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Lauren Lacy, right, director of development for the McLean County Museum of History, announces the museum's eighth annual History Makers on Tuesday at the museum. Recipients are Paul and Sandra Harmon, Ronn Morehead and Don Munson. The gala is June 28 at the DoubleTree Hotel and Conference Center.

BLOOMINGTON — Eight years in, the McLean County Museum of History has no trouble finding more senior citizens who have shaped the community.

"Somebody asked me once, 'When are you gonna run out of people,' and I kind of smiled and said, 'Remember, more people turn 70 every year,'" said Carolyn Yockey of Normal, who organizes the museum's annual History Makers gala, with a laugh. "We usually have a whole pile of names."

The museum's seventh class, she said, is proof the well isn't running dry, including four Bloomington-Normal fixtures who have influenced local politics, education, art, labor and media for decades.

Paul Harmon, Sandra Harmon, Ronn Morehead and Don Munson will take center stage at the museum's gala June 28 at the DoubleTree Hotel and Conference Center in Bloomington.

The Harmons, born a month apart in summer 1942, moved to Bloomington-Normal in 1968 — when Paul began working as an attorney at Illinois Farm Bureau, then the Illinois Agricultural Association, where he retired in 2008, according to a biography provided by the museum.

Paul joined Normal City Council in 1976 and served two terms before being elected mayor, where he served another two terms, helping acquire the Normal Theater, develop Constitution Trail and begin work on uptown.

Sandra helped establish Illinois State University's women's studies department in the 1970s and got involved across campus. She and Paul also helped establish Heartland Theatre Company, served on many community boards and established multiple endowments for arts projects.

"They're some of the biggest patrons of the arts in this entire community," said Lauren Lacy, the museum's director of development, during a Tuesday news conference. "They've been involved in every section of this community."

Morehead, born in Normal in 1939, established himself early as a leader in Laborers Local 362 and went on to work for the American Federation of Labor–Congress of Industrial Organizations, where he helped train young workers. He later helped establish YouthBuild McLean County.

"He spent decades growing the workforce," said Lacy. "Without YouthBuild, we probably would be absent one out of three young people in our unions."

Munson, born 1941, came to the Twin Cities in 1964 to work at WJBC, where he hosted The Don “Morning” Munson Show for 35 years. He then hosted variety show "Radio Munson" for WGLT until 2017.

"In the days before electronic stuff ... everyone in the community listened to Don Munson every morning," said Yockey. "He's the one that told you whether school was in session, or that Center Street was blocked."

Tickets go on sale May 4, $60 for the public and $50 for museum members.

Though this year's gala was moved due to construction work at its regular venue, the Brown Ballroom at Illinois State University's Bone Student Center, Yockey said the event will return to the ballroom in 2019.

Follow Derek Beigh on Twitter: @pg_beigh


Normal and McLean County Reporter

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