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Lifetime Achievement



The COAI Lifetime Achievement Award





The Lifetime Achievement Award (LTA) is the highest honor bestowed upon an individual by Clowns of America International, Inc (COAI).  Its purpose is to honor COAI members with prestigious recognition. It is an acknowledgement of the superior contributions to COAI and outstanding achievements in the clown arts made during a clown’s entire career.

The goal of granting the COAI Lifetime Achievement Award is to highlight the tremendous work, accomplishments and achievements attained by COAI members working within the scope of COAI’s organizational efforts and insure that they are more widely known by the membership and the public at large.

This is not just an annual award. Opportunities to acknowledge a lifetime of achievements are finite, and only by direction of the board may more than one Lifetime Achievement Award be given out in a single year.

Materials will not be carried over from year to year and spousal, familial, or self-nominations will not be accepted.



To be eligible for this award, a candidate:

·         Must be at least a 20-year COAI member with continuous good standing.

·         Must be alive at the time of nomination. 

·         Must be able to be a true spokesperson representing COAI and the art of clowning in action, behavior and deed.

·         Above all, should have shown support of COAI through the years. (Examples could be but are not limited to: teaching the art of clowning at COAI conventions or COAI sponsored events; chairing a COAI convention or being active on committees; or writing articles in The New Calliope through the years.)

·         Must be an individual COAI member. (COAI alleys, clubs, troupes or organizations are not eligible for this award.

There are no restrictions with regard to race, creed, color, gender, nationality, geographic location, religious or political views.


Nominations must be sent to the COAI Director of Membership and be received no later than October 1st of each year.   It is strongly recommended that the LTA nomination packet including all nomination materials be submitted electronically (by E-mail) with the highest resolution photos possible to the Director of Membership. (Non-electronic nomination materials are highly discouraged but are only accepted if in the hands of membership director before October 1 and will only be returned if a self addressed stamped envelope is supplied by the nominator in the packet.)

·        NOMINATION LETTER- A short (one page) nomination letter serving as an introduction of the nominee. You may also discuss an overview of the nominee’s years of clowning.  (Nominator must include his/her contact information address, phone number, email.)

·         HISTORY PAGE - A chronological listing (or timeline) of the total years of outstanding, sustained and noteworthy contributions of the nominee to COAI and the clown arts community as it relates to COAI. (Examples could be but are not limited to: COAI membership development, clown arts education, preserving and promoting COAI as an organization, and the art of clowning as it relates to COAI. COAI Alley offices held, COAI alleys created, Awards/Recognitions, classes taught, articles written on clowning or entertainment including in The New Calliope)

·        THREE SUPPORT LETTERS - Three Letters of support (Please limit these letters to just three).  Letters of support must come from persons, other than the nominator, who are familiar with the nominee's qualifications and accomplishments. Each should be no more than one page long.  Each must me signed, dated and include authors contact information (address, phone, E-mail). No more than one of the four total letters (nominator plus 3 supporters) may be from the nominee's home alley membership.

·        THREE CURRENT PHOTOS - (At the highest resolution possible) - Two photos should be of the candidate in full make-up and costume (One of the nominee actively clowning and the other a posed shot). The third photo should be a head shot (Head and shoulders pose) without make-up. (More photos may be required once a final selection is made.)


The LTA Recipient Will Receive:

·         A commemorative award

·         A COAI Lifetime Membership and card

·         A cover photo on The New Calliope with a corresponding article

·         An LTA name badge

In the event that the recipient has not registered for the COAI Convention, COAI will supply banquet tickets for the recipient and a guest to attend the banquet where the award will be presented.

(The purpose of these tickets is to give the recipient the opportunity to attend the awards banquet where he / she will be honored even if he /she had NOT registered for the convention.)



Each term the President, with the approval of the board, will appoint a five-person Awards Advisory Council (AAC) chosen from past LTA recipients, COTY recipients or past Presidents with the current President serving as the fifth member.  The AAC will be overseen and coordinated by the current Director of Membership who will remain impartial and have no voting power in the decision-making process of the Council.  The AAC will be charged with considering nominations submitted by COAI’s membership at large, although it is not obliged to select an award recipient from among those recommendations. The AAC has the power to choose an award recipient if no one is nominated or if those nominated do not meet the specific criteria or packet needs.   Based on the criteria and the nomination packet the AAC will give its selection to the Director of Membership to present to the board for approval.  The COAI Board will vote to approve the AAC’s selection. If it is not approved the Director of Membership will present the AAC’s alternate choice. If the COAI Board cannot agree on a suitable candidate, the award will not be presented that year. Although the award is announced in most cases in the March/April issue of the New Calliope, the actual award is not presented until the annual COAI convention in the spring. The Director of Membership will notify all nominators and the selected LTA nominee of results.


Revised June 2017



All questions should be referred to the Director of Membership.


For more information Contact: 
Teresa "Blondi" Gretton 
 3411 Lisa Circle 
 Waldorf, MD 20601 

 (301) 843-8212
COAI Lifetime Achievement Award winners:

(Alphabetical order by year)

 Betty "Pee Wee" Cash
Walt "Wally" Lee.
Keith "Toby" Stokes
Merilyn "MT Pockettes" Barrett 
Cheri "Cherri-Oats" Venturi 
 COAI President 2000-2006


Pat "Bashful" Roeser
Ann "Tuttles" Sanders 

Bob "Bunky" Gretton



 Albert "Clem" Alter

Tom "Tom E. Boy" King

COAI President 2008-2010




 Paul "Fuddi-Duddy" Kleinberger

 COAI President 2006-2008

Glenn "Clyde D. Scope" Kohlberger

COAI President 2012-2016

Brenda " Flower" Marshall

COAI President 1994-1998

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