Where Past Meets Present

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Rock County Legacies Gala

April 29, 2023 | 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm

$50.00 – $650.00
2023 Rock County Legacies Gala banner

Dine, Dance and Help Recognize Two Who Helped Build Rock County’s Foundation at the Rock County Legacies Gala

Join this evening of dining, live music, celebrating two local achievers, a live auction and more at the Glen Erin Celtic House.

The event is a fundraiser for the Rock County Historical Society. Purchase tickets on this site, or call RCHS at 608-756-4509.

The Honorees

Nancy Nienhuis, known as “Nurse Nancy” at the Janesville GM plant, working with nursing students.

Nancy Nienhuis, known as “Nurse Nancy” at the Janesville GM plant, working with nursing students.

Nancy Jane Nienhuis

Being recognized posthumously

Nancy Nienhuis was a lifetime resident of Janesville and LaPrairie Township. She grew up farming alongside her family members and loved tending to a variety of farm animals – especially her beloved black and white Holsteins. The Rock County 4-H Fair would remain her favorite spot throughout her life, first as an exhibitor, then leader, and Fruit and Vegetable Project Superintendent. She believed in teaching others how to grow things and welcomed decades of “community gardeners” to share her soil.

A staunch believer in the value of education, Nancy earned her nursing degree at Swedish American in Rockford and continued at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD., where she was a surgical nurse. Her education took her to several hospitals to implement intensive care units; at one such hospital she met surgical resident Herman D. Nienhuis, whom she married in 1958. In 1964, they returned to Nancy’s hometown of Janesville where together they raised three children.

Nancy dedicated her life to caring for others. She was a nursing instructor at Blackhawk Technical College and worked to help establish the associate degree program in nursing. Nancy worked at Rock Haven as a nursing supervisor and as a third-shift nurse at General Motors for over 30 years. While at GM she co-founded the annual GM Food Drive (now Bags of Hope). She served on numerous Boards of Directors in the community.

Nancy Jane was one of a kind; a swipe of red lipstick and a squirt of perfume, and she’s off. ~ Sarah Hodge, daughter of Nancy

Geoffrey S. Parker, eldest great-grandson of George S. Parker Sr., holding a classic PARKER pen while in Shanghai.

Geoffrey S. Parker, eldest great-grandson of George S. Parker Sr., holding a classic PARKER pen while in Shanghai.

The Parker Family

George Safford Parker was 25 years old when he applied for his first pen patent and founded the PARKER Pen Company in Janesville, Wisconsin. The year was 1888. By 1894, Parker invented the pioneering anti-leak system, the ‘Lucky Curve’, a major breakthrough.

With the U.S. market for PARKER firmly established, he travelled the world, becoming essentially a missionary of the PARKER pen across the globe. Parker was known to gift pens to the famous – including the King of Siam, who received a bejeweled pen – and to people he met on the street while travelling.

By 1908, the PARKER factory on Main Street in Janesville was the biggest pen factory in the world. PARKER pens were and are one of the world’s best-known brands, and are sold all over the world.

For Janesville, PARKER Pen became a stalwart of the economy. In 1918, the company achieved its first $1,000,000 sales year, and the following year began construction of a new, five-story building on Court Street.
PARKER emerged from World War II with more than 1,500 Wisconsin employees. In 1953 it expanded to “Arrow Park” in Janesville, a new 226,000 square foot factory equipped with state-of-the-art automated manufacturing machinery.

PARKER’s sales continued to flourish. The internationally known company maintained a presence in Janesville until 1993 and is now part of Newell Brands, based in Atlanta.

Collectively, it was Janesville, a few people named Parker and a large family of smart, hard-working people that created the rock-solid foundation of PARKER; it remains a strong base for the brand today. ~ Geoffrey S. Parker, eldest great-grandson of George S. Parker Sr. and PARKER’s Brand Historian and Ambassador

Your Evening at a Glance

  • 6 p.m. Check-in and cocktails
  • 7 p.m. – Dinner and recognition of award winners
  • 7:45 p.m. – Live auction
  • 8:15 – 11 p.m. – Live music and dancing. Enjoy Live music by The MadTadders, playing classic rock hits and ‘90s jams, sure to get everyone toe-tappin’!

Choose from Several Ticket Options

  • Reserve a table of 8 for $650. Invite your friends and save!
  • Individual Ticket: $85
  • Special UAW Local 95 Member Rate: $50

Event Details

  • Date: Saturday, April 29, 2023
  • Time: 6 p.m.
  • Location: Glen Erin Celtic House, 1417 W Airport Rd, Janesville, WI 53546


Contact Tim Maahs, Executive Director, at [email protected], or by phone at 608-756-4509.


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April 29, 2023
6:00 pm to 11:00 pm
$50.00 – $650.00
Event Category:


Rock County Historical Society
(608) 756-4509


Glen Erin Celtic House
1417 W Airport Rd
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