Jane McNamara & Louise Williams Fund
On April 28, 1999, two women who had been friends and Mt. Pleasant residents for nearly 60 years joined together to establish an endowed fund within the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation. Jane McNamara, who arrived in Mt. Pleasant in 1941, and Louise Williams, who came just a year later, met when they taught in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department (HPER) at Central Michigan University (then called Central Michigan College). Both coached women’s athletics and specialized in teacher education for women planning careers in physical education. After they retired from CMU, the women talked about what led to their establishment of the Jane McNamara and Louise Williams Fund:
Jane McNamara: When I arrived in Mt. Pleasant in the summer of 1941 to apply for a teaching position at Central Michigan College of Education, I was interviewed by Grace Ryan and Dr. Charles Anspach. Grace told me later that she had told Dr. Anspach, “She’s a city girl and will never stay more than two years, but I’d like to hire her anyway.” So here I am in “little ole Mount Idy”, as our students used to call it, some 59 years later.
During World War II, I decided to join the war effort in Europe with the American Red Cross. I resigned my position at Flint Central High School but after waiting all summer for my assignment, I interviewed for a job in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department at CMC and was accepted. My sister and I owned and operated a children’s camp on Walloon Lake. Jane joined me in the business and bought my sister’s share. Later, we decided to try a family summer resort. The next 20 years were busy ones with teaching and operating the resort in the summer, so we had a very limited amount of time to participate in community activities. When we heard about the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation, it seemed like the ideal way to say thank you to the community which had been our home for so many happy years.