Year Inducted: 

Charles D. Bennett

Charles D. Bennett was born in Bremen, and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.

Bennett had many vocations throughout his life. His first was teaching classes to veterans and renting a farm in Daviess County where he started milking cows. He and his wife, Jeanette, moved to Hardinsburg in 1949 and put down permanent roots. Here, he bought a farm and started a dairy business while still teaching courses. 

In the early 1950s, he worked as the Breckinridge County supervisor for the Agriculture Soil Conservation office while continuing to farm. He also briefly worked as a car salesman and then for Standard Oil Company as an agricultural representative.

In 1971, Bennett made a financial investment in the local Farmers Bank and ultimately found his true calling. Under his leadership, The Farmers Bank expanded from one to three locations, and in 1985, the Bennett family also purchased controlling interest in the Leitchfield Deposit Bank.

Bennett served as president of The Farmers Bank until 1990 and as chief operating officer until 1993. He served as board chairman of Leitchfield Deposit Bank until 2003. Until his death in 2012, Bennett continued to serve as president of Farmers Bancshares Inc., the holding company which owns both The Farmers Bank and Leitchfield Deposit Bank.

He was a firm believer in community banks, serving as vice president of the Community Bankers of Kentucky and on committees as well as the board of directors of the Independent Community Bankers of America.

He was one of the organizers of the Bankers Bank of Kentucky which was chartered in 1988. He saw a need for community banks to have their own correspondent banking services, and the Bankers Bank filled that need. Prior to its formation, community banks relied on larger regional banks in urban areas for correspondent services. These banks often were in competition for the same customers as the smaller banks they serviced.

In the 1980s, Bennett was involved in forming the Breckinridge County Development Corporation. He, along with other local business people, helped raise money to purchase land used as the industrial park located west of Hardinsburg.

Bennett was an active member of Hardinsburg United Methodist Church, Gideon’s International, Hardinsburg Rotary Club and the UK Alumni Association. He also had an honorary doctorate degree from Lindsey Wilson College and was a  UK Fellow.