Hazel Albro Bales


IU Southeast Chancellor's Medallion (2007)
IU Southeast Chancellor's Medallion
Location: New Albany
Presenter: Sandra R. Patterson-Randles


Hazel Albro Bales started working at a small dealer owned Firestone store in the west end of Louisville for $25 a week in 1943. After two years she had the opportunity to purchase the store, and she ran it with one employee for two years. Then her husband, Walt, quit his job at Reynolds Metal Company and went to work as an outside salesman. By 1950 they opened a second store, and later she had two retail stores and a wholesale warehouse on Bishop Lane. For many years she was the only woman Firestone dealer in the United States.

Hazel and her husband founded the Bales Motor Company in Jeffersonville, in 1952. It has grown from a small Dodge and Plymouth dealership to today's Auto Mall. In 1968, she became a member of the Jeffersonville Pilot Club and held many positions at the local and district level. She became a member of the Clark Memorial Hospital Foundation Board in 1987 and helped raise funds. Hazel and Walt received the Bales Humanitarian from the American Red Cross in 1997. This was named in their honor and is awarded each year to deserving people. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Red Cross.

In 2001, Hazel became a member of the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana and received an award from the Center for Women and Families for abused and misplaced families. She was chosen to represent Clark County in 2005, and received the Philanthropist Award of Southern Indiana. The same year she was made Honorary Chairman for the Southern Indiana Woman's Fund Board. This is dedicated to improve opportunities for women of Southern Indiana. She was awarded the highest honor by the Chancellor of Indiana University Southeast in 2007, and had a big interest in ChildPlace in Jeffersonville, a home for girls who decide to keep their children. There is a cottage for unwed mothers with the Bales name on it. Hazel took time from her busy life to pursue philanthropy; she wanted to help people who really needed help. In 1989 they founded the Hazel and Walter T. Bales Foundation, from which, many organizations have benefited.