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Radcliff businessman Jay Duvall remembers Martin Louis Straney as a generous man who would always help out a friend.
Straney, a former Hardin County farmer, business owner, real estate developer and state representative for the 26th District, passed away Jan. 1 at Richmond Place in Lexington. He was 86.
Duvall, who had lost contact with Straney, said he was saddened to read about the death of a man he considered a longtime friend.
Duvall purchased property from Straney roughly 20 years ago and said he always was a help to him as they worked together in their respective businesses.
“He was always a nice guy,” he said.
His willingness to lend a hand is what still sticks out for Duvall.
“I never asked a favor of him he didn’t do,” he said.
Duvall said Straney was highly active in the county and an excellent businessman respected by his peers.
“He was a good person and well thought of in the community,” he said.
Straney was born in Stithton, which now is part of Fort Knox, and was stationed at Fort McClellan, Ala., with the U.S. Army’s 1463rd Area Service Unit during World War II. He received several military decorations, including Battalion Marksman, the Victory Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal and American Theater Ribbon.
Straney later returned to Hardin County and launched a business career, where he owned the Hillview Farm and developed the Twin Oaks subdivision in Radcliff with his father.
He later pursued a career in politics and was elected the first state representative for the 26th district in 1966. He relocated to Elizabethtown and established Bluegrass Lawn and Garden Center with his son.
Radcliff Councilman Don Yates said Straney hired him when he was down and out, even though Yates had worked against him on Joe Prather’s campaign for state representative.
“Everything he told me he would do he did,” he said.
Yates said Straney got him started in the pawn shop business and sold him the shop in the early 1970s.
“He gave me an opportunity to get into business that, well, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said.
Yates described him as an impeccable businessman and a statesman who worked hard to advance Hardin County’s interests while serving in Frankfort.
“He was a person some people envied because he could sit down in a gravel road and make money,” he said.
Straney is survived by his wife of 68 years, Mary Bernice (Leonard) Straney; and two children, Debbie Leonard of Georgetown and Louis Lee Straney of Santa Fe, N.M.
A graveside service with military honors was at 2 p.m. Friday at Hardin Memorial Park in Elizabethtown.
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or firstname.lastname@example.org.