The people of Philadelphia’s Tacony neighborhood have started a movement to honor “Goople.”
Joseph C. “Goople” McCloskey (1920-1990), was one of the original Philadelphia Police Athletic League officers, dating back to the formation of the organization in 1947, and ran PAL programs in that ancient neighborhood for 37 years. Thousands of youngsters benefited from his tutelage and many still talk fondly of “The Goop,” each with an illustrative story. His likeness is included in a mural at Tulip and Longshore Streets, along with Tacony’s best-known figure, industrialist Henry Disston.
Twenty years after his death, Goople’s memory is strong enough to fuel a movement for a bronze bust of the local hero to be displayed in the community center/atrium of the new Engine 38 firehouse, scheduled for dedication in Spring of 2012, at Keystone Street and Magee Avenue. McCloskey’s image will survey the adjacent playing field he supervised for four decades. The organization hopes to raise $62,100 for the project and improvements to the ballfield, with leftover funds to be dedicated to the Philadelphia PAL.
The Joe McCloskey Memorial Fund has commissioned the services of internationally renowned sculptor Zenos Frudakis, whose jaw-dropping portfolio includes the sculpture of Frank Rizzo at 15th & JFK, the Air Force Memorial at the USAF Academy, and “Freedom,” outside Glaxo Smith Klein’s world headquarters, 16th & Spring Garden Streets.
Supporting the effort are State Sen. Michael Stack; State Reps. Michael McGeehan and Kevin Boyle; Councilpersons James Kenney, Frank Rizzo and Joan Krajewski; Gerald Curran of Curran’s Irish Inns; Philadelphia Police Athletic League; Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5; United States Postal Service, Lindbergh MVO; Tacony Sons of Italy, AOH Division 39, St. Leo RC Parish, and hundreds of local residents.
The next meeting is scheduled for 7PM, March 23rd, AOH Division 39, 7229 Tulip Street, 19135. A Beef ‘n’ Beer fundraiser will be held on April 30th, 2011, 5 to 9PM, at Curran’s Irish Inn Tacony, State Road and Longshore Street.
-Submitted by the Joe McCloskey Memorial Fund