Women in the Hall of Fame – 2009 – 2016
Since the Hall of Fame’s inaugural induction in 2009, 40 women of great accomplishment have been honored. They are:
Dr. Deborah Ayars, Vineland 2016. She was the first female County Engineer in New Jersey and was a leader in bringing new technologies to Cumberland County, such as thermoplastic line striping and liquid salt. She developed an innovative design for a recycling center that has been a model for other communities throughout the state. Some of the major projects she worked on were the Walt Whitman and Ben Franklin bridges and reconstructing the main runway at the Atlantic City Airport.
Jean K. Nocon, Dividing Creek, 2016. She was responsible for restoration and preservation of Union Hall in Dividing Creek and was instrumental in saving the town’s Post Office. A long-time preservationist and historian, she published “King Farms and Beyond,” a history of a way of life in Dividing Creek. She was instrumental in keeping the Downe Township Board of Education an elected rather than appointed board.
Margaret Battle Winchester, Bridgeton, 2016. She was honored as Founder of the Margaret Winchester Center for the Blind and was responsible for developing the modern Bridgeton center that now bears her name. She was one of the early organizers of the Head Start program in Cumberland County and was inducted into the Cumberland County Black Hall of Fame in 1990.
Carol Parks, Vineland, 2015. She founded a support group for parents of children with limb deficiencies at the old Shriner’s Hospital in Philadelphia, was the first educator at Landis School to receive the governor’s Teacher Recognition Program, chaired the school’s Math Department, and her teaching techniques were studied by the State Commission on Education. She is the author of “Now I Remember” a math refresher.
Julia Ranagan-Blackwell, Vineland, 2015. She began the school for medical technologists at Newcomb Hospital in 1955, leading the effort for Newcomb to become an accredited training hospital for lab technicians. She was Director of the Medical Lab there from 1948 to 1975. She was the first female to receive the Vineland Citizen of the Year Award for singular accomplishment, honored as founder of the Red Cross Blood Bank Program in Vineland.
Shelly Schneider, Vineland, 2015. Former Superintendent of Millville schools, she was responsible for converting the old Prudential Building into Lakeside Middle School, a project so successful it became a model of superior planning, design and philosophy. Active in Big Brothers Big Sisters, she was named Big Sister of the Year in 2008.
Donna Bennett, Bridgeton, 2014. She was recognized for her two decades of work with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Cumberland and Salem Counties, as Chief Executive Officer of the organization and as a Big Sister. She is leader of a successful mentoring program for women, and during her tenure at Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the organization has grown to serve 3000 children.
Emma Garrison, Cedarville, 2014, honored for pioneering work with the Girl Scouts in Cumberland County. She founded the county’s first Girl Scout troop in 1926, was President of the Holly Shores Girl Scout Council and oversaw the development of scouting locally that involved 2,500 girls by the time of her death in 1963. She developed pristine forested lakeside property – Shepherd’s Mill – as a girl scout camp.
Charlotte Gould, Bridgeton, 2014, honored for her lifelong dedication to helping young women, through her work with a young women’s group in her church and through her personal care, nurturing, teaching, housing and rearing of three young women in need at different times over a period of years.
Gwendolyn Gould, Millville, 2014, recognized for founding the Volunteer Community Health Organization in 1974 to serve the healthcare needs of migrant farm workers and the community at large. Over 37 years, she guided the significant growth of the organization, now known as the CompleteCare Health Network, which serves 50,000 patients yearly at 18 health centers in Cumberland, Gloucester and Cape May counties.
Paula Ring, Millville, 2014, honored for developing New Jersey’s first social services program for housing authorities in Millville and then developing similar programs in Wildwood, Atlantic City, Pleasantville, Salem and Vineland. She spent 15 years as director of social services for the Millville Housing Authority, then served for 25 years as executive director for Cumberland County Homemaker Home Health Aide Service.
Florence Volpe, Vineland, 2014, was honored as the first female president of the Cumberland County College’s Faculty Association, where she was Associate Professor of Library Services. Later she became program development specialist for the Cumberland County Office on Aging. She did the research that established the paralegal program at CCC and was president of the Board of Trustees of the Vineland Public Library for 10 years.
Reba Chonofsky, Vineland, 2013, for her work improving the lives of hundreds of adults with physical disabilities as the first Coordinator of Cumberland County’s Personal Assistance Services Program. She was 60 years old when she joined PASP, a pilot program, as its coordinator, embarking on a new career that would last more than 20 years at a time when most of her peers were getting ready to retire.
Goldie Leasure Wulderk, Bridgeton, 2013, for developing the Retired Senior Volunteer Program of Cumberland County. She established the Council of Club Women to bring together the leaders of women’s groups to work together for the community, and she founded and chaired the Upper Deerfield Democratic Committee at a time when women ran only the auxiliaries. Said her nominator: “She is a pioneer, a trailblazer…she was women’s liberation before there was a women’s liberation” movement.
Pat Witt, Millville, 2013, for inspiring countless young women to be independent and self-sufficient during her 50 years running her Barn Studio of Art. She herself was the inspiration for the Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Arts in Millville. She has taught generations of students to paint and respect the natural environment, and she blazed a path for women painters. Said one of her nominators: “In our area it is hard to find a life that has not been touched by her art, her spirit or her students’ art.”
Sara Carlisle Watson, Bridgeton, 2012. For 36 years she was president of the Cumberland County Historical Society, which because of its success became a model for other counties. During her tenure, the Society owned and operated the Gibbon House, the Society’s headquarters and museum and the Warren Lummis Genealogical and Historical Library; and managed the Old Stone Church in Fairfield and the Old Baptist Cemetery in Hopewell Township.
Beverly Dairsow, Hopewell Township, 2012. She is the founder and host of Women at the Well, an annual Christian conference for women that began in 2003. As the popularity of that conference grew, she founded Divine Abundance International, a non-denominational, multicultural, outreach organization that hosts Christian youth events, seminars, and a variety of community service activities.
Jeanne Doremus, Bridgeton, 2012, recognized as the only female non-lawyer or non-judge member of the Disciplinary Review Board of the New Jersey Supreme Court, the intermediate appellate level of the lawyer discipline system in New Jersey. She was employed by the Vineland School District for 25 years, where she became supervisor of Social Studies for the district, and she created the Delaware Estuary Program for the high school.
Pearl Giordano, Vineland, 2012. President, CEO and owner of the Limpert Bros., where she began employment as a clerk, she hosts a radio talk show on 92.1 WVLT, “Pearl Giordano & Friends,” where she devotes much of the broadcast to one of her most fervent causes, the healing miracles at the Saint Padre Pio shrine.
Tammy Tisa, formerly of Cedarville. 2012, honored for her work with emergency medical care. She was the first Cumberland County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Coordinator when she died in 2010, and she was director of training for the Millville Rescue squad for 10 years. Affectionately known as “Mama T” in the emergency medical services community, she was devoted to participating in and teaching others the skills to provide emergency care.
Meghan Wren, Money Island, 2012, for her work founding The Bayshore Discovery Project and dedicating her life to raising awareness of the Delaware Bayshore environment. She found the hulk of a 1928 Oyster schooner rotting in the Maurice River, bought it for $1 and led a $1 million volunteer restoration that eight years later launched the A.J. Meerwald, one of the last wooden schooners sailing in America.
Dorothy “Dotty” Cullen, Vineland, 2011, for her longtime dedication to and tireless efforts on behalf of United States veterans. A former USO dancer, she worked for the State Department of Military and Veterans affairs and has for years hosted holiday parties for veterans at the New Jersey Memorial Home in Vineland.
Dona Dute, Vineland, 2011, for efforts founding the Spirit and Truth Ministries Soup Kitchen of Vineland Auxiliary and later expanding the organization’s outreach, now known as the Soup Kitchen of Vineland/Outreach Missions. Her many volunteer efforts include work with Food for the Poor, the Vineland Ministerium Food Bank, and Habitat for Humanity.
Peggy Gentile-Van Meter, Bridgeton, 2011 in recognition of her outstanding educational efforts, particularly her work to educate young people about the Holocaust, for which she was inducted into the Zachor Honor Society for Holocaust Studies. While earning her Holocaust and Genocide Education degree, she wrote a paper on “Women of the Third Reich, 1933-45,” and she collected materials from trips to concentration camps to help her students experience the tragedies of the Holocaust.
Barbara Ann Logan, Millville, 2011, for her enduring contributions to the nursing profession. She participated in ground-breaking research proving that women have higher G-force tolerance than men, which led to new opportunities for women in flight and space. She was the first female to attain the rank of full Colonel in the New Jersey Air National Guard and the first female to be appointed Medical Commander.
Gladys Lugardo-Hemple, Bridgeton, 2011, was recognized as the first Latina to be elected to the Bridgeton City Council and for her many community accomplishments that make her a role model for young Latina women. She is producer of the radio show “Woman to Woman and For Men, Too” and is director and mentor for Professional Development in Ethics for children and adults.
Alice Westbrook Mulford, Bridgeton, 2011. She was the first woman to host a radio show on local station WSNJ and was best known for her extensive work with speech therapy for children. She taught elocution and provided vocal training to countless youngsters, and she created The Children’s Theater Workshop and encouraged children to acquire a love for theater.
Agnes “Peg” Whitman, Vineland, 2011. She had co-founded the first radio station in Vineland, WWBZ, and was its first female radio host with her talk show “Peggy Presents.” She served on the Board of Directors of the Vineland Training School, which named a building after her – Whitman Cottage – for her outstanding dedication to the school. She died in 1988.
Ann Budde, Bridgeton, 2010. She was honored for her many “firsts” – she was the first female to become vice-president of a non-Catholic hospital in New Jersey, the first woman member of the Bridgeton Rotary Club, and the first female president of the Cumberland County Board of Vocational Education. She joined Bridgeton Hospital in 1977 as Director of Nursing and worked for South Jersey Healthcare for nearly 30 years.
Gladis McGraw, Millville, 2010, honored for her community work in establishing several programs in Millville. She was a leader of the Third Ward Neighborhood committee for 20 years, beginning the Tool Lending, Dress for Success, and Job programs at the Buck Street Neighborhood Center. She helped develop the community policing program for the Third Ward and worked to help establish the Millville Family Care Clinic in the old Millville Hospital emergency room and the Holly City Family Care Clinic on Dock Street.
Misono Miller, Millville, 2010, honored for her 40 years of work to help senior citizens age with dignity while remaining in their homes. She was the first full-time Executive Director of the Cumberland County Office on Aging & Disabled and published the first senior citizens’ services directory for Cumberland County. In 1971 she organized the first local White House Conference on Aging in Cumberland County, and in 1995 she was a delegate to the White House Conference, appointed by the National Conference Policy Committee.
Elizabeth Nicke, Millville, 2010. She was honored for her extensive leadership of charity events over more than three decades. In 1980 she organized a bike-a-thon in memory of her brother who had been stricken with cancer, and with her family, she ran the event for nearly 10 years and raised more than $50,000 for the Cumberland County Cancer Society.
Josephine Pagano, Vineland, 2010. She was honored for her long-time service to the Woman’s Club of Vineland and her many volunteer efforts that won her recognition with the Italian American Award in 1992 from the Sicilian American Club, Woman of the Year in 1995 from the Woman’s Club of Vineland, and as Vineland Citizen of the Year in 1999 from the Vineland Chamber of Commerce.
Sherry Lee Petril, formerly of Vineland, 2010, honored for her extraordinary design work as Interior Designer for Brody’s Furniture in Vineland. She was President of the New Jersey Chapter of the Interior Design Society, a member of the Board of Directors of Tri State Home Furnishings Association in Philadelphia, and served on numerous community organizations.
Anna Robeson Reeves, formerly of Bridgeton, 2010. She was honored as the pioneering influence in the development of the arts in Bridgeton. Known as Bridgeton’s “Dean of Artists,” she initiated the first Civil Club Art exhibit in the local library, an event that began the annual National Art Week exhibits there.
Mary Adelia Treat, formerly of Vineland, 2010, honored as a world-renowned botanist and ethnologist. She was a frequent correspondent with highly-regarded scientists such as Charles Darwin and Asa Gray, and she once challenged one of Darwin’s findings, proving it to be wrong. She was the author of five books and 27 scientific and popular articles in the mid- to late 1800s.
Sharon Blasé, Vineland, 2009. She was recognized for developing curricula in nutrition, first-time home buying, care giving and finance for women as a pilot program in Cumberland County by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences and the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Science. The author of several self-help books, she has received nearly 40 awards, including recognition by the New Jersey Legislature and the International Federation for Home Economics.
Jane Morton Galetto, Millville, 2009. Recognized as a leader in local environmental protection and advocacy, she was honored for her work with Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and Its Tributaries, creating and coordinating school programs, conservation presentations, documentaries, wildlife studies and habitat projects. She has received numerous awards for her groundbreaking work, including as New Jersey Audubon Conservationist of the Year.
Thressa Giampietro, Vineland, 2009. She was honored for creating the first Associate Degree two-year RN program at Cumberland Community College and for establishing the LPN program at Vineland High School, where she designed the curriculum and taught all the courses. During her nursing career at Newcomb Hospital she was an early advocate for modernization of the hospital’s maternity facilities.
Nancy Sungenis, Bridgeton, 2009, honored as the first chairperson for the Cumberland County Commission of Women. She was the first female mayor in Cumberland County (Hopewell Township) and the first disc jockey for WSNJ radio where she interviewed several celebrities, including Patsy Cline. She was president of the National Association of Insurance Women of Cumberland and Salem Counties.