Lester R. Harnetiaux has been named the recipient of the 26th Annual Gerald Turley Award by the Greenville Chamber of Commerce. The first to be awarded posthumously, Lester Harnetiaux left a lasting impression on Greenville and those who knew him. Nominated by Jill Bailey, Lester is described fondly by Jill as “a man whose life was dedicated to the betterment of our community and the people who live here.”
Lester R. Harnetiaux died unexpectedly on February 18, 2015 at the age of 57. Born and raised in Greenville, Lester was a graduate of Greenville High School and Greenville College, the owner of Bond County Realtors and Tri-County Appraisal. He was a strong supporter of local business and a man who was deeply involved in all aspects of Greenville.
Lester was active in many community organizations, including the Bond County Historical Society, Greenville Bicentennial Committee, BCCU#2 Academic Foundation, the Bond County Soil and Water Conservation District Board, Lions Club, Greenville College Alumni Board, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, the Greenville Business and Professional Society, and more.
He was an avid collector of art and a supporter of local art and artists. Lester also taught in the children’s ministry at First Christian Church and volunteered as a softball coach in his earlier days. He was a regular sight at Greenville Comets baseball, basketball, and football games and supported virtually every fundraiser in the area either by donating, purchasing or volunteering. He loved bowling, investing and financial planning, and collecting historical memorabilia.
Noel Harnetiaux remembered her family member and former employer saying, “Lester was eccentric, kind-hearted, and generous to a fault. He valued both the past (with his passion for preserving history) and the future (his emphasis on the importance of education of our youth). He will be missed, and his impact on this community will be felt for generations to come.”
The winner of the Gerald Turley Memorial Award is selected by a special committee from the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Created in 1994 to honor a Greenville citizen who has demonstrated personal sacrifice, involvement, innovation, and community leadership to promote the success of Greenville. The award was named for Gerald Turley, a former mayor. The program honoring this year’s recipient will be held May 30th in the Krober Room at the Armington Center of Greenville University.