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PPWNM Presents 2008 Martha Hatch Award

Published: 10.09.08| Updated: 10.09.08

MARQUETTE, MICHIGAN — Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan (PPWNM) presented the 2008 Martha Hatch Award to Marilyn Klahn and her late husband, Dr. Richard Klahn, at a reception at Drs. Dan and Ann Arnold’s home in Harvey on Thursday, October 2, 2008. Forty-three guests and friends of PPWNM gathered from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. to honor the Klahns and support PPWNM’s mission.

The evening began with hors d’oeuvres and refreshments, followed by speeches from long time Planned Parenthood supporter Ellen Zaki, PPWNM President/CEO Katherine Humphrey, and Marilyn Klahn who acceptedthe award with her son, Joel Klahn, who drove from Chicago for the event.

Zaki presented the award to the Klahns with a speech that warmly recalled her memories of the late Dr. Richard Klahn. She highlighted his career as superintendent of Marquette schools, and his support and dedication to the important role Planned Parenthood plays in Marquette and the greater Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Zaki, who worked under Dr. Klahn as an educator, added, “I most respected Richard Klahn for his belief in comprehensive [sex] education not just through the difficult times when school districts and teachers were at odds and teachers were on strike, but actually when all that was far behind both of us.”

PPWNM was one of two organizations Dr. Klahn designated to receive gifts in his honor upon his passing. Marilyn Klahn is also well known for her gifts of leadership and activism, having been a founding member of such programs as This Morning’s For You, a child care service in Marquette, designed to help families in need. Klahn served on the board of Planned Parenthood Northern Michigan (now PPWNM) for many years, and continues to devote her time and energy to the organization.

When accepting the award, Klahn gave a gracious speech remembering her late husband, as well as Martha Hatch. Klahn recalled one winter day when she drove Hatch to her home at the top of a hill. Hatch, in her 90s at the time, insisted that Klahn stop at the bottom of the hill and let Hatch walk up the driveway so Klahn’s vehicle wouldn’t get stuck.

Martha Hatch was a Red Cross nurse in the early 1900s, a contemporary of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger. As a nurse she traveled around the Upper Peninsula counseling women on birth control methods. Since birth control was illegal at the time, Hatch put her beliefs and concerns for other women before her own health and safety. She went on to serve the Marquette-Alger Planned Parenthood as a board member for many years. Martha died in 1999 at age 100.

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