Brighton Area Women’s History Roll of Honor

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Please join us on Saturday, March 23rd at 2pm in the reading room of the Brighton District Library.

2019 Honorees
2018 Honorees
2017 Honorees
2016 Honorees
2015 Honorees
2014 Honorees
2013 Honorees
2012 Honorees
2011 Honorees
2010 Honorees
2009 Honorees
2008 Honorees
2007 Honorees
2006 Honorees
2005 Honorees
2004 Honorees
2003 Honorees
2019 Honorees

Haidee F. Judson Brady (1893-1983) was the second woman to vote on March 10, 1919, in the Village of Brighton’s vote for Village Council members held after women were first allowed to vote in Michigan on March 10, 1919.  Along with Charlotte Mellus, she was an election inspector and clerk hired at a rate of $3/day (same as the men) to assist the other women (250 were registered) with the voting process held at the Village Town Hall at 202 Main Street. Haidee was a 1910 graduate of Brighton High School and a 1917 graduate from Michigan Agricultural College (MAC).  She was a member of the first women’s MAC tennis team and her contributions were recognized with a varsity letter from Michigan State University in 2002.  Haidee taught in the Brighton School District prior to and after graduation from college in 1917 and provided marketing support to her husband’s business based in the Village of Brighton.  Haidee was a confirmed believer of education for everyone and remained in Brighton raising five children (4 female, 1 male), all of whom pursued education beyond high school.  Haidee was an active volunteer and strong supporter of Village of Brighton achievements and celebrations.

 

 

Charlotte L. Haight Mellus (1889-1925) was the first woman to vote in the March 10, 1919, election for Brighton Village Council candidates.  Along with Haidee Judson, she was an election inspector and clerk hired at a rate of $3/day (same as the men) to assist women voters coming to the second floor of Town Hall (202 Main Street). Records show that 250 women registered to vote in that election.  Charlotte moved from her home in Cass City to Pontiac to work at the Eastern Michigan Asylum where she obtained her nursing certification in December, 1912.  She helped her husband establish his medical practice in Brighton and served the community and church in many capacities, including the Rebekah Lodge treasurer and chaperone at many high school programs.  In 1921 with Mrs. Harvey Jacobs, Charlotte operated a summer camp for up to 59 girls at Silver Lake.  Charlotte nursed and cared for her husband, Dr. Horace Mellus, when he contracted typhoid fever in the autumn of 1924. In February, 1925, Charlotte contracted typhoid fever and was hospitalized until she died on March 3, 1925.

 

Reneé R. Nix has led advocacy for student health/fitness through jump rope activities since 1998 when she coordinated Lindbom Elementary’s American Heart Association Jump Rope for Heart event.  The Jumpin’ All-Stars Jump Rope Team was established in 2007 to showcase competitive jump rope in local, regional, national and international venues. In 2018, the Brighton-based team placed fourth in the national USA Jump Rope (USAJR) competition, and earned first place at the International Jump Rope Competition in 2012.  In 2013, the team placed fifth at the NYC Apollo Theatre with the National Double-Dutch League.  The nationally competitive non-profit performance and competition team from Livingston County has performed in the NYC Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades, television commercials, film, and local festivals/events. Reneé became a nationally-certified USAJR judge and coach in 2002, a camp director of USAJR events since 2015, and conducts annual international jump rope workshops. Founder of Teaching, Unity, and Reaching Nations (TURN) in 2010, this group of 16 jumpers each year trains future leaders and builds understanding of different cultures through exhibitions and education in Israel (2010 & 2015), Brazil (2012-2016), eight locations at World Cup Soccer stadium matches, the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympic Games, and five trips to Europe. A substitute teacher for K-12 students since 2001, Reneé has been active leading the Lindbom and Hornung Elementary Jump Rope Clubs, encouraging her students to share skills with Hartland Community Education, and hosting over 35 international exchange students in her home. An ordained minister since 2014, Reneé is a trained missionary.

 

 

Sarah Richardson-Burns, PhD (1976-2018) was a 1994 BHS graduate who earned a BS in Biology from the University of Michigan in 1998, and a PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Colorado in 2003. Co-founder of Biotectix, an Ann Arbor based company and laboratory, in 2007 that created a patented conductive polymer coating for clinical biomedical devices that improved the interface between electrodes and human tissue. In 2017, the laboratory and company were purchased by Heraeus Medical Components, and the pioneering products developed by Sarah and her team are still being used today on electrodes used in retinal and cochlear prostheses, deep brain stimulation, spinal cord stimulation, peripheral nerve stimulation, cardiac rhythm management, and electrophysiology and biosensors.  In 2016, after a 2013 diagnosis of metastatic colon cancer, Sarah founded Align Botanica to develop products that used the purest ingredients based upon ancient healing knowledge and medical evidence-based information. These products were in the testing phase when Sarah passed, and her sisters continue to develop products using mindfulness and nature’s medicines. In 2017, Sarah became a certified yoga teacher to mentor and guide other cancer survivors.

 

Nina Jones Cord Stowe (1876-1967) was the first woman elected to the Brighton School Board on July 14, 1913, at which seven voters in attendance at the meeting were women.  Nina became a rural teacher in 1926 and taught at the Foster School on Gregory Road in Iosco Township until 1929.  Although the women’s suffrage ballot issue failed in Michigan in 1912, the Brighton High School homecoming parade that year hosted a rig representing women’s Suffrage, the high school debate team tackled the question, and at a class election the students voted ten to one in favor of voting rights for women.  Women’s suffrage was in the mind of Brighton residents, and Nina Cord’s willingness to serve on the school board provided significant leadership as women sought representation in elected bodies.

 

 

Mary Zizka St. Pierre, RN graduated from Brighton High School in 1968 and was a trauma RN at Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit and was an accredited CCRN and preceptor for nurses.  Mary taught Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) to both nurses and doctors from 1995-2015.  She developed and implemented a “clothing closet” for indigent trauma patients that needed replacement clothing at the time of hospital discharge from 2010-2015.  Mary became one of the first female radio announcers working in Traverse City, Lansing and Detroit at WOMC as Midnight Mary until leaving radio in 1989 to earn her nursing degree. Mary has volunteered at Gleaners Food Bank since 2015, working 9-12 hours per week. A member of the Livingston Sunrise Rotary Club since 2014, she has served on their Board of Directors for Community Service and co-chair of the “Midnight in the Tropics” fundraiser. Mary also volunteers yearly with the United Way’s Community Connect, delivers Christmas packages for Livingston County Catholic Charities, and is a member of the Livingston County Nurse Reserve Corps helping to teach CPR classes and immunization clinics.  Mary has served in medical clinics on mission trips to Haiti in 2010 and in Mexico in 2015, 2016, & 2017.

 

Athletic Championship Honorees:

Natalie Klein was selected 2018 Miss Bowling by the Michigan High School Interscholastic Bowling Coaches Association.  All four years Natalie qualified in the top eight of a six-game block.  During state match play, she finished seventh and eighth  her first two years, second her junior year, and third her senior year, leading all girls and boys in the 2018 state final six-game qualifier block. Natalie averaged 209 in KLAA competitions, over 20 pins higher than second place.

2018 Honorees

Ann M. Bollin moved to Brighton Township in 1993, was appointed to the Township Planning Commission that year, and soon became the first female Chairperson from 1997-2003.  Appointed Township Clerk in 2003-present, she is Treasurer of the Livingston County Municipal Clerks Association; Vice-Chairperson of the Michigan Townships Association Livingston Chapter; a member of the Michigan Townships Association Board of Directors, 2017-2018, representing Livingston/Wayne/Washtenaw counties; the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks Legislative Committee, 2014-2018; and the Council of Election Officials, 2017-2018, as an alternate voting membe.  Ann has served as a board member of the Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce since 2008, and was Board Chair in 2016.  A member of the Holy Spirit Parish Council since 2012, serving as President in 2017, she is an Associate Member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Ann is an active volunteer with the Brighton Fine Arts and Smokin’ Jazz festival and Community Connect. She was a 2009 Taubman Fellow, attending Harvard University’s JFK School of Government, Senior Executives in State and Local Government program.

Julie Fielek began her custom home construction business in Green Oak Township in 1984 and started her land development company in 2000 with a primary area of work in Livingston County.  Her business has grown to encompass multi-family units, commercial building, and urban redevelopment. Julie was elected the first women President of the Livingston County Home Builders Association in 1999, served as the first women President of the Michigan Association of Home Builders Association in 2005, and is a National Director of the National Home Builders Association. Julie directed the first all-women built Habitat for Humanity home in 2005 and was honored by the Girl Scouts of Huron Valley as a Woman of Distinction in 2005.  Julie served four years on the Livingston Technical Academy/Kensington Woods Board of Directors and four years on the Green Oak Township Board of Trustees and the Planning Commission.  She holds education and architectural drafting, design, and construction degrees from the University of Michigan and Schoolcraft College.

 

Nancy J. Fritch is the former broker/owner of Coldwell Banker Brighton Town & Country Inc. who began her career in real estate in 1967 selling mobile homes and lots for a large community mobile home subdivision. In 1974, she became manager of Brighton Town & Country Inc. and purchased the building at 102 E. Grand River in 1989. She acquired the Coldwell Banker franchise and self-financed the 1997 major building renovation while employing 15 agents before selling the business in 2006. Under Nancy’s leadership, her agency held annual garage sales to support the American Cancer Society, collected Toys for Tots, and distributed American flags at the July 4th parade. Nancy presently handles real estate signings for out-of-state title companies and is a licensed real estate broker. She has been a member of the Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Livingston County Women’s Club since the 1990s, serving as president, secretary, and treasurer. Nancy is a member of the Hartland Senior Activity Center, serving on their Advisory Board, and is the director for two USAPA-sanctioned Pickleball fundraising tournaments a year that attracts players from across the US and Canada.

Mandana “Mondi” Miller has owned and operated Heirloom Oriental Rugs since 1993 and oversaw the 2001 design/construction of her award-winning building at 307 W. Main Street.  From 2009-2014, Mondi served on the Brighton Downtown Development Association (DDA) and chaired the DDA Design Committee while consistently championing the vocal leadership of women and an open public dialogue in civic affairs. Mondi is the co-founder and participates in a citizen study group which researches issues facing local government, providing background information and recommendations, and presents findings during public comment meetings to foster open public dialogue and improved decision outcomes. Mondi has lived in the Brighton area since 1977 and was the Coordinator for the Livingston County Juvenile Court Shelter Home from 1977-1979.  She has served as an advisory committee member for the Howell Opera House since 2014, has been a Big Brothers/Big Sisters volunteer, and assists with an elementary school remedial reading program.  Mondi earned her BA degree in child development and her MSW degree from the University of Michigan.

2017 Honorees

Gloria Klepser Downing, EdSpec, (1929-2016) was a founder and early president of the state-wide Michigan Association for Gifted Education and in 1980 was recognized as Educator of the Year by the Talented and Gifted Association. As Director of Enrichment Programming for Brighton Area Schools (BAS) from 1985-1996, Gloria supported the launch of the Magnet Program for gifted students of grades 2-5. Her career at BAS began in 1973 in support of Title 1/remedial learners. After retiring in 1996, Gloria formed GKD Associates providing educational consultation and served as a field supervisor of Michigan State University Student Teachers until 2000. Gloria enjoyed community theatre and performed in many musical productions both as an actor and pianist.  Gloria directed Christian education for churches in Ohio, Iowa, and Michigan before becoming Education Chairperson for the Ann Arbor District Council on Ministries.  Gloria earned a BA from Wayne State University, a MA in Education/Reading from Eastern Michigan University, and. An Education Specialist in Special Education & Gifted from Wayne State University.

 

Priscilla Luce Durante (1923-2008) was a 1941 Brighton High School graduate and served in the US Coast Guard from 1943 to 1946 during World War II as a Pharmacist’s Mate Third Class.  She trained at N.O.P, Detroit, MI, Coast Guard Training School in Palm Beach, FL, ODCGO, 11th N.D, and Coast Guard Base in Los Angeles.  She also served at Coast Guard Barracks, in Washington, D.C. and at the Coast Guard Separation Center in Detroit, MI. After her discharge from military service, Priscilla’s occupation was Hairdresser II.

 

Lucy Newman Lyon (1916-1997) was a 1934 Brighton High School graduate who served in the US Navy Air Corps during World War II from 1943-1945 as an Aviation Machinist’s Mate First Class.  She trained at the US Navy Training Station in Brox, NY, the NATTC in Memphis, TN, and the NAS in Ottumwa, IA, before being discharged from the US Navy Training Center in Great Lakes, IL.  After her military career, Lucy worked at Baker-Eberle Aviation Corporation at City Airport in Detroit, MI, and in her later years, she was a tutor for children.

 

 

Claudia Ann Roblee has co-owned and operated ArtVentures since 1987 and received a Certificate of Recognition from the Small Business Majority for exceptional advocacy and leadership on behalf of the small business community.  She served as co-chair of the Brighton Merchant’s Association from 1994-1998 and has been very active in Brighton City government including city council membership from 2007-2013, planning commission member from 2005-2008, Downtown Development Authority (DDA) board member from 1994-1998 & 2013-present, principal shopping district board member from 2007-2013, Envision Brighton World Café committee chairperson from 2010-2013, Brighton arts & culture commission chairperson from 2007-present, member of the economic development council from 1997-2013, and many project specific committees.  For two years, Claudia chaired Farm to Table, a Brighton Farmers Market awareness event, for the Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce. Claudia also served as Lindbom Elementary PTO secretary from 1999-2005 and co-chaired the playground equipment replacement fundraiser Claudia was ordained as an interfaith minister in 2008.

 

Pat Schuch, PE, was the first woman engineer in several auto plants from 1977-1982, and was the first woman superintendent of the GM Lordstown Assembly and Fabrication Plants from 1986-1989 managing 350 employees. Founder and president of Integra Resources, LLC, Pat has delivered leadership and personal development workshops on six cruise ship lines since 2009.  Author of Driving in the Middle Lane: Business and Life Lessons from the Auto Industry published in 2015. Pat has cared for 22 foster children from 1998-2016 and mentored teens from the W.J. Maxey Boys Training School from 2009-2010. Board director of Pregnancy Helpline of Livingston County from 2003-2006 and its president from 2004-2005. Pat also served as the first president of the Oak Pointe Ladies Golf Association in 1996-199 and as a board director of the Oak Pointe Homeowners Association from 2002-2003. Pat earned a BS in Physics from the University of Dayton, a MA in secondary school administration from Wright State University, a MBA in general management from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Management in organizational leadership from University of Phoenix.

 

Athletic Championship Honoree

Abby Krzywiecki was honored as the 2016 Miss Softball winner by the Michigan Interscholastic Softball Coaches Association, the STATE CHAMOS! Softball Player of the Year, MLive Detroit’s Softball Player of the Year, and a Flosoftball First Team All-American. Abby holds the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s record for hitting 20 home runs in the 2016 season.

2016 Honorees

Amy Lou ArnoldAmy Lou Arnold, a 1977 Brighton High School graduate, has earned a solid reputation as a key costumer-supervisor for many major movies, e.g. Titanic (she was Kate Winslet’s personal costumer for the majority of the shoot), Beloved, Sea Biscuit, Big Fish, Memoirs of a Geisha, Jersey Boys, Captain America, and American Sniper.  Amy began her career at Northern Michigan University with a work-study position that used her homegrown sewing skills.  Summer work in costuming at a regional outdoor theater led to a costume shop internship at Actors Theater of Louisville, KY, and eventually to New York City where Amy started at Carelli Costume House as a shopper while learning aging and dying. At the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC, Amy expanded her knowledge base to all costuming skills from basic stitching to coordinating/supervising. During her six years at The Martha Graham Dance Company as Costume Supervisor, she worked with the New York City Opera and the Eliot Feld Ballet. After three years of supervising costumes for the San Diego Opera, Amy went to Hollywood and worked at American Costumes, a period costume house. Opportunities to work on feature films soon followed.

 

Carole MincyCarole Bullion-Mincy has been active in the real estate and title industries since 1985.  Carole owned and operated Classic Title Agency in Brighton for almost a decade before selling the company in 2010 to Liberty Title and now serves as the Business Development Director. Carole co-authored the National Ethics Training Program used by American Land Title Association and presented her work to members of the United States Congress. Author of several industry-related articles in national publications, Carole has written and published the book The Dark Side of the Closing Room.  As a certified instructor for the State of Michigan since 1997, Carole teaches continuing education courses required for re-licensure.  Past-President of the Women’s Council of Realtors (WCR), 2013 WCR Affiliate of the Year, Livingston County Association of Realtors’ 2015 Affiliate of the Year, Development Director of the Livingston County Humane Society, Member of the Leadership Livingston Steering Committee, Treasurer for the Livingston County Republican Party, and Brighton Rotary member, Carole is an active and involved member of the community.

 

Kathy CarneyKathleen Carney has lived in Brighton since 1972.  When it was discovered in 1978 that the water wells in the Fonda Island Briggs Lake Area were being contaminated by road salt stored at the Michigan Department of Transportation garage, Kathy joined the group of women leading the cleanup efforts.  Pickets, signed petitions, and a meeting with then Lt. Governor Martha Griffiths led to a state commitment for resolution.  Currently serving as Chair of the Fonda Island Briggs Lake Joint Water Authority and the 8th Congressional District, Kathy has been active in the 2015 “Yes to Brighton Library” millage committee, the Green Oak Charter Township Board of Review, and 2006-2012 Chair of the Disciplinary Subcommittee of The Michigan Board of Osteopathic Medicine.  In 2003, Kathy received the “Outstanding Democratic Woman Who is Making a Difference” award.

 

Shirley DanforthShirley Jean Shekell Danforth worked in the Shipping/Receiving Office at Gar Wood Industries in Detroit from 1943-1945 before coming to live in Brighton from 1954-2015. An active member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary Post 4375, Shirley was one of the original 25 founding members that created the VFW Ladies Auxiliary in 1972 and remained an active member.  She served as President from 1973-1976, Secretary from 1976-1980, Post 4357 Chaplain from 1980-2015, Chaplain for the Veteran Council from 2014-2015, and Poppies Chair from 1980-2015.  In 1990, she became the VFW Chair for the Ann Arbor Veterans Hospital and coordinated coffee hours with donuts and providing holiday packages and boxes to local veterans and overseas military. Shirley’s efforts were recognized with election as VFW Ladies Auxiliary of the Year in 2002 and 2014.  Shirley raised eight children, participated in many Cub Scout activities, and was an AVON representative for 51 years, a Red Hat Society member, and a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Brighton.

 

Karin FloodColonel Karin Flood, M.D., salutatorian of the Brighton High School class of 1988, will retire in May, 2016, with the Legion of Merit Award after 28 years of military medical service.  A 1992 dual-major Distinguished Cadet graduate of West Point, she was in the top 5% of a class that included less than 8% women.  She completed her medical degree from the University of Michigan in 1996 with honors, and was top resident of orthopedic surgery at Madigan Army Medical Center, in Tacoma, WA. In 2003, COL Flood became the Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at Darnall Army Medical Center in Fort Hood, TX, where she continued to alternate between Bosnia, Iraq and Kuwait deployments and garrisons at Darnall, Winn (GA), and Martin (GA) Army Community Hospitals as Chief of either or both Orthopedics and Department of Surgery. COL Flood competed as Team Captain for the Army Women’s Judo team, with four-year NCAA All American honors, a National Collegiate Championship, and participated in the 1992 Olympic Trials.  She serves as a member of the USA Judo Medical Committee and provides medical support for national and international sports competitions, including the US Open tournament. COL Flood has twice received the Meritorious Service Medal, four times received the Army Commendation Medal, and twice received the Army Achievement Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. She has earned the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Iraqi Defense Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Armed Forces Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, and the NATO Medal, Schutzen-Schnur (German marksmanship badge).

 

Mary E. GriffithMary E. Griffith is a life-long resident of Livingston County and has devoted her life to community service.  During the 1970’s, Mary was the first woman elected to serve on the Livingston County US Soil Conservation Committee and as a trustee officer of McPherson Hospital (1973-1979). From 2006-2008, Mary was a member of the Livingston County Senior Needs Assessment Committee.  She was appointed by the Livingston County Board of Commissioners in 2010 and continues to serve as a member of the Area Aging Council along with being a 20-year member of the Farmer’s Club. Mary is a past Vice-Chair of the Livingston County Republican Party and was a Precinct Delegate in the 1970s.  Mary also has conducted many hours’ worth of tours of Howell’s Historic Court House since 1990.  An active gardener, Mary volunteered and taught classes for the MSU Extension Master Gardener Program and was a Livingston County Fair Tester. Through the 1970s, Mary wrote the thank-you notes for area donations to the American Cancer Society, and is currently active in the MSU Alumni Group. Mary has served on local PTAs, the Modern Mothers Child Study Club (1960-1970), and as a Camp Fire Girls Leader through the 1960s.  Her contributions of time, talent and skills have inspired others, particularly women, to follow in her footsteps.

 

Nancy B. JohnsonNancy B. Johnson, Ph.D. served as Director of the Brighton District Library from 2007-2016.  As Director, she guided innovation and quality service despite economic hardships springing from lower tax revenue and booming demand for services. Nancy has championed literacy for all ages, both within library programming and with her volunteer hours with the Livingston County Literacy Coalition Steering Committee (helping adults connect with tutors) and as 2008-2014 Literacy Chair for the Brighton Rotary Club.  Nancy’s contributions to the Brighton community reach far beyond the library with roles on the Leadership Council on Aging, the Livingston County United Way Board of Directors, Campaign Cabinet, and Community Investment Council, and with the Howell Opera House Advisory Council, and membership on the Brighton Area Women’s History Roll of Honor Advisory Council. Nancy has modeled the importance of connecting within the Brighton community and has encouraged her staff to participate in Leadership Livingston, Chamber business networking events, and community programs and fundraisers.  Nancy has been recognized by the University of Michigan School Of Library Science with the Margaret Mann Award and a Title II scholarship in addition to receiving the 1997 Wayne State University Excellence in Teaching Award.  Recognized in 2014 as a Brighton Rotary Paul Harris Fellow, Nancy has earned many Rotary accolades for her work with Gleaners Food Bank and the Rotary Raiders, along with receiving a Brighton Art Guild 2011 John and Deb Tunis Award.

 

Edith LeithEdith Amanda Leith worked at the General Motors Co. Fisher Body Cadillac Plant in Detroit in 1944-1945 as a “Rosie the Riveter” spot welder building B-29 and B-17 bomber planes. At the age of 19, Edie jumped at the chance to leave her job as a babysitter in Cheboygan to support the war effort and joined her sister in the ranks of young women who ultimately changed the view and role of working women.  In October, 2015, mothers, daughters, and staff members from Brighton Area Schools, including Edith, participated in the Willow Run Bomber Plant Guinness World Record gathering at the birthplace of “Rosie the Riveter.” A member of First Presbyterian Church in Brighton, Edith has been active in the “Sew and So’s” group which meets to cut, sew, and ship garments to people in need around the world.  One of Edith’s own quilts is proudly on display at the Brighton Fire Department.

 

Athletic Championship Honoree

julia deanJulia Dean won the 2015 Division I Individual State MHSAA Golf Championship and then was chosen as Miss Golf by the Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association.  Julia is the first Brighton female athlete honored by the Michigan Interscholastic Coaches Association.

2015 Honorees

Nancy J. Fredenburg

Areas of Distinction:  Community Service and Local History

Nancy has been extremely active in preserving and promoting local history and activities of the Brighton High School Alumni Association.  Nancy has been a member of the Brighton Historical Society since 1987 and has served on the Board of Directors since 1992.  She helps to make the history of our community vibrant and alive through historical exhibits, activities at the Lyon School one-room schoolhouse, and even through the design of the Historical Society’s Brighton Afghan. In 1986, Nancy joined the group of Brighton High School graduates charged with planning the 100-Year Reunion, a successful event which initiated the resurgence of the Brighton Alumni Association. Nancy has been a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors since that time, and has served as Treasurer since 1995.  She is a fierce advocate for the Alumni Association through her activities with the annual Alumni Dinner, the fall Homecoming parade, the Independence Day parade, educational scholarships and working with the Brighton Core to organize a successful 2014 Reunion Weekend. In addition to her career as a Senior Registered Client Associate for Merrill Lynch these past 29 years, Nancy has volunteered as an usher for the Brighton Center for the Performing Arts since 2005 and has served on the Brighton Area Women’s History Roll of Honor Advisory Council.  Nancy is a 1975 Brighton High School graduate and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Economics from Central Michigan University.

Laura Kelley

Area of Distinction:  Business, Human Services

Laura began working at Keehn Funeral Home in 1991 and purchased the business with her husband in 1995. A 1985 Brighton High School graduate, Laura earned Bachelors degrees in English Literature from Eastern Michigan University and Mortuary Science from Wayne State University.  As a female owner in a male dominated industry, Laura has helped and served many Brighton area families during highly emotional times in their lives.  Since 1995, she has mentored several Mortuary Science students through Wayne State University’s Mortuary Science Programs Practicum which pairs students with a licensed funeral director. She has participated with the Michigan Funeral Directors District #2 “Toys for Motts” program to collect and donate toys to hospitalized children during the holiday season.  Laura is a longtime member of St. Patrick Parish in Brighton.  She has volunteered and helped coordinate the Brighton Area Fire Department’s Annual Halloween party since 1990 and assisted with the Adopt-A-Family initiative. During the 2014 holiday season, Laura contributed and helped distribute donated items throughout Brighton Area Schools. Laura currently serves on the Brighton High School’s Girls Lacrosse Team Board of Directors.

Donna Susan Oswalt Kelly

Areas of Distinction:  Environment, Social Change, Community Service

Sue has actively worked to protect the environment since 1991 as a founding member and leader of the local Sierra Club – Crossroads Group.  She served as Chairperson of the Michigan Chapter of the Sierra Club from 2002-2005. Sue was part of the leadership team for the successful grassroots effort to have the State of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) deny a permit quadrupling allowable dioxin emissions for an asphalt company on Whitmore Lake Road.  She led the successful effort during the 1990s to prevent clear cutting and bulldozing of Lady Bird Johnson Park near the Challis Road shopping development in Genoa Township.  She led the effort to get a stop work order from the Department of Natural Resources in accordance with the Federal Migratory Bird Act when bank swallows were actively nesting at a construction site occupying the corner of Old-23 and East Spencer Roads.  Sue collaborated with the Planning Commission and the MSU Extension to draft the 2005 Brighton Township Woodlands Ordinance and has helped organize and educate the community about high-volume, high-pressure, deep horizontal fracking wells in Conway Township. Sue is a founding member of Voters Voice, a non-partisan group that addresses issues and offers educational programs on topics such as campaign finance, stem-cell research, healthcare reform, and candidate forums.

 

Pamela McConeghy

Areas of Distinction:  Business or Industry, Community Service

Since joining the Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce in 2001, Pamela assumed leadership as President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in 2005.  To better support women business leaders, Pamela created the Women’s Business Network which has burgeoned into the Professional Women’s Club of Michigan. The AXIS Young Professionals Group was launched by the Chamber of Commerce under Pamela’s guidance several years ago to support young professional women and men to develop into leaders of the community through monthly meetings and educational events.  Through her capacity at the Chamber, Pamela has become an integral part of the community serving as Brighton Rotary President in 2012-2013 and on the Rotary Foundation Board of Directors, as the 2014-2015 Work Skills Chairman of the Board and on the Work Skills Foundation Board of Directors, Chair of the 2012 March for Babies Event, and numerous Boards of Directors with the Livingston County United Way (2007-2013), Livingston County Hunger Council (2009-Present), the Economic Development Council, and the County Convention & Visitors Bureau.  Pamela is a member of the Statewide Prisoner Reentry Advisory Committee and has partnered with St. Joseph Mercy Health Care Systems’ Healthy New Year and the Go Red for Women Heart Awareness events in 2014 and 2015.  Pamela has been instrumental in fundraising thousands of dollars supporting veterans of the American Spirit Centre in Brighton and serves as a musician for Cornerstone Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

Jane Marie McManus

Areas of Distinction:  Business or Industry, Community Service

Jane started Micro Works Computing as a desktop computer training company in 1987 which has grown into an outsourced information technology department for many local organizations. In 2008, Micro Works was recognized in the Best of Michigan listing by Corp! Magazine, received the Women’s Resource Center Community Gem Award in 2009, and has been recognized with the Corporate Excellence Award each year since 1996 by the Livingston County United Way. Jane has been active in the Brighton Rotary Club since 1988, holds three Paul Harris Fellow awards, served as Club President from 2011-2012, President of the Brighton Rotary Foundation since 2012, and is Assistant Governor of Rotary District #6380.  Jane served as co-chair of the Veterans Memorial Fundraiser that garnered $10,000 for the construction of the Downtown Brighton Veterans Memorial.  She has also been active on the Howell Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, has donated numerous hours to the Women’s Resource Center as Chair and as a board member for the Livingston Area Council Against Spouse Abuse (LACASA), and has served on the United Way Allocation Committee. Jane holds a Bachelor of Business degree from Eastern Michigan University.

 

Jane K. Petrie

Area of Distinction:  Business, Education, Community Service

After graduating from Indiana University, Jane taught math and chemistry at Henry Ford High School in Detroit. When her family moved to Brighton, she began teaching algebra to adults on a part-time basis for Brighton Community Education in 1973 until the program was incorporated into the full-day alternative high school in 2011.  Jane was a substitute teacher for Brighton Area Schools until 1988 when she became a full time mathematics teacher and Academic Team coach at Stockbridge Schools until retirement in 2003. Her Academic team competed in the national tournament in Georgia, and she was honored as an Outstanding Coach by the Michigan League of Academic Games. Jane and her husband owned and operated Poor Richard’s Book Shoppe in the Old Town Hall from 1984-1988. She was elected to the Brighton District Library Board, holding offices of president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer from 2006 to the present.  Jane is a longtime member of the Fort Street Presbyterian Church in Detroit since 1967, serving as an elder and current moderator of the Presbyterian Women’s Group as well as a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Brighton’s Sanctuary Ringers bell choir since its founding in 1994. An enthusiastic supporter of the city of Detroit, Jane has volunteered at major events including Super Bowl XL, NCAA Final Four Basketball Tournament, NCAA Frozen Four Hockey Tournament, Hockey Town Winter Festival, and the Detroit Free Press Marathon.

 

Nancy Jane Roberts (1929-2005)

Area of Distinction:  Environment, Community Service, Law/Government

In 1978, Nancy formed the grassroots organization Society to Oppose Phosphorus Pollution (STOPP) in response to the algae bloom on Ore Lake that had grown progressively worse since her family’s summer outings to their cottage during the 1960s.  Under Nancy’s leadership, meetings with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality garnered the attention of the State’s Governor. Nancy was instrumental in having Hamburg Township donate land to the City of Brighton to build a “state-of-the-art” wastewater treatment plant that would serve sewers around Ore Lake in addition to the City of Brighton.  Forming a new group called Hamburg Environmental Review Board (HERB), Nancy worked with Hamburg Township to address Huron River water issues, develop sewers for lakefront residences, and remove old, leaking septic tanks that were polluting the waters.  Nancy served as Vice-President for Region 1 of the Michigan Lake and Streams Association and earned many awards for her efforts including the Michigan Outdoor Writers Association’s Clean Waters Award that recognized her “energy dedication and leadership and exemplary efforts to improve the environment.”  In 1979, Nancy received funds from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to sample water and test over 729 Michigan lakes and streams.  Her efforts helped spur the passage of the Clean Michigan Initiative (CMI) and funds were earmarked to redesign and implement the Lake Water Quality Assessment (LWQA) for the State.  Nancy was also a bus driver for many Brighton Area Schools students, a forty-year member of St. Patrick Church, and a member of Holy Spirit Church in Hamburg.

 

 

Sara Thomas

Areas of Distinction:  Environment, Community Service, Education

Since 1988, Sara has worked to protect the environment. She is a founding member of the local Sierra Club – Crossroads Group that began in 1991, served as the Conservation Chair for six years, and received a State of Michigan Service Award from the Sierra Club – Mackinac Chapter.  Sara is a founding member of the Livingston Land Conservancy (a non-profit, tax-exempt, all volunteer organization) that began in 1992 with the mission to protect the natural heritage and rural character of the greater Livingston County area.  She served as board president for ten years and helped the organization grow to protecting over 642 acres with a collective value of over $1,000,000.  Currently serves as Land Protection Chair and helped negotiate and complete 14 different land acquisition projects as well as coordinating land stewardship on conservation easements and nature preserves.  Sara was awarded the National Conservation Medal by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in 2001.  She was active in the Brighton Schools organizing the 1995 Environmental Awareness Month at Miller School and the 1996 Hornung Elementary Animals We Fear events.  In addition, Sara received the Green Tree Award from the Huron Valley Girl Scout Council.  Sara holds a B.A. in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University.

2014 Honorees

Shirley J. Barton

As a founding member of the Human Relations Council to encourage open housing and discourage discrimination in the Brighton area, Shirley Barton has demonstrated a willingness to express her beliefs and act toward change. Her voice was raised in support of women’s rights through the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and the National Organization of Women (NOW), and she traveled to Washington, D.C. and local venues in conjunction with the anti-war movement. Born in East Jordan, Michigan, she moved to the Brighton area in 1959. A graduate of Michigan State University, Shirley Barton was an active volunteer within Brighton Area Schools supporting the education of her seven sons through leadership positions in the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), the Child Study Club, and the Modern Mothers organization. Shirley served nine years as a Den Mother for the Boy Scouts, provided reading and tutoring assistance to children at Miller School, and was active in the First Presbyterian Church as Director of Bible School, Youth Fellowship volunteer, and supporter of the Drop-In Center. Brighton NC Machine Corporation was founded in 1965 as one of the first private companies in the United States to use NC machine tools for machining, grinding and assembly services. An on-site working half-owner since the beginning, Shirley serves as Vice President and liaison to Gleaners Food Bank and the Livingston County United Way.
Jean K. Becker, PhD Jean K. Becker, PhD
Working over thirty years for the State of Michigan in children and family programs, Dr. Jean Becker served as Program Manager at the Livingston County Department of Social Services and as Program Manager for the Substance Abuse Treatment Unit at the Maxey Boys Training School. As a pioneer performing some of the earliest research on the effects of computerization on human service case management, she filed one of the first sex discrimination suits against the State of Michigan in 1971 requiring equal treatment of men and women employees when holding the same position. Dr. Becker chaired Livingston County’s WomenFest for several years, helping to bring low-cost, local opportunities to women in the area. As the longest serving Chairman of American Mensa, she is only the second woman chairman in the organization’s fifty-year history. Recently serving as President of the Michigan Association of Gifted Children, Dr. Becker continues on their Board of Directors while advancing the recognition and encouragement of gifted females. Dr. Becker’s lifelong dedication as a volunteer, board member, and leader of events and organizations serving women has made a difference in our community.

 

 

Michele Bouhana Michele Bouhana
Founder of Michele’s Salon and Day Spa in 1980, Michele Bouhana combines her business acumen with intelligence, integrity, and a passion for the community. Active in the Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Michele joined the Brighton Rotary Club in 1993 and has been a leader and advocate for community improvement through projects such as the construction and maintenance of the Brighton Community Center, coordination of Red Cross Blood drives, Youth Exchange Program support, Gleaner’s Food Bank volunteers, educational scholarship awards, and serving as Club President in 1998-1999 and Rotary Foundation President in 1999-2000. She was recognized with one of the highest honors in Rotary as a Paul Harris Fellow in 2000. Michele’s enthusiasm and dedication to others serves as inspiration and example.

 

 

 

 

Heidi G. Clausnitzer Heidi Clausnitzer
Born in Mannheim, Germany, and experiencing the horrors of World War II, Heidi Clausnitzer moved to the Brighton area in 1956. An owner of Brighton NC Machine Corporation, a machining, grinding and assembly services provider that began business in 1965, she was awarded the “Woman of the Year” distinction by the Brighton Jaycees in 1965. In addition to early roles in the Child Study Club, the Modern Mothers group, and the establishment of the Human Relations Council to support open housing and discourage discrimination in the Brighton area. A member of the National Organization of Women (NOW), Heidi advocated for women’s rights through the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and marched in Washington, D.C., with the anti-war movement. A leader with the Active Christians Together Serving (ACTS) organization with many Livingston County churches, Heidi’s involvement at the First Presbyterian Church included teaching Sunday School for eleven years and Bible School for eight years, volunteering in Youth Fellowship, serving as Director of the Youth Choir, working as a counselor at the Drop-In Center for three years, and currently serving as a Deacon. Serving as a Girl Scout leader for many years while providing reading and tutoring to children at Miller School, Heidi became a paraprofessional working with severely mentally-impaired children at the Livingston Intermediate School District. Eventually becoming Director of Programming for Children at the Livingston Area Council Against Spousal Abuse (LACASA) for eleven years, she continues to serve on the LACASA Board today while volunteering weekly at Gleaner’s Food Bank. Heidi’s lifelong efforts were recognized by the 2010 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare Association with a distinguished “Breaking the Silence” Award.

 

Karen J. GossKaren J. Goss
As a notable educator for 42 years at Brighton High School (BHS), Karen J. Goss enriched the lives of many students while sharing her passion for scholarship and excellence in mathematics and German language and culture. Every other summer, she led a group of BHS German students on unique and self-designed tours of key German landmarks that complemented the students’ historical and cultural education. Karen was the National Honor Society (NHS) advisor for ten years and continued for many years to evaluate applications as a subject-area advisor on the NHS faculty review team. Upon retirement from the Brighton Area Schools, Karen has continued challenging and guiding the minds of students young and old through her private tutoring skills. For several years, Karen has served on the Vestry and as lay reader and challis bearer, in addition to being responsible for scheduling service lay readers at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at The Millpond. Karen’s commitment to community service is commendable with numerous volunteer hours at the Livingston County United Way preparing packets for fundraising campaigns, organizing lunch food service to feed Day of Caring workers, and providing administrative and manual labor to complete annual Day of Caring projects. Since the inception of the Women’s History Roll of Honor in 2003, Karen has worked behind the scenes to support the preparation of publicity materials, administrative record keeping, and induction ceremony details.

 

Sheryl Lohmiller Sheryl Lohmiller
A lifetime of service to the community and the Brighton Area Schools helped spur Sheri Lohmiller’s commitment to the establishment of the Brighton Area Women’s Roll of Honor. When Brighton School Board of Education Secretary Joyce Powers proposed a public display of Women’s History materials in 2002, Sheri Lohmiller enthusiastically organized processes and procedures, handled the myriad details, and foresaw opportunities to permanently honor area women. The growth and recognition of the Roll of Honor from the initial display of significant women and their role in history to the annual celebration of contributions by local pioneers, innovators, and leaders was nurtured and guided by Sheri’s and Joyce’s belief, knowledge, dedication, and hard work. Serving twenty-five years as Assistant to the Superintendent for Brighton Area Schools until her retirement in 2011, Sheri supported five Superintendents and several interim Superintendents, coordinated millage campaigns, and performed Recorder duties for the Brighton Area Schools Education (BASE) Foundation. A Lindbom Elementary PTO volunteer and co-creator of the “Leopard News” publication, Sheri established the Leopard Leggin 5K Race in 1985 and 1986, was a five year volunteer for the Brighton Chamber of Commerce Annual Golf Outing, and coached boys soccer for many years. Through Sheri’s partnership and ownership of the important historical of contributions of Brighton-area women, she became a founder of the Brighton Area Women’s Roll of Honor.

 

Cheryl Ann Mayday Cheryl Ann Mayday
Owner of Alterations Unlimited, a seamstress and tailoring business established in 1985, and the Mayday Retail Building in downtown Brighton, Cheryl Mayday has invested personal and financial resources to propel downtown Brighton into a favored destination for area residents. As Chair of the Brighton Fine Art and Acoustic Music Festival since its inception in 1985 and a longstanding member of the Principal Shopping District Board of Directors since 2008, Cheryl has developed the Festival into a much-anticipated event each summer. She was also a member of the committee that created the Fashion Show for Love INC at Oak Pointe Country Club. In 2006, Cheryl participated in the creation of a University of Michigan educational documentary about her previous husband’s end-of-life journey entitled “Evan Mayday’s Good Death.” The film is used as a learning tool regarding palliative care in medical schools across the country, and she has been a frequent guest speaker about the experience. Cheryl was honored with the 2013 Distinguished Service Award by the Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce for her community leadership and efforts.

2013 Honorees

Barbara Ann BinkleyBarbara Ann Binkley is a leader in spirit and by example whose philosophy of “giving back to her community” sparked the rejuvenation of Brighton’s downtown shopping district. A co-owner of the Brighton-based Cooper and Binkley Jewelers and the Bink and Bab’s Boutique, Barb has translated her business and marketing acumen to help many local non-profits, including ARC of Livingston, and Special Olympics–Area 27. She was a founding member and coach of the Brighton Bulldogs Jump Rope Team.

 

 

 

Patricia Sue CherryPatricia Sue Cherry, a 1976 Brighton graduate, is founder and owner of Maple Tree Montessori Academy since 2003. Sue is an active volunteer with Great Start Livingston and an executive officer on the board of directors for Child Connect for Family Success in Livingston County. Working tirelessly toward improving the welfare of Livingston County’s children, Sue has donated considerable efforts and scholarship funds to the Livingston Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Council programs. This Council presented her with the first “Power-of-One” Award in 2012.

 

 

Jeannine M. DufaultJeannine M. Dufault has been a driving force in developing organized girls softball since its 1972 inception through the Brighton Youth Baseball/Softball Program (BYB/SP). Jeannine has advocated equal opportunities for girls to compete and excel in sports. A member of the original Title IX gender equity task force for Brighton Area Schools, her many contributions were recognized by the 1992 naming of Softball Field L at Hawkins Elementary and the 2000 naming of one of the premier Michigan summer softball tournaments in her honor.

 

 

 

 

Carol S. GriffithCarol S. Griffith, a 1976 Brighton graduate, is Vice-President/Co-Owner of E.R.A. Griffith Realty. She has gained statewide recognition as the 2006 Woman of the Year by the Business and Professional Women’s Organization, 1983 and 2005 Livingston County Realtor of the Year, and 2013 President-Elect of the Michigan Association of Realtors. Carol demonstrates deep commitment and community involvement as a Livingston County Commissioner since 2009, in her election as 2013 Chair of the Board, and in leadership roles within the Howell Rotary Club.

 

 

 

 

Dorothy MuschDorothy Musch walked four miles daily to earn $20/month for positions at Gage School in Walls County and the Village Farms School after earning her teaching certificate from Livingston County Normal. Due to company policy forbidding employment of married women, her subsequent ten-year position at Detroit Edison was terminated. Upon earning a Masters Degree in Counseling and Guidance at Eastern Michigan University, she taught fifth grade for Brighton Area Schools. In 1963, Dorothy helped negotiate the first Master Agreement between the BEA and the School Board and developed a Title I summer instruction program for middle-school students. Dorothy was a guidance counselor at Scranton Middle School from 1966 to 1977.

2012 Honorees

Colonel Kriste Kibbey EtueColonel Kriste Kibbey Etue became the first female Director of the Michigan State Police in 2011. Her initial trooper experience in 1987 was at the Brighton Post, one of the most active State Police posts in the state. Kriste rose through the ranks, serving in Coldwater and Lansing, while gaining varied and vital experiences which honed her professional skills. Kriste and her husband chaperoned the BHS Prom for several years. She worked as a DARE officer in the schools, which transitioned into the team concept that operates through a curriculum she helped create. Kriste became the first police officer to teach senior-high DARE in Michigan. She taught Rape Prevention Programs and acted as a guest lecturer on Business Law, Career Decisions, and Internships. In 1995, she received the David DeVries Outstanding Citizen-Educator Award. Kriste is a resident of Brighton who has contributed significantly to the quality of life in the community.

 

 

Sharon L. KisakSharon L. Kisak (1941–2010) was the founder of the Yum Yum Tree, a restaurant and ice-cream parlor, in 1982. This restaurant was the first in the county to go smoke-free. The Yum Yum Tree has been voted by the Press & Argus as Best Desserts for 23 years and received the People’s Choice Award. It is a gallery of “Old Brighton” pictures with an early railroad theme; a toy train entertains the children. The business continues the mission to provide old-fashioned good food and friendly service while training/coaching young people in work skills, teamwork, innovation, and integrity. Sharon had outstanding business acumen and an outgoing, enthusiastic personality. She coached girls’ softball and, with her husband Bert, sponsored and supported the BCPA, BHS Honors Banquet, Gazebo concerts, Fourth of July parade, Livingston County Chorale & Concert Band, the Imagination Station, PTOs, the Brighton Historical Society, and the VINA Dental clinic.

 

 

Nancy A. RossoNancy A. Rosso is the Executive Director of the Livingston County United Way. She has overseen the organization’s evolution from that of primarily fundraising to community impact. Nancy has given crucial oversight to cost containment for the United Way. As a community leader, she brings together individuals and organizations and helps to build collaborative groups and partnerships. She serves on many boards, committees, and bodies, too numerous to list, that address the needs of the people. Her social work, humanitarian focus, and marketing experience have qualified Nancy as an outstanding community leader who has real and lasting impact for good in Livingston County and beyond. Nancy is a long-time resident of the Brighton area.

2011 Honorees

Pamela Lee-CampbellPamela Lee-Campbell, a Brighton and Central Michigan University graduate, has been a teacher, coach, and role model for youth. Pam lettered in four sports at Brighton High School and played softball at the college level at CMU. She returned to Brighton to teach health and physical education. Pam coached high school softball for thirty years. In 2003, her varsity softball team won the Division I State Championship with a record of 43–1. The team was also named an All State Academic Team with a 3.25 grade point average showing Pam’s stress on academics along with community values and character. Her softball coaching record is 695-352-2. She was inducted into the Michigan High School Softball Association Hall of Fame in 2000 and was named “Coach of the Year” for softball in 2003.

 

 

 

Elizabeth Williams WalkerElizabeth Williams Walker, a 1978 Brighton graduate, earned a BM in Piano Performance and a MBA in Information Systems from the University of Michigan. She was Director of Computing for six years at U of M’s Business School. Beth is a longtime member of Brighton Rotary which recognized her as “Rotarian of the Year” 1996-97. She founded and directed for ten years the “Celebration of Music,” a showcase for school-age students. A recipient of the David DeVries Outstanding Citizen-Educator Award, Beth proctors and tutors at the high school, is an exam reader for students with reading disabilities, and coached Brighton Quiz Bowl Teams for thirteen years. In addition to her volunteer work, she operates a private piano studio.

2010 Honorees

Doris Pitkin Hoadley, RNDoris Pitkin Hoadley, RN, (1920-1972), a Brighton High School graduate, served as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army during World War II. Doris was a nurse working in field hospitals located in the European theater at Normandy, southern France, and the Rhine. World War II dramatically increased the possibilities for the future roles of women in America. This made Doris a leader from the Brighton community in women’s expanding role to contribute in all areas of society.

 

 

 

 

Katherine JanegoKatherine Janego is best known as the Livingston Executive Director of Love, INC, a national non-profit organization, which helps local churches assist people. In addition, she volunteers her time and skills to the following: Special Olympics, ARC of Livingston, United Way, Livingston Transportation Council, Livingston Hunger Council, Visually Impaired & Blind in Livingston, a founder of Families and Friends with Down’s Syndrome, and more. Kathie is a woman who gets things done to help those in need.

 

 

 

 

 

Phyllis LybergPhyllis Lyberg (1915-1972) was one of the founders of the Rickett School in 1954 and served as director for 17 years. She developed a program for the trainable “retarded” children of Livingston County. This landmark Brighton school served mentally impaired students through private donations and the United Way before such educational programs were mandated in the public schools. Phyllis was recognized by the American Association of Mental Deficiency for her outstanding, high-quality program.

 

 

 

 

Mildred ScrantonMildred Scranton was a longtime secretary for the Brighton Area Schools, serving in elementary schools and the high school. She was voted into office and served as the first President when a secretarial union was formed. Mildred was promoted to Executive Secretary to the superintendent, an ever-expanding position with much responsibility, and served five different superintendents. Her job changed and grew profoundly over the years, including the advent of the computer age. Mildred’s combined people skills, clerical expertise, responsibility, loyalty, and confidentiality on the job, along with her generous volunteer work in the community, make her a noteworthy Brighton woman.

2009 Honorees

Kathleen Zellman AlrubaiyKathleen Zellman Alrubaiy, PhD, is a 1960 Brighton High School graduate who has had an extensive career in public-school education. She is believed to be the first female graduate to become a superintendent of schools, in Ashland, Kentucky. Later, she returned to the area to become superintendent of the Livingston Intermediate School District, LESA. While in Livingston County, she served on various area boards and committees.

 

 

 

 

 

Bonnie Armstrong CorriganBonnie Armstrong Corrigan graduated from Brighton High School in 1950 after attending Lyons Country School. The family business has been highly successful, and Bonnie’s influence, as an active and responsible member of the community, was to support the people of Brighton. In addition, she has given personal time and service to the schools, animal rescue, and local organizations. Bonnie is only the second female to be President of the Chamber of Commerce in 30 years.

 

 

 

 

 

Virginia DisspainVirginia Disspain (1918-2007) opened Virginia’s Beauty Shop in 1939 and continued as a Brighton businesswoman for 59 years. She also served Keehn’s Funeral Home for 50 years. This pioneer businesswoman’s shop was a helpful communication hub for women as barbershops were for men.

 

 

 

 

 

Lucile Emmett, RNLucile Emmett, RN, was born to a large family in the poverty of the Great Depression and received $300 to attend nursing school from a benefactor who recognized her potential. Years later, the generosity was repaid. Early in her 41-year nursing career, Lucile served in World War II as an Army nurse in the Pacific Theater, including at a jungle hospital. In her over 39 years of retirement in Brighton, she worked for the local Salvation Army and Hospice.

 

 

 

 

 

Janet JosephJanet Joseph and her husband Jerry bought a small manufacturing business in Brighton in 1983, which grew from 10 to 75 employees in 20 years. Janet’s primary responsibility was human-resource management: creating jobs with stability and good benefits. She is a founding member of the Livingston County 4Cs (Community Coordinated Child Care) Council and M-TEC. She served on the Livingston Workforce Development Council and on the Governor’s Council for Labor and Economic Growth. Janet serves the community in various capacities,  including co-chairing with Jerry the 2007 United Way Campaign in Livingston County.

 

 

 

 

Joyce PowersJoyce Powers and her family moved to Brighton in 1967 when her husband Lyle became Brighton High School Principal. She retired from the Ann Arbor Public Schools in 1995 after 25 years as teacher and media specialist. The following year, she was elected to the Brighton Board of Education where she served four terms. Joyce is one of the founders of the Brighton Area Women’s History Roll of Honor which, since 2003, has recognized Brighton women’s contributions and service to the community, profession, business, and country.

 

 

 

 

Bonnie RiuttaBonnie Riutta and her family moved to Brighton in 1987 when she became Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction for Brighton Area Schools. Her leadership was integral in raising the academic reputation and education of the Brighton district to a very high level. She resigned in 2005 but remained in the community, serving on the BCPA Board and Friends of the Library Board. In 2008, Bonnie courageously accepted the leadership post of Interim Superintendent when Brighton was moving into a deficit budget year in a splintered community and with a demoralized staff. Her steady hand brought stability to the school district, and a new superintendent was hired.

2008 Honorees

Phyllis Bamber DanielsPhyllis Bamber Daniels has lived a life dedicated to helping others and is best known for her 27 years with the Brighton Area Schools Transportation Department where she served as a pioneer female bus driver, a dispatcher, and as Director of Transportation. Phyllis received numerous commendations over the years as parents appreciated her responsible, safe care of students. After retirement, she drove the Senior Center van.

 

 

 

 

 

Donna Alice Chamness LittleDonna Alice Chamness Little, a 1944 Brighton graduate, enlisted in the Cadet Nurse Corps in September 1944. She served at Grace Hospital, Detroit, and was honorably discharged in April 1946. Donna moved to Kansas to be with her brother, she married and settled there, had a family of seven children, and was active in community service. She was elected mayor for three terms in Richfield, Kansas.

 

 

 

 

 

Melanie MosesMelanie Moses has been involved in community service for over 30 years and is co-owner of the George Moses Co. She has co-chaired projects for McPherson Hospital and Cleary University while serving on the boards of Brighton Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, and the Livingston Players. She has supported LACASA, Livingston Arts Council, and the Brighton Rotary Foundation. In July 1987, she was the first woman to be admitted to a Livingston County Rotary Club.

 

 

 

 

Regina Kloser RidleyRegina Kloser Ridley, RN, was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts but has made Brighton her retirement home for many years. She joined the U.S. Army Nurse Corps in 1943 and served as a nurse in battle zones from Omaha Beach to the Battle of the Bulge. In recent years, Regina has made school presentations and participated in patriotic holiday celebrations and memorial services with the V.F.W. in Livingston County.

 

 

 

 

 

Garnet RolisonGarnet Rolison (1920-1964) was born into a longtime Brighton family which has operated a hardware on Main Street since 1915. She graduated from Cleary College and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Women’s Reserve in May 1944. She trained in North Carolina and served stateside in Oklahoma and California where she was honorably discharged in 1946. In civilian life she was employed by the University of Michigan as a secretary.

 

 

 

 

 

Grace Simpson RutherfordGrace Simpson Rutherford (1920-2009) graduated from Brighton in 1938. She joined the U.S. Navy WAVES in 1944, receiving naval training in the Bronx, New York and Cedar Falls, Iowa. Grace served as a resident inspector of naval material in Dayton, Ohio. She was discharged in 1945 with the rank of Yeoman Third Class. Grace married, had five children, taught school for several years, and participated in community work. She retired and lived in Okemos.

 

 

 

 

 

Colonel Lyla Spelbring, PhDColonel Lyla Spelbring, PhD, (1923-2011) joined the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve in 1943. She was a transportation instructor in North Carolina and assisted in creating the Women’s Motor Transport Unit in Hawaii. After discharge, she used the G.I. Bill to further her education. Lyla returned to service in the U.S. Army serving in the Korean Conflict and as a training officer in the Vietnam era. She retired in 1982 with the rank of Colonel. She continued her education in occupational therapy, earning a PhD from the University of Michigan. Lyla made Brighton her home many years ago. She has received numerous awards and honors over the years including Professor Emeritus from Eastern Michigan University.

2007 Honorees

Genevieve Hill FredenburgGenevieve Hill Fredenburg is a lifelong resident who advocated for quality community development during the initial high growth period in Brighton. She was the first female president of the Chamber of Commerce, instrumental in establishing the Farmer’s Market, actively participated in the Mill Pond Concerts, and served on the Board of Review.

 

 

 

 

 

Cheryl Johnson, RNCheryl Johnson, RN, (1950–2007) was an advocate for nurses and patients during her 35-year nursing career at the University of Michigan Medical Center. She was president of the Michigan Nurses Association, inducted into the Michigan Nurses Hall of Fame in 2006, and elected President of the United American Nurses in 1999.

 

 

 

 

 

Margaret E. MuirMargaret E. Muir (1896–2003) graduated from Brighton High School in 1914 and was a member of St. Patrick Church until her death at the age of 107. She began teaching in a country school, and in the 1950s joined the Milford district staff (Huron Valley). After 55 years of teaching generations of students to read in first grade, she retired from public schools and taught at St. Patrick School. Muir Middle School in Milford was named in her honor.

 

 

 

 

 

Phyllis I. PearsallPhyllis I. Pearsall is one of the founders of Rickett School in Brighton, which was a teaching facility created for “retarded” students. As a parent of a mentally impaired child, she motivated other parents and worked with state and community groups and officials to make Brighton a leader in early special education. Phyllis brought social changes and human services that are now statewide special-education programs.

 

 

 

 

Norma Jean Leitz PlessNorma Jean Leitz Pless is a 1950 Brighton High School graduate who has been a diligent and effective citizen-volunteer wherever needed but was partial to working with youth, especially girls and young women in the community through Girl Scouts, 4H Youth Center, school booster groups, and coaching softball. Active in the Brighton Historical Society and the Brighton Alumni Association, Norma Jean served two terms as Brighton Township Clerk.

 

 

 

 

Patricia SteelePatricia Steele overcame social and business barriers to become owner/manager of Margaret Hunters, a highly successful women’s apparel store in downtown Brighton. Leadership has been shown through the Downtown Merchants Association, mentoring women released from prison, and advising women entering business. Pat received the “Best Small Business of 2006” award from Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm.

 

 

 

 

Doris V. WeberDoris V. Weber (1920–2007) made Brighton her retirement home in her final years. Doris served in the U.S. Marine Corps in WWII from 1942 to 1945. She achieved the rank of Sergeant and served at the Office of Naval Reserve, Washington, D.C. where she did confidential clerical work. Doris and her husband, “the Colonel,” participated in full military dress for local patriotic holiday events over the years.

2006 Honorees

Ricci BandkauRicci Bandkau is a lifelong resident of Brighton and a graduate of Brighton High School. Ricci is a local real estate agent and has been an active volunteer in the schools and community for many years. Ricci has served city government in several capacities prior to being elected to City Council where she was selected mayor.

 

 

 

 

 

Suzanne ConerwaySuzanne Conerway is a graduate of Brighton High School and still returns to the community to sing in the church choir as well as chair the Brighton High School Alumni Association. For more than thirty years, Suzanne has been a counselor of youth, adults, and families in Michigan and Texas. She began her professional career in Brighton as a vocal music teacher. She was the first African-American to be hired as an educator by the Brighton Area Schools.

 

 

 

 

Joyce EwingJoyce Ewing (1931-2003) was best known for her work and dedication as director of LACASA at a critical time when it opened its first resident shelter and publicly voiced the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault. She was active in the League of Women Voters, National Organization for Women, Brighton Rotary, and the Womenfest Board of Directors.

 

 

 

 

 

Martha Karson, PhDMartha Karson, PhD, was valedictorian of the Brighton High School Class of 1957 and continued her education to earn a doctorate in clinical psychology from Michigan State University. She taught in the United States; Cambridge, England; Paris, France; and Vienna, Austria. Dr. Karson has presented articles and papers in national and international journals. She has also been in private practice as a child psychologist.

 

 

 

 

Carol McMackenCarol McMacken is a longtime resident of Brighton where she taught in the Brighton Area Schools specializing in reading instruction. As a member of the Brighton Historical Society, Carol took a second career as a writer. In 2004, From Settlement to City; Brighton, Michigan, 1832-1945, a historical record of Brighton was published.

 

 

 

 

 

Cindy SnyderCindy Snyder has taken volunteer work to a new level locally and beyond. LACASA named her volunteer of the Year in 1989. In 2005, she participated in the first WomenBuild of Livingston helping to raise $100,000 to build a home for a needy family. She helped organize the county homeless shelter and worked in the soup kitchen in Detroit. Cindy has traveled with a group of optometrists to help people in Honduras, went to India to deliver polio vaccines, and to Honduras and Peru to deliver books and school supplies. She has chaired several large fundraisers for Brighton Rotary and was named Rotarian of the Year in 2000 and 2002.

2005 Honorees

Alice ArnotAlice Arnot (1925-1990) was a nontraditional female entrepreneur in Brighton known popularly as “Alice the Welder.” She was a successful beautician when fate revealed that she was a trained welder from a WWII shipyard: a new business was born. Alice was also an enthusiastic advocate for Brighton and its future.

 

 

 

 

Kate LawrenceKate Lawrence, a Brighton graduate, is a successful businesswoman who was the first female Mayor of Brighton. She was the first Livingston County municipal official to be President of the Michigan Municipal League. Locally Kate was known for involving council, city staff, and citizens in the process of city government. She is proud of her longtime volunteer work with LACASA.

 

 

 

 

Clara Jean Leith, PhDClara Jean Leith, PhD, (1911-1982) was valedictorian of the Brighton High School Class of 1928 and is believed to be the first female graduate of Brighton to attain the degree of PhD. She taught and was a Language Department Head in Detroit when it was a premier district in the nation. She spoke five languages fluently.

 

 

 

 

 

Dorothy Leith, MDDorothy Leith, MD, (1910-1973) graduated from Brighton High School in 1927 and is believed to be the first female graduate to become a medical doctor. She turned from her first love, teaching, to become a physician at the time of a shortage in the profession. Dr. Leith practiced medicine in the farming community of Imlay City where she was held in high regard.

 

 

 

 

 

Nancy NawrockiNancy Nawrocki was the first female attorney to maintain a continuous law practice in Brighton, beginning in 1988. Her volunteer work includes assisting women who are poor or elderly and alone. She is a founding member of both the National Academy of Elder Law and the Senior Justice Section honored by the Michigan Bar Association.

 

 

 

 

 

Deborah Felder SmithDeborah Felder Smith, a Brighton graduate, holds two degrees in social work and became Director of LACASA in 1993, carrying on the inspiration of Joyce Ewing, her mentor. For Debbie, LACASA is truly a cause to help battered women and children, and she led the successful Capital Campaign for a new shelter through strong community support.

2004 Honorees

Bernice Chappel (1910-2010) began teaching in a country school, then taught in the Brighton Area Schools, and completed her career in education as a social worker. Surviving polio gave her insight into the needs, limits, and possibilities of others. Bernice began writing as a child, and she published several educational and children’s books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Norma GrayNorma Gray is a recognized artist. Her honors include being named by the Livingston County Arts Council as “Visual Artist of the Year – 1996.” She has received honors and awards in exhibitions in Iowa, Ohio, and Michigan. She has gallery representation in the Toledo Museum of Art and the Flint Institute of Art. Norma teaches, and she critiques and juries for art groups. She is founder of the Brighton Art Guild. The Norma Gray Gallery at the Brighton District Library was named in her honor.

 

 

 

 

Charlene HugetCharlene Huget began serving the Brighton community at the Brighton District Library in 1994. In 1997, she became the Director, a position she held until her retirement in 2007. She was the innovative promoter for an informed public and an advocate for a culturally changing Brighton community as the service area and population expanded more than threefold. Through collaboration, Charlene developed cultural programs, public forums, and featured speakers who addressed current issues. She embraced technology to increase the resources of information and communication for the public.

 

 

 

 

 

Marilyn S. Jones, PhDMarilyn S. Jones, PhD, (1934-2014) was a professional flutist, choral musician, and music educator in the public schools including Brighton Area Schools and her alma mater, Cass Technical High School, Detroit. Among other honors, she received the prestigious Maynard Klein Award “in recognition of artistic excellence and a lifetime of leadership in the field of choral music.” Dr. Jones was the Founding Artistic Director of the Livingston County Chorale, which gave birth to the Women’s Chorus and the Children’s Choir.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Madalyn RosenMadalyn Rosen is an exemplary advocate for the arts. She served on the Brighton District Library and the Brighton Center for the Performing Arts boards. Along with others, she helped inaugurate the series “Art in the Library.” Madalyn has participated in the Livingston County Women’s Chorus and the Brighton Art Guild

2003 Honorees

Marieanna Bair

 

Marieanna Bair, a Brighton High School graduate, is the moving force behind the Brighton Area Historical Society and the Brighton High School Alumni Association. Marieanna is past president of the Michigan State Questers, promoting historical research and preservation. She received the “Michigan First Lady Award” in 1987 recognizing her work in local history.

 

 

 

Eleanor Hornung

 

Eleanor Hornung (1909-2000) was an exemplary teacher who began her career in a country school and later taught in the Brighton school system for many decades. During WWII, she coordinated activities of the Junior Red Cross selling vegetable seeds to classmates for Victory Gardens and sponsoring prizes for the nicest gardens. .Miss Hornung took responsibility to mentor new teachers in the schools before retiring in 1976. The elementary building on Bauer Road that opened in 1977 was named in her honor.

 

 

Bernice Hyne

 

Bernice Hyne (1912-2008) was a dynamic promoter of community, education, and culture for forty years. She served on the local and intermediate Boards of Education and wrote an education column for the Brighton Argus. Bernice was a strong advocate for Rickett School and the Community Education program. She was a founder of the Livingston Players. Bernice was recognized as “Woman of the Year” in 1976 by the Michigan Jaycees.

 

 

Susan Grimes Munsell Width, CPA

 

Susan Grimes Munsell Width, CPA, served in the Michigan State House of Representatives from 1987 to 1996 and was Iosco Township Treasurer prior to that. Susan participated in the beginnings of the Women’s Resource Center of Livingston County, LACASA (Livingston Area Council Against Spouse Abuse) and the 4Cs (Livingston County Community Coordinated Child Care) Council.

 

 

 

 

Joyce Rogers

 

Joyce Rogers (1931-2009) has been a Livingston County Commissioner, a business and political mentor for many people, and led the Brighton Chamber of Commerce to prominence. Joyce was recognized by the Livingston Press & Argus for several years as the “Most Powerful Person in Livingston County.” The local Post Office was named in her memory in 2011

 

 

 

 

Judith Scranton

 

Judith Scranton served in the Michigan State House of Representatives from 1997 to 2002. Judie served the Brighton Area Schools as a PTO leader at all levels. She has also served on the boards of LACASA, American Red Cross, and Cleary University. She is a founding member of the 4Cs (Livingston County Community Coordinated Child Care) Council.

 

Margaret Siford

 

Margaret Siford served the Brighton Schools as teacher, counselor and administrator for 25 years. She was the first president of the Brighton Education Association, and later she was the first female administrator in the Brighton Area Schools. Peg has served as a volunteer with the Catholic Social Services and the Livingston County United Way. She was honored in 2002 with the Donald Epley Lifetime Community Service Award.

Women’s History Month and Roll of Honor Advisory Council

Mission:  To honor and celebrate the diverse accomplishments of women of the greater Brighton area.

Purpose:  To create an awareness in the general public of women’s contributions and steadfastness as a group inside and outside the home; in the work force; in social movements; in the professions and business; in charitable and cultural institutions; in the arts; in government service; in health care and human services; in education; in athletics and sports; in science, the environment and technology; and in all areas of volunteer work. Women as a group are working for the greater good through their personal strengths, and are inspired and energized by the stories of other women.

To recognize individual women of the greater Brighton area who have made a remarkable or unique contribution or have achieved an accomplishment in the greater Brighton community, the state of Michigan, the nation, or the world.

Affirmed October 2004

Brighton Area Women’s Roll of Honor
2018 Advisory Council

    Jean K. Becker
Genevieve Fredenburg
Karen Goss
Carol Griffith
Nancy B. Johnson
Joyce Powers, Chair
Margaret Siford
Elizabeth Walker

Acknowledgments
The Advisory Council appreciates the Collaboration and Support of:

Brighton Area Historical Society
Brighton Area Schools
Brighton District Library
Brighton Rotary Club
City of Brighton
Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce
Livingston County Daily Press & Argus
Livingston Sunrise Rotary
The Marketeer
Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame
National Women’s History Project
WHMI 93.5FM

Title IX of the Higher Education Act

Passed by Congress on June 23, 1972, this Act offered new opportunities for women in academics, sports, and the workforce. These past and present Brighton High School athletes represent the excellence and opportunities granted by the phrase:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

Athletic Championship Honorees

Brighton High School Girls Cross Country Teams won state titles in 1979, 1980, and 1983 following the early years of Title IX. The 1979 team was the first girls athletic team to win a state title for Brighton.

2003 Brighton Varsity Girls Softball Team won the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division I State Championship with a season record of 43-1. They were also named an All State Academic Team with a 3.25 grade point average.

2011 Brighton Varsity Girls Lacrosse Team won the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division I State Championship with a season record of 15-5-1.

2014 Brighton Varsity Girls Ski Team won the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division I State Championship with 92 points and a season record of 12-0.

2016 Julia Dean won the 2015 Division I Individual State MHSAA Golf Championship and then was chosen as Miss Golf by the Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association.  Julia is the first Brighton female athlete honored by the Michigan Interscholastic Coaches Association.

2017 Abby Krzywiecki was honored as the 2016 Miss Softball winner by the Michigan Interscholastic Softball Coaches Association, the STATE CHAMOS! Softball Player of the Year, MLive Detroit’s Softball Player of the Year, and a Flosoftball First Team All-American. Abby holds the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s record for hitting 20 home runs in the 2016 season.

The Celebration of Women’s History Month in Brighton

 

The first Brighton area celebration of women’s accomplishments took place in March 2002. Books, pictures, and posters of notable women were displayed in the Board of Education Room of the Brighton Area Schools. This collection, assembled by School Board Secretary Joyce Powers and Assistant to the Superintendent Sheri Lohmiller, informed, enlightened, and inspired the general public.

 

In March 2003, the Brighton Chamber of Commerce and downtown merchants joined the celebration by displaying pictures and details about various women of achievement in their business establishments. The Women’s History Advisory council was formed, and seven local women were named to the first Brighton Area Women’s Roll of Honor at Womenfest in the Brighton Center for the Performing Arts. Pictures and biographies of these women were displayed at the Brighton District Library.

 

Posters for Women’s History Month were supplied to the media centers of all Brighton Area Schools. Teachers in the district have had the opportunity to integrate women’s history into their curriculum.

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