HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (3/3/12)—An upstanding community pillar and humble humanitarian, Lairy Nofsinger, passed away at the age of 76 years-old on Friday, March 2nd after a nearly 6-year battle with cancer. However, for all the sorrow this unfortunate loss brings to family and friends of Mr. Nofsinger, the memories of his caring personality and human approach to the public is being remembered by many throughout the county and region.
Along with attending Seminary Junior High in Madisonville from 1958 until his graduation, Mr. Nofsinger continued his education at Kentucky Weslyan and completed an M.A. at Western Kentucky University. From there, he went on to teach at Earlington High School, Madisonville-North Hopkins High School, and South Hopkins High School for over 35 years. Mr. Nofsinger’s interaction with local schools also included membership with the Hopkins County Board of Education (2005-present) and his two terms as Board of Education Chairman.
In reaction to Mr. Nofsinger’s passing and in memory of his accomplishments with area schools, Hopkins County Superintendent James L. Stevens states that, “I’m saddened by the loss of a personal friend, and educator and a leader in the community. During his illness, I have never encountered an individual who had more compassion and caring for students and his fellow man. His faith should inspire all of us to work hand-in-hand for the betterment of all students in Hopkins County.”
Many with the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the Red Cross (MWKY Red Cross) are also remembering his invaluable contributions to the humanitarian organization. In addition to volunteering with the organization in several capacities for nearly 55 years, he also served out terms as the non-profit group’s Chair of the Board alongside several other locals.
His humanitarian and civic interests extended into volunteer work with Hopkins County’s Habitat For Humanity, his status as a regional admissions counselor for Kentucky Wesleyan College, and his membership with the Madisonville Noon Kiwanis Club. As a resident of Mortons Gap and a devout Christian, Mr. Nofsinger also attended Mortons Gap Christian Church.
A friend of Mr. Nofsinger, a proud Red Cross supporter/former board member, and SurfKY News President, Ron Sanders, tells reporters that, “Lairy was just an all around super guy. He was one of the most gentle and giving people I ever knew. His kind nature was evident in all that he did as a volunteer, a devoted church member, and a teacher. He will be sorely missed by many in our area, including myself.”
Several remember Nofsinger’s immense contributions to the county’s swimming scene as well. While Nofsinger taught swimming to locals as far back as 1958, he served in an official capacity as the first Aquatic Director for the local Red Cross beginning in 1962. In more recent times, Mr. Nofsinger found the time to serve as a swim coach in local schools, both MNHHS and Hopkins County Central, as well as at the Madisonville Country Club. In fact, his teachings as a swim instructor and director have prompted many residents of Hopkins County to honor Mr. Nofsinger via social networking sites like Facebook.com .
One friend and former swim student of Madisonville, KY remembers Nofisnger’s kindness: “Absolutely the finest gentleman I’ve ever known. Anyone that knew him I’m sure would agree. I learned to swim from Lairy at the age of 4.”
In echoing this sentiment, a Hopkins County Board of Education employee from the area states, “Hopkins County has lost one of its finest men. His legacy is one that will not be forgotten and that all mankind should strive to imitate.”
Many others have offered up similar comments as well.
Mr. Nofsinger was preceded in death by his father and a brother-in-law, Kenneth Moore. He is survived by his wife, Jean (Whitaker) Nofsinger; his mother, Marilou Gatlin of Mortons Gap, KY; his children, David (Whitney) Nofsinger of Louisville, KY, Sara (Marlon) Jones of Bowling Green, KY, and Matt Nofsinger of Louisville, KY; his grandchildren, Harper and Willis Hayden Nofsinger and Andru Jones; his brothers, Donnie (Glenita) Nofsinger of Hopkinsville, KY and Billy (Ann) Gatlin of Mt. Juliett, TN; his sisters, Charlotte Ditty of Jackson, KY, Sylvia Moore of Lexington, KY, and his nieces and nephews.
At this time, services for Lairy Nofsinger at scheduled to begin at 11am at Mortons Gap Christian Church. Visitation hours will take place from 3-7pm on Sunday, March 4th, and after 9am on Monday, March 5th, at the aforementioned church. Reid-Walters Funeral Home is handling the arrangements and memorial contributions are being overseen by the Green River Hospice.
We at SurfKY News offer our condolences to Mr. Nofsinger’s family and friends during this emotional time. Mr. Nofsinger was a true, standout member of our community and he will be missed by many.
Some information and main photo provided by the Hopkins County School District
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