John DiSantis, with his son Nick.
Stop the Presses. Play Golf.
By Felix Carroll (Sep 6, 2011)
John DiSantis has a confession.
"I hate golf."
There, he said it.
But he's not getting off the hook that easy.
In recognition of his many good works for the community and for the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, Mr. DiSantis has been named the honoree for the Marians' annual Slice of Heaven Charity Golf Classic on Wednesday, Sept. 28, at Berkshire Hills Golf Club in Pittsfield, Mass.
But before he's honored, he'll consent to spending several hours trying to hit a small ball into 18 small holes in a large, open space. In other words, he'll have to play golf.
"When I go to the tournaments, everyone knows me now because I've either hit them with a golf ball, hit their car, or hit a building — or all of the above. I'm noted for that," says Mr. DiSantis, president and chief executive officer of Quality Printing Company in Pittsfield.
In its 15 years, Slice of Heaven has raised nearly $300,000 for local charities. Tournament proceeds this year will benefit the Catholic Youth Center (CYC) of Pittsfield and the Marians' Seminarian Campaign. CYC is co-sponsoring the tournament.
The tournament is followed by a dinner, awards ceremony, fellowship, and lots of laughs. Being the honoree this year, Mr. DiSantis can expect to be toasted and perhaps even roasted (roasted, that is to say, in a good-natured sense).
(By the way, Mr. DiSantis prefers to be behind the scenes, and he hates the fact this story is being written about him; he hates it more than golf itself.)
"John is a guy who has done numerous, numerous, numerous things for us at no charge or at cost," says Charlie Parise, manager of the Marians' printing department in the Marian Helpers Center in Stockbridge, Mass. "But he's also done a lot for people throughout Berkshire County, not just us."
"John is one of these people the Marians can count on," says Ed Miller, a friend of the Marians who organizes the annual tournament. "He's very personable, and his family is very impressive."
By his good works, Mr. DiSantis continues the tradition set by his parents, Nicholas and Theresa, who were savvy business owners, devout Catholics, and backers of many good causes.
Nicholas was known for writing "NC" on many printing job tickets. "NC" was shorthand for "No Charge."
"He's the inspiration for why we give so much back to the community now," said Mr. DiSantis, whose own writing hand has inscribed "NC" on an untold number of job slips, particularly for non-profit organizations struggling to make ends meet. "He was a very religious man, and he really felt that the success of his business was due to his faith, so that led him to help others who needed help."
Soon after the DiSantises founded Quality Printing in 1963, among their first clients were the Marians, whose publishing apostolate sought to keep up with the worldwide demand for their printed materials on the mercy of God and Mary Immaculate.
"My parents really forged a relationship with the Marians," Mr. DiSantis says. "My father helped establish the Marians with their own in-house printing. Then, when I came aboard about 40 years ago, I was still in school, and I ran the printing press for my father. A lot of the jobs — which drove me crazy, by the way — were the Marians' jobs. Back then it was 'one-color' printing, and the Marians' jobs were often five-color, which required a long process.
"Those jobs were nightmares back then," Mr. DiSantis says with a laugh, "but that's when I got introduced to the Marians."
Incidentally, while printing Marian materials, Mr. DiSantis has read most of them — prayercards, pamphlets and books. Over time, he says, they have made an impact on his spiritual life.
Still, perhaps no amount of prayer will improve his golf game.
"I think the reason I don't like golf is because I'm so terrible at it," he says. "My handicap? I don't think they have a handicap high enough for me.
"But I always have a blast at the tournament," he says, "because I know it's for a good cause. "