Club History


Cleveland Civil War Round Table on top of Lookout Mountain

NEOCWRT Early History

Motto: “Quality, Education, and Fellowship in all our Endeavors!”

 A historic ninety-minute meeting took place starting at noon sharp on December 12, 1997 at the Dock Restaurant in Wickliffe, Ohio.  The purpose of this meeting was to determine if the group assembled was interested in becoming founders of a new Civil War Round Table?  The interest and desire was unanimous!

Six of the seven founders were in attendance that afternoon.  Ernie Safran could not attend due to an illness in the family.   

“The Founding Seven” were:

Robert E. Battisti, Sr. Novelty, OH          (deceased)        

Robert R. Baucher      Mentor, OH           (deceased)

Robert N. Bayless        Lyndhurst, OH     (relocated)

Norton London            Cleveland Hts., OH

Earnest Safran             Novelty, OH          (resigned) 

Joseph E. Tirpak         Mentor, OH

Frank A Yannucci       Youngstown, OH   (deceased)

 The following items were discussed and/or resolved at the initial meeting:

Official Name of group:  Northeast Ohio Civil War Round Table

Charter Member:  Agreed that new members who joined the NEOCWRT starting January 1, 1998 through December 31, 1998 would be recorded with a special designation as “Charter Member”.

 Constitution:  Bob Baucher and Bob Bayless volunteered to draft a Constitution for our next meeting scheduled for January 15, 1998.  This follow-up meeting was designated a business meeting to continue the planning and launch of our new Round Table scheduled for April 14, 1998.  The Constitution was approved pending minor modifications.

Officers and Executive Committee:

Joe Tirpak was selected to serve as the first President of the new group.  Each of the Founders was to serve as President for one year.  The rotation for President was in order of joining the Cleveland Round Table. Each Founder was either a prior or current member.  The seven founders were also members of the Executive Committee.

Decisions or assignments agreed upon in the historic first meeting:

    • To determine Round Table legal requirements if any?  Norty London 
    • 1st Speaker at the April 14, 1998 kick-off meeting:  Bob Baucher
    • Vice President and Secretary, Bob Battisti
    • Vice President and Treasurer, Bob Bayless
    • Vice President, Chief Photographer, & Podium Builder: Ernie Safran
    • Vice President and Legendary Quote maker:  Frank Yannucci
    • Art Work and Logo:  Bob and Natalie Bayless
    • Editor: THE COURIER, Bob Bayless
    • Dues:  Not determined; however each Founder contributed $10.00.  The Treasury stood at $70.00
    • To design and develop a Membership Application:  Joe Tirpak

Moving Forward

Each of us had our respective assignments and we eagerly looked forward to the challenge of making this dream become a reality.  The first meeting of potential new members was held on the second Tuesday of April 1998. Bob Baucher spoke on: “The Gathering Storm.”  The meeting included fifteen members and guests and was deemed a great success.   Our first Fall Field Trip was to Shiloh.   Stacy Allen, Chief Historian of the Shiloh Battlefield served as our official Tour Guide.  Norty London served as our “Supreme Field Commander”.  Our new battle cry was born out of thirst on this field trip.  Founder, Frank Yannucci uttered his famous quote, which lives in infamy:


“Salad!  The hell with salad, bring us some BEER!”

 In December of 1998 we closed our first year with a real coup and national treasure, Edwin Cole Bearss as our guest speaker.  His presentation:

      “The High-water Mark of the Confederacy:  July 2, 1863”

Membership at year-end stood at twenty-three total members.  This included the seven Founders and the sixteen Charter Members.  The Founders were honored with a beautifully framed plaque presented by Ed Bearss.  Our sincere thanks to Bob and Natalie Bayless for this very meaningful gift.         

Yes! We had a dream. The dream is now a reality. For this we are truly grateful.

Our goal was simple:

 “To become the Best Little Round Table in the Country”

We truly believe we have succeeded. 

The Founders

Founders: Joe Tirpak, Bob Bayless, Bob Baucher, Frank Yannucci, Bob Battisti, Norty London

 Legacy Project

In 2000, the club took on a stretch project, that has come to be known as the Legacy Project.  The project took over three years to complete and required raising $2,500.  The project was a great success.  On May 31, 2003, a monument inscribed with the names of all Civil War veterans buried in the Willoughby Cemetery was unveiled in that cemetery thanks to the work of the NEOCWRT and especially the project committee.  For more information on the Legacy Project, click on the navigation band above or this link:  Legacy Project

In Memoriam


Robert ‘Sig’ Jansen

1998 Charter Member


Robert Battisti Sr.

1997 Founder/Past President


Connie Sipple

1999 Member


Judge Norman Fuerst

2002 Member


Ron Morgan             John K. Krouse

2005 Member                2008 Member


Dr. Les West

1998 Charter Member


Dr. Robert Eiben

 1998 Charter Member


Roderick Bruce Beale

1998 Charter Member


Hudson DeMott Fowler

Honorary Member


Thomas Hedge

2006 Member


Richard Muny

2008 Member


Ed Kolopajlo, Jr.

2017 Member


Robert Baucher

1997 Founder


Frank A. Yannucci

1997 Founder