Democrat chair, Mark Redden, dies
The man many say is responsible for the Democrats return to power in Harrison County in this year’s election has died.
Mark Redden, 52, Elizabeth, died at home Sunday afternoon, Nov. 12, 2006, after a lengthy battle with cancer.
As chairman of the Harrison County Democratic Central Committee, Redden worked long and hard unifying the party, said his friend of nearly 20 years, former Commissioner Edward Sieg of Depauw.
‘He got people back together and got them all pulling in the same direction,’ Sieg said. ‘When he started, there might be 10 or 12 people show up at the meetings; about all of this year, we’ve had from 50 to 60 people showing up.’
Redden, formerly the Taylor Township Trustee, vacated that position before his death and named his successor. The three-member township advisory board will remain the same, said Barbara Black, vice chair of the Harrison County Democratic Central Committee.
Besides serving as Redden’s vice chair, Black and he were friends who had worked together in the Democratic party for years. He had been a precinct committeeman and before that, vice chair of the Democratic Women and Men’s Club. ‘He was a good man,’ Black said. ‘I enjoyed working with him.’
Redden was chosen by the Democrats to head their party beginning in spring 2005. ‘He had a way with people, in talking to them and in getting things done,’ Black said. ‘He loved being chairman, and he loved the Democratic party. He will be sorely missed.’
Black said she telephoned Redden’s wife, the former Janice Gettelfinger, on Election Night, to let him know the Democrats had won a majority on the Harrison County Board of Commissioners and the Harrison County Council. ‘His wife told him that night,’ Black said, adding that she hopes he understood. ‘He worked very, very hard for this,’ she said.
Redden also worked to help the Democratic cause in the Ninth District Congressional race between Democrat Baron Hill and incumbent Republican Mike Sodrel. That work was appreciated.
‘Mark was truly committed to electing Baron Hill and the entire Democratic ticket,’ said Hill’s campaign chair, Abby Curran. ‘He believed in what he was doing. He was a real treasure, and he will be deeply missed.’
Black said the Democratic precinct chairs and vice chairs must caucus in 30 days (from Redden’s death) to elect a new party chair in a closed session. The meeting will likely be held at the justice center, Black said. The vote will be by secret ballot. The public will be allowed in the vicinity but not inside the room when votes are cast.
Until then, Black will continue to serve as acting chair.
Redden’s brother-in-law, Wayne Gettelfinger, was named by Redden and elected by the township advisory board to continue as township trustee until the beginning of the year, Gettelfinger said. Then, a long-term decision will be made.
Redden must also be replaced as precinct committeeman by party leaders.
Redden was diagnosed with cancer two years and nine months ago, his wife said. ‘They gave him six months to live,’ she said, a testament to Redden’s determination.
Lately, Janice Redden said, ‘Some people said they thought he was hanging on to see the results of the election.’
After the results were in on Nov. 7, Janice said she told her husband the Democrats had regained the majority on the council and the commission, and he apparently understood.
‘On Wednesday, he asked how much (Councilman-elect) Bill Nichols had won by,’ she said. ‘At various times, he said he was glad.’
Born Aug. 26, 1954, in Louisville, Redden was the son of the late Niles E. Sr. and Irma (Jeannie) Board Redden.
He was a self-employed farmer and fisherman, and besides his political posts, was a member of the Evans Landing Historical Society.
Survivors besides his wife and Gettelfinger, who cared for him, include his grandmother, Lucy B. Board of Corydon and two brothers, Niles E. Redden Jr. of Northville, Mich., and Thomas Redden of Norman.
Visitation was yesterday (Tuesday) and will be today from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and tomorrow after 8 a.m. at Gehlbach & Royse Funeral Home in Corydon.
The funeral will be tomorrow at 11 a.m. at the funeral home followed by burial in Evans Landing Cemetery.
The family suggests memorial gifts to Evans Landing Historical Society.