The Grump Club’s humble beginning started with five merry gentlemen (Barney McGuire, Tom McGuinness, Bill Connelie, Bob Sweeney and Joe Sayers) introducing the 3 martini lunch to the Capital District. We sadly say that Barney, Joe and Bob have since passed on.
Barney, Tom and Bill were all retired from the New York City Police Department. At the time, Barney McGuire was a personnel administrator for NYSP, Tom McGuinness was an investigator with NYS Agriculture & Markets, and Bill Connelie was the Superintendent of the NYS Police. Bob Sweeney was a former Assistant Deputy Superintendent with NYSP and was currently Deputy Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. Joe Sayers was a retired NYSP BCI investigator working as a lobbyist for the Security Industry.
The first historic luncheon took place in the spring of 1977 at the Knights of St.John’s Club in Albany, NY (currently Crossgates Restaurant). From then on, the group met month after grueling month, trying to perfect its ritual, and each time they met additional people joined in the quest. So proud of their accomplishments, they eventually enlisted the help of over 400 members to further the cause. The leadership and perseverance of these charter members make the Grump Club what it is today…………… A THREE HOUR LUNCH WITH AN OPEN BAR !.
For the first 11 years, Barney McGuire was the skipper of the group keeping them on a steady course. He took care of the mundane tasks of arranging the luncheons, mailing newsletter, and giving flamboyant lectures at the monthly gatherings. The Grump Club has become the group it is today because of Barney McGuire.
November 1988, Barney stepped aside, and asked the two Tom McGuinness’ to take over for him. Tom McGuinness “OB” is a retired NYPD Detective and charter member while Tom McGuinness “TJ” is a retired police officer from ESU – NYPD.
The Grump Club still meets on the third Friday of each month. Luncheons are at various restaurants around the Albany area. In addition to the monthly luncheons we have a Memorial breakfast in May, Golf outing in July, Weekend with spouses in October and a Christmas Party in December.
We have No rules, No elections, No charter, and very few speeches. Our Motto is Plain and Simple. In Barney McGuire’s words, “..we have no axes to grind with anyone !”
The late Albany Times Union columnist and beloved Grump, Barney Fowler, once described the club in one of his witty columns as “ …..the only group of its kind in the United States of America and the general public should be thankful for that.”