Mary Roddis Connor – First Woman Inducted into the Wisconsin Forestry Hall of Fame

Mary Roddis Connor – First Woman Inducted into the Wisconsin Forestry Hall of Fame

Mary Roddis Connor (1909-2000) was inducted into the Wisconsin Forestry Hall of Fame. She is the first woman. She and her husband, Gordon R. Connor (1906-1986) are the only husband and wife to be so honored.

Mrs. Connor was honored at the Forest History Association of Wisconsn 30th Annual Conference in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, for her more than 60 years of actively participating and appearing before state and national legislative bodies concerning forest products industry issues and promoting multiple-use sustained yield forest management. She was a co-founder of the Forest History Association of Wisconsin and a past president. 

Mary Roddis Connor, was at the forefront of forestry and environmental issues. Beginning in the 1930’s, for example, she advocated the use of metal poles rather than maple trees on train flatcars hauling logs to save on waste of a valuable resource. In the 1940’s she advocated for better fire management. Given that the Connor Lumber and Land Company, along with Goodman Lumber Company were the first to initiate sustained yield forestry management methods, Mrs. Connor was a proponent of sustainable forestry before it became a mainstay of the forest products industry. She addressed the United Nation’s World Forestry Congress in Rio de Janiero, Brazil on forestry issues in the 1970’s. She worked and wrote tirelessly on forest products industry and environmental issues until her death in 2000. 

Mrs. Connor was the author of two books and many papers on forestry issues. Throughout her life, she showed great knowledge of forest management. In 1946, Mary Roddis Connor authored Forestry Futures and Conservation Misconcepts. It advocated a visionary Nine Point Plan of Forestry Management for the Great Lakes States. 

Mary Roddis Connor was active with her husband establishing the Michigan Technological University Forestry School in Houghton, Michigan. She was actively involved in civic organizations and was a historian and an advocate of the U.S. Constitution. Active in the Federation of Women’s Club in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, she was also active on the National Lumber Manufacturers Association Women’s Advisory Council.

Mary Roddis Connor, author and speaker, worked tirelessly for sixty years to shape legislation and educate the public about sustained yield, multiple-use renewable forests. Co-founder of Camp Five Museum Foundation, Laona, WI with her husband, Gordon R. Connor (1909-1986), its goal is preserving Wisconsin logging history and promoting the wise use of natural resources. They were married for 57 years and were partners in forestry endeavors. She endowed the Gordon R. Connor Center of Excellence in Forestry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.