Park Forest Hall of Fame Honors Seven

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)— The Park Forest Historical Society held its annual Hall of Fame awards ceromony Sunday at Freedom Hall, honoring seven people for their contributions to Park Forest. Newly inducted members include Mary McCall, Jane Nicoll (Stover), Rev. Daniel O'Sullivan, Anna T. Saul, James D. Saul, George C. Townsend, and Theresa (Terry) Townsend. The president of the Historical Society Boards/Awards Committee, Theresa Goodrich, served as master of ceremonies.

Each of those honored were provided the opportunity to say a few words. Mary McCall, credited as the originator of the Park Forest Scenic 10 with her late husband, Tom, said, “It’s a key race in the runner’s training session for the Chicago Marathon.  And the runners don’t care a bit about paying the elite runners.” Jane Nicoll, honored in part for "impelling Park Forest to document, preserve, celebrate and share with the world its unique history," according to the program, said, “I hope that the work I’ve done will help carry Park Forest’s story well into the future.” George Townsend said he was "somewhat surprised" at his nomination, and complimented his wife, “As I looked at Terry’s works, one of my biggest jobs is keeping up [with her].”

But the quote of the day belongs to the Rev. Danial O'Sullivan, pastor of St. Ireneaus Church in Park Forest. O'Sullivan was introduced by Joe McDonnell, who called O’Sullivan, "the storyteller of Park Forest.”

Fr. O’Sullivan told those gathered, “I’m damn proud to be in Park Forest, and I hope to goodness that I’ll be here for years to come.”

The following are the biographies of those inducted included in the program for the event:

MARY McCALL

Mary McCall was the primary shaper of two significant events in the history of the Village of Park Forest. Along with J. Ron McLeod, she spearheaded the fundraising effort to build Freedom Hall in the 1970s after the village received Federal Revenue Sharing funds to create a bicentennial building.

After it was completed in 1976, she became its first administrator, and developed the Freedom Hall series, and scheduled speakers as varied as Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and Buckminster Fuller in the Nathan Manilow Theater as well as planning events in the main meeting rooms. She truly integrated Freedom Hall into the fabric of the community and helped it blossom into a village asset.

The prestigious Park Forest Scenic 10-Mile Run began in 1977 with a group of runners who wanted to create such an event. Mary was the originator of the race with the help of her late husband, Tom. Over the years she contributed most of the ideas that made the event so distinctive, including that of having musical groups at various locations on the route. This event has become one of the most important distance races in the Chicago area, attracting runners from around the world, and has long been named the "Race of the Year" by the Chicago Area Runners Association.

As a reporter for the Park Forest Reporter, Mary won a "Golden Dozen Award" for her article "Let's Get it All Together," which reflected on the integration of Park Forest.

"There's something about Mary," and that something is a legacy she has given Park Forest through her talent, energy and dedication.

JANE NICOLL (STOVER)

Jane Nicoll (Stover) has been one of the most important "prime movers" impelling Park Forest to document, preserve, celebrate and share with the world its unique history. She was co-founder of the Park Forest Historical Society in 1985 and has served continuously as the archivist. She represents the Society at innumerable public relations efforts and is instrumental in planning and executing many of its programs. Jane was one of the original creators of the Park Forest Hall of Fame and continues to support its mission. Another of Jane's creations, with the help of volunteers, is the Park Forest House Museum. She has been the volunteer curator since 1998. The Museum has attracted professionals and individuals, locally and nationally.

For 25 years, Jane has been the village's Archivist and expanded the holdings of print and graphic materials from a meager beginning to 30,000 items. Through a government grant, she has transferred parts of the Archive onto electronic websites. Her position of Archivist was a secondary job title while employed as Reference Librarian at the Park Forest Library from 1979-2005. She also volunteered much of her time as an archivist. She continues to maintain an invaluable active volunteer role as Archivist for the Park Forest Historical Society. Selections from the archives are a part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Jane has been called "our activist archivist."

REV. DANIEL O'SULLIVAN

Rev. Daniel O'Sullivan came to Park Forest in the mid-1980s to be the Pastor and manager of Saint Irenaeus Parish. He promotes a sense of community in his parish. He has demonstrated this with his pride in maintaining the appearance of his parish by performing a great deal of the yard work himself and inspiring others to follow. He is an advocate for the village and is willing to work collabora-tively with others to forward a meaningful, practical and compassionate solution to problems.

He is community-minded. He demonstrates civic dedication with his participation in numerous Park Forest Activities and functions. Some of these include: being a member and planner of the Park Forest Interfaith Association, selling candy for the Knights of Columbus SPRED program and presiding at the annual Blue Mass for Police and Firelighters. Rev. O'Sullivan has an "open door" to his parish and rectory for varied endeavors: PADS, "Courage," and other community efforts in addition to individual needs. He indicated that "we try to provide service for the betterment of Park Forest residents."

Rev. O'Sullivan feels that he is a "great cheerleader for Park Forest" which is exemplified by his involvement in and with the village.

ANNA T.SAUL

Shortly after Anna and Jim Saul moved to Park Forest in 1953, Anna became involved in the community. In 1954, she organized mothers in the Eastgate area to patrol school buses taking children to Dogwood School. The PTA chapter entered the project into the Carol Lane Awards competition, sponsored by Shell Oil Company and conducted by the National Safety Council. This project won an award for the Dogwood PTA. Anna also became safety chairman for the Dogwood PTA.

As a member of the Park Forest League of Women Voters, Anna spoke to PTAs urging the adoption of the new Illinois Constitution as a solution to the Illinois public school funding problems. She was a League member for 15 years and served as treasurer.

Her involvement in the local Unitarian Universalist Church made her aware of the bitter conditions for area migrant workers, and she participated in the building of a new community center for Ford Heights. This included preschool classes for the children.

Anna took part in many activities in both the community and the surrounding area.

JAMES D, SAUL

Jim Saul has been active in Park Forest since the late 1950s when he joined the Social Action Committee of the local Unitarian Church and soon became its chairman. This committee, working with the Park Forest Human Relations Commission, played a crucial role in the peaceful integration of Park Forest. With a small group, Jim helped locate and assist the first black family that was willing to move into Park Forest. "In White America," a play about slavery and race relations from the mid-1700s up to the 1957 integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, absorbed much of Jim's time and energy in the 1960s. The cast performed in many Chicago area locations.

Jim's interest in the environment led him to serve two terms on the Environmental Conservation Commission. That commission surveyed the village for houses to nominate and then select for beautification awards. When McDonalds proposed building a restaurant on the Orchard/Lakewood site, the commission persuaded them to use a design without their garish golden arches.

He also worked on a crime prevention committee that helped the Park Forest police force with tasks that would free officers for law enforcement duties.

GEORGE C. TOWNSEND

George C. Townsend and his wife, Terry, have been residents of Park Forest for 47 years. They raised their four children in Park Forest and he participated in many of their activities. Along with his wife, George provided 25 years of public service to Rich Township. He served 12 years as Rich Township Assessor, 20 years as Republican Committeeman and is currently Deputy Registrar. While committeeman, he was co-chairman of the Committee for Legislative Reform in 1980. In the past, he worked with now Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn to eliminate "bullet" voting and return to the practice of one-person, one-vote. In order to make life easier for residents of Rich Township, he helped them with voter registration, village information, and made house calls to help the elderly with tax problems.

He has been visible in the village as a volunteer. He is currently active in Kiwanis, serving as treasurer. He is regularly involved in the Kiwanis Peanut Day and Pancake Day. Donut Tag Day, Salvation Army bell-ringing and delivers Meals on Wheels. He is a humble person and is not one to seek recognition for himself.

THERESA (Terry) TOWNSEND

Theresa (Terry) Townsend has contributed to the life of her church, the school and the community. She feels that "faith has a way of preparing you for life." She personifies an individual who always exceeds in whatever is required of her. She has been a resident of Park Forest since 1960 and an active member of St. Irenaeus Church. She has participated in numerous roles in the church including lector, choir member and Spiritual Life Commission member. Terry has been very active in school activities that included leadership positions in PTA/PTO. She initiated the first Book Fair at Mohawk School and was a mentor for the third grade reading program.

Terry has been a dedicated member of Kiwanis since 1995, serving on many of their committees and projects. She started a scholarship program for the Key Clubs and is presently the Kiwanis liaison for the Rich East High School Key Club. She had the honor to serve as Grand Marshall of the Special Olympics in 2006. Terry is very proud of donating 21 trees and three park benches to start the Kiwanis Grove in Somonauk Park. She was Deputy Clerk for Rich Township, served leadership roles with the South Suburban Republican Women and now serves as Americanism Chair. She is a life-long member of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority.

 

 

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Pictured from left: Therese Goodrich (MC), Mary McCall, Jane Nicoll, Ruth Ellen Saul (Daughter of James Saul, accepting for her father who was in St. James Hospital), Anna Saul, George Townsend, Theresa (Terry) Townsend, Rev. Daniel O’Sullivan, Gordon Saul, and Joanne McLeod. (Photo: ENEWSPF)