Brighton Area Women’s History Roll of Honor
Our History Is Our Strength
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
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.”
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.
Brighton Area Women’s History Roll of Honor 2023 Nominees
The Roll of Honor Advisory Council is pleased to announce the 2023 Nominees for the Brighton Area Women’s History Roll of Honor.
Colleen Gleason has been a Brighton resident since 1996 and is an award-winning, USA TODAY, and New York Times best-selling author. She has written more than 40 full-length novels that have been published in a wide range of genres. Pen names she’s used include Colleen Gleason, Colleen Cambridge, and C.M. Gleason. She has written everything from teen novels to action-adventure/thrillers to vampire books to mysteries, and currently is focusing on a series featuring Agatha Christie’s housekeeper as an amateur sleuth, and another series featuring a (fictional) former Rosie the Riveter who worked at Willow Run Bomber Plant and has moved to postwar Paris, where she meets and solves mysteries with Julia Child. Colleen began writing in primary school and wrote eight complete novels during her early career and raising a family before selling the first book of her The Gardella Vampire Chronicles series to a division of Penguin Books, which was published in January 2007. Besides Penguin, Colleen has written for HarperCollins Publishers, Harlequin/MIRA, and Chronicle Books. She currently writes for Kensington Books. Before becoming a full-time writer, Colleen worked in sales, marketing, and management for a variety of companies, including Care Choices/Trinity Health, as well as two start-up companies. She started her own business in the insurance field which went by the wayside when she sold the rights to her first two novels in 2005. She has been writing full-time ever since. Colleen has a BA English and an MBA from the University of Michigan. Colleen has been a huge supporter of 2Dandelions Bookshop since it began in 2019, collaborating on multiple book launches and hosting a monthly book club featuring diverse authors in a range of genres. She speaks regularly at book clubs, schools, libraries, and conventions, and does workshops for writers whenever possible. Colleen and her husband are very active in their church in Brighton and have organized fundraising talent/variety shows for Cystic Fibrosis research as well as for the Ukraine.
Thelma Lett (1929-2008) was the twenty-year Membership Director of the Livingston Diversity Council who stood and spoke against a hate group in 1994 stating that Livingston County was her home and that her family had a right to live with dignity and without harassment. Thelma’s refusal to leave Livingston County because of racial intimidation was widely applauded and recognized by Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin in 2022 for Black History Month. Before moving to Livingston County in 1976, Thelma began her career selling shoes door-to-door during the depression. Along with her aunt and sister, 17-year-old Thelma expanded the business into Hawkins Apparel and opened two Detroit locations—one on Warren Avenue and one in Dexter/Davison. The 1967 Detroit Riots burned those businesses. Earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Detroit Institute of Technology, Thelma worked at Detroit Edison in accounting almost 18 years before retiring. Thelma joined the First United Methodist Church of Brighton and car-pooled nine years to her Detroit-based job with four male Detroit Edison employees. When Thelma became the only African-American member of Brighton Church of the Nazarene, she inspired others and was extremely active, enjoying prayer groups and the youth-oriented contemporary services. Her organization and drive with the Community Coalition translated into coordinating special activities throughout Livingston County during their October, 1994, support of community diversity. Thelma was recognized at the 20-year celebration of the Diversity Council and reminded the audience to put their love of people and God “into action.” The Thelma Lett Library can be found within the Detroit Impact Youth Center as a tribute to the many young people she taught to read and write.
LuAnn Loy moved to Brighton in 1985 and is an advocate for students of all ages and abilities. In 1995, LuAnn served on the Advisory Committee for Special Needs of the Imagination Station Planning Committee. In 1996, LuAnn was a board member for Livingston Technical Academy, aka Kensington Woods Schools. Since 1996, she has been a member of the Wayne State University Community Advisory Committee for the Developmental Disabilities Institute, focusing on research, education and training programs. From 1992-1993, LuAnn served on the Michigan State Board of Education, Identifying Barriers to Inclusive Education Recommendations Committee. From 2004-2005, LuAnn was a member of the State of Michigan’s Team Task Force for Alliance for Full Participation to identify critical issues affecting people with disabilities. Active in the Livingston Educational Service Agency’s (LESA) Board of Education since 2005, LuAnn has been president since 2014. LuAnn and daughter Abby appeared before Congress petitioning for the Prenatal and Postnatal Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act. Since 2001, LuAnn is a third generation active member of the Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.) Sisterhood, Brighton Chapter EF. LuAnn is has been a member of the Brighton Rotary Club since 2013, and is a US Army Veteran, having served in the 295th Aviation Company from 1975-1977. LuAnn holds a Bachelors of Arts in Accounting from Michigan State University and is the inventor and patent holder of ShoeSling®.
Anne Richardson has lived in Brighton since 1992, and formed a parent support group in 1996 for parents of children with disabilities in Livingston County. She was a member of the Lindbom Elementary PTO, and served as Chair and member to the Livingston Educational Service Agency (LESA) Parent Advisory Committee. Anne worked for the Washtenaw Association for Community Advocacy by assisting in the coordination of Partners in Policymaking to educate adults with disabilities and parents about special education, public support systems, and the policymakng process. In 2002-2015 Anne worked as a family advocate at The Arc Livingston, serving 250 community members yearly, specifically supporting individuals with disabilities and their families through information, education, and one-on-one support to access services in Livingston County. Anne led The Arc Livingston as Executive Director 2015-2021, bringing financial stabiity, expanding programs, and raising awareness for equity and inclusion of those with disabilities. Even in retirement, Anne continues to be an active, supportive member. She has served on the Board of the Livingston Diversity Council since 2017. A former member of the Livingston County Human Services Collaborative Body (HSCB), Anne has served on the HSCB Executive Committee, the Livingston Hunger Council, the Livingston Council for Youth, and is a founding and current member of the Abilities Alliance.
Jane Jarvis Tomlinson was born in Mellus Hospital, graduated from Brighton High School in 1951, and her family ties to Brighton originated in the 1800s. Her family-owned business, Jarvis Menswear, at 306 Main Street operated for many years with Jane as seamstress and sales clerk. Since well-tailored menswear was the major product of the business, Jane’s role was extremely important. A member of the First United Methodist Church since 1944, Jane has served on the memorial committee and as a Sunshine Lady for well over ten years, sending hundreds of handwritten cards to church members sharing sympathy, get well thoughts, or Easter wishes and devoting most mornings to her responsibilities. When the church operated the Red Balloon Tea Room, located on Brighton Lake Road and Grand River, Jane volunteered to serve luncheons for over ten years. Jane also helped coordinate the annual Salad Luncheons for church members, a very popular and well-organized event. Jane is an active member of the Brighton Area Historical Society and enjoys sharing her knowledge of Brighton History. She is also a member of the Brighton Area Schools Alumni Association and the Pleasant Valley Social Club.
Outstanding Historical Accomplishments by Young Women
Sabrina Nauss became the first female to win a Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) wrestling championship on 03/05/22 at Ford Field.
Genevieve Urbain is a 2022 graduate of Brighton High School. In 2012 as a second-grade student, Genna became acquainted with the story of Willis Ward (1912-1983), an African-American student, athlete, civil rights activist and judge, and felt that Willis Ward’s accomplishments and challenges resulting from Jim Crow prejudices should be recognized at The University of Michigan. Genna spoke to the UofM Board of Regents and the Michigan State Senate. Her efforts resulted in a UofM Football Game Day honor for Willis Ward at Michigan Stadium, a 2015 opening of the Willis Ward Lounge in the Michigan Union at UofM, and the designation of Willis Ward Day on October 19, 2012, by the Michigan State Senate.
Previous Roll of Honor Honorees
Sandra Leith Bates
Dolores S. Johnson
Ruth E. Munzel
Susan G. Rosebrough
Kathleen M. Barden
Therese K. Cremonte, P.E.M.
Colleen Tokai Monroe
Rhonda R. Trask
Carolina Louise DeLuca
Josephine DeLuca DelVero
Melinda Rodabaugh Kinsey
Susanne Roys Seitters
Athletic Championship Honoree:
Haidee F. Judson Brady
Charlotte L. Haight Mellus
Reneé R. Nix
Sarah Richardson-Burns, PhD
Nina Jones Cord Stowe
Mary Zizka St. Pierre, RN
Athletic Championship Honorees:
Ann M. Bollin
Nancy J. Fritch
Mandana “Mondi” Miller
Gloria Klepser Downing, EdSpec
Priscilla Luce Durante
Lucy Newman Lyon
Claudia Ann Roblee
Pat Schuch, PE,
Athletic Championship Honoree:
Amy Lou Arnold
Shirley Jean Shekell Danforth
Colonel Karin Flood, M.D.,
Mary E. Griffith
Nancy B. Johnson, Ph.D.
Edith Amanda Leith
Athletic Championship Honoree:
Nancy J. Fredenburg
Donna Susan Oswalt Kelly
Jane Marie McManus
Jane K. Petrie
Nancy Jane Roberts
Shirley J. Barton
Jean K. Becker, PhD
Heidi G. Clausnitzer
Karen J. Goss
Cheryl Ann Mayday
Barbara Ann Binkley
Patricia Sue Cherry
Jeannine M. Dufault
Carol S. Griffith
Colonel Kriste Kibbey Etue
Sharon L. Kisak
Nancy A. Rosso
Brighton Area Women’s Roll of Honor Advisory Council
Acknowledgments The Advisory Council appreciates the Collaboration and Support of:
Jean K. Becker
Nancy B. Johnson
Joyce Powers, Chair
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
Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame
National Women’s History Project
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.