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Greensburg remembers former police chief, Navy veteran

Served as police chief for more than a decade

(GREENSBURG, Ind.) -- Family and friends are mourning the loss of Decatur County native Lester Gay who passed away at the age of 89 last week.

He was a longtime Greenburg police chief and also served in the Korean War and and owned a photography business

He started his adult life with his military service in the US Navy. Lester served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany with his brothers Bob and Harold from 1952 through 1956. He always said he had the best job as the ship’s photographer capturing the action of the carrier and the fun of his crewmates and brothers. There are many photos and colorful stories from this memorable time.

Shortly after his military discharge, he entered Ray Vogue Photography school in Chicago. He started Gays’ Studio on the square in 1959 closing the studio in 1968. He continued with the wedding photography business through 1983.

Lester started his employment with the Greensburg Police Department in 1967. He graduated from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in 1969, a member of the inaugural class. He served the ranks of patrolman, lieutenant, detective and becoming Chief in 1975. Before his retirement from the force in 1989, Lester was able to serve his last day as an Officer with his son Keith.

He was an avid history buff, especially for WWII. Lester spent time along with his brother Harold following their USS Oriskany carrier when it was out of commission. There were several trips made to view, photograph, and board their ship, as it was a great highlight to relive their navy days together.

Lester touched a great many lives with his service in the navy, his photography business, and the many years of service for the Greensburg Police Department. His kindness, commitment and genuine spirit will be remembered by all who knew him.

Visitation and funeral services were held at Gilliland-Howe Funeral Home in Greensburg on Monday.



Each week we feature a Veteran of the Week in Southeast Indiana. This is sponsored by StoneBridge Trucking in Greensburg. Click here to learn about the Veteran-owned and Veteran-driven company.

HOW TO NOMINATE: Send an email to with the following information:

  • A picture(s) of the Veteran

  • Name, location and service branch of the Veteran

  • Why are you nominating this Veteran

  • Tell us about the Veteran (military and non-military life)

  • Your name and phone number


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