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 2024 Nominees

 

The Roll of Honor Advisory Council is pleased to announce the 2024 Honorees of the
Brighton Area Women’s History Roll of Honor. 

Kate Lowry is a lifelong resident of Brighton and a 1975 BHS graduate. Kate has been a member of LACASA’s Board of Directors since 1999 serving on the resource and community relations committee, was Honorary Chair of the 2000 “Raise the Roof” Capital Campaign to build a new facility, was one of the first Mission Partner’s founded 15 years ago, and has chaired several successful fundraising events requiring months of planning and committee direction. In 2016, LACASA awarded Kate the “Mission Possible” award for fundraising. A founding member of the Brighton Area Schools Alumni Association Board, Kate planned numerous events and helped fund raise for the Alumni Room. Kate played an integral role in fundraising for the 1994 Imagination Station build. Active with the Arc of Livingston, Kate was awarded the 2013 ARC Angel Award for her years of dedication to people with disabilities. Kate has shared her talents and time to Love INC, Livingston County United Way, Work Skills Foundation, and VINA Dental Center.

Tara (Patrick) McCrackin, M.Ed, NCIDQ, IIDA is a 1988 Brighton High School graduate and was named Interim President of Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD) of Ferris State University in July, 2019, and officially accepted the position of President in 2021. She concurrently holds the office of Vice President of Ferris State University.  President McCrackin began her design career in 1997 and was the lead designer on the initial WorkSpring in Chicago, IL (a co-working space focusing on hospitality in a corporate environment incorporating state-of-the-art technologies). Pursuing a passion for sustainability, she worked on the Rackspace Headquarters of San Antonio, TX, that earned a LEED Gold Certification. A recent project is the interior for the Kids’ Food Basket building in Grand Rapids.  Tara has been a long-time volunteer and supporter of Kids’ Food Basket, an organization that serves sack suppers to kids in Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon, and Allegan counties. Tara began teaching in the Interior Design program at KCAD in 2002 and has served as a program advisor and program chair. Integral in developing agreements with Grand Rapids Community College and Ivy Tech Community College, she served on the Grand Rapids Community College Interior Design Advisory Board from 2016-2019.  Active as a board member of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Michigan Chapter, she served as Michigan Chapter President from 2017-2019. An active member of the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) Champion program, Tara has also served as one of ten North American Course Reviewers and Course Auditors for the Interior Design continuing Education Council, Inc. (IDCEC). Tara serves on the Grand Rapids’ ArtPrize Steering Committee,the Rosa Parks Conservancy Board, GRPS Museum School Advisory Board, and the Chamber Grand Rapids Athena Leadership Council. She has volunteered for the Mel Trotter Art and Experience planning committee, and as a Jim Crow Museum expansion project endorser. She is a member of the Leadership Grand Rapids 2022 cohort and a 2022 Athena Finalist.  As a Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore Troop Leader from 2006-2012, Tara recently served as a mentor at the Girl Scout Leadership Conference in October, 2023.  Tara was a Brownie and then Girl Scout with the troop at Lindbom Elementary in the mid to late 1970s. Underscoring her dedication to advocating for women and leadership for change, Tara was awarded the 2023 Michigan ACE Network’s Distinguished Woman in High Education Leadership Award as well as the 2023 Helen Gillespie Ferris Distinguished Woman Leader Award.

Darlene McManus graduated from Brighton High School in 1987 and joined the family business, Micro Works Computing, in 1993 as Technical Support Lead and part of the Management Team and continues to excel in this role.  Darlene graduated from Livingston Leadership in 1995, served on the Women’s Resource Center Board of Directors from 2005-2011, and on the Livingston County United Way Board from 2015-2021.  She is a third generation Rotarian and Paul Harris Fellow and has led the Brighton High School Interact Club as Rotary Advisor since 2016 to develop team, innovation, and leadership skills.  Since 2016 she has served as Chair of the Rotary Satellite Club of Brighton Sunset leading projects of providing hygiene kits for LACASA, Ann Reinick House, Livingston County Gleaner’s Food Bank, Bountiful Harvest, and Community Connect.  Her team created 19 Little Free Libraries in Livingston County, and through her leadership was the first Rotary Club in Livingston County approved in 2023 by the Dolly Parton Imagination Literacy Library. Darlene has chaired many local fund-raiser events, including Euchre Tournaments for the hygiene kits and Little Free Libraries, the 3 Men and A Tenor Concert, and applied and received approval for the three Rotary District 6380 grants to support those efforts.  Darlene volunteers computer support time to the Livingston County United Way, Livingston County Catholic Charities, and the Livingston Family Center/Youth Connection.  Darlene earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Journalism from Central Michigan University.

Toni Reese moved to Brighton in 2004 to care for her aging grandparents and began working as a server at Outback Restaurant.  Within three years, she rose to Regional Training, overseeing 12 stores, before being promoted again to overseeing 200+ restaurants in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. Toni began running in 2011 and has completed 5Ks to 100-milers.  She began working for Running Lab in Brighton as General Manager in 2015 and became part owner in 2022. Toni revitalized and grew the Tuesday night running group from 20 people up to 100+ each week and has initiated Saturday morning runs and free half- and full- marathon training programs. Toni received the Brooks Run Happy Award in 2019 from Brooks Running.  Toni is CPR certified and is a 2023 Certified Tourism Ambassador. From 2020-2023, Running Lab was recognized as one of the Top 50 Running Stores in the United States, and in 2023 was a Top 4 Running Store. Through Running Lab, Toni has initiated and contributed to many community programs to promote healthy living and charitable giving, including Ainsley’s Angels of Michigan, footwear and sock donations, Earth Day trash cleanup, ALS Bull Runs, Hope Water Project, Gleaners, Torch 180, and Fund a Life.

Lynn A. Strong and her family have deep roots in the Brighton area: her great-grandmother Haidee Brady was one of the first two women to vote in Michigan in 1919, her grandfather owned the Main Street grocery store JA Brady’s in the 1930, and her father, Charles Brady, was a 1941 Brighton High School graduate and Director of the Milford GM Proving Grounds. Lynn has served on the Board of the Brighton Area Historical Society (BAHS) since 2014 and her contributions have significantly affected its success, including managing the PastPerfect inventory program of BAHS archival materials, coordinating programs and archival for Lyons School, organizing the Fourth of July parade entries, constructing historical costumes for events, and key leader with the City of Brighton’s 150th Anniversary Celebration. Serving as a Scout leader for nine years at Lindbom Elementary, Lynn volunteered and was active with Authors’ Day, the Carnival, and many activities at the school. A strong supporter of the BHS girls sport teams with scoring, marking fields, and providing beverages, Lynn helped whenever needed, including at two graduating senior all-night parties. Lynn was instrumental in locating information about Haidee Brady and Charlotte Mellus (two of the first women to vote in Livingston County) when the Roll of Honor and the BAHS celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote in 2019 that culminated in a large display and three months of activities. Lynn is a member of the Pleasant Valley Women’s Social Club. As the 2024 City of Brighton Arts, Culture, and History Center (CoBACH) Chair, Lynn coordinates events between the City, BAHS, and the Art Guild after volunteering and serving as Greeter for several years.

Sara E. Walker, MD, MS, is a 2008 BHS valedictorian and an All-State golfer. Sara is currently the only Utah physician specializing in outpatient eating disorder care and a frequent state/national lecturer on eating disorders and Health at Every Size. She created and owns an eating disorders/sports medicine clinic called The Performing, Endurance, and Artistic Athlete Clinic, PLLC (ThePEAAC.com) in Salt Lake City, UT. She provides telehealth care in more than 15 states, is the course director of Intermountain Health’s Project ECHO: Eating Disorders, and serves as the sole physician on the MyClearStep Advisory Board (which developed a numberless scale for eating disorder patients). Sara is the founder of Sarabelle Lee, LLC, which offers an online personal finance course for medical trainees and individualized physician burnout coaching. As a Certified Life Coach, she has mentored countless doctors who now provide care across the US. She is a recurring speaker in the University of Utah family medicine residency and physician assistant curricula. Sara earned a BS in Honors Mathematics, a BSE in Biomedical Engineering, a minor in French & Francophone Studies, an MS in Bioinformatics, and an MD from The University of Michigan. She completed her Family Medicine Residency at the University of Utah, serving as Chief Resident her final year. Her Sports Medicine Fellowship was completed at Boston Children’s (a Harvard-affiliated hospital), and she is board-certified in both Family Medicine and Sports Medicine. Sara has worked with numerous elite/professional athletes and artists, including those from The Skating Club of Boston, The Boston Ballet, The Boston Conservatory at The Berklee College of Music, and the University of Utah women’s gymnastics team. Sara was the head local physician for the USA Gymnastics 2022 US Classic and the Medical Director for the 2021 USA Archery Olympic Trials. She was an athlete village physician for the FISU 2023 University Games (Winter) in Lake Placid, NY. She serves as a Team USA Physician for US Figure Skating in multiple national and international competitions, including the 2024 Bavarian Open, the 2023 National Championships, and the 2023 ISU Four Continents Championship.

Outstanding Historical Accomplishments by Young Women

2022 Varsity Girls Lacrosse Team
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2023 Varsity Girls Lacrosse Team

2022 and 2023 Brighton Varsity Girls Lacrosse Teams won the 2022 Michigan High School Athletic Association Division I State Championships, defeating Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern/Eastern 12-11 in overtime, after three consecutive state championship appearances. In June 2023, the Team faced Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern/ Eastern again and won 8-6 to be the first girls team in Brighton History to win a back-to-back state title. The Brighton Varsity Girls Lacrosse team now holds 3 state titles with 7 appearances in the state championship game.

Members of the 2022 Team coached by Ryan Skomial are: Brittney B, Ella B, Kailey B, Gabrielle B, Abigail B, Keelin E, Georgia G, Amanda G, Sophia H, Eva K, Cecelia M, Gabriella M, Kaia M, Mya N, Rielly O, Elle S, Natalie S, Ashleigh T, Ella T, Abigail W, Amaria W, Sophia W, and Lauren Z.

Members of the 2023 Team coached by Ashton Peters are: Lea A, Brittney B, Gabi B, Maggie B, Riley C, Vivian E, Keelin E, Georgia G, Mikayla G, Sophia H, Abigail K, Flynn K, Josie L, Kaia M, Cece M, Mya N, Rielly O, Isabella O, Elle S, Natalie S, Ashleigh T, Ella T, Abby W, Sophia W, Lauren Z.

2024 Brighton Varsity Pom Team won the 2024 Dance Team Union National Championship on February 11, 2024, in Orlando, Florida. Brighton won first place with 88.66 points in the Large Varsity-Team Performance Division over 12 other teams from across the country. Members of the Pom Team are: Addison B, Kaitlyn C, Karalyn D, Jorah H, Cadence M, Alaina P, Elle R, Gianna S, Maya S, Avarie S, Sophia T, Cora T, McKenna V, Serena W, and Mackenzie W.  The Team is coached by Kendall Gessler, Jenna Belian, and Camryn Tyler.

Previous Roll of Honor Honorees

Colleen Gleason
Thelma Lett
LuAnn Loy
Anne Richardson
Jane Jarvis Tomlinson

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Sandra Leith Bates
Dolores S. Johnson
Anne King-Hudson
Ruth E. Munzel
Susan G. Rosebrough

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Kathleen M. Barden
Therese K. Cremonte, P.E.M.
Ellen Lafferty
Colleen Tokai Monroe
Rhonda R. Trask

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Carolina Louise DeLuca
Josephine DeLuca DelVero
Melinda Rodabaugh Kinsey
Marie Sedmak
Susanne Roys Seitters
Karen Storey

Athletic Championship Honoree:
Evelyn Money

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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:
Natalie Klein

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Ann M. Bollin
Julie Fielek
Nancy J. Fritch
Mandana “Mondi” Miller

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Gloria Klepser Downing, EdSpec
Priscilla Luce Durante
Lucy Newman Lyon
Claudia Ann Roblee
Pat Schuch, PE,

Athletic Championship Honoree:
Abby Krzywiecki

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Amy Lou Arnold
Carole Bullion-Mincy
Kathleen Carney
Shirley Jean Shekell Danforth
Colonel Karin Flood, M.D.,
Mary E. Griffith
Nancy B. Johnson, Ph.D.
Edith Amanda Leith

Athletic Championship Honoree:
Julia Dean

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Nancy J. Fredenburg
Laura Kelley
Donna Susan Oswalt Kelly
Pamela McConeghy
Jane Marie McManus
Jane K. Petrie
Nancy Jane Roberts
Sara Thomas

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Shirley J. Barton
Jean K. Becker, PhD
Michele Bouhana
Heidi G. Clausnitzer
Karen J. Goss
Sheryl Lohmiller
Cheryl Ann Mayday

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Barbara Ann Binkley
Patricia Sue Cherry
Jeannine M. Dufault
Carol S. Griffith
Dorothy Musch

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Colonel Kriste Kibbey Etue
Sharon L. Kisak
Nancy A. Rosso

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Brighton Area Women’s Roll of Honor Advisory Council

Acknowledgments The Advisory Council appreciates the Collaboration and Support of:

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

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

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.