Hoosier History Highlights for September 20 – 26

Indiana (NNDC):

September 20 – September 26

The Week in Indiana History


map1853     The first boat to travel the entire length of the Wabash and Erie Canal reached Evansville.  The canal, under construction for over 20 years, connected the Great Lakes with the Ohio River.  At 459 miles, it the was longest canal ever built in the United States.  In most places, the waterway was 30 to 40 feet wide and 6 feet deep.  Alongside was a tow path for mules pulling the canal boats.

TR1902     President Theodore Roosevelt arrived in Indianapolis, after visiting Logansport, Tipton, Kokomo, and Noblesville.  In the capital city, he spoke at Tomlinson Hall and the Columbia Club.  From there, he was taken to St. Vincent Hospital where doctors performed surgery on a leg wound he had received a few days earlier in a carriage accident.  The President cancelled the rest of his tour and returned to the White House later that night.

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1925     The Broadcast Listeners’ Association in Indianapolis held an exposition at Cadle Tabernacle in the city.  Radio was the marvel of the age, and the group advertised a “million dollar display” of the latest sets available.  Special events included addresses by Indiana Governor Ed Jackson and Indianapolis Mayor Lew Shank.  Music on the program included Bill Watson and his musical saw, Whistler J. L. Hall, and the Carmel Symphony Orchestra.  The program was broadcast live on station WFBM. Pictured:  A 1925 Atwater Kent Radio.


Willard1929     A large crowd was present at the Indiana Statehouse for the unveiling of a plaque honoring Frances Willard, educator, suffragist, and leader in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.  Participants included Indiana Governor Harry G. Leslie, Ella Alexander Boole, president of the National Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and Lorado Taft, the artist who designed the tablet.  A fleet of airplanes showered roses on the building as 5,000 children paraded into the Statehouse rotunda to place flowers at the base of the plaque.

Madelyn Pugh1961     The final episode of  “I Love Lucy” was broadcast on CBS Television.  One of the principal writers on the show was Madelyn Pugh.  Born in Indianapolis, she graduated from Shortridge High School and the Indiana University School of Journalism.  She and her long-time writing partner, Bob Carroll, Jr., created scripts for hundreds of radio and television programs.  Pictured:  Madelyn Pugh and Lucille Ball.  

Joshua Bell1982     14-year-old Joshua Bell played a violin solo with the prestigious Philadelphia Orchestra.  After he finished Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3, the audience burst into sustained applause.  Bell, at the time a sophomore at North Bloomington High School, began playing the violin at age 4 and made his debut as a soloist at age 7.  He has gone on to perform with virtually every major orchestra and today is one of the most celebrated violinists in the world.

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Indiana Quick Quiz

Presidents in Indiana

     Over the years, many United States Presidents have visited the Hoosier State.  Match each of the four clues to the correct Presidential name listed below.

1.  This President, in 1866, spoke from the same Bates House Hotel balcony his predecessor had used five years earlier.

2.  On a 1948 “whistle-stop” campaign, this President stopped in at the Beech Grove Masonic Hall.

3.  In 1887, this President visited the brand new Indiana Statehouse with his young bride, Frances.

4.  This President, known for being “silent,” let his wife Grace do the talking when they came to Penn Station in Richmond in 1926.

A.  Harry Truman  B. Calvin Coolidge  C.  Andrew Johnson        D.  Grover Cleveland

Answers Below


Hoosier Quote of the Week

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“You might think that after 40 years of practice you wouldn’t need to practice anymore, but sadly it doesn’t work that way.  You still have to keep chugging away and perfecting.”

– – – Joshua Bell


Did You Know?

     Madelyn Pugh had happy memories of her years at Shortridge High School in Indianapolis.  She said she did not realize until later what a great school it was.  The teachers were very encouraging and there were many opportunities to be creative.  In her senior year, she was the Friday editor of the student newspaper, The Daily Echo.  A variety of clubs met each week, and she and fellow student Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. were both members of the fiction club.


ANSWERS:  1.  C  Andrew Johnson       2.  A  Harry Truman       3.  D  Grover Cleveland    4. B Calvin Coolidge

Ruth Ann Gentry, 80, Huntingburg

Ruth Ann Gentry, 80, of Huntingburg, died Wednesday, September 16, at her home. She was born in Bristow January 27, 1940, to Alvin and Bernice (Flamion) Lasher. She married Eugene Gentry July 11, 1959. He died in 1990.

Ruth Ann was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Huntingburg. She owned and operated Wind in the Willows floral shop in Huntingburg for 18 years. She enjoyed gardening, cooking, golfing, and working out and loved spending time with her family.

She is survived by four sons, Michael Gentry and wife Hazel, Chris Gentry and wife Shannon, and Vince Gentry and wife Clara, all of Huntingburg, and Dennis Gentry and wife Beth, Ireland; two daughters, Beth Dahlen and Laura Morgan, both of Jasper; her companion, Tony Harris, Huntingburg; two sisters, Alene Dauby, Tell City, and Phyllis Bender and husband John, St. Meinrad; 16 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

In addition to her parents and husband she was preceded in death by sister and brother-in-law Joella and Fred Evrard, brother-in-law Joe Dauby, and one granddaughter, Jessica Lynn Morgan.

Friends may call from 3-8 p.m. Monday at Nass and Son Funeral Home in Huntingburg.  Memorial contributions can be made to the Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Associations. Online condolences can be shared at www.nassandson.com. Funeral services at 10 a.m. Tuesday at St. Mary’s Church with burial following in St. Isidore’s Cemetery in Bristow. Father Biju Thomas will officiate at the service.

Jerry Dee Schurz, 81, Huntingburg

Jerry Dee Schurz, 81, of Huntingburg, died Wednesday, September 16, at his home. He was born in Huntingburg August 17, 1939, to Karl and Mary (Robling) Schurz. He married Patty L. Whitsitt June 9, 1956, at the Church of Christ in Duff.

Jerry worked in management at the MetLife Insurance Company for 30 years and owned Hunter Paving and Construction Company. He was a founding member of the Northside Christian Church in Huntingburg where he served as an elder, song leader, and adult bible study leader and was a member of the Dubois County Masonic Lodge 520 F&AM.

He is survived by his wife, Patty L. Schurz; two sons, Kurt Schurz, Huntingburg, and Jay Schurz and wife Leila, Linton; one daughter, Kim Chambers and husband Ed, Paragon; one sister, Linda Mundy and husband “Hub,” Huntingburg; 13 grandchildren; and 21 great-grandchildren.

In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by one brother, John Schurz.

Friends are invited to attend public visitation 3-8 p.m. Saturday at Nass and Son Funeral Home in Huntingburg. Online condolences can be shared at www.nassandson.com. Private funeral services Sunday followed by burial in Mayo Cemetery near Duff. Ministers Jason Rae and Ron Frazier will officiate at the services.

Gerald “Chub” Stenftenagel, 72, St. Anthony

Gerald “Chub” Stenftenagel, 72, of St. Anthony, died Wednesday, September 16, at his home. He was born in Jasper February 26, 1948, to Roman and Lilla Mae (Hopf) Stenftenagel. He married Julie Kordes May 30, 1970, at St. Anthony Catholic Church in St. Anthony.

Chub was a U.S. Army veteran and served in the Vietnam War. He was a life member of VFW Post 693 in Jasper. He retired as a parts man from Hasenour Motor Company in St. Anthony after 41 years of service and worked part time for Kitten Automotive in Ferdinand. He was a member of Divine Mercy Parish – St. Anthony Catholic Church. He served on the St. Anthony Volunteer Fire Department, was on its board of directors, and was a member of the St. Anthony Community Center. He enjoyed camping, was an avid St. Louis Cardinals and Indiana University basketball fan, a NASCAR racing fan, and enjoyed watching his nieces and nephews’ sporting events.

He is survived by his wife, Julie Stenftenagel; one daughter, Amanda “Mandy” Stenftenagel. St. Anthony; four sisters, Donna Schuetter and husband Jerry, Joyce Stenftenagel, Cindy Meyer and husband Jerry, and Brenda Gehlhausen and husband Rod, all of Jasper; three brothers; Melvin Stenftenagel and wife Pat and Joe Stenftenagel and wife Deb, all of Jasper, and John Stenftenagel, St. Anthony; and nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by two brothers, Ronnie and Larry Stenftenagel.

There will be no public visitation. A private family visitation will be held at the Becher- Kluesner Downtown Chapel in Jasper. Memorial contributions can be made to Divine Mercy Parish, the St. Anthony Fire Department, or to a favorite charity. Online condolences can be shared at www.becherkluesner.com. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Anthony Church with burial following in the church cemetery. Masks and social distancing will be required. Jasper VFW Post 693 will conduct military graveside rites.

Dorothy Marie Traylor, 94, Columbus

Dorothy Marie Traylor, 94, of Columbus, died Tuesday, September 15, at Our Hospice of South Central Indiana. She was born in Jasper December 8, 1925, to Edwin and Rose Stallman, the eldest daughter of five siblings. She married Robert C. Traylor May 8, 1948, in Jasper. He died in 2002, a few days shy of their 55th wedding anniversary.

Dorothy was a military wife and served her family and friends with love and devotion.

She is survived by two sons, Gregory A. Traylor, Columbus, and Richard V. Traylor and wife Tammy, Easton, Pennsylvania; two daughters, Connie L. Jackson, Columbus, and Sherry Traylor and husband Steve, Shelbyville; one brother, James Stallman and wife Ruth, Jasper; 13 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; and a number of nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents and husband she was preceded in death by two brothers, Robert Stallman and John Stallman, who died in infancy, and one sister, Benigna Stallman, who died in infancy..

Friends may call from 4-8 p.m. Friday at Jewell-Rittman Family Funeral Home in Columbus and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Becher-Kluesner North Chapel in Jasper followed by a prayer service at 1 p.m. Internment will follow in Traylor Union Church Cemetery in Otwell. Online condolences can be made at www.becherkluesner.com.

Doris J. Schnell, 86, Schnellville

Doris J. Schnell, 86, of Schnellville, died Monday, September 14, while visiting her daughter in Lecanto, Florida. She was born in St. Anthony March 26, 1934, to Hubert and Louise (Wehr) Bonifer. She married John J. Schnell June 1, 1957, at St. Anthony Catholic Church in St. Anthony. He died September 28, 2001.

Doris was a member of Divine Mercy Parish – Sacred Heart Catholic Church, and its St. Anne’s Society and Christian Mothers. She made alter cloths for the parish and was awarded the Brute Society Award in 2016. She was a member of the Schnellville Community Club, St. Anthony Community Center, St. Anthony American Legion Post 493 auxiliary, and Betzville Park. She was an excellent seamstress and quilter, made hundreds of quilts for others and assisted in picnic quilting for many years for the Fire Department and parish picnics. She was active in blood drives and served as the chairman for the local Red Cross blood drives for 21 years. She was involved in the community of Schnellville and was considered by many a community matriarch. She enjoyed playing cards, especially bridge, doing crossword puzzles, visiting the casino, and spending time with friends and family, especially her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She is survived by one son, Doug Schnell and wife Peggy, Kiowa, Colorado; one daughter, Dr. Lisa Schnell Morey, Lecanto, Florida; three sisters; Shirley Terwiske and husband Gerald and Diane Bair and husband Gary, all of Dubois, and Ruth Hauser and husband Bill, St. Anthony; three brothers; Ronald Bonifer, Jasper, Ralph Bonifer and wife Alice, Chicago, and Butch Bonifer and wife Betty, Dubois; five grandchildren; Connor Snyder, Nicole Brady and husband John, Tyler Schnell and wife Ashlee, Trent Schnell and wife Shenna, and Lindsey Snyder; seven great-grandchildren; Archer, Griffin, Gaige, and Violet Schnell, Brae Holmes, Felix Griswold, and Aiden Smith.

In addition to her parents and husband she was preceded in death by one grandchild, Shayna Schnell, and one brother; Kenneth Bonifer.

Friends may call from 3-7 p.m. Sunday at the Becher-Kluesner Downtown Chapel in Jasper and from 9-10 a.m. Monday at Sacred Heart Church. Memorial contributions can be made to Divine Mercy Parish or to a favorite charity. Online condolences can be shared at www.becherkluesner.com. A Mass of Christian Burial  will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at the church with burial following in the church cemetery. Masks and social distancing will be required.

Clara Fay Rust, 81, Huntingburg

Clara Fay Rust, 81, of Huntingburg, died Wednesday, September 16, at Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center in Jasper. She was born in Dubois County July 5, 1939, to Oscar and Verona (Whitsitt) Heim. She married Don E. Rust May 25, 1959, in the Salem Parsonage. He died February 7, 2019.

Clara worked as a custodian at Crestview and Huntingburg Elementary schools for many years. She enjoyed crocheting, knitting, quilting, and weaving rugs. She also enjoyed her family and most of all loved being a grandma.

She is survived by two sons, Steve Rust and wife Erin and Ron Rust and wife Gretchen, all of Huntingburg; one brother, Jim Heim and wife Tonya, Holland; one sister, Mary Morris, Dale; six grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

In addition to her parents and husband she was preceded in death by one son, Mark “Porky” Rust, and by sisters.

Funeral services will be private. Nass and Son Funeral Home in Huntingburg is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences can be shared at www.nassandson.com.

Road Closure in Jasper

Jasper (NNDC):

The Jasper Street Dept along with Knies Construction/Calcar paving, will be closing W 19th Street, 400 feet west of the intersection with Emily St, beginning Monday, Sept. 21, at approximately 8:00 a.m. for street improvement.

Motorists will not have access to this portion of W 19th St.

This project is expected to extend approximately 3 weeks, barring inclement weather or any other unforeseen events.

Mary Lou Henke, 78, Jasper

Mary Lou Henke, 78, of Jasper, died Monday, September 14, at her home. She was born in Ferdinand April 2, 1942, to Victor and Eleanor (Boeglin) Hedinger. She married Eugene “Gene” Henke November 26, 1960, at St. Ferdinand Catholic Church in Ferdinand.

Mary Lou was a homemaker. She enjoyed being with her family, especially her grandchildren.

She is survived by her husband, Gene Henke; four sons, Glenn Henke, Huntingburg, Steve Henke and wife Rita, Dale, Brian Henke and wife Dee Ann, Birdseye, and Rick Henke and companion Karen Fetter, Ferdinand; one daughter, Debbie Buschkoetter and husband Mike, Ferdinand; 10 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; one sister, Rosie Greulich, Ferdinand; and three brothers, Robert Hedinger and wife Margie, Florida, Paul Hedinger and wife Tina, Jasper, and John Hedinger and wife Crystal, Greensburg.

In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by one sister, Patricia Englert, one brother, Joseph Hedinger, one son-in-law, Patrick Kerstiens, and one grandson, Jason Kerstiens.

Friends may call from 9-10 a.m. Monday at St. Ferdinand Church. Online condolences can be shared at www.becherfuneralhome.com. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at the church with burial following in the church cemetery.

Susan Kay Mishel, 55, Westfield

Susan Kay Mishel, 55, of Westfield, died Monday, September 14, at her home. She was born in Huntingburg September 7, 1965, to Alan Wayne and Connie Kay (Aufderhar) Nass.

Susan was a graduate of Southridge High School and earned her master’s degree in speech pathology from Ball State University. She worked as a speech pathologist at the Indianapolis V.A. hospital and St. Vincent’s Hospital in Indianapolis.

She is survived by two daughters, Alexis and Anna Mishel, both of Carmel; her parents, Alan and Connie Nass, Huntingburg; and two brothers, Andy (Sammy Stills) Nass, Huntingburg, and Stephen Nass, Evansville.

Private visitation and funeral services will be held at Nass and Son Funeral Home in Huntingburg with burial following in Fairmount Cemetery. Pastor Mark McDaniel will officiate at the services. Online condolences can be shared at www.nassandson.com.