UPDATED – Obituary: Michael ‘Mike’ Abell, 75, Bardstown

Michael “Mike” Abell, 75, of Bardstown, passed peacefully after a brief and courageous battle with pneumonia, Jan. 18, 2022, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Lexington. His wife, Sheila, and children, Eric and Laurie, were by his side.

Mike’s life was one of service, both to the local community and abroad… Bellarmine Student Government, Peace Corp Volunteer in Peru, Nelson County Judge/Executive, Kentucky State Director of Purchasing, Bardstown Chief Financial Officer, Contributor to innumerous community development organizations. He worked hard for, and was proud of, these titles. He was most proud of his service as Son, Brother, Husband, Father, Uncle, Cousin, In-Law, ‘Out-Law’, Neighbor, Advocate, Problem Solver, Hiking Buddy, Friend.


Mike resisted rest. He was devoted to restoring and maintaining his historic home in Bardstown… and any home he was invited into. His curiosity was insatiable. He explored the world and it’s cultures, traveling throughout every chapter of his life. Extensive international travel and long backpacking trips became passions after his second retirement. In the moments he found himself in a chair, it was usually with a book of nonfiction.

In addition to his parents, Eddie and Fanny Brown Abell, Mike was preceded in death by his father and mother-in-law, Leo and Annie Laurie Hagan; one brother-in-law, Bernard Hagan of Louisville; and sister-in-law Betty Turner Abell.

Survivors include his wife, Sheila Hagan Abell… they recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in Hawaii; two children, Eric Wathen Abell and Laurie Rebecca Abell (Justin), both of Denver, CO; six siblings, James “Jim” Edwin, Jr. (Leah) of New Bern, NC, George (Judy) of Claremont, CA, J.Patrick (Teresa) of Frankfort, Rebecca of Louisville, Beth (Bob) McClean of Middletown, and Joe (Laura Lee) of Franklin Township, OH. Mike is also survived by his in-laws from the Hagan side of the family, as well as many nieces and nephews who thought the world of him.

He graduated from St. Augustine Grade and High Schools in Lebanon, before graduating from Bellarmine University with the Class of ‘68, where he was Student Government President. After college, Mike joined the Peace Corp and served in Lambayeque, Peru from ‘68 to ‘70. He returned to Kentucky and served the community as Regional Crime Council Director for Lincoln Trail Community Development from ‘70 to ‘79; as a grant administrator for the City of Bardstown from ‘79 to ‘81; as Nelson County Judge/Executive from ‘81 to ‘93; as Director of Purchasing for the State of KY from ‘94 to ‘00; and as Chief Financial Officer for the City of Bardstown from ‘03 to ‘15.

Visitation will be held at Barlow Funeral Home on Friday, January 28, 2022, from 4pm until 8pm. The Celebration of Life will be Saturday, January 29, 2022, 11am at St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral, 310 West Stephen Foster Ave, Bardstown, Ky. and open to the community .The bereavement luncheon will follow at the St.Joseph Parish Hall. Masks are appreciated and will be provided. 

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked contributions be made to any of the following organizations: Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Office of Missions and Advancements, P.O. Box 9, Nazareth, KY 40004; Bernheim Forest Memorial Office, 2499 Clermont Road, P.O. Box 130, Clermont, KY 40110; National Peace Corp Association, 1825 Connecticut Ave NW #800, Washington, DC, 20009.

Barlow Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


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