Former Indiana first lady wins preservation award

By The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Former Indiana first lady Judy O'Bannon has won a historic preservation award for her decades of work championing historic places and preservation efforts around the state.

Indiana Landmarks announced Tuesday that O'Bannon was chosen as the recipient of the statewide group's 2020 Williamson Prize for outstanding leadership in historic preservation.

The nonprofit group said that O'Bannon has worked for more than 50 years as a leader, hands-on preservationist and vocal champion for the value of historic places.

Her efforts include helping launch the Indiana Main Street program and playing an instrumental role in saving meaningful structures. O'Bannon also produced an award-winning TV series demonstrating the impact preservation can have on communities.

“Judy O’Bannon has been a powerful advocate and ally, really humanizing historic preservation and bringing it down to a personal level,” said Indiana Landmarks' president, Marsh Davis.

She’ll be honored with the Williamson Prize on Sept. 12 during Indiana Landmarks' virtual annual meeting.

O’Bannon was introduced to preservation when she and her late husband, Frank O'Bannon, moved to the southern Indiana town of Corydon in 1957 and fixed up their third-floor apartment in a 19th century building that housed The Corydon Democrat — a newspaper owned by the O’Bannon family for 108 years.

Gov. Frank O’Bannon died following a stroke in September 2003 with more than a year remaining in his second term. He and Judy O'Bannon had been married 47 years.

She remarried more than a decade later in November 2013, when she wed Indianapolis attorney Donald Willsey.




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