top of page
  • Writer's pictureVillage

Village News for March 22, 2024

From Frank Finamore (Executive Director, Cleveland & Woodley Park Village)

After last week’s column on the female heroes in our lives, I received a wonderful story from a member (and board member) Tom Helinski about his wonderful and adventurous Aunt Millie. I also invite you to send in your own brief story of a woman that’s been a hero to you. We’ll provide a few more of these stories in next week’s Village News as a final commemoration of Women’s History Month!

My mother's sister, Aunt Millie, was married to a guy, Uncle Frank, whose hobby/passion was speed boat racing and it rubbed off on her. A mechanic by trade, Uncle Frank built the engines and piloted the boats in competition -- except when Aunt Millie did. They lived in Baltimore County, a few blocks from us and they travelled the east coast regatta circuit. All of their boats were named "Sagana" which translates to "Gypsy" in Romanian; my maternal grandparents were Romanian.

Their most celebrated weekend was the 1952 Orange Bowl Regatta in Biscayne Bay, Fl. On Dec 29th, Aunt Millie became the first woman to pilot a boat over 100 m.p.h. in competition; she was clocked at 111.28 mph. The photo of her in the cockpit (autographed to me) was taken when she returned to the dock. This was the day after Uncle Frank won the Baker Palladium Trophy, clocking a speed of 114.48 mph. They were the first husband-wife team to be inducted into the American Power Boat Association's "100-mile-an-hour-Club."

In those days, these boats were made of plywood, not fiberglass. This is the same aunt who, when she took my sister and me to Gwynn Oak Amusement Park in Baltimore, wouldn't let us get on the roller coaster because it was "too dangerous." During their racing years they became friends with another speedboat enthusiast, Guy Lombardo; he was their house guest a few times when in Baltimore.


-Tom Helinski (Member of the Village Board of Directors)


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page