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Oldham County Historical Society Gala

Deibel to join list of
‘Oldham County
Champions of History’

The third-generation greenhouse
owner is also Crestwood mayor

LA GRANGE, Ky. (September 2013) – Even from a young age, Crestwood, Ky., resident Dennis Deibel knew he would be in the greenhouse business for life. Having a green thumb just came naturally to him, as did a love of history.
His grandfather began a successful greenhouse business in 1924, located at Taylorsville Road and the Watterson Expressway. But the future of the business was given two options – move or relocate – in 1957 when the highway took their property to construct the Watterson Expressway.

Dennis Deibel

Photo by Helen McKinney

Crestwood Mayor Dennis Deibel will be honored Sept. 27 at the Oldham County Historical Society Gala.

Two years earlier, Deibel’s uncle, Ray Deibel, had moved to a dairy farm in Centerfield. Deibel’s father, Robert H. Deibel Sr., decided to move there as well with the greenhouse business and located next to what is now the South Oldham Public Library. Deibel was 12 at the time of the move to Oldham County.
Deibel, 68, proudly admits he is “the third generation in the greenhouse business.” When his father passed away in 1963, Deibel, a high school senior at the time, and his older brother Bob took over the business.
“I was set on staying in the greenhouse business,” said Deibel. “I think it’s gratifying to watch a plant grow and nurture it until its finished growing and ready for production.”
Over the years, Deibel has seen a lot of change, and even helped bring change to Crestwood in his role as mayor for the last 41 years. He will be the 2013 recipient of the J.C. Barnett Champion of Oldham County History Award. The J.C. Barnett Champion of Oldham County History Award is giving to an individual living or deceased who has a sincere interest in Oldham County’s history and wants to preserve it. The award will be presented to Deibel during the 12th annual Oldham County Historical Society Gala on Friday, Sept. 27.
The Bit & Bridle Ball will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Oldham County History Center, located at 106 N. Second Ave. in La Grange. This event will kick off with a reception and open bar and hors d’oeuvres at 6:30 p.m. A catered sit-down dinner will be provided by Ladyfingers Catering, with live music by Tom McShane, owner of Hewn From the Mountain Music Café in Crestwood.

O.C. Historical
Society Gala

• Friday, Sept. 27 with 6:30 p.m. reception; 7:30 p.m. dinner at the Oldham County History Center, 106 N. Second Ave., La Grange, Ky.

• Tickets: $125 per person. To reserve, call (502) 222-0826

There will be both a silent and live auction, with auctioneer Rick Wardlow presiding over the latter auction. The honorary co-chair for this year’s Gala is La Grange Mayor Bill Lammlein.
“The Gala raises 35 percent of the operating funds for the Oldham County Historical Society. The money is used to maintain and operate the museum grounds, the Peyton Samuel Head Family Museum, the J.C. Barnett Archives and Genealogy Library and Rob Morris Educational Chapel, said Nancy Theiss, executive director of the Oldham County Historical Society.
“It’s the top fundraising event we have,” said Gala committee member Terri Miller. The Historical Society depends on sponsors, donors, membership dues and grants to provide quality programming year-round for all ages.
When deciding on a theme for this year’s fundraiser, Miller said the committee decided “There are a lot of different businesses in the horse industry within the county that people are not aware of,” said Miller.
Because of the history of the horse industry and its importance in the county, it was chosen as an appropriate theme, said Theiss.
The annual Gala is “a great event,” Miller said. “It is always well attended.” She said approximately 350 people attend each year. “It supports an important entity in the county.”
When notified that he was this year’s recipient of the award, Deibel said, “It came as kind of a shock to me. I was pleasantly surprised.”
Deibel said history is important, “in the fact that we see what our forefathers have done to promote Oldham County, and to see how we can expand and improve on this. We need to compare how things were done 40 to 50 years ago, and see how they’re done today.”
He has contributed greatly to the city of Crestwood and its growth. When the city was incorporated in 1970, he helped gather signatures for the petition to incorporate the town. He was asked to serve on the Board of Trustees and two years later, when one member and the chairman of the board moved out of the city, “I was elected as the person to run Crestwood.”
Since he has been mayor, Deibel said he has seen tremendous growth in the city. According to the last census taken, Crestwood has grown more than any other city in the state, by 127 percent, he said.
Deibel believes this is due to “Crestwood’s close proximity to Jefferson County, I-71 and the installation of a sanitary sewer system put in place in 1990.” These changes have spurred heavy residential and commercial growth, something he labeled, “orderly growth.”
Theiss said Deibel has been “instrumental in preserving Crestwood’s community as it has rapidly expanded.” She said Deibel was instrumental in purchasing The Maples property from Vince Fanelli for a city park. “Those 20 acres are such a prize for Crestwood and will be preserved forever.”
Giving back to the community is high on Deibel’s priority list. Deibel has also been involved in the South Oldham Fire Department for 52 years, having joined at age 16 as a junior firefighter. He is currently president of the Floydsburg Cemetery, where 20 years ago he was asked by then chairman Milton Carl Stoess to serve. When Stoess died, Deibel assumed the role of president of the cemetery board.

• Tickets to the Bit & Bridle Ball are $125 per person. Reserve by calling the Oldham County History Center at (502) 222-0826.

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