With a donation of $10,000, the membership of the Orthodox Christian Association of Cohoes NY has created a Memorial Seminarian Scholarship in the name of the late Peter J. Geleta.
This donation is inspired by the "Vision for Our Future” initiative and Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors program instituted by His Grace, Bishop Michael (details HERE!)
Peter J. Geleta, after coming home as a veteran of World War II, saw the existence in the City of Cohoes of several ethnic organizations. There were three different organizations with respect to Polish background. There were two affiliated with Ukrainian ethnic background. Another organization existed for those of Italian background. Peter set forth to bring some recognition to the Russian people who lived in the Cohoes area.
In 1951, Mr. Geleta put forth a plan to create such an organization. There was a building within walking distance of Saint Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church which was owned by a parishioner. It was a two story structure with about 15,000 square feet on each floor where potato chips were made. Bonds were sold to parishioners and organizations and the building was purchased.
The building was remodeled to create a social club and a large hall on the second floor. Soon the Club was a site for holding events for Saint Nicholas Church, since the church had no usable hall. Thereafter, the facility was used to cater wedding receptions, bowling banquets, corporate functions, Little League and Intermediate baseball dinners, and Christmas parties.
Through Peter’s foresight, the Club gave support to the children of the City of Cohoes for years by sponsoring Little League teams, Intermediate League teams, a Junior Bowling program, and traveling youth bowling teams. The Club gave scholarships to graduating seniors annually to both the public and parochial schools of the city.
The Club became known throughout the Tri-Cities area as “The Russian Club.” It ultimately gave recognition to the Russian ethnic people, fulfilling the dream of Peter Geleta, who for all but two years served as the Club’s President for the rest of his life.
The Club gave support to Saint Nicholas Church with financial donations over the years and purchase of articles for the beautification of the interior of the church. The Club became the center of activities for Saint Nicholas Church as well as the Cohoes Senior “R” Club.
Arrangements were made by the O.C.A. Club with the City of Cohoes to purchase the vacant lot across from the church. Having purchased the lot, the Club gave ownership of it to the church.
While serving as President of the Club and also as President of the Saint Nicholas Church Council, Peter suffered a stroke and fell asleep in the Lord in 2000. He is buried at Saint Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cemetery in Boght Corners.
May God grant his faithful servant, Peter, rest with the Saints, and make his memory to be eternal! “Vechnaya Pamyat!”
For more information about the Club or the newly created Seminarian Scholarship, contact:
Orthodox Christian Association of Cohoes NY, Inc.
596 Saratoga Street
Cohoes NY 12047