Updated at 2:12 p.m. Feb. 20
WESTFIELD, NJ – An 11-member committee in conjunction with Westfield Historical Society members and the general public have made their selection for the 2019 Westfield Historical Society Hall of Fame.
Joan Lowell Smith, chair of the Hall of Fame Committee, said that this is the largest number of new entrants into the Westfield Hall of Fame since its 2012 induction ceremony. Of the 71 individuals considered this year, those who did not earn enough points for induction will still be eligible for the next Hall of Fame Awards.
Candidates, representing a wide spectrum of occupations, must be current or previous residents of Westfield who have made significant impacts on the town, state and often, the nation, for their accomplishments.
The Committee reviews all submitted contenders before all votes are tallied to arrive at the twelve inductees, listed with brief descriptions of their achievements, which will be expanded at the awards ceremony. Details of the special guest presenters, ticket prices, location and program will be released in the months ahead.
Rabbi Charles Kroloff served Emanu-El for 36 as senior rabbi, transforming it into the largest Reform congregation in New Jersey. In addition to leading several major Jewish organizations, he was president of the Westfield Foundation and remains active in Temple Emanuel.
Bill Shepherd has served as Chairman of Chemical Bank NJ and President/CEO of Horizon Bancorp. He was President of the Chamber of Commerce and has served on boards of the United Fund and Westfield Foundation.
Gail Cassidy, author of numerous motivational books, taught high school English in Roselle and North Plainfield before serving as president of seven Westfield organizations, including the Board of Education, the Foundation, and Rotary. She was co-creator and instructor of mentoring and anti-bullying programs locally and in inner-city schools. She co-writes a monthly electronic newsletter Retired-Next Phase.com.
Betty List (1926-2017) served three terms as Councilwoman. At the Presbyterian Church of Westfield she was deacon, trustee, usher, Sunday school teacher and on the worship committee. She chaired Westfield's Public Safety Council and served boards of the town Republican Committee, Women's Republican Club, Union County Republican Committee and League of Women Voters.
Robert Brewster (1929-2010), a star athlete named UNICO Man of the Year, was recognized twice as a "model citizen" by the New Jersey Senate and Assembly. He founded and managed the Westfield Basketball Clinic and served on the Town Recreation board for ten years.
Saul Drittel, owner of Milady's store for 40 years, has been in commercial real estate with Coldwell Banker for many years. He is Volunteer Promotions Chairman of the Downtown Westfield Corp. He's devoted 30 years to the Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce as board member, retail chair, and president.
The Farley Family:
Katherine Farley, is board chair of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. She was named the “12th Most powerful women in New York” by Crain's New York Business. She has also served on the board of the New York Philharmonic. She is senior managing director of Tishman Speyer.
Thomas Farley, a pediatrician, was Health Commissioner of New York City. Prior to that post, he served the Centers for Disease Control's Epidemic Intelligence Service. His articles on Legionnaires' disease, prevention of HIV/STDs, infant mortality and obesity have been published widely.
Three additional Farleys will share the award.
Charles H. Darsh (1869-1939), was an architect who designed the Westfield Firehouse and Mindowaskin Park. He gained international prominence for designing the Montreal railway station, the Frontenac hotel and elaborate private homes.
Paul Robeson (1898-1976), athlete, singer, lawyer, actor and activist, lived his formative years in Westfield, attending McKinley School. His father was pastor of St. Thomas A.M.E. Zion Church before the family moved to Somerville where Paul graduated from high school. He earned a full scholarship to Rutgers where he became an All American in both football and track, graduating as valedictorian. This year Rutgers celebrates the 100th anniversary of his graduation.
George & Joan (Jody) Melloan:
Joan (Jody) Melloan (1926-2017) wrote for magazines, Horizon, Americana, American Way and newspapers: San Francisco Chronicle, Miami Herald and The New York Times. She also taught management training at Kean University. She was as a master gardener as well.
George Melloan, editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal for 54 years, served as deputy Editor, International, and editor of the editorial page where his weekly column, "Global View", appeared. He continues to write op-ed pieces for the Journal. He and his wife co-authored Carter Economy. George also authored the Great Money Binge, Advantage of Supplyside Economics and last year, Free People, Free Markets. George has earned numerous writing awards.
Lawrence G. Foster (1925-2013), was a reporter for the Newark News, then bureau chief and night editor before heading public relations for Johnson & Johnson, retiring 33 years later as corporate Vice President of Public Relations. His expert handling of the infamous Tylenol tragedy in 1982 set the "gold standard" in crisis management. Lawrence was named one of the "Ten most influential Public Relations Executives of the 20th Century" by PR Week.
Betty Pate (1926-1983), was Director of Union County Cultural and Heritage Advisory board. She chaired Westfield's Bicentennial Committee and was active in the Miller-Cory Museum restoration. She won the New Jersey Historical Commission's 1981 award for distinguished service to state history. Betty was also known for sharing "ghost" tales of alleged haunted houses in the area.
Inductees receive a framed certificate and are permanently honored at the Reeve History and Cultural Resource Center with an engraved Westfield Hall of Fame plaque listing major achievements and a photo image.
The 2019 Westfield Hall of Fame selection committee includes: Sherry Cronin, Donald Mokrauer, Virginia Rorden, Gail Stock, Barbara Hale, Ginny Leiz, Lowell Schantz, Carol Tener, Glen Dumont, Nancy Humphrey and Joan Lowell Smith (chairperson).
The Westfield Historical Society established the Westfield Hall of Fame in 2008. Since 1968, the nonprofit Westfield Historical Society has worked to preserve interpret and encourage interest in history, Westfield, and its residents through educational efforts and community outreach programs.
For more information on the Westfield Hall of Fame, The Westfield Historical Society, and their events, visit www.westfieldhistoricalsociety.org and like on Facebook.