1998 Hall of Fame Inductees
Together and separately, the Goodriches have been actively involved in the life of the village -- church, government, schools and community -- since they arrived here 43 years ago. John has served on three different village commissions, six years with the Board of Education of District #163, and he was twice elected as village trustee. Retired from both the Illinois Central Railroad and an agency of the State of Illinois, he now works part-time for the village in the Economic Development Department He is treasurer of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra board and very active at St. Irenaeus church as well as the Knights of Columbus.John and Therese both agree that their greatest accomplishment has been raising nine children in Park Forest. He states: "I believe that the size of our community, its diversity in racial culture and background, and the educational level of our populace helped our children to understand what freedom and equality meant." John is a strong believer in volunteerism; he feels that when you serve, especially on a school board, "you have the opportunity to meet and know many truly dedicated people... it is grass roots self-government, about as close to the people as you can get."
Chair of Park Forest's 50th Anniversary celebration is the latest in a long series of volunteer efforts for this energetic, dedicated woman. "Since the cultural life of our village has always been important to me," Therese was one of the founders of the original Arts Council, edited an arts newsletter, raised funds for Freedom Hall and chaired its first Commission, and is current president of the Art Center. She worked long and hard on the smooth transition for the integration of the schools in Park Forest, was a village trustee (until 1998, she and John were the only husband-wife team to serve as trustees), and has been active in the League of Women Voters as well as her church for many, many years.
The support the Goodriches received when their daughter Paula died enabled them to "go on and help other parents whose children had died." Therese served as national director of Compassionate Friends for many years. Now retired from this position, she and John created a non-profit organization which they run from their home -- The Bereaved Parents of the USA -- which has 30 chapters around the country. "I believe that we should give back to the community when we receive so much," she says!
Beverly Myrow began her service to Park Forest as many women did in the 1950s: through the public schools, Cub Scouts and Campfire Girls. She chaired an innovative program at Mohawk School that brought a variety of cultural experiences to enrich the curriculum.
As a professional harpist, Beverly's performances and those of her students became a familiar part of the cultural scene in Park Forest and the surrounding area. Her Harp Angels, ensembles of three to 15 students, performed, mostly pro-bono, in a variety of venues including the library, churches, public schools, civic organizations and for the Park Forest Scenic 10 race. Beverly's own performances have spanned her years in Park Forest with a variety of musical organizations and as a soloist.
Always a champion of non-partisan politics in the village, Beverly is a League of Women Voters member and officer. She served in many capacities with the Park Forest Arts Council (president), Park Forest Symphony/Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra board (fund-raiser) and the Friends of the Library.
GERALD (Jerry) MYROW
Deemed Park Forest's composer-in-residence, Jerry's tenure began with his 1954 score for "Analysis In Wonderland," a landmark musical that was a light-hearted look at life in the newborn community. His later compositions for band and chorus were often premiered by musical organizations at Rich East and other local schools; he wrote the Homewood Flossmoor school songs. A member of the Park Forest Symphony, his Jerry Myrow Big Band delighted audiences at the Park Forest Plaza with their summer concerts combining standards and his recent creations and arrangements.
Jerry was also a mentor to numerous young musicians as a private instructor at the Park Forest Conservatory. He participated in the early negotiations for the creation of Freedom Hall, served on the Arts Council, and worked to continue nonpartisan school board elections. The creation of Governors State University enabled him to nurture the burgeoning Music Department as well as realize the dream of finishing his undergraduate studies and writing his Master's thesis. Jerry died in August 1977.
LEO E. ORSI
Leo became involved in village activities right from the time he moved his family to Park Forest in 1951 and continued unabated for 17 years until he was transferred to Texas. Director of engineering services for Armour & Company, he had both the expertise and negotiating ability to act as liaison between new homeowners and the developers. He was a founding member of The Homesteaders and served as member and chair of the Park Forest Plan Commission, which, at that time, was the principal contact between the village and American Community Builders. Leo led the drive to win adequate land for schools and recreation, sidewalks and adequate minimum lot sizes.
Leo's work on the Plan Commission led to his three-year service on the village Board of Trustees, during which time the extension of Orchard Drive to link up with the Lincolnwood section (including the railroad underpass) and the village purchase of the water works was made. He was a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, chair of the Board of Police and Fire Commissioners and the Personnel Board, and a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee.
To describe the life -- character and career -- of this now retired Illinois Appellate Court Justice, is to present an ideal of what it means to be a public servant. A law school graduate, army officer, U.S. Assistant District Attorney, representative in the Illinois House for 16 years (awarded Best Legislator by the IVI for six of his eight terms), and Racing Commissioner of Illinois (unpaid) before becoming a jurist, Tony has been bestowed with honors from countless organizations for his courage, fair mindedness, honesty, integrity and concern for the "little guy." A story and joke-teller, his warm personally and sense of humor are legendary.
Tony and Leah moved to Park Forest in 1948 (the 35th family to do so), and he was a member of the CMI, which handled Park Forest's incorporation as a village. A Community Council member, he headed a committee to meet with each fully-occupied townhouse court to "initiate" residents into village life. Tony represented the first African-American family in their 1959 move to a single-family home in Park Forest and guided School District #163 through the voluntary school desegregation program. Both "firsts" were accomplished smoothly with public input, support of the local governing bodies and clergy, and Tony's wise counsel.
LESTER S. SKAGGS
Lester and Ruth Skaggs moved to Park Forest in 1949 and raised their three children here. He was a professor at the University of Chicago, where he taught, worked at the Argonne Cancer Research Hospital and established a Ph.D. program at the U of C in medical physics--the diagnostic applications of radiation to cancer therapy. This, of course, was after he earned his Ph.D. in physics at the U of C, developed radio circuitry for anti-aircraft guns for Navy surface vessels during the war, and worked with Robert Oppenheimer as the head of a group which put radar systems on atomic bombs in Los Alamos. Lester's talents in many fields became known world-wide when he and Ruth spent five years in Saudi Arabia, where he served at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital doing research in neutron radiation therapy with cyclotrons.
A charter member of Faith Church, Lester's expertise developed the illumination of a screen in the form of a cross to identify the building as a Christian church from the outside and he designed, fabricated and helped to install and maintain its first sound system. An active member, he served on many of its Boards and Committees. He has been a Kiwanis Club member for almost forty years and helped improve the operation of the "Pankatron," Park Forest's unique pancake delivery system.
Ruth and Lester Skaggs still live in the house into which they moved in 1949, although they spend their winters in Arizona. Ruth is also a member of the League of Women Voters of the Park Forest Area, some 50 years after she was one of its organizers and first president. She was the first woman to be a member of the Park Forest Board of Trustees and was re-elected twice. Ruth was a long-term member of the Human Relations Commission and is very proud of her work in the organization of the early recreational facilities as chair and member of the Park Forest Recreation Commission.
"Skaggs' Rag" was a school newspaper she founded while teaching junior high social studies at Westwood Junior High School; she encouraged her students' community interest by staging mock board elections and publishing their commentary in the paper. Ruth's expertise in weaving has been well-publicized. The Skaggs' stay in Saudi Arabia gave her a new venue of creativity; she is now a talented creator of exquisite Bedouin jewelry. Ruth has also been quite active in her church.
Ed Waterman believes that his years in Park Forest demonstrated that "no other contemporary community of comparable size has been blessed with as large a number of talented, dedicated and devoted leaders." He was one of them. Rose and Ed signed the first lease for a rental unit in February 1948 and moved into Court E-8 that October. He was elected to the first School District #1 63 board; thereafter, as an executive with American Community Builders, he represented the company as it worked with the board to plan loans and financial distributions to help create its dynamic school system. Ed was similarly involved with Will County District #201-U.
With the exception of Philip Klutznick, Ed was with ACB longer than any other executive; he served as assistant comptroller, managing director of rental properties, corporate treasurer of ACB and president of its successor corporation, Park Forest Homes, Inc. Until the Watermans left the village in 1960, he had planned the completion of 3,010 rental units, developed a program for re-rental of vacancies, organized maintenance and service functions, and then coordinated the build-out of the undeveloped subdivisions of the village.