Coming up on our 50th year of the Krewe of Sant ’Yago, we thought it would be interesting to bring some insights and stories of some of the men that paved the way. We have all heard about those who were the founding fathers of our Krewe, but there is really someone that should be added to that list. One person who was there at the beginning and someone who worked tirelessly every year on making the Krewe a success, and who considers it an honor to be a member.
Tampa born at Gonzalez Clinic in Ybor, his grandparents worked in the Cigar industry here in Tampa. He grew up with a definite flair for excellence, high fashion and style, and man, could he dance. On several occasions, he was told that some of his visions and ideas may be over the top, but he always strove for even higher levels.
He was there for the very first Coronation Ball, when his friend Phil LoCicero invited him and his lovely wife, Aida, to attend as guests. That is when his love affair started with this new Krewe of Sant’ Yago. He knew all the members at that time but was not able to really devote the time or the expense to becoming a member yet. His clothing stores that he owned, “Clark’s Credit Clothiers” and his wife, Aida, and three daughters kept him way too busy. But the board members of the Krewe kept asking for his help in almost every function that they had. His background for the fancy and grandiose was inspired from his experience with the old “Tampa Little Theater” where he did stage designing, costume design, backdrop designing, and occasionally acting. He researched all his designs by looking into the library of books of that era to be as authentic as possible. He was asked by Adela Gonzmart to help design one of Richard’s costumes, but she had a special request “make him nice little pants to show off his pretty legs” and of course he made it happen.
Around ‘76 he applied for membership but was turned down, as it was extremely hard to get in the Krewe at that time, but that didn’t deter him from still working on all the projects for the Krewe when asked. His close friends, Phil Locicero, Oscar Alvarez, and Jack Lamb kept encouraging him to re-apply. Then, in 1979-1980, he was accepted into the Krewe and began working even harder. Some of the projects he took part in included the annual Coronation and Debutante balls. He put his talents toward set designing, choreography, costume designing for all the pages, even to designing many of the Kings and many Knights costumes when asked. Many a year, he found himself working on several committees at the same time. He received a personal letter from the Baron that was in charge when he was turned down that it certainly was a mistake back then not to accept him, but he was happy that he was in the Krewe now.
He worked so hard for the Krewe that he was accepted in 1983 as a Knight by “Special Exception” by the board and many of the past kings with Cesar Gonzmart at the forefront, in only 4 years instead of 5. In 2011, at the age of 82, he was in charge of the Debutante Ball in which he presented his own granddaughter, which was covered by the Tampa Bay Times in a story called “Papi and the Lovely Debutante”. Even up to three years ago, he was still helping any way he could on several different committees.
When speaking to this man, you get the strong feeling of pride and benevolence of the Krewe that he holds special to this day. He tells the stories with so much pride, one that he tells of when Caesar went to Santiago de Compostela in 1970 to get a meeting with the part of government that was still in charge of the original Sant’ Yago Knights, “The Legend of Santiago”. He tells the story of how they protected the pilgrims on the roads to worship and travel to where St James was buried. He went there to get a charter for our Krewe of Sant’ Yago here in Tampa.
This Legend is Sir George Diaz, 91 years young, still vibrant and full of life, looking forward to coming to the Coronation Ball in January, “cause, my daughters won’t let me out because of this virus thing, you know”…we owe him a lot, he truly is one of our founding fathers…
WE ARE A BROTHERHOOD OF MEN
A BENEVOLENT BROTHERHOOD OF MEN
OUR HERITAGE IS ROYAL
DEDICATED STRONG AND LOYAL
WE JOIN TOGETHER HAND IN HAND
WE ARE BROTHERHOOD OF MEN
A WONDERFUL BROTHERHOOD OF MEN
OUR PAST IS RICH AND PROUD
WE SHOUT IT LONG AND LOUD
FOR WE ARE A BROTHERHOOD OF MEN
THE JOYOUS LIFE OF SPAIN
WE BRING TO YOU AGAIN
COME JOIN OUR HAPPY BAND
WE ARE A BROTHERHOOD OF MEN