Born: June 8, 1915
Heritage House Rehabilitation and Health Care Center
The Connersville newspaper credits Leonard Bastian with achieving more in the four years that he was mayor of Connersville than any mayor in the 202-year history of the city.
But Mr. Bastian attributes those successes to the desire to get something done. “I’m really not a politician,” said Mr. Bastian. “I’m just trying to get something done.”
“If there is something you want to get done, you have to get involved and do it and get other people involved.”
In addition to being mayor from 1988 to 1991, Mr. Bastian was also a former president of the Connersville Chamber of Commerce.
He was born in Nisbet, Pa., in 1915 and graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. in 1937 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics and began employment with Carrier Corp. in the relatively new field of air conditioning.
Music was a part of most of his life, he said. He play trumpet for bands throughout his school years, he said.
In September 1941 just before the outbreak of World War II, he married Vinta Bradley and joined the U.S. Navy, serving a in the SeaBees construction battalion in the Pacific Theater, reaching the rank of lieutenant commander. After the war, he returned to the air conditioning business.
He had two sons, Gary, born in 1944 and Kevin, 1950.
In 1950 he joined Philco in York, Pa, becoming chief engineer of air conditioning products and in the early 1960s chief engineer of laundry products which resulted in his family moving to Connersville in 1965.
He retired from the company in 1980 and two years later became executive director for the Chamber of Commerce. He served as mayor from Jan. 1 1988 to Dec. 31, 1991.
The family was active members of First United Methodist Church where he still attends.
He was also active in the Greater Connersville Progress Committee and a group trying to bring more doctors to Connersville.
Bastian’s City Engineer Sam Harvey recalled the city was in a financial crisis when the mayor took office but he found ways to cut expenses and add efficiencies in order to survive, according to newspaper reports.
Bastian moved the city offices out of the rundown City Hall behind the Fayette County Court House to the renovated former Woolworth’s Building at Central Avenue and 5th Street.
Bastian began the process of widening Park Road from two lanes to four lanes.
The project was not done until after he left office but was through his effort the state was persuaded to do the project.
In addition to the roof replacement on the amphitheater, the mayor put in a new concrete floor and added seating to the venue.
As mayor, he made so many changes for the better, said former city officials.
Two weeks after celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary and while campaigning for reelection, his wife, Vinta had a major stroke. She died in 2002. He married Marjorie Heiers in October 2004.
Bastian often played golf until he was physically unable to play. He remained a member of the Kiwanis Club. He now lives at Heritage House Rehabilitation and Health Care Center.