A band director, a judge, a writer, a physician, a property developer and the first lawyer in Biddeford all have a couple of things in common.

They have all made a mark on the community, and in so-doing, are this year’s inductees into the Biddeford Hall of Fame, an annual recognition and celebration of those past and present, who have made a lasting mark on the city, and  a project of the Biddeford Cultural and Heritage Center.

The Fourth Annual Biddeford Hall of Fame Awards brings attention to those who have made significant contributions to the city and the world at large, said Biddeford Cultural and Heritage Center President Diane Cyr.

Inductees are writer Cora Belle Bickford, who founded a longtime literary club; Biddeford Mayor, York County District Attorney and retired Maine District Court Judge Michael P. Cantara; Biddeford physician Dr. Francis Kleeman, who opened a free clinic in the city; musician Pierre Painchaud who started a band; mill developer Douglas Sanford who had a vision and carried it out; and Biddeford’s first lawyer, James Sullivan, Biddeford’s representative to the Provincial Congress prior to the American Revolution, who also served as governor of Massachusetts.

An induction ceremony will be held at noon June 26 in Biddeford City Hall Council Chambers. Banners honoring the six recipients will be placed on light posts  in downtown Biddeford, and plaques will be added to the display of past recipients found in the Council Chambers.

“BCHC is pleased to be able to recognize various icons of our great city in a public place, where citizens may be reminded of the accomplishments of the award recipients,” said Denis Litalien, BCHC board member and chair of the Hall of Fame Committee. “We encourage everyone to join us in congratulating those who have helped make our city a great place to live.”

Cyr expressed her gratitude to the Selection Committee, noting that members used their knowledge about the city’s history and its people to make well -informed decisions

Here are biographies, compiled by BCHC, of those to be inducted:

Cora Belle Bickford Courtesy Photo

• Cora Belle Bickford used numerous avenues for self-expression at a time when women didn’t have legal rights to property or the vote. A talented writer, Bickford was a journalist and published author. She taught high school, one of the few career paths available to women in the 19th century. Her influence and leadership were perhaps most widely felt by her organization of a group for women in 1896 called the “Thursday Club,” a literary, educational and social group that met until April of 1990. In 1897, a chapter of the daughters of the American Revolution was formed, and Bickford was appointed organizing agent regent. Bickford died in 1923 and is one of few women whose obituaries ran on the front page, above the fold, of the Biddeford Journal.

Michael P. Cantara Courtesy Photo

• Michael Cantara graduated from Biddeford High School in 1971. He studied French language and literature, minoring in biology, at Colby College and studied a at the Université de Caen, in Normandy. “I remember being in a classroom when Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated,” recalled Cantara. “Those (events) marked all young people at the time, and it was hard not to think about where the country was going and what we needed to do.” After becoming an attorney, he worked in private practice in Biddeford, later became a prosecutor, and was elected York County district attorney for several terms. He served a term as mayor of Biddeford, and he was appointed as a District Court judge, retiring in 2019. He currently serves on the Biddeford Planning Board and stays active in Franco-American activities.

Dr, Francis Kleeman Courtesy Photo

• In 1992, Dr. Francis Kleeman’s children challenged him when they told him doctors were “pretty lousy” because they didn’t take care of patients without health insurance, according to the BCHC. Six months later, on June 18, 1993, the Biddeford Free Clinic opened, and uninsured people were able to see volunteer doctors and nurses. Staffed by outstanding volunteers, including physicians, registered nurses, and a pharmacist, the clinic was open three evenings a week on a first-come, -first-served basis. Community volunteers in the office were the welcoming gateway for patients. When it closed its doors in September 2015, the clinic had provided more than $6 millions of free care to thousands of people. Over the course of 22 years, Kleeman became an integral part of many lives, especially those of patients. Denise Doyon, one of the people who nominated him, said ”Dr. Francis Kleeman’s contributions to the welfare of the residents of Biddeford are immeasurable. The volunteers and patients would attest to that.”

Pierre Painchaud Courtesy Photo

• Pierre L. Painchaud brought culture and arts to the city. He was the first, and is considered the most talented, Franco-American performer in his lifetime and beyond. In 1870, he formed Painchaud’s Band (La Fanfare Painchaud), one of the first Franco-American bands in New England. It was also one of the oldest continuing bands, performing over a period of more than 120 years, disbanding in the mid-1990s, many years after Painchaud died in 1909, at age 57. Painchaud had many talents and was considered a musical genius by many. He led the band, sang, acted, performed comedy routines, taught music and played the violin, cello and coronet. He repaired, tuned and built instruments; composed and arranged music; and directed the St. Joseph’s choir. He was a driving force in Biddeford for almost 40 years, and the legacy he left has lasted many more. His entire family was musical, and, for many, the Painchaud name was synonymous with the arts in Biddeford.

Doug Sanford Courtesy Photo

• Doug Sanford has been recognized as the person who saved the downtown area and the mills complex in Biddeford, according to BCHC. He started by purchasing the old Woolworth’s Block in downtown Biddeford in 1982, and has continued to acquire various properties around the Mill District, working hard to encourage re-development of the nearly abandoned area. Many of the old buildings he bought have been renovated into living areas as well as retail, office, manufacturing and dining establishments, and there are now more than 100 businesses inside these properties. He is regarded as having courage and a bold vision for the possibilities the old buildings offered. The area is now responsible for hundreds of people being employed in many areas. This has sparked investment in the area like none seen in decades. Sanford’s vision has been a catalyst for other development in the area, spurring more jobs and investment.

James Sullivan Courtesy Photo

• James Sullivan was born on April 22, 1744, in Berwick, in a part of the Province of Massachusetts — now the state of Maine. Professionals were drawn to the bustling town of Biddeford, and Sullivan was the town’s first resident lawyer. He served as a judge in the Supreme Court, governor of Massachusetts, and as Biddeford’s representative to the Provincial Congress prior to the American Revolution. Sullivan played a leading part in deliberations at the Meeting House on the Old Pool Road in the early days of the Revolutionary period. He supplemented his legal work by acting as an agent for Boston-based merchant interests, including John Hancock. He participated in the framing of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. As adviser to John Hancock, he is thought to have likely contributed in the framing of the Federal Constitution. He had just been elected to his second term as governor when he died on December 10, 1808.