Clarence Monette fixes a bicycle during the 2021 National Pythian Volunteer Day. [ Wendy Weitzel | The Star ]
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Local Knight of Pythias retires from national leadership

Port St. Joe local Clarence Monette has served as the Supreme Chancelor of the Supreme Lodge of the Knights of Pythias since 2015, and has served in various other national, state and regional leadership roles with the organization for decades prior to that.

But after this year’s Biennial Supreme Convention, he decided it was time to return his entire focus to the group that makes him excited to be a member of the Knights of Pythias every day — his local lodge.

“I didn’t run this time, so someone else will be filling that position,” Monette said. “But I thought it was time. It’ll let me spend some more time with my local lodge and do more for the local community.”

The Knights of Pythias of North America formed in 1880 as a secret fraternal organization that opened membership regardless of an individual’s race, which was not the case for many other fraternal organizations at the time.

This order quickly spread across the nation, reaching a peak enrollment of nearly 200,000 members in the 1920s. The Knights of Pythias fostered camaraderie among members, performed charitable acts, and provided vital social services such as sick pay, life insurance and banking.

“There is a branch of veterans in the organization called the Uniform Rank, and they would participate in parades and protect homes. There was violence against homes, particularly in the Black community,” Monette said.

In 2023, Monette said, membership is not as robust, but the organization still attracts members with the same promises that he said first drew him to the Knights of Pythias in the 1970s.

“We’re involved in the community, that’s what I like a lot about it,” Monette said. “You can do a lot of things. You can do a lot of charitable things… Nowadays we lean more towards doing charitable things in the community, like we do the bikes for boys and girls program, and we’re passionate about that. We’ve worked with Habitat (for Humanity). We’ve worked with veterans.”

Now that his focus rests solely with his local lodge, Monette said he is looking forward to getting started with fundraising for the Knights of Pythias’ annual Bikes for Boys and Girls program.

The program provides bikes for boys and girls who would not normally receive a bike for Christmas. Working in conjunction with community leaders and school guidance counselors in Port St. Joe and Wewahitchka, boys and girls are identified to receive bikes.

Last year, almost 100 bikes were distributed.

If you would like to donate either a bike or dollars, please contact Monette at or by mail to P.O. Box 731 Port St. Joe, FL 32457.

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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