Six New Members to be Inducted into the Community Hall of Fame for Founder’s Day Celebration

Rochester Hills Museum to Induct Six New Members into the Community Hall of Fame

The Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm will be inducting six new members into the Community Hall of Fame at the Founder’s Day Celebration on Sunday, March 12 at 2:00 p.m.

The Founder’s Day program is sponsored annually by the Rochester Historical Commission to recognize the founding of Rochester on March 17, 1817 by James Graham. This year’s event features PBS personality Tom Daldin and his wife, Rochester Mayor Cathy Daldin. Admission is free but tickets are required by calling the Rochester Downtown Development Office at 248-656-0060 or stopping by Rochester City Hall at 400 Sixth Street.

The Hall of Fame selection committee selected candidates who have had a positive and long term impact on the community, serve as a role model for higher achievement, provide inspiration, and elevate others in the community and in their profession.

The 2017 selected members include:

  • Honorable William S. Broomfield (1922 – present)

William S. Broomfield served in the Michigan State House of Representatives (1949-1954) and the US House of Representatives from 1957-1993 where he served the 18th and 19th districts of Michigan. As a member of the Foreign Affairs committee he worked with many world leaders including Nelson Mandela, Anwar Sadat, the Dali Lama, and more. He is a descendant of the original Taylor Family that settled the Rochester community.

  • Peggy Johnson (1928 – present)

Peggy Johnson was a driving force for the preservation of Oakland County’s unique natural resources for more than forty years. She worked diligently to maintain the integrity of southeastern Michigan’s array of water sources as well as serving as a leader in land preservation. She helped bring awareness to protect the Clinton River and its floodplains, sponsored school water quality monitoring programs, led the creation of the Oakland Township Parks Commission and encouraged the establishment of the Paint Creek Trail.

  • Gail Kemler ( 1917 – present)

Gail moved to Rochester in 1921 and was a member of the Rochester Community School Board, Rochester Historical Commission, Rochester-Avon Historical Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, Rochester Lions Club, and many more organizations. She helped establish the Helping Hands Food Pantry, and was a local business owner, and real estate agent.

  • Gladys McKenney (1928 – present)

Gladys McKenney was a teacher in the Rochester Community Schools and taught curriculum on Women in History, Anthropology, and Black History. She created programs that addressed the women’s suffrage movement, and has been active in various social causes to promote women. In 2013, she was elected to the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame.

  • Eugene Nowicki ( 1919-1999)

“Gene” Nowicki was a long term public servant in Avon Township and Rochester Hills. He was an elected member of City Council, member of the Planning Commission, and served on the City Charter Commission. In 1990 he was recognized with a lifetime achievement award by Rochester Hills for his environmental protection efforts. Eugene S. Nowicki Park is named in his honor on Adams Road north of Walton Boulevard.

  • Robert Simpson Woodward ( 1849-1924)

Robert Woodward was born in Rochester and graduated from Rochester High School in 1868.  In 1872 he graduated from the University of Michigan and served as an assistant engineer for the United States Lake Survey, professor of mechanics and mathematical physics at Columbia, and was the first president of the Carnegie Institute. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and president of the American Mathematical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His home in Washington DC is a National Historic Landmark. 

Plaques recognizing all 23 members of the Community Hall of Fame are on display in the Dairy Barn at the Rochester Hills Museum.

The Rochester Hills Museum is a local history Museum that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Museum has adaptively reused two farmhouses, several barns, and a schoolhouse and is surrounded by 16 acres of gardens and grounds bordered by Stoney Creek. It is located at 1005 Van Hoosen Road, off Tienken Road between Rochester and Dequindre Roads.  It is open for public drop in hours every Friday and Saturday from 1-4 p.m. Group tours and private event rentals are available year round. For more information on the Museum visit the website at or call 248-656-4663.

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