2013 Hall of Fame Inductees
For 28 years, until his untimely death in 1983, James Gallagher devoted much of his efforts to the betterment of Park Forest, his home for more than half his life.
A brilliant research chemist, he enrolled at the University of Chicago at the age of 15, and later, after serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he earned a second degree, in chemistry, at the University of Illinois, where he met his future wife, Marlene. Shortly after their marriage in 1955 they moved to Park Forest, close to his job with Sinclair Oil in Harvey.
His interests ranged from civic affairs to history to his love of photography, a passion which he passed on to Marlene.
He served on the original Freedom Hall Citizens Commission helping develop the Village's cultural arts center; a project which gained the Village its second All-America City award.
As President of the Park Forest Civil War Round Table he made numerous presentations of unusual artifacts of the period to schoolchildren. His efforts for the community extended to his work for Park Forest Scenic 10 Road Race, organizing and monitoring the event with the help of the local CB (Citizens Band) Radio Club.
Early in their marriage, Marlene and James Gallagher promised each other that someday they would photograph the world. Before that could be accomplished, the couple put down roots in Park Forest, working and raising three children-Brian, Patricia, and Sean.
After her husband's death in 1983, Marlene stayed true to their enduring pledge. With Jim in her heart, if not by her side, she carried his dreams from Africa to Antarctica, from Scandinavian fjords to the headwaters of the Amazon, from ruins to skyscrapers, seeing the beauty of the world through her lens. She brought those visions back to Park Forest.
Her presentation for her Masters of Fine Arts at Governors State University was titled "Woman Alone," and illustrated their struggles and triumphs, as well as her own.
Generous with her time, she became involved with the Illinois Theatre Center and the Chicago Heights Drama Group, was curator of the Tall Grass Art Gallery, worked with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra and the Union Street Gallery. Her photographs of the world were often displayed at local galleries and schools. Not limiting herself to the arts, she also became an outstanding business woman, operating Tattler's Tavern in Park Forest before her death last year.
At the age of 28, John Joyce was named the Director of Recreation and Parks for the Village of Park Forest in September of 1973. For the next four decades, until his retirement last year, his tireless efforts shaped the recreational face of the community he loves.
From helping forge the 22-mile Old Plank Trail Path to creating the Central Park Wetlands project, John led the way in developing the leisure amenities of Park Forest. His list of accomplishments and awards are numerous and include the management of Freedom Hall, the only municipally-operated cultural arts center in the south suburbs, the operation of both the Park Forest Tennis and Health Club and the Aqua Center, and partnering with other agencies to convert a 1,000 acre plot of lane into the Thorn Creek Nature Center, as well as administering 15 playground areas, a skateboard park and a dog park, 20 park sites and the upkeep of nearly 12, 000 trees on public land through out the Village.
John and his wife Robin raised their children, Sarah and Eric, while living in Park Forest. And if you ask him, while people will say they worked for him, he will maintain he actually worked for them and for the people of Park Forest.
Alicia Rodman McCray
Alicia McCray is the embodiment of the term "public citizen."
During the 40 years she has lived in Park Forest with her husband Robert and son Erik, she has championed better education, fair housing, improved health programs and the arts, all of which touch the lives of thousands who benefited from her passionate work and wise counsel.
Because of Park Foret's early commitment to a planned integrtion intitiative, she was moved to support fair housing. Her accomplishments include training from the Justice Department's Community Mediation Service, President of the South Suburban Housing Center, where she took a lead role in its test program to ensure fair housing, Commissioner and Vice-Chairman of the Housing Authority of Cook County, board member and President in 2003 of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra and served a four-year term as Village Trustee.
Currently, she is on the board of the Friends of the Park Forest Health Department, on the national board of the YWCA of the USA, President of the Board of School District 162, and oversees the Metropolitan Institute for Leadership in Education program at Governors State University, which focuses on the needs of public schools and their boards.
William M. Tilley
A truck driver by profession and a dedicated volunteer by choice, William M. Tilley joined the Volunteer or Paid-on-Call Division of the Park Forest Fire Department in October 1973 at the age of 23, and, in one capacity or another, has been steadfast in his efforts to serve the needs of the Village.
Rising through the ranks from a firefighter to his current position as Captain of the Division-the highest position obtainable in the Division--Captain Tilley has responded to everything from scraped knees to large fires throughout the south suburbs. Over the last 40 years his efforts have been an integral part of virtually every parade or community-wide event which he has helped shape.
Captain Tilley is active in the Fire Department's training, improving the skills of less experienced members of the department as an instructor in both equipment operation and driving. His knowledge has made him a valued addition to the Prairie State College's Fire Science program, where he is an instructor, sharing his experiences with the next generation of firefighters.
Balancing a full-time job with his devoted volunteer work is easy, he says. It's just a matter of serving your community in a job you love to do.
Park Forest Nurses Club
Begun in 1950 as a social club for nurses in the area, the Park Forest Nurses Club soon became the leading community health care provider in the south suburbs.
At first its services ranged from setting up first-aid stations at public events to the teaching of first-aid, home nursing and baby care to Girl Scouts to the distribution of 12,000 doses of polio vaccine and tetanus inoculations.
The Nurses Club grew quickly and soon established a Loan Closet that provided everything from hospital beds and wheelchairs to crutches, walkers and canes to Park Forest residents for free-will donations.
Their monthly meetings evolved from discussions with doctors and nurses to a yearly Continuing Education Seminar open to all nurses in the Chicago area in an effort to keep nurses informed of new developments in the profession.
Since 1957, the Club has awarded 251 nursing scholarships totaling $158,885. These fund raising efforts ranged from cookie and candy sales to earnings from the seminars.
Because of dwindling attendance, the Club disbanded in 2012, but not before endowing a $5i0,000 nursing scholarship program through Prairie State College. In doing so, it leaves a lasting legacy of service to the community.