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January 31, 2013

Library mourns director

Acton dies at 55

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Lori Acton, the executive director of the Laurel County Public Library, passed away on Monday, Jan. 28 at age 55.

She was a woman with a passion for outreach to her Laurel County community, wife of Larry Acton, and mother of four — Larry "Wayne" Jr., Lance, Sarah, and Peter Acton.

Kathryn Hardman, director of Laurel County Adult Education, fellow Rotarian, and close personal friend, said Acton embraced life with spirit and joy and she faced it's challenges head on.  

"Her sudden departure from those of us that knew and loved her leaves a void that can't be filled," Hardman said.

Acton served as the executive director of the public library for 28 years.

"Laurel County has lost one of its most active and valuable public servants.  Lori's dedication to literacy and learning benefitted thousands of persons seeking to better themselves and their community," said R.W. Dyche III, president of the Laurel County Public Library Board of Trustees.  "She was a visionary leader, assembling a top-flight staff at the library, and supervising creative, enlightening, and interesting programming.

"Lori's sense of humor and infectious laugh will be sorely missed by this community."

Acton was born in 1957, attended Sterling High School in Sterling, Colo.  where she graduated in 1975.  She attended Vanderbilt University's Peabody School of Education and earned a master's degree in library science. Years later, she returned to attend the Owen Graduate School of Management.

Peggy Mershon, deputy director of the Laurel County Public Library, said the library was more than a job to Acton.  "Lori worked tirelessly to make the library a place everyone could come and enjoy and learn," Mershon said.

"From babies to seniors, she wanted this library to offer whatever it could to enrich the lives of the community.  We plan on working our hardest to make sure that Lori's vision to the future continues," Mershon continued.

Not only did she dedicate her time and service to the library, she also was an enthusiastic member of the London Rotary Club, and was a former club president from 2009 to 2010.

"Lori was passionate about everything in life.  She had strong opinions and never hesitated to share those with everyone.  Our club has lost a faithful friend and fellow Rotarian," said Sharon Hershberger, member of the London Rotary Club.  "We will miss her enthusiasm and sense of humor."

Acton was a loyal member of the London Laurel Chamber of Commerce as long as she has been a part of the local library.

"The London Laurel County Chamber of Commerce deeply mourns the loss of Lori Acton, a great member of the chamber and citizen to the community," said Deanna Herrmann, executive director of the Chamber Of Commerce.  "Her loss will be felt for many years by all."

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