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Huntington Woods Surprises Former Mayor with Name on Community Center

Huntington Woods Surprises Former Mayor with Name on Community Center

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Aug. 12, 2018)

Huntington Woods, MI- “Whoa!”

That’s what former Huntington Woods Mayor Ron Gillham said when surprised with the news that his name was placed in limestone above the Gillham Recreation Center that he helped get constructed during his time in office.

“The residents of Huntington Woods have greatly benefited from you and Shirley’s generous donation of time and energy over the years and I know we are all very appreciative,” Paul said.

The limestone façade was installed while Gillham was out of town on vacation, and it was covered with a neutral-colored tarp so he wouldn’t notice.  He thought he was attending a community fun night, which had an indoor bounce house and games for the kids.  Yet there was also an unusual presence of political figures that included Senator Debbie Stabenow, Congressman Sander Levin and his son Andy who is running for his father’s seat, State Representative Robert Wittenberg, former State Representative Gilda Jacobs, County Commissioner Helaine Zack, the Mayor of Pleasant Ridge Kurt Metzger, as well as Huntington Woods officials and others.

Gillham holds the distinction of being the second longest serving mayor in Michigan, following Mackinac Island’s Margaret Doud.  He served for 35 years.  Prior to that he served on the City Commission for 19 years.  Under his leadership there were park renovations, additions to the library and expanded programs for residents.

Among those who spoke in his honor was State Representative Robert Wittenberg was born, Gillham was Mayor.  “That’s all I ever knew,” Wittenberg said.  “Ever since I was a kid I’d hear ‘Mayor Gillham,’ and that was impressive to me.”

The center was built in 1998, and houses many programs for residents of all ages including swimming, latchkey, classes, sports and more.  When Mayor Gillham retired from being Mayor in 2015 the Commission decided to name the center after him, but it wasn’t until this month that the limestone was able to be installed.

Learn more about the Gillham Recreation Center at The City of Huntington Woods website.


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