Palmer Heenan ’43 turns 90 years old next month, but he has no plans to retire. The residents of Grosse Pointe Park, Mich., reinforced that choice on Tuesday, electing Heenan to his 15th two-year term as mayor of the Detroit suburb.
Heenan, who ran unopposed for the 13th consecutive time, told PAW on Monday that he’s having as much fun as ever in a job that offers no pay but plenty of satisfaction.
A lawyer by profession, Heenan first ran for office in his early 60s. He leans on conservative principles – and twice served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention – but in local politics, he says, partisanship takes a back seat to finding solutions to local issues.
Grosse Pointe Park has about 12,000 residents, and Heenan is happy to brag about the town, from its beautiful architecture and municipal services to its public ice rink. He admits that critics may view him as “old fashioned” or “dull,” but he’s quick to add that his town has the lowest average age among its neighboring communities – a sign that it has been a hospitable place for families with young children.
The last 28 years have not been all work and no play for Heenan. An avid golfer, the mayor won four club championships at the Country Club of Detroit in younger days, and he regularly shoots his age – or better – on the course.
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