Making it happen

Baxter YMCA dedicated plaque to late members, Annabel and Grover Hartman

Annabel speaks about her experiences at the Baxter YMCA after her 100th birthday on Nov. 30, 2015.

“It’s not fair to enjoy what you have as far as activities provided here unless you make it happen, contribute in some way,” Annabel Hartman told The Southside Times just after her 100th birthday in 2015.

Contribute, she did. Annabel and her late husband, Grover, were charter members of the Baxter YMCA, along with many other community involvements. Annabel passed away Dec. 30 at 101 years old. To honor her memory, staff at the Baxter Y took the plaque once dedicated to Grover and created a new one to honor both him and Annabel.

“They invested their lives in that which will outlive them,” the plaque states on the bottom.

“She would have been honored by the dedication,” said the Hartmans’ son, Elden. “We had a long commitment to this Y, through my parents. They have been instrumental in creating this building, founding this Y, keeping it going when times were rough in the 60s. It’s gratifying to see the beautiful facilities and an honor to have the gymnasium dedicated to my mom and my dad. It’s appreciated by the family.”

Elden and Worth Hartman unveil the plaque.

Annabel first joined the YMCA at 13 years old. She and Grover joined the Southside’s YMCA when their children were young, back when members met in two dairy barns on Hanna Avenue. The couple had four children, Lowell, Worth and twins Elden and Howard.

Later, the couple were involved in helping fundraiser for the current Baxter Y building on Shelby Street.

Annabel’s was also active in the United Methodist Church. She was for a 50-year member of Center United Methodist Church and for her last six years was at North United Methodist Church. Annabel’s has a career public education. In 1968 she began substitute teaching in Indianapolis Public Schools, did student teaching at School #22, and began her career in adult education.  For 15 years she taught Adult Basic Education at the Indianapolis Day Adult High School first located at Wood, then Tech and finally Attucks High Schools. Annabel received her Masters in Adult Education from Ball State University at age 62.

Baxter YMCA staff, members, friends and family of Annabel Hartman gather on April 19 for the plaque dedication.

Grover passed away in 1988. Annabel stayed active in the community, continuing to attend the Baxter YMCA. Later, she began to teach water aerobics at Robin Run. All the while, she found ways to continue giving back to the Baxter Y. For her 100th birthday, Nov. 30, 2016, the Y had a ‘100 for 100’ campaign to raise money for the organization in her name.

As her family and friends gathered on April 19 for the plaque dedication in the Baxter Y gymnasium, they bonded over stories of Annabel’s outgoing, giving and friendly personality.

John Gray, a friend of Annabel’s said she had a knack for making everyone feel comfortable around her.

“When I retired from work, I wasn’t involved in anything else,” Gray said. “I got started out here in the YMCA in 1995, aerobic exercise class. Annabel was part of that class. She was a great person… She was friendly, outgoing and patient. I didn’t know anyone here to begin with. She made me feel welcome to the Y and introduced me to people. Just being around her was great.”