A Family Tradition of Service to Clark County
My dad’s family (the Bottorffs) have been in Clark County, Indiana, since the 1790′s. My great-grandfather (James L. Bottorff) served as the Clark County Prosecutor from 1921-1924, and later served as the Clark County Circuit Court Judge from 1939 until 1962. As the Circuit Court Judge, Judge Bottorff was renowned as being tough on crime, and was the driving force in eradicating illegal gambling rings in Clark County, previously known as “Little Chicago,” because of the mobsters who made Jeffersonville their second (rather prosperous) home. The Judge had 2 sons, Jim and my grandfather, Bob. Bob had one son, my dad James L. Bottorff II, and two daughters, Cindy (Bottorff) Skehan and Elizabeth (Bottorff) Ahlemann.
My mom and dad both graduated from Jeffersonville High School. After high school, my dad was working at the dry cleaners for Mr. and Mrs. Hibbard; that’s where mom and dad met. They were married and settled here in Jeffersonville. Mom worked for the Census Bureau, retiring from there after nearly 44 years in 2013. During the early part of her career, mom was a student at Indiana University Southeast, from which she graduated with a degree in elementary education. She has remained an active part of IUS, having served on the Board of Advisors for many years.
Early on, my dad’s career was in public service. He worked for the City of Jeffersonville, while also serving in the Army Reserves, for many years, and then served the public as the elected Clark County Treasurer, followed by the Clark County Assessor. His career in public service culminated with his service as a State Representative in Indiana’s 71 District, where he served for nearly 16 years. During his tenure with the State Legislature, he also ran his own appraisal service business here in Jeffersonville. He died while in office after a brief battle with colon cancer. The remaining year of dad’s last term in office was served by my mom.
While I am proud of my family’s accomplishments, these career highlights really do not give much of a picture of what these people have meant to my life. Mom and dad (and all my family members) instilled in both my brother and I the sense that not only is our community’s well-being important, but that we have a natural obligation to be involved in making it better. As such, my family and I have always been, and continue to be, active members of community organizations that strive to make Clark County, Indiana better in some way: First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Clark County Youth Coalition, the Jeffersonville Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Indiana University Southeast, the Clark and Floyd County Tourism Bureau (which has been working to change America’s history books to make the starting point of the Lewis and Clark Expedition here in Clark County, rather than St. Louis), the YMCA of Southern Indiana, the United Way, Jerry’s Place Recovery House for Men, the Clark County Youth Shelter, the Clark County Casting and Conservation Club, the Coon Hunters Club of Clark County, Indiana, the Hibernia Homemaker’s Club, the Clark County Democratic Party, the Jeffersonville Optimist Club, the Jeffersonville Elk’s Club, the Bottorff Association of America, the Clark County 4H, the Clark County Farm Bureau, American Cancer Society, the American Red Cross, the Howard Steamboat Museum, etc.