NE Philadelphia Hall of Fame 2016 class official

Committee members Lou Iatarola, Trudy Brown, Karen Borski and Tony Radwanski applaud the choices. MARIA YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO

The Northeast Philadelphia Hall of Fame last week held a news conference at Holy Family University to officially announce its next class of inductees.

The induction ceremony will take place on Sunday, Oct. 16, at 1 p.m. at Holy Family.

The Hall of Fame is sponsored by Glen Foerd on the Delaware in partnership with Holy Family, the Historical Society of Frankford, the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Allegra Marketing/Print/Mail and the Northeast Times.

Project director Jack McCarthy joined members of the steering and selection committees at the May 11 news conference.

Also on hand was Denny O’Brien, a former state House speaker and city councilman who co-founded the Hall of Fame. Sister Francesca Onley, former president of Holy Family, is chairwoman of the selection committee.

State Rep. Mike Driscoll, a member of the selection committee, announced the honorees.

The inductees are:

• Edward Duffield (1730–1803), a colonial clock and compass maker, civic leader and educator. He helped to establish two local schools, the Lower Dublin Academy and the Byberry and Moreland School, served as founding president of the Trustees of Lower Dublin Academy, and helped to found All Saints Episcopal Church in Torresdale.

• Al Schmid (1920–1982), World War II hero. He was born in Burholme. On Dec. 9, 1941, two days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Marines. Sent to Guadalcanal Island in the South Pacific, Schmid and two fellow Marines were manning a machine gun post on the night of Aug. 21, 1942 when hundreds of Japanese attacked their position. One of the Marines was killed instantly, another was seriously wounded and unable to fire the gun, and Schmid was blinded by a grenade. For four hours, the wounded Marine directed Schmid, who couldn’t see, where to shoot. By morning, they had killed 200 Japanese and had survived the attack. Schmid’s heroic actions, along with his difficult recovery and subsequent marriage to his Tacony sweetheart Ruth Hartley, were the subject of the 1945 Warner Brothers film, Pride of the Marines, starring John Garfield.

• Robert N.C. Nix Sr. (1898–1987). In the mid-1950s, Nix was among the first residents of Greenbelt Knoll in Holmesburg, the first planned interracial housing development in the city and one of the first in the United States. In 1958, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, the first black person to represent Pennsylvania in Congress. He served 20 years before losing to Bill Gray in the 1978 Democratic primary.

• Bill Boggs, television host, journalist and author. Boggs was raised in Mayfair and graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School and the University of Pennsylvania, receiving a master’s degree from Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication. Professionally, he was a four-time Emmy winner and former news anchorman for WNBC in New York. He’s hosted and produced a variety of TV shows, including being the founding executive producer of Court TV. He was also executive producer of the Morton Downey Jr. Show, which Denny O’Brien once appeared on to discuss Philadelphia’s infamous prison cap. Boggs has also worked as a motivational speaker.

• Friends of Pennypack Park, which was formed in 1987. FOPP activities include conducting monthly history and nature walks, park clean-ups, meetings on matters concerning the park and environment, and monitoring of water quality in Pennypack Creek. Past accomplishments include repairing and replacing picnic tables and benches and placing additional trash cans throughout the park, erecting gates at trail entrances to keep unauthorized motor vehicles out of the park, and installing informational signs at park entrances. ••

Headed to the Hall: Above, State Rep. Mike Driscoll announces this year’s class at a news conference. MARIA YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO