Hursel C. Disney, a business, government and community leader and a life-long resident of Hendricks County passed away on November 22 at the age of 96. Hursel was born on June 19, 1924 as the only child of Hursel H. and Greta Mae (Kern) Disney who preceded him in death.
Hursel grew up on the family farm in Danville and learned the importance and value of hard work at an early age. He always considered himself a farmer. He was a 1942 cum laude graduate of Danville High School. While in high school he was a member of the band, student council, president of the junior class and a member of the basketball and track teams.
After attending Indiana University and graduating from the Indiana College of Mortuary Science, he spent nine years as an embalmer and mortician for Baker Funeral Home.
In 1956, Hursel began a career in banking at Danville State Bank. In 1961, he accepted a position with First National Bank in Plainfield. He became President of the bank in 1968 and served in that capacity until becoming Chairman of the Board at the Bank in 1980. Hursel believed strongly that a primary purpose of the Bank was to promote economic growth and prosperity in the community. Many local businesses received their first loan from Hursel. In 1982, the country was in the midst of a recession. The prime interest rate had risen to 21 percent and the economy was stagnant. He convinced his Board of Directors to allocate two million dollars at 12.75 percent interest for new car loans in hopes of helping to stimulate the economy. For his efforts he was acknowledged by President Ronald Reagan on one of the President’s weekly Saturday morning radio addresses. Due to President Reagan’s acknowledgement, the bank received worldwide recognition and Hursel was interviewed by all major television networks. He was a graduate of the Wisconsin School of Banking and received a post-graduate degree from the University.
Hursel served the community in numerous ways. He helped to organize the Danville Little League and was one of the four original managers in the league. He was involved in the design and construction of the present baseball facility in Ellis Park. He spearheaded the effort to raise funds to build the original Gill Pool in Ellis Park and was one of many volunteers who helped in the actual construction. Hursel was active in local government, serving as a Hendricks County Commissioner for 10 years and on the Hendricks County Council for 8 years. He was proud of the fact that Hendricks County had the second or third lowest county tax rate in Indiana during his tenure. Through Hursel’s leadership Hendricks County was chosen as the location for the I-70 and Ronald Reagan Parkway interchange. He was instrumental in the conversion of the old Danville South Elementary into the present Hendricks County Government Center. Through his leadership as a County Commissioner and looking to the future, Hendricks County was able to purchase the 170 acres now occupied by the Hendricks County 4-H grounds. He served as a member of the school board when the Danville Community Schools were reorganized, and when the school acquired the former Danville Community High School on East Main Street from Canterbury College. He was former chairman of the Zipper Open Golf Outing fundraiser, former chairman of the Hendricks County fundraiser for the Boy Scouts of America, and former board member and secretary of the Indiana Law Enforcement Building Commission. His government and civic service was based on his strong belief in giving back to the community.
Hursel was very active in Republican Party politics. He served as Hendricks County Finance Chairman, Treasurer of the Hendricks County Republican Central Committee, Seventh and Sixth District Finance Chairman, Senator Richard Lugar’s Hendricks County Coordinator and Precinct Committeeman and Vice Committeeman.
Hursel was inducted into the Danville Community High School Alumni Hall of Fame in 2006, recipient of the Hendricks County Republican Central Committee Hershel Gentry Award, selected as Public Servant of the Year by the Danville Chamber of Commerce, honored as a Sagamore of the Wabash by Governors Otis Bowen and Robert Orr, recipient of the Blanche Wean Award for Historic Preservation and recognized as Elk of the Year by the Plainfield Elks Lodge.
Hursel was a member of Phi Delta Kappa Fraternity (69.5 years), Plainfield Elks Club, Danville Optimist Club, Masonic Lodge, IU Varsity Club, IU Alumni Association, Order of Kentucky Colonels, Eagles Lodge of Plainfield and Murat Shrine – Scottish Rite.
Hursel continued to farm and raise cattle, was a realtor with Wright Realtors in Danville and was the General Partner of Waffle House Associates, LLC. At the time of his passing he was residing in the same farmhouse north of Danville where he lived when he graduated from Danville High School in 1942.
Hursel is survived by his loving wife of 32 years, Sally, and his four children Jim (Helen) Disney, Rose Ellen (John) Moore, Theresa (Jack) Lynch and Sharon (Jim) Woodrum. Ten grandchildren - Angela (Larry) Taylor, Brian (Tracy) Disney, Wm. Andrew Lynch, John J. (Dawn) Moore, Chris (Juli) Woodrum, Theresa Gibbs, Bridget (Robert) Merrion, April (Craig) Bohbrink, Michael (Lindsey) Lynch, and David (Elizabeth) Moore. Twenty-one great-grandchildren – Elizabeth (Dylan) Dominello, Mara Taylor, Madison (Maxwell) Dragonette, Joshua Gibbs, Matthew Taylor, Katherine Disney, Molly Gibbs, Anna Bohbrink, Chase Lynch, Raegan Bohbrink, Zachary Taylor, Alexandria Merrion, Nicholas Merrion, Noah Lynch, Eli Woodrum, Megan Merrion, Ryan Woodrum, Evyenne Lynch, Macoy Lynch, Delilah Moore, and John Patrick Moore. Three stepdaughters – Lisa Lamb, Laura Lamb, Carol (Brian) Godby. Four step grandchildren – Tressa (Remi) Clinkenbeard, Dominick, Dyllon, and Dane Whelan. Three step great-grandchildren – Levi Shrock and Kelsie and Harvey Clinkenbeard.
Due to COVID-19 a private family funeral service was held at Danville Friends Church with burial at Danville South Cemetery on Saturday, November 28.
In lieu of flowers a donation may be made in Hursel’s memory to Phi Delta Kappa Memorial Scholarship Fund – 802 Phi Delta Kappa Drive, Danville, IN 46122.
Services were conducted by Baker Funeral Home, Danville, Indiana.
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