By Citizen staff

Seven people will be inducted into the Elk Grove Hall of Fame for 2021 on Nov. 18 at the District56 center. These honorees include a retired Elk Grove High School teacher, a singer, an Elk Grove arts commissioner, and the founder of a nonprofit that aids young mothers.

The Elk Grove Hall of Fame is organized by the Elk Grove Community Council with support by the city of Elk Grove. Honorees were selected by a committee that includes former Elk Grove mayor Gary Davis and Elk Grove City Council Member Pat Hume. 

John Jackson Sr.

John Jackson Sr. is a prominent community member whose family roots in Elk Grove date back to the 1860s. His great-grandfather Harry Jackson helped construct the local region’s first school, which was at the corner of Calvine and Short roads.

Born in 1929, John grew up in the Elk Grove area and graduated from Elk Grove High School. His mother, Isabelle was a renowned Elk Grove educator who has a local elementary school named after her.

John started a masonry business that worked on the UC Davis Recreation Center and Anheuser Busch’s bottling plant in Fairfield. He also helped build the JMVZ Business Park off Waterman Road in Elk Grove. John later contributed to the capital campaigns of local Catholic churches such as St. Joseph’s and St. Maria Goretti. He was also a longtime volunteer and contributor in the Elk Grove Lions Club programs that assist community members in need.

Nan Mahon

Nan Mahon is a former Elk Grove Citizen writer who is now a published novelist and an Elk Grove arts commissioner.

She grew up in Alameda, and she became fascinated with the thriving art and music scene in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood during the 1950s. Nan later moved to south Sacramento with her family in 1971 and she became a community volunteer who co-founded an education grant for Daylor High School graduates.

The writer’s journalism career started at the Citizen where she worked for 10 years and won a state competition award for her profile of local veterans. She later wrote for the Sacramento Bee and she also helped organize events at the Elk Grove Library.

Nan went on to serve on a few commissions and boards including the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission and the Elk Grove Cemetery District board.

Ms. Mahon is now the chair of the Elk Grove Arts Commission and she is also a mystery writer who published three novels.

Gayle Mooney

Gayle Mooney is best known for her leadership in Elk Grove youth soccer. She served as the president of the Elk Grove Youth Soccer Association from 2002-2011, and she was also the president of the Elk Grove Youth Soccer League in the late 90s and early 00s.

Gayle is a U.S. Air Force veteran who worked as a technician on B-52 bombers and KC-135 refueling planes. She later moved to California and worked at three Air Force bases in the Sacramento region where she served as an aircraft maintenance manager and a logistics planner. Gayle retired from the Air Force after serving for 25 years. She went on to work for the Elk Grove Unified School District as an administrative assistant and the site controller at Elk Grove High School. Gayle’s husband, Ed is also an Air Force veteran who now works as a computer technician for the Elk Grove school district.

Gayle and Ed are the parents of two children who live in Elk Grove, and the grandparents of four children.

Leslie Sandefur

Leslie Sandefur’s soprano voice has been heard at a slew of concerts and festivals, including her recent performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Elk Grove’s Salute to the Red, White, and Blue festival.

Leslie is a native of the Sacramento region who studied at the New England Conservatory of Music, joined a music tour in Italy, and debuted at Carnegie Hall at age 20. She also holds a master’s degree in music from California State University, Sacramento.

Throughout her career, Leslie sang with opera companies such as Golden Gate Opera, Berkeley Opera, and the Nevada Opera. She performed as a soloist in Beethoven’s “Choral Fantasy” with the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera, and she also sang solo at the Strauss Festival of Elk Grove.

Viliami Tuivai

Viliami Tuivai is a former Boise State University football coach who now works as a success coach and a Hollywood radio show host. He trains and coaches in 30 industries, and he worked with clients in Fortune 500 companies.

Viliami wrote the book, “Life Champion: Life Lessons that Yield Championship Results,” which includes his experiences of winning championships with Boise State  He also founded the Invictus Youth Foundation to teach life skills to young athletes, and he is the host of the “Coach V Show” at the Dash Radio Studio in Hollywood.

Viliami lives in Elk Grove with his wife, Martha who works as a nurse, and their two children.

Warren Weaver

Warren Weaver is a prominent educator who taught at Elk Grove High School and led their prestigious agriculture science program.

During his tenure at Elk Grove High, he earned several honors including the California Ag Teachers Association Hall of Fame, the Star FFA Advisor Award, and the California Central Regional FFA Hall of Fame.

Warren grew up on his family’s dairy in the Stanislaus County town of Waterford. Like many of his students, he raised swine for his Future Farmers of America (FFA) project. Warren later earned his teaching credential in 1970 at California State University, Fresno. He started his education career at Elk Grove High and retired from there in 2007.  

In Elk Grove, Warren stays active in the Elk Grove Lions Club where he helps with their community services and works as the “king” of the tri-tip dinner fundraisers that supports local students.

Warren and his wife, Patricia, are the parents of Stacy, Stefani, and Trevor, who are all teachers in the Elk Grove Unified School District. They are also the grandparents of six children.

Inez Whitlow

Inez Whitlow is the founder of Chicks in Crisis, a local nonprofit that aids young women and teenage girls who face the challenges of motherhood and unplanned pregnancy. The “Chick in Charge” provides services and resources to young parents at her nonprofit’s office that is in a ranch on East Stockton Boulevard. Clients are invited to bring their children there as part of court-ordered supervised visits.

Inez is also a bonded adoption facilitator and she helps prepare custody agreements for teenage mothers. The Elk Grove resident is the mother of four children and a grandmother of one.