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Westfield Hall of Fame Dinner Planned for September

Ten individuals and families will be recognized for their contributions.

At the Town Council meeting held on July 10, former councilman Lee Hale, chairman of the Hall of Fame Committee, told the council of the Westfield Hall of Fame's upcoming induction dinner to be held on September 13 at . 

Mayor Andy Skibitsky, who presented Hale with a resolution in May 2011, noted Hale's "unsurpassed" volunteer work.

The Westfield Historical Society’s Hall of Fame Selection Committee has named 10 individuals/families for induction into the Westfield Hall of Fame. The nominees are recognized and honored for being accomplished in their fields as well as having made a significant impact on the town, state or nation.

The evening will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail hour followed by light fare at 7:30 p.m.

Skibitsky will introduce the event and Jon Bramnick, Assembly Republican Leader, will be the master of ceremonies. Tickets are $50 each and are available by contacting the Westfield Historical Society at (908) 654-1794 or info@westfieldhistoricalsociety.org.

The following is an excerpt from a press release from the Westfield Historical Society announcing the 2012 Hall of Fame Inductees: 

The 2012 inductees of the Westfield Historical Society Hall of Fame include:

1. Sam Downer Jr. (1760-1848) – Mr. Downer was a developer. He operated an inn for travelers on the New York/Philadelphia stagecoach line. His store was a central market for bartering farm produce. He was an original investor in the Elizabeth Town/ Somerville Railway and the Bank of Elizabeth Town. Sam was a Revolutionary War hero at the Battle of Springfield.

2. Charles D. Clark (1753- 1821) – Mr. Clark operated a general store on the corner of Broad Street and South Avenue where important townspeople could discuss local and state politics. Charles was vice-president of New Jersey in the regime of Governor Bloomfield. In the late 1700’s, when the Governor was out of state, he assigned the state seal to Clark - making Westfield the capital of New Jersey.

3. Charles N. Codding (1866-1925) – Mr. Codding was the first sophisticated leader of Westfield. He graduated from Yale. He was president of the Westfield Athletic Club and president of the Central Jersey Baseball League. He was a state assemblyman and chairman of the Union County Republicans. He played a major role in the change to “town” government from “city” Government in 1901.

4. Robert Bauer – Mr. Bauer was founder/chairman of Electrical Installations Inc., founder of an Elizabeth semi-pro football team and once owner of a 10-horse stable of racers. The Bauers were major contributors to Cornell University, Overlook Hospital and the Broad Street branch of the Westfield Y.

5. Robert N. Buck (1914-2007) – Mr. Buck began a flying career in 1929 at age 15. He broke the junior intercontinental air speed record in 1930. He was TWA’s chief pilot. During WWII he flew international routes and did thunderstorm and weather research. He was awarded the Air Medal by President Harry Truman and was inducted into the New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame.

6. Bill Clotworthy – Mr. Clotworthy joined NBC as a page. He then spent 20 years in Hollywood where he worked with Jack Benny, Danny Kaye, George Burns and Gracie Allen, and Ronald Reagan. Later he returned to New York as the censor for the Cosby Show, Letterman, and Saturday Night Live.

7. Grover Connell – A Columbia University graduate, Mr. Connell spent two years on a destroyer in World War II. Postwar he joined the family firm – Connell Rice and Sugar. The firm grew to be largest rice exporter in the world. In 1975 the company expanded into financial services and leasing and became one of the world’s largest companies.

8. Gerry Glasser – Mr. Glasser is an internationally recognized expert on sampling and data analysis. He was founder and chief executive officer of Statistical Research, which grew to be a major market research firm with 200 employees. He has been a major philanthropist through the Westfield Foundation, Overlook Medical Center, the Reeve History and Cultural Center and the Thomas Glasser Foundation.

9. The McGinley Family – They are a football and business dynasty. Ed McGinley, 2nd, was an All-American at Penn and played for the NY Giants. Ed McGinley, 3rd, was an All-County tackle on the undefeated 1945 Westfield High School team. Rick McGinley was an All-State running back at WHS, scoring 46 touchdowns (still a school record). Gerry McGinley was an All- State end at WHS, and an All-American center at Penn State. All four McGinley’s had significant business careers.

10. Robert L. Rooke (1891 – 1994) – Mr. Rooke was a compatriot of Charles Merrill in Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and Beane in 1919. He was credited with exiting the market before the “crash.” The firm grew to be one of the top financial institutions in the world. He donated the Rooke Pool to the Westfield Y in 1928 and the Rooke Chapel and a chemistry building at Bucknell University.

The 2012 inductees join a prestigious list of current Hall of Fame members including: Charles Addams, Charles Apgar, Dr. Virginia Apgar, Charles P. Bailey, Garland C. (Bud) Boothe, Emma Bridges, Robert Clotworthy, The Devlins (Harry and Wende), Edward Ellsberg, The Fairbairn Family, Robert Hoffman, Sigismund Ivanowski, Gary Kehler, The Pearsalls, Dr. Charles Philhower, William Reeve, Anne Revere, H. Emerson Thomas, Jeff Torborg, Charles Wallace, and The Welch Family.

The 2012 Hall of Fame Committee members included: Mr. Hale, Wally Brown, Sherry Cronin, Rich Elbert, Bill Foley, Jane Francz, Michael LaPlace, Roger Love, Don Mokauer, Virginia Rorden, Lowell Shantz, and Ed Wittke, Jr.

For more information on the Westfield Historical Society or to become a member, call (908) 654-1794 or e-mail the society at info@westfieldhistoricalsociety.org. 

Diane Barabas July 19, 2012 at 01:16 AM
This recognition is admirable but I have never heard about a nomination of The Westfield Day Care Center? This was the first Day Care Center to open in the town of Westfield in the 1970's during the feminist movement. Women were now simultaneously raising families and developing a Career. This day care center put Westfield on the Map buy providing affordable day care for our most "precious." This non-profit Day Care operated on Fund Raising through a town wide Garage Sale and the management of the Newark Women's Exchange better know as The Little Shop on the Corner.
Corinne Petersen July 21, 2012 at 03:03 PM
I agree with you. I've been volunteering there this summer, and it's a great place with caring people. --Corinne P.

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