Maurice E. Endwright · 2007
By Steve Sturgeon
Maurice Endwright is survived by his beloved wife, Frances (Harding) Endwright, a former Ellettsville and Edgewood teacher and librarian, to whom he was married on July 1, 1972. Endwright was born in Ellettsville July 1, 1914, the son of Dennis E. and Pearl Bridwell Endwright. He was preceded in death by his parents; and by two brothers, Ruby Endwright, who worked with him at The Ellettsville Journal for 32 years and Clayton Endwright. He was a 69-year member of Ellettsville First Baptist Church, where he served as moderator and deacon, youth leader, and Sunday School teacher and superintendent.
Endwright was one of the founders of the Monroe County Fall Festival, also earning the title of “Mr. Fall Festival.” He was president of the Ellettsville Centennial Association in 1937, and honorary president of the Sesquicentennial Association in 1987.
Endwright began his newspaper career at the age of 10, delivering The Indianapolis Star in Ellettsville. While still a school boy, he began working as a “printer’s devil” for W. B. Harris, who published The Ellettsville Farm. He advanced to reporter and local editor for The Farm and graduated in 1932 from Ellettsville High School where he was editor of the yearbook. During the1930s he also served as rural editor for The Bloomington Star-Courier and as county editor for The Bloomington Evening World.
In 1939, along with the late Dr. R. C. Austin, an Ellettsville physician, he co-founded The Journal, six weeks after W. B. Harris had suspended publication of The Farm. During his 32 years as publisher of The Journal, he won several honors for news and feature stories, including awards from the Hoosier State Press Association. He also had a daily radio program over Bloomington radio station WTTS for 25 years and was co-publisher of The Spencer Evening World for 10 years.
One of his proudest accomplishments came in 1964, when The Journal successfully led the fight against a one-unit school plan for Monroe County, issuing a special edition and using the daily news broadcasts to get the “no” vote to the polls.
After selling The Journal in 1971, he continued to write his popular weekly column, “Hi Neighbor,” along with the newspaper’s weekly editorials. In 1969, he became public relations director of the Baptist Homes and Hospitals located at Zionsville. On January 8, 1973, he was appointed executive director of the Indiana Commission on the Aging and Aged, the oldest such commission in the nation, by former Indiana Governor Otis R. Bowen. Under his leadership, Indiana was the first state in the nation to complete the organization of the area agencies. He also organized the nutrition programs which provide meals for the elderly across the state. Other services he initiated for seniors included transportation, health and home care, and information and referral.
The Endwright Center, which houses Area 10 Agency on Aging, was named in his honor.He was president of the Indiana Federation of Older Hoosiers in 1983 and 1984, the Older Hoosier of the Year in 1982, and a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging in 1981. Governor Bowen made him a Sagamore of the Wabash in 1976 and Governor Robert Orr gave him the same honor just five years later. Endwright received Ellettsville’s first Community Service Award in 1939; the first Man of the Year Award of the Ellettsville Chamber of Commerce in 1967; the State 4-H Meritorious Service Award in 1958; the Monroe County-Purdue Agricultural Alumni Award for Meritorious Service in 1959; and was inducted into the Monroe County Hall of Fame in 1979.
He was one of the founders of the Community Brotherhood, a local religious organization, and the Ellettsville Chamber of Commerce. He was the last surviving charter member of the Ellettsville Lions Club and for many years was a youth leader in church and 4-H Club work.