The Michigan Irish American Hall of Fame has announced its new members for 2014. The Michigan Irish American Hall of Fame recognizes Irish Americans who have made important contributions in various areas of life in Michigan.
The Hall of Fame has posthumously named Stan R. Tyler, Jr., of Muskegon as its 2014 member in the field of Philanthropy. Mr. Tyler was the long-time owner of Tyler Sales Co., Inc., one of Michigan’s most successful beverage distributorships. He was a major supporter of education and community causes during his lifetime in the Muskegon area and beyond.
In the category of Business and Industry, the Hall of Fame has selected Norman R. Byrne of Ada. Mr. Byrne is the founder of Byrne Electrical Specialists, Inc., in Rockford. For more than forty years, Mr. Byrne has been a prominent business leader and community benefactor in West Michigan.
In the area of Public Service, the new member is the Hon. James L. Ryan of Detroit. Judge Ryan is a former justice of the Michigan Supreme Court and retired judge of the United States 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Ryan also served as Military Judge in the U.S. Marine Corps and Naval Reserve for more than thirty years.
In the field of Education, the Hall of Fame will be admitting to membership Michael Flanagan of Lansing. Michael Flanagan has been the Superintendent of Education for the State of Michigan since 2005. He is the first Michigan Superintendent of Education to receive the distinguished service award from the National Association of State Boards of Education.
Catherine “Kitty” Heinzman of Detroit has been selected in the area of Arts and Entertainment. A native of Westport in County Mayo, Ireland, Kitty Heinzman was already an accomplished Irish dancer when she immigrated to Detroit in 1958. Since then, she has popularized Irish dancing in Michigan by instructing three generations of hundreds of young students. With her children, she founded the Ardan Academy of Irish Dance, one of Michigan’s prominent Irish dance schools.
The new members were inducted in Muskegon at a special ceremony on the Dance Stage of the Michigan Irish Music Festival at Heritage Landing at Noon on Saturday, September 13, 2014.