- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Lenn Lee Nelson was never short on opinions and those who knew him said he worked hard to better Vine Grove and Hardin County as a whole during his life.
Nelson, a longtime dairy farmer and Hardin County magistrate, died Friday morning. He was 82.
Nelson’s son, Byron, said his father had been in declining health the past year and never could recover after he suffered a fall.
But Nelson’s health problems could not fatigue his energy and zest, Byron Nelson added.
An unshakable work ethic is one of the imprints Byron Nelson said his father left on him, as he farmed since he was a child and served on multiple boards throughout the county.
“If he could crawl, he would be up farming,” he said.
Hardin County Clerk Kenny Tabb described Nelson as a great person and a hard worker who was personified through his occupation. The two men briefly served together on Hardin Fiscal Court.
“When you’re a dairy farmer and you have to milk cows two times a day, that says a lot about the work ethic you have,” he said.
In addition to farming, Nelson served as past president of the Vine Grove Elementary PTA, Vine Grove Optimist Club and Hardin County Farm Bureau. He also was a board member of the Vine Grove Recreation Program and Hardin County Equalization Program and served on the Hardin County Board of Education from 1965 to 1968.
Nelson also was recognized with numerous awards for his contributions to agriculture, such as the Distinguished Leadership Award from the Hardin County District Extension Service and the Jack Snyder Award for advancements in agriculture by the Elizabethtown Rotary Club.
For 16 years, Nelson also represented the Vine Grove area as a magistrate on Hardin Fiscal Court.
Doug Goodman, who served on the court with Nelson for one term, said he always would remember Nelson as “blunt” and said he never failed to speak his mind and defend his convictions.
“If he was for it, he would tell you,” Goodman said. “If he was not, he would tell you.”
Goodman also said Nelson was very witty and wrapped humor into his service to the court.
Goodman and Nelson often found themselves on the same side of issues, such as the ousting of Quorum Healthcare Resources in 1997 as manager of Hardin Memorial Hospital in favor of Baptist Healthcare.
Goodman also said Nelson was a player in the establishment of primary physician services in northern Hardin County.
“He was a very wise magistrate,” Goodman said.
Nelson, in his own words, stressed the need for more youth activities in his district and the county and a focus on recycling. Nelson also pushed the court to keep HMH and its services both efficient and affordable for the residents the hospital serves.
Former Hardin County Judge-Executive R.R. “Babe” Thomas said Nelson was an “excellent person” who could be entrusted to serve with honesty and integrity.
“He certainly had an independent streak, which was admirable because he always stood for what he thought was right,” Thomas said.
Charles Ashley, who bested Nelson in the May 1998 Democratic primary, said he respected his opponent and often played cards at his house long before they served on Fiscal Court.
“He was a fine fella,” Ashley said. “I admired him.”
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or firstname.lastname@example.org.