Dick Hoppe

In 1965 Frieda and Emil Witzens placed an ad in the Tucson paper inviting German Americans to their home for Gemütlichkeit.  A club was formed, and within a year grew to 117 members. In early 1966 the decision was made to form a Non-Profit Corporation.  In August 1966 a constitution and by-laws were adopted and a charter was issued by the state of Arizona . Soon after, Leo Nieder was elected as the second President.

The club met at VFW Post 4903 for meetings and dances. In 1968 an agreement was reached with the American Continental Club of Hollywood, CA for a two way membership.  Membership soared in 1969 when the GACT entered a wagon in the Tucson Rodeo Parade.  Rex Waite designed the float and Frank Hastings convinced Bob Friebus, owner of Schlitz distributing in Tucson , to provide a keg of beer with complimentary beer steins for the float riders.  The beer kept us from winning a prize but the Parade Marshall said he had six volunteers to drive our float in the next parade.

In 1970, Flory Perillo and Ruth’s brother made a Schnitzelbank chart which was performed at least once a year for several years. Our club along with other ethnic clubs was invited to provide hors d’oeuvres for the Grand Opening of Kino Hospital. Long after the other clubs tables were out of food and empty the TGAC was still passing out food to the hundreds of visitors. Governor Raul Castro thanked the ladies personally. A picture of the ladies with Govenor Castro was taken for the newspaper.

In 1977 ‘our second Rodeo Parade Wagon entry won a Special Citation. All our picnics through 1978 were held at Rancho Merlita, Merle Norman’s Tucson home on Wrightstown Rd. In 1979 we began holding our once a month dances at the Tucson Womens Club. In 1980 we were invited to sell hand crafts and pre-packaged sandwiches and cakes and cookies, etc at the Downtown Mercado. It was successful.

November 20-26 1983 was proclaimed Tucson German-American Tricentennial week by Mayor Lew Murphy. A Proclamation was issued to the club. In 1984 we received a letter signed by Lee Iococa thanking us for a donation to the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. He was chairman of the commission. We also received a “Thank you” from the Presidential commission for the German-American Tricentennial in January. On Saturday, October 26, 1985 we celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Tucson German-American Club at the Holidome on S. Palo Verde.