Albert Morton Moffett Jr.: 1930-2012

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By Todd Martin

Albert Moffett Jr. left his mark all over Shelby County. And with his passing from pancreatic cancer on Sunday, his family and friends are left with much many memories of his contributions.

"He would brag on his grandchildren, but he would never brag on himself," said Melissa Matthews, Moffett's daughter. "This gives us a chance to brag on him some."

Matthews noted how her father passed on his work ethic, which saw him never stop.

"He'd eat and run," she said with a laugh. "He was always going out to plant a tree, fix some flowers or build a building. We all got our work ethic from him."

Moffett took over the family business, Snow Hill Florist and Nursery, and ran it from 1953 to 1973.

At that point, he and a few other members of the community noticed a need for Shelby County to explore more industrial opportunities. With that in mind, he was instrumental in getting the Shelby County Industrial and Development Foundation started, serving the first board as its secretary.

"He just stepped down from board of directors about seven to ten years ago," said Bobby Hudson, the president of the board. "He was fantastic for us, with a quick, bright mind. He brought a lot to the table."

Moffett also served on the board at Shelby County Trust Bank, where Hudson is a former president.

"He really helped us a lot with building loans and development loans," he said.

Hudson said Moffett early on understood the value of growing Shelby County and how it would help the future.

"We needed jobs to keep our best and brightest coming back after college, and Albert new that," Hudson said. "He was exactly what we needed. Early on, we not only had to sell Shelby County to the industries, we had to sell the people to the idea of industries, and he knew that."

But it wasn't just his ability to help the county grow and move forward, it was how much that Moffett deeply cared for his hometown.

A life-long Shelbyvillian, Moffett graduated from Shelbyville High School in 1949, and, after earning a degree in horticulture from the University of Kentucky, he started to explore real estate in 1959 while still running the family business.

From that time to 1974, he constructed more than 500 single-family homes, and in 1975 he built his first apartment complex. Along with his wife and business partner, Lois, he would continue to build more apartments, including units for senior citizens like the Shelby House.

He later would expand his real estate business to Eminence and continue to build more apartments and residential housing in Shelby, Henry, Nelson and Marion counties.

His success allowed him to continue to give, donating land to by his office on east Main Street to Shelby County Parks and another piece of property in Simpsonville to Centro Latino.

"They went on to sell that property and used the money to fund other things," Matthews said. "I know that was something he was very proud of, and so am I."

Matthews said her father's dedication to his [eight] grandchildren and watching them grow can still be seen.

"He loved to go watch Rob [Matthews] play baseball, so he planed two trees by the major-league fields because he wanted to be in the shade," she said. "Of course, you only play in major league for two years, so he never got to enjoy them.

"But he loved watching all his grandkids play, watching Rob play baseball and basketball at Centre, and Baxter play tennis and Allison [Terry] play soccer at Centre. He was very into his grandchildren."