Quincy area has had three representatives serve as Miss Illinois

Posted: Jul. 3, 2012 10:22 am Updated: Nov. 28, 2014 9:17 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Megan Ervin of Rushville is the third representative of the Quincy area to wear the Miss Illinois crown.

Quincy native Viola Hutmacher Palumbo, then known by her maiden name of Viola Hutmacher, was crowned Miss Illinois in 1948. She advanced to the state pageant after being named the inaugural winner of the Miss Quincy Scholarship Pageant, which was established in its current format earlier that year.

Mary Inzerello Noonan of Chicago -- then a Quincy College sophomore known as Mary Lee Inzerello -- was crowned Miss Illinois in 1966. Earlier that year, she won the title of Miss Adams County, which for several years was the title given to the winner of the Miss Quincy Scholarship Pageant.

After Inzerello was named Miss Illinois, the runner-up in the local pageant, Donna Craig Leenerts, took over her reign as Miss Adams County. As a result, records show there were two Miss Adams County representatives that year. Adding to the confusion, many people still refer to both women as "Miss Quincy 1966" even though the title was actually "Miss Adams County" at that time.

Inzerello Noonan and Hutmacher Palumbo both took part in Miss America pageants, with neither finishing in the top 10. Both also became involved in directing beauty pageants.

A 1968 story in The Quincy Herald-Whig said Inzerello Noonan was named director of the 1968 Miss Adams County pageant. A 2007 feature story on Hutmacher Palumbo noted that she organized and ran a variety of pageants for many years, including the Miss Illinois County Fair Queen pageant, the Sangamon County Fair Queen pageant and the Miss Rural Electrification competition.


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