when a group of gentlemen shaved all the hair off the former mayor's chest.
Noting that "those are big shoes Roy Gordon has to fill," Mr. Evans recounted another story about the time they sent Mr. Magani's golf shoes floating down a creek.
In concluding address, he said "Joe mentioned those golf clubs were the best in the world. Well, I think Joe Magani's the best in the world."
West Gwillimbury Reeve John Fennell said, "Joe always laid his cards on the table. We always knew what Bradford wanted and what West Gwillimbury wanted.
"Joe was always as close as the telephone, and we knew we could always get some good advice. I hope you'll have many happy years here in Bradford, and knowing you, you'll be involved. So if you can't phone us, maybe you can write us," he said, and presented Mr. Magani with a pen and pencil set on behalf of the township council.
Former county warden and West Gwillimbury reeve Orville Hughes said, "I know they talk about you and I retiring, Joe, and I hope they mean from politics. Because unless you made a lot more money in politics than I did, we're not ready to retire yet."
Chairman Mr. Wood adjourned the meeting, and the evening continued with dancing till the early hours.