2011 Hall of Fame Inductees
Helen S. Brunner
From improvement of the parks to the enhancement of homes in the Village, Helen Brunner was a strong advocate for the betterment of Park Forest. As an active member of the League of Women Voters, and a longtime advocate for the Village's parklands, Helen Brunner helped develop a 1973 survey that led to needed improvements. That experience led her to serve on the Village's Recreation and Parks Commission for 18 years, from 1974 through 1992. There, along with other commission members, she helped evaluate conditions in each of the parks and made recommendations for improvements to the Village Board. At the same time, and as a member of the Environment Commission, she and Eleanor Sloan helped develop the Survey of Back of the Park, a beautification awards program in which volunteers recommended homes whose back yards faced the parks. Along with her work for park and home improvements, she served as a moderator of numerous political forums sponsored by the League of Women Voters and in later years she was a volunteer in for the League's annual House Tours.
Mother of six (Chris, Mike, Tim, Marita, John, and Peter) and wife of longtime Village President Barney Cunningham, Florence still involved herself in the cultural affairs of Park Forest. She was an original member of the St. Irenaeus School Board and active in the old Park Forest Playhouse, the first community theater. But it was her talent as a writer that earned her the most recognition.
She edited the church's weekly bulletin, its Altar and Rosary Society newsletter as well as writing and acting in the parish play. Florence also became the ghost-writer for John Robert Powers, whose nationally syndicated beauty column, "Secrets of Charm," appeared in newspapers around the country as well as Women's Wear Daily magazine.
While her husband served ten years as president, Florence served the community as a "First Lady," engaging others in village-wide enterprises. Through her poetry, reflecting unique insights on village life she inspired Village officials to name her its first Poet Laureate. Her poetry was an extension of her life, reflecting her belief that in the ordinary lies the extraordinary.
Adele Glassner never seemed to let others do what she could accomplish herself. For some 30 years, she was an active participant in numerous activities, serving on the Village's Non-Partisan Election Committee, the Aqua Center planning committee and a member of the Parks Commission. One of her favorite organizations was the League of Women Voters, of which she was an active member all her years in Park Forest, from 1951through 1980. Serving as an election judge for more than 20 years, Adele Glassner felt strongly about teaching children democracy through the process of voting. She was also a member of the Congregation Beth Sholom Sisterhood and a member of Hadassah. She was a Gavin Memorial Auxiliary Life member . It is said that Adele, who died in 2001, "never met a stranger," and paid it forward with a generosity of heart and a sense of fairness for all.
The late Alvin Glassner was a tireless worker, one who always spoke his mind and a man who never stopped serving the Village of Park Forest. Education was of primary importance to Al Glassner. He was elected to the School District 163 Board in 1953 and served for 10 years. He later turned his attention to high school, serving for nine years, from 1962 to 1971 on the School District 227 Board. He also was on numerous local boards and commissions. He served a three-year term as a Village Trustee, from 1971 to 1974, as well as being a member of the Park Forest-Richton Park Community Board of Directors, a Youth Commission member, President and Board member of Aunt Martha's Youth Service Center, and a trustee for the Gavin Memorial Foundation.
Richard "Dick" Humbert
Dick Humbert has shared his ideals and his knowledge with others throughout a long and active life for the betterment of Park Forest and the world. For 35 years he ran a popular forum at the Unitarian Universalist Church, presenting programs and discussions on social justice, cultural and religious topics. He was an active member of the South Suburban Housing Center, and worked with others testing racial discrimination in housing. As a member of the South Suburban Human Relations Commission, he helped start libraries in the under served communities of Phoenix and Dixmoor. An active member of the Tall Grass Arts Association, both he and his wife Pat have exhibited at the Park Forest Art Fair. He helped develop T.A.L.E. (The Adult Learning Exchange) as well as teaching at Governors State University on a variety of topics for 15 years.
Born in Germany, he came to this country at the age of four, and as a naturalized citizen, he was a member of the U.S. Army during World War II, where he was captured by the Germans and imprisoned until the Allied liberation of the camps.
Education, the arts, service to others and human rights have been at the heart of Celia-Ann Toll's contributions that have impacted Park Forest for all of the 56 years she has lived in this community.
As President of the School District 163 Parent Teacher Association, she was involved in everything from baking to being a room mother to leading Junior Great Books discussions. For years she helped raise community awareness of issues in education and actively campaigned for school bond issues, even going door to door to get out the vote.
She organized the Coordinating Council of P.T.A. presidents in an effort to keep communities aware of issues affecting education. She was honored for her participation and support by being awarded a lifetime membership to the National P.T.A. organization.
Celia-Ann also served on the Board of Congregation Beth Sholom in Park Forest, was president of its Sisterhood and social action chairperson for the religious organization.
For the last 15 years she has been a member of the Board of the Friends of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra serving in numerous capacities; from helping organize events that support the orchestra to serving as an usher for youth concerts.
Aunt Martha's Youth Service Center
For nearly 40 years Aunt Martha's has transformed lives of children and young adults in the south suburbs, offering shelter, health services, and employment to thousands. Its long record of success in changing lives for the better underscores its selection as the first Park Forest based organization to be inducted into the Park Forest Hall of Fame.
When Aunt Martha's opened its door in 1972, it did so with 12 volunteers and a working budget of $2,500. It is now one of Illinois' largest Federally Qualified Health centers and in the last four years alone has served nearly 6,000 Park Forest residents in various ways. The organization now employs more than 60 Park Forest residents and its employment training and placement services helped more than 3,000 people find job. In each of the last two years, the residential group homes, shelters and transitional living programs – including two sites in Park Forest – have been responsible for the care of more than 1,600 youths, or about 10 percent of all the young people in substitute care in Illinois. It was also a key component of Park Forest's successful bid for its second All-America City award in 1977.