City of Derby Announces

Hall of Fame

First Inductees - 2007


The City of Derby has dedicated a Hall of Fame for individuals who were born, lived or worked in the City who have made a significant contribution toward promoting the quality of life in Derby or earned special distinction or honor in their chosen field at the state, national or world level.

Following the induction of the first group of individuals this year, the City will annually select a limited number of individuals to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in conjunction with the celebration of Derby Day.

Each individual will be honored with an engraved brick in the plaza on the Derby Greenway, and their biographies will be posted on the City of Derby web site. Watch for more information on all of the inductees soon.

Inductee

Description


EBENEZER D. BASSETT
U.S. MINISTER
TO HAITI
FIRST NATIVE BORN
AFRICAN AMERICAN
DIPLOMAT
 
Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett was the first African American to be appointed an ambassador to a foreign country when President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him as Ambassador to Haiti in 1877. He was born in Litchfield, but was educated in Derby. He was also a nephew of Eben Tobias one of several Black Governors of Connecticut from Derby.

LOU DEFILIPPO
"COACH" & TEACHER
DHS FOOTBALL
1968 - 1982
W116 - L30 - T8
DERBY PRIDE
 
"Coach" Lou DeFillipo was Derby High School football coach from 1968 -1982. Though coaching one of the smallest schools in the state, he led his teams to a record of 116-30-8 including two state championships and five undefeated seasons.

FRANK GATES
BUSINESSMAN
PHILANTHROPIST
COMMUNITY LEADER
 

Frank Gates was one of the leading philanthropists in Derby history. A talented businessman active in a wide variety of civic activities, he left his fortunes in trust for the continual benefit of the City of Derby and surrounding communities.

DR. JOHN IRELAND
HOWE
INVENTOR
MASS PRODUCTION
1793 - 1876
 

John Ireland Howe was an inventor and businessman famous for his work in automating the production of the common pin. His "rotary machine" is still on display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.

COMMODORE
ISAAC HULL
U.S.S. CONSTITUTION
"OLD IRONSIDES"
WAR OF 1812
 

Commodore Isaac Hull was one of the greatest naval heroes in U.S. history. As commander of the U.S.S. Constitution during the War of 1812, he defeated the British frigate Guerriere marking the first time in history that an English frigate had struck its flag to an American ship of war.

DAVID HUMPHREYS
SOLDIER & POET
DIPLOMAT
EARLY INDUSTRIALIST
1752 - 1818
 

David Humphreys served as side-de-camp to George Washington during the Revolutionary War and had the honor of carrying the surrendered British colors from Yorktown to the Congress in Philadelphia.

He was the first U.S. Minister to Portugal and served as Minster to Spain.

He introduced merino sheep to the U.S. and established Humphreysville which is today’s town of Seymour.

FRANCES OSBORNE
KELLOGG
BUSINESSWOMAN
CONSERVATIONIST
PHILANTHROPIST
1876 - 1956
 

Frances Eliza Osborne Kellogg was a woman ahead of her time. She was a success in business, leader in conservation and generous in philanthropy. Included in her lasting legacy is Osbornedale State Park, the largest tract of open space in Derby which she gifted to the State Of Connecticut.

REV. RICHARD
MANSFIELD
1724 - 1820
ANGLICAN RECTOR
72 YEARS
 

Reverend Richard Mansfield was the first resident Church of England clergyman in Derby. He served for 72 years, a period marking what may be the longest rectorship recorded in the United States

EDMUND D. STRANG
1910 - 1995
"MR. SCOUT"
LONGEST SERVING
CUBMASTER
PACK 3 DERBY
 

Edmund Strang was simply "Mr. Scout" in Derby. Though active in a variety of civic activities, he is best known for his incredible work in Scouting. In 1927, he formed Cub Pack 3 in Derby and was assistant cubmaster and cubmaster for 68 years – the longest tenured cubmaster in U.S. History

JOSEPH WHEELER
"FIGHTIN' JOE"
LT GENERAL CSA
MJ GENERAL USA
US CONGRESS
 

General Joseph "Fightin’ Joe" Wheeler grew up in Derby before graduating from West Point and serving in the U.S. Army in the Mexican War. He resigned from the U.S. Army and served in the Confederate Army as a Junior Cavalry General during the Civil War.

After the war, he served nine terms in the U.S. House of representatives from the state of Alabama. He later served as a major general during the Spanish American War. He was appointed a Brigadier General in the U.S. Army by President McKinley.

His statue is on display in the U.S. Capitol in Washington as a representative of the state of Alabama. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

PFC FRANK P WITEK
CONGRESSIONAL
MEDAL OF HONOR
WORLD WAR II

PFC Frank Witek is the only Valley native to have earned this country’s highest military honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was awarded the medal for conspicuous gallantry during the Battle of Finegayan at Guam on August 3, 1944. Witek Park is named in his honor.

 


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