Honor Shoemaker elected to Riverview Hall of Fame

Honor Shoemaker

Last month, Wyandotte resident Honor Shoemaker became the 96th person inducted into the city of Riverview Hall of Fame. The hall has been recognizing prominent citizens since 1989.

Honor Galeski Shoemaker was born in Wyandotte in 1939. She was the first of eight children born to Stannie and Edward Galeski.

She is the older sister to Danile, Patrick, Theodore, Florence, Mary, Stannie and Burdean.

She attended St. Joseph Catholic School and Roosevelt High School, where she graduated in 1956. She attended Wayne State University for two semesters before marrying Ken Shoemaker on June 6, 1959.

The couple moved to Riverview a year later. They have four daughters, Wendy, Kelly,Kathy and Tracy and five grandchildren, Jourdon, Andrew, Charlie, Kevin, Grace and Bruce.

In 1983 Shoemaker married Theodore Butkin, who passed away during the pandemic last year.

Shoemaker was an active volunteer when her children were attending elementary school, serving as a room mother in kindergarten classes and acting as a “helping hand” safehouse haven for neighborhood children. She also taught pre-school children in Sunday school at St. Cyprian Parish and was a leaders of Brownie and Girl Scout troops.

Shoemaker was a hostess on Comcast’s Public Access Channel for 17 years, where she moderated shows featuring a variety of celebrities, including musician Alexander Zonjic, Judge Valasco, State Representative Jeffrey Padden, Michigan First Lady Paula Blanchard, Wayne County Sheriff Robert Ficano and Wyane County Executive Ed McNamara.

She  also hosted the Riopelle brother (twin actors from Riverview), Carolyn the Psychic, oral surgeon and tooth implant pioneer Dr. Ronald Morris and many other authors, performers, politicians and health care experts.

Throughout the years Shoemaker was employed in a variety of positions, working at Dixie Cream Donut Shop, Big Bear Market, Neisner dime store and with Weight Watchers. She managed a paper route with The News Herald and worked as a legal secretary for Zanglin and McCauley.

Shoemaker was a member of the Recorder’s Court steno pool and the Wayne County Road Commission in traffic, personnel and DPW. She also worked in the Wayne County Clerk’s office as court clerk to Irwin Burdict and John Gillis. DShe retired from the county in 1997 and began working part-time with the Riverview Recreation Department in 1998.

Shoemaker was once recognized by local radio personality Dick Purtain as the “Woman of the Day” on his radio program. She was honored as the first female water waste specialist while working at the airport interceptor plant and the Wyandotte treatment plant.

She received kudos for her volunteer work with Veteran’s Hospital, for who she crocheted more than 1.500 lap robes. She also orchestrated lap robes, blankets and hats for Ronald McDonald House, Josephine Ford Cancer Center and Wyandotte Hospital.  

Shoemaker devoted countless hours and numerous years to the service of the city of Riverview. She was a member of the Blue Ribbon Committee for Social Security for the Police Department and served as a Riverview City Council member for three terms, one of which she was Mayor Pro Tem. She introduced “Dial-a-ride,” a program unanimously supported by her co-council members and she hosted a fundraiser for Gov. James Blanchard.

Shoemaker arranged for Riverview to partner with the city of Detroit Council as a “sister city,” and she attended Detroit City Council meetings as a representative of Riverview. She also coordinated a woman’s conference with Detroit Council member Erma Henderson for three years and served as a liaison to the Riverview Small Business Association.

Shoemaker travelled to Los Angeles to study methane recovery systems and took a business trip to the Wisconsin Ski Show to inspect the types of skiing equipment that would be installed at the newly constructed Riverview Highlands. Shoemaker actually skied down Mount Trashmore to break the ribbon during the grand opening of the local ski hill.

Shoemaker has been a longtime member of the Riverview Seniors Club, as well as secretary of the Over 50 Club in Gibraltar. 

She has served as a member of the Downriver Cultural Commission, heading up a juried art and craft show that raised money for scholarships given to art and music students. 

With Southgate Mayor Pro Tem Norma Wurmlinger and a host of other team members, Shoemaker instituted a program that brought artists to present weekly programs to elementary school students in Riverview and Southgate. From this initiative evolved the Southview Concert Series, a musical program that featured five concerts a year performed at various high school venues in the area.

In addition to all these activities, Shoemaker has served on the UAW-CIO Local 1659 Board, the YMCA Board of Directors and as a member of the Downriver Italian Club. She also volunteered as a member of the Forest Homeowners Association and the Eastern Michigan University Parents Committee.

She was president of the Circuit Court Clerks Association for 12 years and was an active member of Riverview Goodfellows.

The Riverview Hall of Fame congratulates Honor Shoemaker for her “honorable” contributions to the community and her well-deserved induction into the Riverview Hall of Fame.

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