Clarence Kamen has been a member of Farmington's Knights of Columbus since 1937
Clarence Kamen still has the membership card he got when he first joined the Farmington Knights of Columbus. At this point, it probably qualifies as a historical document.
Kamen joined the Catholic service organization along with his father and his brother in 1937, and he kept coming back year after year. He recently celebrated his 75th anniversary as a member of the group, all in Farmington. He still has all 75 of his member cards.
"It's quite an accomplishment, I guess," said Kamen, who turned 94 on Jan. 6. "I never expected I'd live that long."
Kamen was 18 years old when his father convinced him to join the Knights. He went along with it because he liked the idea of helping the church, but he remembers being underwhelmed by that first initiation ceremony. But it certainly didn't keep him from coming back. Kamen has been a regular at KC events like the Dew Days parade and the group's pancake breakfasts. He liked raising money and being able to do good things for St. Michael's Catholic Church and other causes.
"He'd do just about anything," said Clarence's son Jerry, himself a member of the KCs for the past 25 years. "He likes the Dew Days parade in Farmington. I don't know if he'll make it this year. He's getting a little achy."
Jerry grew up around the Knights of Columbus. He remembers his father going to meetings and other events. It was always kind of expected that he and his brother would join when they were old enough.
Clarence isn't very active in the KCs anymore. He moved to Rosemount about 10 years ago, and it's hard to get to meetings at night. But his long-term membership has still impressed plenty of others. Outgoing Grand Knight Ed Schultz discovered Kamen's longevity last year when he took over leadership of the club and got access to everyone's records. He was surprised to see one of the group's members was so close to a major milestone.
"I was just amazed," Schultz said. "It's quite an accomplishment. Most people don't even live to be 75, much less be involved in a community organization."
At a recent banquet Kamen received a plaque from the national KC organization to honor him for his accomplishment.
"That was a pretty proud moment," Jerry Kamen said.