My big brother, Joe L. Hensley, passed away August 27 from complications of leukemia. He managed to squeeze more accomplishments into 81 years than most would consider possible. He was a journalist, a lawyer, a prosecutor, a legislator, and a judge.
He served one term in the Indiana General Assembly in 1962-1962, representing Jefferson & Scott Counties. He was then elected prosecuting attorney for Jefferson & Switzerland Counties, Fifth Judicial Circuit, and served from 1963 to 1966. In 1975 he was appointed Judge pro tem of the Ripley Circuit Court by the Indiana Supreme Court and thereafter, while serving, was elected and served two terms as Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit from 1977 through 1988.
He served two years as president of the Indiana Judges Association. In 1998, he was named a Sagamore of the Wabash by then Indiana Governor Frank O'Bannon. In that same year Mayor Al Huntington named him one of "Madison's Magnificents." He was also a Kentucky Colonel and an honorary member of the Louisville Singing Fund.
He was a member & Past Exalted Ruler of the Madison Elks Lodge #524; Madison Moose Lodge #765; Jefferson Post 9, of the American Legion; the Indiana Bar Association; the Jefferson County Bar Association, serving as a past president; member of Union Lodge #2 F & AM; the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Valley of Indianapolis; the Murat Shrine; Madison Rotary Club; Jefferson County Lions Club; the former Madison Country Club; Indiana University Alumni Association, and past president of the Madison - Jefferson County Public Library.
He was the author of more than twenty books, most of them suspense novels, issued from St. Martin's Press, Doubleday, Walker and other publishers. His approximately 100 short stories were published in Alfred Hitchcock's, Ellery Queen's, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and other mystery, men's, and science fiction magazines and in three collections of short stories published by Doubleday and Five Star. His books and stories were republished by anthologies, book clubs, and paperback reprints and in many languages. At one time his agents estimated that more than two million copies of his books had been sold.
His setting for many of his novels was the town of Bington, a combination of Madison, Indiana, and a bit of Bloomington. Several of his novels were named to New York Times and other yearly best books lists. His Most recent novel is ROBAK IN BLACK, (St. Martins, 2001). His most recent collection is DEADLY HUNGER AND OTHER TALES, (Five Star 2001). His last novel is SNOWBIRDS BLOOD, will be published by St. Martins, in February of 2008. He was also a member of the Mystery Writers of America, the Private Eye Writers of America, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
The Judge summed up his life by saying for fifty one years, he had served as an attorney, judge, legislator & journalist, a life he enjoyed to the fullest.
Many of his earlier books are hard-to-find, but the links to them at right are still active. If you've never read any of Joe's books, you're in for a treat.