The Westfield Historical Society’s Hall of Fame Selection Committee inducted ten individuals/families into the Westfield Hall of Fame at the Echo Lake Country Club on Wednesday, September 19 before 210 people. The inductees were honored for being accomplished in their field as well as having made a significant impact on the town, state or nation. The inductees were announced by a short musical introduction by musicians from the Westfield Symphony Orchestra. Three of the honorees from the 1700 – 1800s were represented by actors from the Westfield Community Players. Mayor Andrew Skibitsky introduced the event and Richard Bagger, former Chief of Staff to Governor Christie, was the Master of Ceremonies. The 2012 inductees were:
Sam Downer Jr.(1760-1848): He operated an inn for travelers on the New York/Philadelphia stage coach line. His store was a central market for bartering farm produce. He was an original investor in the Elizabeth Town/Somerville Railway. Sam was a Revolutionary War hero.
Charles D. Clark (1753- 1821): Charles was Vice President of New Jersey in the regime of Governor Bloomfield. In the late 1700’s when the Governor was out of state, he assigned the STATE seal to Clark- making Westfield the capital of New Jersey for a few days.
Charles N. Codding (1866-1925): Charles was president of the Westfield Athletic Club and president of the Central Jersey Baseball League. He was a State Assemblyman and was chairman of the Union County Republicans. He played a major role in the change to “Town” government from “City” Government in Westfield in 1901.
Robert N. Buck (1914-2007): Bob began a flying career in 1929 at age 15. He broke the junior intercontinental air speed record in 1930. He was TWA’s chief pilot. During WWII he did thunderstorm and weather research. He was awarded the Air Medal by President Truman.
Bill Clotworthy: Bill spent 20 years in Hollywood where he worked with Jack Benny, Danny Kaye, and Ronald Reagan. Later he returned to New York as a censor for the Cosby Show, Letterman, and Saturday Night Live
Grover Connell: Grover joined the family firm – Connell Rice and Sugar in 1945. The firm grew to be largest rice exporter in the world. In 1975, the company expanded into financial services and leasing and became one of the world’s largest companies.
Gerry Glasser: An internationally recognized expert on sampling and data analysis. He was founder and CEO of Statistical Research which grew to a major market research firm with 200 employees. Gerry has been a majorphilanthropist through the Westfield Foundation, Overlook Hospital, the Reeve History and Cultural Center and the Thomas Glasser Foundation
The McGinley Family (Ed pictured): They are a football and business dynasty. Ed II, the father, was an All-American at Penn. Ed III was an All-County tackle on the undefeated 1945 Westfield High team. Rick was an All-State running back at Westfield High scoring 46 touchdowns (still a school record). Gerry was an All- State End at Westfield High, an all All-American Center at Penn. All four McGinley’s had significant business careers.
Robert L. Rooke (1891 – 1994): Bob was a compatriot of Charles Merrill in Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and Beane in 1919. He was credited with exiting the market before the “crash.” The firm grew to be one of the top financial institutions in the world. Bob donated the Rooke Pool to Westfield Y in 1928 and later the Rooke Chapel and a chemistry building at Bucknell.
Robert Bauer: Bob was Founder/Chairman of Electrical Installations Inc., founder of an Elizabeth semi-pro football team and once owner of a ten horse stable of racers. The Bauers were major contributors to Cornell University, Overlook Hospital and the Broad Street branch of the Westfield Y.
The next scheduled Induction to the Westfield Hall of Fame is September 2015. The Hall of Fame Committee has a long list of qualified candidates submitted by the public for its consideration in that 2015 Induction.
The Historical Society members and the public at large are encouraged to submit profiles of persons believe to be strong candidates for the Westfield Hall of Fame to Mr. Edward Wittke, Archivist, Westfield Historical Society, 314 Mountain Ave., Westfield, NJ 07090.