Right place, right time
One of Harrison County’s newest families ‘took the long way around’ to get here, but they say it was worth the journey.
Since beginning their life together 32 years ago, Kenneth Abell, a native of Louisville, and his wife, Yvonne, originally from Darke County, Ohio, have lived 17 years in Louisville, where they met while in college and wed. Then they spent 11 years in Cincinnati, 2-1/2 years in Richmond, and lastly, Corydon. Their comfy, brick, ranch-style home east of town ‘ set amidst tall graceful trees, lush greenery, and bright yellow daylilies ‘ is inviting not only for its beauty but also its serenity.
‘God has moved us everywhere we’ve needed to be,’ Yvonne said during a recent visit. ‘I know the reason we’re here is God’s plans for our life. We’re not here by chance. He has plans for us. To give God the credit for this beautiful place is really important to me.’
Seemingly bursting with a zest for life, Yvonne is the more talkative of the two. Kenneth is more reserved; he prefers to listen, to study the other fellow.
‘I’m just as much, or more, interested in the other person than in me,’ he said, adding modestly that he can’t think of any reason why anyone would find him interesting.
That is perhaps his career side showing itself.
Kenneth is the human resource director at Oxford Automotive in Corydon, which has a workforce of about 425 people. ‘Oh, I’m enjoying it,’ he said.
Being a human resource director has to do with people, of course, and things related to people, like labor relations and training.
During the recent tornadoes, he said several employees from Marengo and Georgetown lost their homes and properties. ‘There are a lot of people who need a lot of things,’ he said. ‘We will see what we can do.’
Kenneth speaks not only of Oxford but also their church, where Yvonne contributes much of her energy to teaching the children and sharing the gift of her soprano voice. She enjoys leading the music during worship services at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Corydon and singing at weddings. Her favorite numbers? ‘Our Father’ (The Lord’s Prayer) and Franz Schubert’s ‘Ave Maria,’ sung majestically by the Irish tenor Ronan Tynan at President Ronald Reagan’s State Funeral on June 11.
‘I do all the others, but those are my two favorites,’ she said.
Kenneth’s work at Oxford Automotive is not his first job here. When they lived in Louisville, he spent five years as the human resource director at Keller Manufacturing Co., but the couple didn’t move here then.
Kenneth holds a political science degree from the University of Louisville (no, he’s never run for public office); Yvonne has a master’s in elementary education with a speciality in reading.
It is a fact, Yvonne said, she and Ken (as she calls him) have always been in the right place at the right time.
In Cincinnati, for instance, they were within easy reach of her parents in Ohio, so she could help care for her mother when she was terminally ill.
‘My mother taught me about dying,’ Yvonne said. ‘She was so peaceful.
‘She would always say, ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff.’
‘The big thing for her (before she died) was to talk to each member of the family and resolve anything that needed resolving. She wanted to make sure their faith was strong,’ Yvonne said.
Later, her father became ill and needed care. As fate would have it, Ken had made another career change, this time to Richmond, in eastern Indiana. That put the family within 50 miles of Yvonne’s father, even closer than when her mother died.
Hardly a week after the Abells learned they would be moving to Corydon, they learned their son, Chad, 28, would be transferred by his company to the Louisville metropolitan area. He and his family ‘ wife Rebecca, Alissa, 6, and Aidan, 1 ‘ bought a home in New Albany, and so are within easy reach. Yvonne is giving Alissa piano lessons.
Their other son, Jaycen, 32, and his wife, Lisa, live in England. Their first child was born Monday. She is Cerywen Emily. Mother and daughter are doing well.
The children and grandchildren, Ken and Yvonne said, are a highlight in their lives.
‘What I really enjoy is spending time with my children, my grandchildren,’ Yvonne said.
They both also enjoy reading, golf and tennis, and he likes to fish, but there hasn’t been much time yet for sports, Yvonne said.
Why would someone want to get to know the Abells?
‘I listen; I’ll be a good friend; I’ll share my faith, and I like to laugh,’ said Yvonne. ‘I like to bake, I like to entertain … I like homemaking.’
Ken said, ‘We really believe in the institution of marriage; we work with engaged couples.
‘It’s a real pleasure for us to meet these couples and help prepare them for marriage,’ Ken said. ‘We see ourselves all over again.
‘And we can serve as mentors after the marriage.’
Both enjoy their new neighbors. ‘I think it’s so peaceful here (they were out of town during the storms); the people have been really warm and welcoming,’ Yvonne said. Ken said, ‘I agree; it’s very peaceful. It’s close to the kids. We enjoy the serenity of the whole area.’
‘We thank God for his many blessings,’ Yvonne added.