HAMMOND | The South Shore Wall of Legends on Thursday added two more individuals from Northwest Indiana who have demonstrated one of the four pillars of exploration, courage, creativity and innovation.
Actress Betsy Palmer grew up in a house in the Hessville neighborhood of Hammond, not far from where she was honored on the Wall of Legends at the Indiana Welcome Center.
Joining her as a South Shore Legend was Dr. Edward A. Rumely, a LaPorte businessman noted for his work in the agriculture and manufacturing industry.
The pair marked the 24th and 25th individuals to be honored with plaques on the Wall of Legends during the ninth annual induction ceremony sponsored by BP’s Whiting Business Unit.
“Northwest Indiana has produced amazing talent who have changed the world in large and small ways and have had a substantial impact with lasting implications,” said John Davies, Wall of Legends coordinator.
Palmer graduated from East Chicago's Roosevelt High School in 1944 and has worked as an actress in film and television and onstage.
Times Columnist Philip Potempa presented the program on Palmer. He showed photos from throughout her career and a clip from the 1950s game show “I’ve Got A Secret.” Palmer was a panelist on the show.
“Her wall-to-wall smile was her trademark,” Potempa said.
Palmer, who lives in Connecticut, is still widely popular for her role as the killer in the 1980 horror film “Friday the 13th.” Palmer was paid $10,000 for 10 days of work in a film she “thought nobody would see.”
The movie went on to become a successful franchise of sequels and one remake.
Palmer responded to her induction in an email to Potempa in which she said “there is nothing that beats being honored in your own town.”
“Oscars, Emmys, Tonys ... they’re all nice. But I’ll happily and proudly take the South Shore Wall of Legends over any of that,” she wrote. “I may be 87 but this girl isn’t done yet.”
One of those in attendance at the ceremony was Marvin Sadewasser, of Dyer, who said his father was Palmer’s neighbor in Hammond. As a girl, Palmer would go to the Sadewasser house on Sunday mornings and sit on his father's lap while he read her newspaper comics.
“My dad took a lot of pride in that,” he said.
Rumely, who lived from 1882 to 1964, helped create the Rumely Oil Pull Tractor and founded the Interlaken School in Rolling Prairie, which mixed education in the classroom and countryside.
Former LaPorte Mayor Leigh Morris said Rumely was a multidimensional Renaissance man and entrepreneur.
“He was helping transform his family’s company into an agricultural equipment manufacturer of worldwide significance,” Morris said.
LaPorte Mayor Blair Milo said Rumley made a huge impact on the city of LaPorte.
“He was greatly responsible for a lot of its growth for many years,” she said.
The ceremony also included the award of a $1,000 Legends Scholarship, administered by First Midwest Bank, to Calumet College of St. Joseph student Dino J. Ramirez.
Ramirez attended college after overcoming the obstacle of becoming a double amputee below the knees. He was injured in a crash and missed two years of high school. He recently graduated and plans to pursue a master’s degree.