The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce and the Gilroy Historical Society will honor four outstanding Gilroyans Oct. 26, announcing their induction into the Gilroy Hall of Fame. The annual Hall of Fame Luncheon is 11:30am-1:30pm at Old City Hall restaurant. Tickets are $35 per person, and can be purchased at gilroy.org.
This year’s inductees are: the late Tom Carr, founder of Gilroy boxing center; Michael Bonfante, former owner of Nob Hill Foods and Bonfante Gardens; Edith Edde, community volunteer; and Karen LaCorte, local philanthropist.
Here are their biographies.
The late Tom Carr was very supportive of youth activities and law enforcement. Gilroy’s boxing center is named after Tom Carr in recognition of his support of local youth. Tom also led the effort to eradicate graffiti. Through his support of the police rifle team, the Police Rifle Range is named for Tom’s call sign, “Tango Charlie.” Tom served on numerous City commissions and is the former Driftwood Hospital land developer.
Many remember Michael Bonfante for his family-owned Nob Hill grocery stores. Michael’s likeness could often be seen on the side of Nob Hill Trucks with his wire rimmed glasses and the Number 2 pencil behind his head. Michael spearheaded the growth of Nob Hill Foods grocery store chain to 26 stores prior to sale to Raley’s. What is now known as Gilroy Gardens first started with Michael Bonfante’s dream to create a family adventure park, then known as Bonfante Gardens, where visitors could learn about Circus Trees and horticulture all while having fun in the process. Later, Michael opened a tree nursery now called Bonfante Specimen Trees.
Edith has been active in the community for more than 60 years. Volunteerism is simply part of her DNA. For 60 years she has been attending and helping at the Gilroy Methodist Church. She has been involved in the Garlic Festival for 40 years. In that time she served on the Planning Commission for 8 years, 2 years on the City’s Architectural and Site Committee and 2 terms on the Santa Clara County Planning Commission. She has been a longtime volunteer at the Gilroy Museum and the Gilroy Historical Society. Edith was named the Woman of the Year in 1989 and has continued to stay involved. She also owned and operated the Fabric Shop. Edith was part of the Children’s Home Society for 25 years. During the winter months, Edith used to cook soup for the homeless.
Karen is one of Gilroy’s greatest philanthropists. Where there’s a good cause, Karen is there helping to raise awareness and money. She coordinated Gilroy Rotary fashion shows and casino nights, volunteered for Grad Nights at Gilroy High School and was co-chair of the Frank LaCorte Celebrity Golf Tournaments which benefited the Gilroy Little League Park. Karen serves on the Gilroy Foundation Board of Directors and has been involved in the work to help victims of the Garlic Festival shooting. She has been chair of the Gilroy Foundation’s, “Day in the Country,” which saw the highest revenue for fundraising under her leadership. She is a past Executive Director of the Miss Gavilan Hills/Miss Northern California Regional which is a preliminary to the Miss California/Miss America Pageant. Karen was named Woman of the Year in 2005. She has received the Hearts of Gilroy Award, the Silicon Valley Philanthropy Award and most recently the 2018 Community Achievement Award at the Poppy Jasper Film Festival.