Hall of Fame Inductees

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Augusta Munson Curtis (Community Service)

1833 – 1914

The memorial Augusta Munson Curtis gave for her husband and daughter stands today; she herself is all but invisible.

She was born June 17, 1833 in Greenfield, New York, the daughter of Jesse and Sophia Talmadge Munson. Her father, a timber merchant, later moved to Bradford, New York. Augusta was sent to Madame Draper's Seminary in Hartford.

She met George Curtis in the late 1840s. George's diaries record carefully chaperoned outings to local beauty spots which included her at age 15.

George had been a dry goods clerk and a teacher. But in January 1853 he began at Meriden Britannia Company, becoming treasurer the following year. Augusta's father probably bought him into the business. If so, Jesse made a good investment.

Augusta and George were married in Bradford, May 22, 1855, and returned to Meriden to live at 26 Washington Street. Augusta's diary (1877-1900) records chiefly mundane domestic events.

They had three children: George, Fredrick and Agnes. Fredrick died young, but the other two have descendants.

George died May 20, 1893, two days short of their 38th wedding anniversary. “The saddest of all records, dear George died this a.m. at ten o'clock,” Augusta wrote in her journal.

Exactly seven years later, Augusta had to write, “My dear Agnes died at 5:40 Friday, peacefully and with Christian fortitude and hope...everyone seemed to mourn for her untimely death.”

It was her last journal entry.

In 1900, a public library was a strong civic cause. Augusta announced, December 1, that she would provide a library if the town would provide $3,000 annually to run it.

Meriden accepted, and the completed building was dedicated in 1902.

Augusta's last years were marred by Alzheimer's. She died, aged 80, on April 1, 1914. Her obituary noted that she and her husband had been “an ideal couple, and found the highest happiness in giving ungrudgingly of the time, talent and money to the work of making the lot of other people happier.”

Charles G. Iwanicki (Media)

1907 – 1996

Charles G. Iwanicki was born in Meriden and attended Meriden schools. He graduated from Meriden High School in 1928 where he was an outstanding football player. A newspaper article describing his career stated: “Iwanicki will be remembered as one of the best small football performers in Meriden High School and state schoolboy annals where he was a key figure in leading Coach Fred Barnikow's Red and Blue pigskinners to two outstanding seasons. Senior lettermen elected Iwanicki captain of the 1927 Meriden High football team. An inspirational leader, he wore his honors proudly."

He was the All State Connecticut High School fullback of 1927. He received the coveted Sportsman of Distinction Award by the Meriden Sports Reunion on January 18, 1996.

He began his newspaper career while still in high school as a part-time correspondent covering school activities for The Meriden Record. He became a full-time sports reporter the day he graduated from Meriden High School in 1928. It was the beginning of a career that lasted 67 years.

He soon became the Record’s first staff photographer. Always keeping his camera handy, some of the pictures he took went around the world, among them a photo of Castle Craig. He was the first photographer at the scene of the disastrous circus fire in Hartford, CT.

He eventually joined the advertising department where he rose through the ranks to become advertising and promotion director for several years, vice president for advertising and circulation and eventually senior vice president. He was a member of the Record-Journal board of directors and served on its foundation and scholarship committees until his retirement in April 1995.

He was a member of several professional organizations including the International Newspaper Advertising Executives, a former president of the New England Newspaper Advertising Executives and was assistant secretary treasurer of the Connecticut Daily Newspaper Association until his retirement.

He was active in community activities, particularly in the Kiwanis Club of Meriden in which he served for 53 years. A Legion of Honor member, he was president of the club in 1949.

He loved his work and his community and was grateful for the opportunities they both gave him.

George Magrath (Education)

1912 – 2008

George Magrath, educator, administrator, and coach was born in Whitinsville, Mass. in 1912.

He began his career in 1936 in the small Maine town of Sedgwick. He came to Connecticut in 1940 to teach in East Hartford. He distinguished himself as a teacher, and a basketball coach, winning the state championship in 1944. He served as principal of Glastonbury High School for four years before coming to Meriden to be principal of Meriden High School in November of 1949. Dr. Magrath was appointed Superintendent of Schools in 1955, and held this position until his retirement in 1974.

During his early years as head of the school system, Meriden saw one of its most rapid growth spurts. At its highest enrollment, Meriden had more than 12,000 students in city schools. He oversaw the construction of Platt and Maloney High Schools, Lincoln Middle School, and Nathan Hale and Thomas Hooker Elementary Schools. Additions to both Israel Putnam and Hanover School were also completed during his tenure.

According to Dr. Magrath, the mark of a good teacher is the ability to inspire children. Dr. Magrath lead by example. His efforts of connecting with students, of showing enthusiasm and of being supportive of all their activities carried over from his teacher career to his administration career, and into his retirement.