The Sellersburg Police Department recently lost one of their family members as Charles Conrad Colburn died on November 3 at his home in Lexington.
Colburn, also known as “Charlie”, “Connie” and “Chuck” spent his life serving the public.
After graduating from Jeffersonville High School in 1963 he joined the U.S. Navy. He served on the USS Springfield in the Mediterranean Sea from 1963 to 1966 during the Vietnam War.
After serving the United States military, Colburn came back to his hometown of Jeffersonville and worked at General Electric Appliance Park in Louisville. After returning from the sea, he married Sandra “Sandy” Anderson on November 26, 1966.
Colburn then decided to serve his community in another way. He began his career in law enforcement with the Sellersburg Police Department on January 3, 1972. Colburn began his career as a patrolman and worked hard as he was in charge of the Arson Division of the police department. His hard work and determination led Colburn to the rank of Captain. He also worked as a Detective for criminal investigations.
John Colburn has fond memories of his father while he was working at the Sellersburg Police Department.
“When I was in high school, there were different clicks, different groups of people and nobody picked on me because my dad was a policeman, because they respected him,” John stated. “Everyone said that dad was fair and if they got caught, they got caught. They always said dad was fair, he was fair but stern,” Colburn said. “I was never on the receiving end of his action. But I do know he was fair. And for some reason, I didn’t have to be told not to take guns to school like kids are doing today.”
During his father’s eulogy, John shared with those gathered, a description of his father.
“Upon first meeting my father a few things happened to you: you recognized his presence. This was not a function of his physical size, although I don’t remember anyone ever describing my father as petite. But, it was the way he made you take notice. When he walked into the room, you knew he wasn’t going to just be a spectator,” John shared during his eulogy.
He continued, “His demeanor was sheer confidence. It was awe inspiring if not down right intimidating. You heard his voice. It commanded your attention. And when he spoke, you made the decision to simply hear or to actually listen. My father had a way of telling you exactly what he thought while not truly telling you what he was thinking. Many times he believed the lessons to be taught and the examples to be made were simply too complicated and too important to be spoken.”
Colburn was a man of few words. Instead of talking about it, Colburn led by example. He chose to do it instead of just talking about it.
“Dad was never to busy, never to tired, it was never to early or to late. Dad just did what needed to be done,” John explained.
Colburn would rise early at 5 a.m. He would then work a regular shift at the Sellersburg Police Department and then travel to Stout Elementary School where he worked as a janitor until 11 p.m. Then he would go home and get ready to tackle the next day in the same way.
John said during the eulogy, “I don’t remember a basketball game, a baseball game, a ceremony, or a band concert that my sister or I were involved in that he wasn’t there.”
He also recalled the work ethic his father instilled in him at an early age. John remembered wanting to quit running cross country in junior high or wanting to quit his summer job of cutting grass at Indian Oaks Trailer Park, his dad simply answered his son’s concerns with “no”.
Colburn taught by leading and showing those around him what needed to be done. Although he was a man of few words, he always listened to what was happening around him and when he spoke, people respected what he had to say.
John referenced a newspaper article where a young teenager was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease. The diagnosis came after Colburn spoke to the child as a last resort before his parents planned on sending him to Terre Haute to a private school for troubled children.
Colburn arrived at the home of the young boy and spoke with him and his family. Colburn suggested a different plan for the young, very active child.
The newspaper article quoted the child giving credit to Captain Colburn, “Captain Colburn said not to send me to that school, (but) to take me to a counselor. And the counselor looked at me and she said just to have medical tests ran on me. So I had tests done and they found out I have Grave’s Disease.”
The young boy received the medical treatment he needed because Colburn was passionate about his job as a police officer and was never to busy when called upon. He always took the time to help those in need.
His life of service did not stop at the Sellersburg Police Department. Colburn also served the community as a member of the Sellersburg Volunteer Fire Department in the early 1970’s. According to John, he also worked for Stewart Ambulance Service.
Colburn served the citizens of Sellersburg for 20 years before retiring from the police department in April 1992.
When most people ‘retire’ they do not opt for another career choice. Colburn’s work ethic drove him to another career.
After retiring from the police department he began work at FNGP Plastics in Scottsburg. He worked as a shift supervisor/maintenance man for the plastics company before retiring after 16 years of dedicated service.
After retiring from FNGP Colburn actually took the time to enjoy retirement.
“Dad spent the last three years enjoying his wife, his life and his grandkids. He had 15 acres where he enjoyed hunting, fishing and what you are suppose to do (after retirement),” John stated during a telephone interview.
After Colburn retired from FNGP he and Sandy built their retirement home in Lexington, Indiana. He truly enjoyed being outdoors and the time he spent hunting, fishing and just being on the farm. He always enjoyed spending time with his two grandchildren, 4 ½ year old grandson Garet Colburn and 9 year old granddaughter Ariana.
Colburn was born in Beaver Dam, Kentucky to the late Carroll and Marjorie Litze Taylor on December 30, 1944. He spent his early childhood in Jeffersonville before raising his family in Sellersburg. He was a member of the Ryker’s Ridge Baptist Church where he had previously served as Trustee. He was also a member of the Sellersburg Buckner Masonic Lodge No. 631 F & A.M.
Colburn quietly left his mark on everyone whom he met. He always led by example and worked hard to serve those in his community. He loved his family and friends and will be missed by many.
He is survived by his loving wife of 43 years, Sandy and their two children, John Colburn and his wife, Angie of Shepherdsville, Kentucky and Tandy Dawson and her husband Robin of Camby, Indiana and grandson, Garet Colburn and granddaughter, Ariana Dawson.
Colburn is also survived by sisters Norma Taylor of Phoenix, Arizona, Carol Taylor of Tennessee and brothers Joe Taylor of New Albany, Mike Colburn of Virginia and Tom Colburn of Shirley, Indiana. He was also loved by numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
John concluded his eulogy about his dad, “This was my father to me: A man that made you take notice of him because of his presence then hoped I would take notice of what he did. And the whole time, hoping I would learn from him how to be a great man, a great husband, a great father, grandfather and friend. I know I did not learn his lessons as well as he taught them. But Dad, I hope I learned them well enough that I never disappointed you and never made you ashamed I was your son.”
Memorial contributions for Charles Conrad Colburn may be made to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.