Women's Wall of Honor 2005Okaloosa County Commission on the Status of Women
Karen Baker, Soledad Bennes, Jean Dutton, Nan French, Sue E. Goetz, Mary K. Gunter, Virginia Geri Hall, Lois Hoyt, Joan Hudson, Marjorie Coleman Jones, Ellen L. McNeer, Patty S. Miller, Susan Sloat Myers, Sarah Frances Brooks Pryor, Estelle E. Barrow Robinson, Glenda N. Robinson, Deborra Rodgers, Elaine Tucker, Dorothy E. Whalen, Dt. Col. Tracey Walker, Nancy L. Young.
(Individual descriptions were written at the time of nomination and have not been updated. Most of these women have gone on to do even more amazing things for their community and their neighbors.)
Karen Baker has served as President of the American Heart Association, President of the Cancer Society and Assistant 6940 Rotary District governor. Karen was sworn in as the first woman member and first woman President of the FWB Rotary Club. Governor Bush appointed her to serve on the Okaloosa County Commission.
Soledad Bennes (deceased) worked to create better understanding of Asian cultures with a heritage festival; she was active with the Fil-Am Association and helped Asian newcomers in the area.
Jean learned early on the importance of self reliance. Over the years, she has put that characteristic to good use on an array of charitable boards and organizations. Amazingly organized, stunningly efficient and unbelievably energetic, Jean sets a wonderful example for all of the women in our community with her willingness to help wherever she is needed.
Nan French has been a facilitator for the Medical Staff Credentialing process at Twin Cities Hospital for over 15 years. She has been one of the “go to people” in her areas of expertise, helping many physicians get through an otherwise tedious process, while benefiting the entire community in building the medical services of the area
Sue Goetz has been an influence to 100 people through her years of conducting a YMCA aqua pulse program to maintain or improve our physical well being and coordinates duplicate bridge area to maintain the mental stimulation of many people. Sue also sings in FWB chorus and participates in their productions.
Mary K. Gunter
Mary K. Gunter graduated from Auburn University with a BS in Home Economics. She went on to earn her Masters degree in Educational Leadership, from the University of West Florida. Mary has extensive experience as a teacher, principal and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum for Okaloosa County Schools. Mary is an outstanding educator!
Geri Hall is devoted to her husband of 56 years, daughter, sons, grandchildren and great-children. Geri has managed the Destin Mini-Storage for 21 years while working as a real estate agent. She is most proud of the family. Geri represents love, kindness, godliness and we are proud to call her “Mom”.
Lois Hoyt has been honored to represent the citizens of Okaloosa County in the first congressional District of Florida since 1992. Working hand in hand, she and our citizens have accomplished a great deal to improve our quality of living in our community. We are thankful for the meaningful and purposeful way in which she has touched our lives.
Doctoral Candidate Joan Hudson has been a supporting cornerstone of Twin Cities Hospital for well over two decades. She has been a humble beacon to many in her community by her volunteerism, particularly to children, disabled children and to military families. She is highly respected by all members of the Hospital Family and the entire Niceville/Valparaiso community.
Marjorie Coleman Jones
Marjorie Coleman Jones has been a loyal resident of Okaloosa County for over 39 years. She has touched the lives of many through her passionate acts of service for the community in the areas of education, law and community service. Her accomplishments will continue to impact our community for many years.
Ellen McNeer selflessly gives of her time to her retired Air Force husband, daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchild. Many will recognize her from Gayfers, as she was the rock in the housewares department for over 20 years. Ellen is kind, caring, giving, loving and we are thankful she is our “Mama”.
Patty Miller is a talented cellist and has spent a decade playing in local symphonies and other musical groups. She devoted 22 years of her life to serving the students of University of West Florida in a caring respectful and knowledgeable manner and, upon her retirement, leave a legacy of dedication and passion for helping other pursue their dreams.
Susan Sloat Myers
Susan Sloat Myers has served in many local civic leadership roles such as Vision Stewardship Committee, City Council of Fort Walton Beach and the Community Redevelopment Agency. She has worked tirelessly to support community beautification and preservation projects in Fort Walton Beach. She is the “living legacy” of her grandmother, Sarah Frances Brooks Pryor.
Sarah Frances Brooks Pryor
Sarah Frances Brooks Pryor — born in 1877 — was the pioneer daughter of John Thomas Brooks. Her family donated land for the Indian Mound Museum and Brooks Memorial Cemetery. Aunt Frances, as she became known to all in later years, was the “Spearhead” to make Fort Walton Beach what it is today.
Estelle Elizabeth Barrow Robinson
The late Estelle Elizabeth Barrow Robinson (1912—2003) was a loving matriarch, wife and mother, and a true pioneer in Okaloosa County. In 1937, along with her husband, Neal Robinson, Sr., she helped to build, open and operate the first theater, grocery store, and full service gas station at foot of Brooks Bridge in Fort Walton Beach. Estelle and Neal later opened the first post office at Eglin, and were there when the Doolittle Raiders flew out.
Glenda Robinson has been educating the youth of North Okaloosa County for the last 32 years. Having spent 28 years in the classroom, Glenda is finishing her fourth year as an elementary school principal. Her enthusiasm and sound work ethic continue to inspire students and teachers alike.
Deborra Rodgers is an avid advocate of the FWB Parkinson’s Support Group. During the past four years, she has presented the group with speakers knowledgeable about Parkinson. Due to her efforts, the support group continues to grow and members are better equipped to handle their day-to-day battle with Parkinson’s.
Elaine Tucker is an energetic woman, who is smart and involved. As Okaloosa County Commissioner she cares deeply for her community, while placing her family first. She studies each issue very carefully and makes choices in the best interest of our community. She guides with humor and leads by example.
Dorothy E. Whalen
Dorothy E. Whalen has demonstrated her continued addiction to the academic environment and is now completing her senior year at UWF having mothered five children and maintained a household for over 24 years. Often unrecognized and under appreciated, she excels in the academic world. Your family salutes your achievement!
Nancy Young has long known that the only important “clients” of the University of West Florida at Fort Walton Beach are its students. She has, over her long career, remembered, cared about, scheduled, and encouraged students to succeed. Many students and professors will tell you that Nancy Young is UWF at FWB.
Lieutenant Colonel Tracey Walker, USAF
Lieutenant Colonel Tracey Walker blazed a path for women as the first engineer in Kirkuk, Iraq, after Operation Iraqi Liberation. As an Air Force civil engineer for 24 years, she earned the Bronze Star Medal for exemplary leadership in combat after flawlessly preparing an enemy airfield for A-10 close air support and logistics operations.