Leonard Edward Urban, 79, went to be with Jesus on Wednesday, December 8, 2021, at his home, with his family by his side, following a hard battle with cancer.
He was the eldest of 5 sons born to Otto and Irene Dahl Urban. He was born in Crystal Falls, Michigan on October 28, 1942.
He grew up in Crystal Falls, Michigan, graduating from high school there in 1961. Following his graduation from high school, he attended the Indiana College of Mortuary Science in Indianapolis, Indiana, graduating in 1963 as a licensed funeral director and embalmer. During his college years, he was employed at various funeral homes in Indiana including a very special one – the Woodrow Funeral Home in Kingman, Indiana. He served his internship at the Haas Funeral Home at Sellersburg, Indiana. While there, he met his first wife – Sharon Huckelberry. They were married on January 9, 1965. They had two children – Tracey Lee and Chris Edward Urban. He later managed the Howard & Son Funeral Home at Hagerstown, Indiana for two years and was associated with the Gray Funeral Home there. While working at the funeral homes, he was also the town marshal for a short period of time.
In 1966, Leonard moved to Connersville, Indiana where he purchased the Thompson-Brown Funeral Home in Connersville. From 1966 to 1977, he operated an ambulance service within the funeral business. In 1967, he was elected Fayette County Coroner taking office on January 1, 1968. He was later re-elected in 1972. Ten years later, he was appointed to serve the unexpired term of George Jeffries, the present coroner, who passed away. Leonard was Fayette County Coroner for a total of eleven years. During his time as coroner, he served as President and Vice-President of the Indiana Coroner’s Association. In 1989, Leonard began a partnership with licensed funeral director Wade Winkler and renamed the funeral home Urban-Winkler Funeral Home. In 2013 he purchased a closed bank building in Liberty, Indiana and remodeled it and turned it in to one of his most proud accomplishments, Urban Winkler Liberty Funeral Home. When Leonard became ill, he was extremely proud and confident knowing that his son, Chris and grandson, Chris II– who are licensed funeral directors – will continue in his footsteps at the funeral home. He had devoted his entire adult life serving the people of Connersville and surrounding communities.
On March 19, 1988, he married the love of his life, Pearlie Bowling, in Connersville, Indiana. They were married for 33 years. God blessed them with three wonderful children – Scott Leonard, Robert Anders, and Heidi Marie. He loved to work with her by his side at the funeral home.
God and church were very important to Leonard. He became a member of the First United Methodist in Connersville in 1967. He was an extremely dedicated member serving as Sunday School teacher, Lay Leader for 4 terms, volunteering at the Tasty Luncheon for many, many years, preparing their annual Thanksgiving dinners, and having church parties at his cabin. He also loved to visit other churches and was so supportive of his wife’s singing in these churches. He was a member of the Gideons International.
He was a member of the Optimist Club; Past President of the Connersville Breakfast Optimist Club; Past President of the Fayette County Young Republican Club; Past President of the Fayette County Extension Board; Past President of the Fayette-Union Association for Crippled Children. He was instrumental in starting the FATE Center. He and Ed Abbott encouraged Ray and Sharon Mauger to move to Connersville thus having Residential CRF here which employs around 300 people.
He started the first Fair parade which was called the Fayette County Fair Shrine Parade. He chaired the Fair parades for ten years. He started the first Fayette County Veteran’s Parade in the early 1980’s. He was an advisory member of the Retired Seniors Volunteer Board and started and cooked ham and beans and apple butter to raise money for the Senior Citizen’s Center for many years. In 1988, he served as the chairman of the Celebration ’88 Committee which put the new roof on the Roberts Park amphitheater. He was a very active member of the Connersville Lions Club and was past President of the club and received many, many awards including the W.P. Woods Award and the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award which is the highest form of recognition bestowed on outstanding individuals. He was also a past Lions Club Zone Chairman of the District 25F. He was a member of the Connersville Eagles Aeries #1065; the National Rifle Association of America; and the Whitewater Valley Railroad Association.
Seeing the need for restoration and maintenance of Fayette County rural cemeteries, in 1970, he started the Fayette County Cemetery Association, which over the next 20 years restored and cleaned up 40 to 50 rural cemeteries in Fayette County using first CETA workers and work release inmates from the Fayette County jail. He was President of the association for 20 years.
He was a Past Vice-President, then became President of the Springersville Cemetery Association and was for 20 years. He was on the board of the Columbia Cemetery Association. He served as District Director of the Indiana Funeral Directors Association for District 8. He was elected Secretary, Vice-President, President Elect, and then in 1992 and 1993, he was elected President of the Indiana Funeral Directors Association where he served on many committees. He served two terms on the Policy Board of the National Funeral Director’s Association. Being sensitive to family needs and providing respectful assistance, he was the recipient of an Honorary Degree from the Mid America College of Mortuary Science in Jeffersonville, Indiana in 1993.
In 2003, he was elected to the office of City Council of Connersville where he served 4 years. While a City Councilman, he served on the Fayette County Economic Development Board and was President of the Fayette County Tourism Board. He was elected Mayor of Connersville in November 2007, taking office in January 2008. In 2011, he was re-elected. He loved Connersville and made many improvements to the city and to the Roberts Park while he was Mayor. He chaired the building of the new swimming pool. He also performed many marriage ceremonies while he was Mayor. Following being mayor, in 2018, he became ordained in the Ministry of the Gospel through Gospel Revelation Inc. He performed the marriage ceremonies of three of his children and his granddaughter. He was awarded the Connersville Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award in 2012.
He joined the Hagerstown Masonic Lodge in 1966. Upon moving to Connersville, he transferred his membership to Warren Lodge #15 F.&AM of Connersville. He received his 50 Year Award of Gold in 2016. He is a Past Master of the Warren Lodge and is a 32nd degree Mason. He was very active in the Lodge and formed Historic Elmhurst Corporation to preserve the building known as Elmhurst in Connersville. He was the Treasurer, then the President of Historic Elmhurst for over 10 years. For 12 years, he chaired and fried fish for the Elmhurst Fish Fry fundraiser. He was a member of the Scottish Rite, Murat Shriners International, Past President of the Whitewater Valley Shrine Club; the Connersville Chapter #346 of the Order of the Eastern Star; Connersville Commandery No. 6 Knights Templar; and the Connersville York Rite.
Being a very successful businessman, in the late 1980’s he established a new company, the Connersville Retirement Inc. which involved mini warehouses and rentals in Connersville and in the state of Michigan. He built the Connersville Storage and Mini Warehouse business in Connersville. In 1991, he envisioned the need for a new motel; he and Bill Rogers constructed the Woodridge Inn in Connersville. He owned and operated the business for 15 years. He purchased the former Holiday Inn complex and later sold it to a local church group.
Anytime he could get days away from work, he loved spending time at his lake home. He always wanted to be there on the 4th of July so he and his family could continue his family’s tradition of attending the Alpha, Michigan 4th of July parade. He loved parades and going on what he called “joy rides” which was just long drives enjoying the scenery and listening to Willie’s Roadhouse radio. He also loved polka music and was an excellent polka dancer. Hunting deer with family members, especially with his son on his farm, was something he looked forward to every year. He loved cooking especially for large groups of people, rolling out yeast dough into rolls and breadsticks. He always made the most beautiful fruit pies. He loved motorhomes and motorcycles especially when it came to buying and selling them. He wasn’t afraid of a challenge. He took flying lessons at the Connersville Airport and at a flight school in Cincinnati, Ohio, and later purchased an airplane and loved flying it for several years.
He loved his family so much and was incredibly proud of every one of them. He will be greatly missed by them. They are his wife – Pearlie; their children: Chris (Cheyenne) Urban of Connersville; Scott (Casey) Urban of Boise, Idaho; Robert (Kaelee) Urban of Connersville; Heidi (JD) Roberts of Savannah, Georgia; three grandsons – Chris (Stephanie) Urban II, of Connersville, Dakota McMurray (Monica Huttelmayer) of Indianapolis and Christopher Dudas of Connersville, two granddaughters – Ivory Roberts of Savannah, Georgia and Kelsei (Dakota) Cummins of Tacoma, Washington; four great grandchildren – Gracelynn and Callie Urban and Kyndal and Casey Cummins; three brothers – James (Bonnie) Urban of Caspian, Michigan, Robert (Marsha) Urban of Connersville, and Mardy (Jolene) Urban of Hurley, Wisconsin; his “sister” – Cindy (Dave) Newnum of Kingman, Indiana; his beloved dog -Snickers; his sister and brother in laws; his mother and father in law; several nieces and nephews; cousins; and countless friends.
Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by his daughter, Tracey Urban and his brother, Randy Urban.
The funeral service for Leonard will be on Saturday, December 18, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Connersville. Dr. Stephen Clark, Pastor Jeff Hensley, Pastor Dave Galbraith, and Pastor Dennis Perkins will officiate the service. Friends and family may visit at the Urban Winkler Funeral Home from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, December 17, 2021. A Masonic Memorial service will be held at 8:00pm on Friday evening at the funeral home.
Memorial contributions may be made to Vonda Bishop Childrens’ Christmas Fund or to the Connersville Lions Club and those may be made at the funeral home.
To sign the online guestbook or to leave the family with a personal message visit www.urbanwinklerfuneralhome.com.