Jacqueline Noonan Receives Honorary Life Membership

Press Release


Matt Bach
Assistant Director of Strategic Communications
Michigan Municipal League
(734) 669-6317; C: (810) 874-1073
[email protected];


Michigan Municipal League Celebrates Long-Time Utica Mayor and League Supporter

ANN ARBOR, Michigan — The Michigan Municipal League awarded retired long-time Utica Mayor Jacqueline Noonan with the organization’s highest individual honor—the Honorary Life Membership Award.

She received the recognition this week in conjunction with the release of a tribute video and a podcast conversation about her work on behalf of Michigan’s communities. The video celebration and podcast are being done in place of an in-person awards gala that was cancelled due to COVID-19-related safety measures.

Noonan retired in 2016 after 28 years as mayor of the City of Utica in Macomb County. She was the longest serving mayor in the city’s history and was the first woman to hold the position when she was first elected mayor in 1987. She previously served on the city council from 1981 to 1985.

“Mayor Noonan was an exceptional mayor and is more than deserving of the League’s Honorary Life Membership,” said Sterling Heights City Manager Mark Vanderpool, whose community borders Utica. “Utica experienced numerous transformational changes under her leadership, and I was honored to be able to work with her on multiple efforts involving both of our communities over the years.”

Known as the “architect of Utica’s rebirth,” Noonan served 14 terms as mayor and first ran for office to modernize the city in every way possible. She played an integral role in nearly all of the city’s major projects, including helping establish a new minor league ballpark in the city’s downtown district, constructing hiking and biking trails, having basket-hanging flowers downtown, the widening of M-59, reconstruction of Van Dyke Road, the hiring a professional planner, resurfacing nearly every city street, and establishing a Downtown Development Authority. She also focused on bringing city hall up to date in multiple areas, such as computerizing city offices, updating the criteria for filling vacant positions, revising the city’s Master Land Use Plan, and updating employee job descriptions.

For Noonan, being in public service is a family affair. Her husband Jerry, who passed away in late 2020, served 42 years on the city fire department, including 34 years as the assistant fire chief, and their children continue to carry the public service torch as teachers, firefighters, and in other public roles. Noonan also is a retired high school teacher who taught French and social studies.

Noonan said she realized early on that she couldn’t serve her community in insolation and she became involved in numerous regional and state organizations. She was very active with the Michigan Municipal League (MML), serving on the League Board and as League president (2013-14). In addition, she was an active member of the Michigan Association of Mayors, the Southeast Council of Governments, and the Macomb County Mayors Association.

Getting the Honorary Life Membership Award from the League is very meaningful, Noonan said.

“It’s hard to describe how much this award means to me,” Noonan said. “Over the years I have always said the Michigan Municipal League was the preeminent statewide organization in helping, inspiring, and informing local leaders. To this day, it has only increased my admiration and my appreciation for MML, its staff, and all its members. Thank you for this incredible honor.”

About the award: The Honorary Life Membership, first awarded in 1932, is the League’s highest individual honor, reserved for the most active and inspiring leaders dedicated to the League and its mission.

For additional information contact the League’s Matt Bach, assistant director of strategic communications, at (810) 874-1073 and [email protected].

Michigan Municipal League is dedicated to making Michigan’s communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan’s greatest centers of potential: its communities. The League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington, D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services. Learn more at

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