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The Shelby County Community Foundation has benefitted from the selfless and generous contributions of many members of the Shelby County community. | Visit the contact us page if you are interested in donating

Mary Ellen Hackworth

Mary Ellen HackworthMary Ellen Hackworth was born in Pleasureville, Kentucky and was the daughter of L.C. Wood and Ruth Wood.  She graduated from Pleasureville High School.  She attended Kentucky Wesleyan College when it was located in Winchester, Kentucky.  She transferred to the University of Kentucky where she graduated with a B.A. degree in library science.  She was librarian at Shelbyville High School for several years before she married James J. Hackworth of Shelbyville.

She and James had three sons.  Her son David Hackworth preceded her in death as did her husband James.  Her son John Hackworth lives in Lexington, Kentucky with his wife Carolyn.  Her son Neil Hackworth lives in Shelbyville, Kentucky with his wife Sharon.  She had five grandchildren at the time of her death.

She was active in her community and was a member of the Shelby County Historical Society, a lifetime member of the Shelby County Community Theatre, a member of Friends of the Library and a member of the Shelbyville First Christian Church. 

Mary Ellen loved her community and wanted to give something back.  While she was living she was a great volunteer in the organizations that she belonged.  She donated many hours to help projects be successful.  When she was writing her will she also wanted to be sure that she gave back to the community in a monetary way.  She was very impressed with the Community Foundation and felt it would be an organization that would see that her gift would be used to benefit Shelbyville. Her children were very impressed with her willingness to give back to her community in so many ways. She truly was a role model for her family as well as the community.

Moses Ruben
Moses Ruben

Moses Ruben was a local Shelbyville merchant.  He started Ruben’s Dry Goods Store in 1907 with his brother, and he managed the store for 50 years until he closed it and retired in 1957.  He died a few years later.  Through his estate plan, he left a life income for his sister and brother, and upon their deaths, the remainder of his estate was to benefit the local King’s Daughters Hospital.  Before their deaths, though, the hospital was bought out by a for-profit chain, and Moses Ruben’s brother successfully petitioned the court to change the Will.  The brother eventually died at age 97, and at his death, in 1990, the estate was transferred to the Community Foundation to create an endowment fund for Shelby County.

Since that time, the fund has given away over $836,000 to Shelby County nonprofit organizations, in Moses Ruben’s name.  The Moses Ruben Grants Committee, three dedicated local professionals and civic leaders, receives competitive applications twice a year and makes the decisions of which programs the fund will support.
H. Augustus and Austine Barnett

H. Augustus and Austine BarnettGus and Austine Barnett came from different backgrounds and different parts of Kentucky, but their philosophies, interests and goals were the same, including a deep and abiding devotion to Shelby County.

Austine Tuttle Matthews was born is Somerset, and grew up and was schooled in the “city” of Lexington as the daughter of a successful businessman.  She graduated from the University of Kentucky with a BS in home economics. 

Harry Augustus Barnett (Gus) was born in Shelbyville and came from an agricultural background.  While growing up, he and his brothers worked on their grandfathers’ farms.  Gus graduated from Shelbyville High School, having participated in athletics, particularly in football as varsity quarterback under Coach James Daniel.  He earned a berth on the freshman football squad at the University of Kentucky, but soon returned to Shelby County, having decided that college life was not for him.  Because Gus’s father had died when he was very young, several benevolent gentlemen in Shelby County mentored Gus’s interests in farming and the real estate business.  He never forgot these generosities.

Austine came to Shelbyville High School to teach home economics.  Here she met Gus Barnett, a young realtor and farmer.  The rest is history.... They began their married life together in Shelby County in 1946.  In 1948 they moved to their ultimate home of 49 years, Windaloft Farm. 

Gus headed Barnett Realty for six decades, during which time his business developed a number of subdivisions, including Fieldstone Acres, Southlawn Manor, Greenland Park, Ken Acres and Meadow Run.  Meanwhile, Austine, with her home economics background, developed and modified subdivision platts and houseplans.

All the while, Gus and Austine were active in the Kentucky Polled Hereford Assocation and managed a large, purebred herd for many years.  They traveled extensively, buying and selling herefords to improve the bloodlines of their stock, resulting in the 1989 “Standard of Perfection Award” by the American Polled Hereford Association.  This was a source of great pride and gratitude.

The Barnetts were active members of the First Christian Church here in Shelbyville.  Gus was a deacon for many years.  Among her many services, Austine and Mrs. Morton Webb were co-chairwomen for the design and refurbishing of the church on Main Street after it burned.

Donors interested in learning more should contact Katie Biagi-Rickert, our liaison at the Community Foundation of Louisville:

Kate Biagi-Rickert, MSW
Director of Stewardship
The Community Foundation of Louisville
Waterfront Plaza | 325 W. Main Street, Suite 1110 | Louisville, KY 40202
502.855.6942 | Fax: 502.855.6172 |
Biography (Hyperlink)

The Shelby County Community Foundation is an affiliate foundation of The Community Foundation of Louisville (CFL)
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P.O. Box 672, Shelbyville, KY 40065