Park Forest Hall of Fame to be Held Sunday, April 14, 2013

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)—April 5, 2013. The Park Forest Hall of Fame will hold its annual Park Forest Hall of Fame Inductions Ceremony Sunday, April 14, 2013, at 3:00 p.m. in Freedom Hall, 410 Lakewood Blvd. The Ceremony is followed by a reception for the inductees. The ceremony and reception are free and open to the general public. Donations are accepted. 

Being inducted this year are James and Marlene Gallagher, John Joyce, Alicia Rodman McCray, William M. Tilley, and the Park Forest Nurses Club. They will be joining over 100 members of the Park Forest Hall of Fame, which was established in 1989, and became an annual event in 1994. Names of members of the Hall of Fame are listed on plaques which hang in the Park Forest Village Board Meeting Room, 350 Victory Drive, and are listed on the society website at, along with brief biographies.

The inductees are selected from nominations made by the public, accepted from October 1 through December 15 each year by the Park Forest Historical Society. To be eligible for the Hall of Fame, persons nominated must have made substantial, beneficial, and consistent contributions to the life and well- being of Park Forest over a considerable span of time. Nominees may now live elsewhere, or be deceased. Individuals or couples may be nominated. Beginning in 2011, the society’s board has decided on a not for profit to be inducted. Other not for profits include Aunt Martha’s Youth Services and Tall Grass Arts Association.

James Gallagher

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. James and Marlene put down roots in Park Forest, working and raising three children – Brian, Patricia and Sean.

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 to schoolchildren. His efforts for the community extended to his work for Park Forest Scenic 10 Road Race, organizing the monitoring of the event with the help of the local CB (Citizens Band) Radio Club.

Marlene Gallagher

Marlene Gallagher, who died in 2012, was the long-time owner of Tattler’s Tavern.

Generous with her time, she became involved with the Illinois Theater 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. 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.

John Joyce

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 land 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 throughout 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 might say they worked for him, he will insist he actually worked for them and for Park Forest.

Alicia Rodman McCray

Alicia Rodman McCray is the embodiment of the term “public citizen.” During the 40 years she has lived in Park 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 benefitted from her passionate work and wise counsel.

Because of Park Forest’s early commitment to a planned integration initiative, 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 $50,000 nursing scholarship program through Prairie State College. In doing so, it leaves a lasting legacy of service to the community.