Village Voice 04 2020: April

President's Letter:

Dear Neighbors –

I hope this letter finds everyone well and in good spirits! The warmer weather helps tremendously. I certainly have my fingers crossed that life can somewhat return to normal in the near future. I have missed a lot of things over the past month and a half but what I miss most is the library. I used to stop by at least 3 times a week (or maybe every day) so I can’t wait to get back into that routine when it is safe for it to re-open. We also have a giant stack of football books that my son checked out at the beginning of March that I personally cannot wait to return because I just can’t read them to him one more time.

It is with sadness that I pass on the news that one of our VRA founders, Jean Apple, passed away recently. You will find her obituary in this version of the Village Voice. Her daughter, Chris, reached out to us with the request that we let our members know. Chris stated that Jean was very, very proud of her contributions to the VRA and the town. I did not have the pleasure of knowing Jean but I hear her name often. I know she was held in high regard in the VRA and did a lot of great work for the Village.

In VRA news, our first Elm Street Green potluck that was to be held in May has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. Hopefully we can make it happen next year. It would be terrific to bring the Village community together in the spring, as well as at the fall picnic in September.

Finally, please remember our Zionsville and Village merchants during this uncertain time. Some restaurants have been able to stay open with carry out, delivery, and gift cards. For those that were forced to close due to COVID-19, it is hard to say what the future holds in terms of timing for re-opening. Both categories need as much of our support as we can give.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms in the VRA! I hope all of you and your families stay healthy and safe.


Town Council:

I typically write these updates on around the 20th of the month. Information and news is moving so fast these days, I hope everything I write remains relevant by the time it is posted in the monthly newsletter.

April saw our first virtual Town Council meeting that has ever been conducted. If you remember from the last newsletter, Govern Holcomb has allowed Towns to use this new technology as a way of conducting business while the shelter in place orders are in effect. I’m hopeful by the time you’re reading this that those orders will have expired and we’ll be able to ease back into our new reality. The meeting was live cast on Zoom (no Zoom bombs thankfully), as well as being streamed on Facebook Live and YouTube. It went as well as I could have hoped for, with only a few minor glitches. I’m hoping by the time you read this that we’ll be back to our meetings at Town Hall. While technology can be great, having in-person discussions and feedback is hard to replicate. I can’t imagine having as robust a meeting for something like Sycamore Flats through a virtual tool.

Speaking of virtual, the Mayor and I have begun hosing biweekly town update webinars on Facebook Live and YouTube. It is a chance for you to hear from both of us on all the changes going on around Town. Facebook allows you to post questions to us and will be answered through a moderator. I hope you’ll join one of our upcoming chats.

How do you hear about all of these events like Council meetings or Town Hall chats? The VRA does a nice job of summarizing these upcoming events in the newsletter, but I would also encourage you to follow the Town on social media. Our Director of Communications & Community Relations, Amanda Vela, does a nice job in publicizing these events to encourage transparency and participation.

Stay safe while supporting our local businesses!

Jean Apple was a cofounder and first president of the Zionsville Village Residents Association. Here is her obituary and a 2017 story about her.


Jean Nickell- Stegner-Apple, 89, passed away peacefully on March 24 in Southern California, where she lived the last few year, to be near her children. She was born in New Castle, Indiana and lived most of her life in Indiana. She was the beloved Mother of Christina ( Jose) Frausto, Dana (deceased,) Cheryl, Dean (Debbie) Apple and Jay. And the loving grandmother of Dana, Natasha (deceased,) Tara, and Nic. She is survived by six great grandchildren and her three sisters.

As a dedicated volunteer, even while raising five children, she still found time to volunteer in her children’s activities such as school programs, serving as room mother, chair of the school carnival and assisting with the Scouts.

Jean had the pleasure of working for the White River Park Commission when it was initially forming, allowing her to be active in the formation of the Park. Then ever pushing herself to expand and learn, she became an inspiring example to us when she went back to college in her 50’s, earning her B.S., with distinction, then going on to earn her law degree, becoming a lawyer at age 59. She never charged for her work, a true reflection of her character of one that always gave back.

She loved the arts, always surrounding herself with music, dabbling in painting, and even enjoying an acting career with the “Off Main Street Players” in the early 1960’s.

Jean loved Zionsville and was the proud owner of a 1865 historic home at 205 North Maple Street, a designated Zionsville Historical Society Century Structure. Over the years she composed a complete genealogy of the house. In preserving the history of the home, Jean would dress as Emma Higgins, who was born and lived in the house, creating reenactments for local school children.

As a twenty-two-year resident of Zionsville, Jean remained a very active member of the community. A firm supporter of historic preservation, Jean served on countless committees, boards, and organizations for the town. She was past president of Zionsville Kiwanis, past president of the Village Garden Club, was co-founder and past president of the Village Residents’ Association, served on the PZAZ board since its inception, was on the Zionsville Historical Society as board member and president, served on the original Board of Directors for Maplelawn Farmstead, director of Central Indiana Herb Society, director of Horizon House, and director of Riley Area Revitalization Project. Her passion for preservation was evident through her involvement in the successful effort to preserve a historical structure that was earmarked for demolition to become a parking lot. Jean was also instrumental in designing and spearheading a “doll house” for the town’s fundraiser. It currently sits in Lions Club Park as part of the children’s play area.

She was honored to have been presented on July 17, 2017, by the Mayor of Zionsville, an official Proclamation naming it Jean Apple Day.

Jean considered her friends to be a very important part of her life. She enjoyed entertaining and was proud of her historic home and gardens, holding many social events in her beautiful backyard. She kept in contact with many of her friends through the several card clubs she participated in, some spanning back to her post-high school days.

She was a woman of boundless generosity, giving of herself to serve the greater community. Jean personified graciousness and love, always kind and giving to others. Her family and friends meant the world to her. Her favorite color was pink and she was known as the only woman in Zionsville to have a pink kitchen.

She had a very full life which was well lived in every sense.

Longtime Zionsville resident, volunteer honored before move to Nevada


By Heather Lusk

Even before she moved to Zionsville in 1995, Jean Apple was part of the community.

Zionsville Mayor Tim Haak presents Jean Apple with a proclamation at the July 17 town council meeting. (Submitted photo)

She was one of the original members of the Off-Main Street Players when they began in a Raintree-area barn in the 1960s. She later volunteered at the SullivanMunce Cultural Center before finding a home on Maple Street in the Village.

Within a year of becoming an official resident, Apple and neighbor Jean Phillippe decided to start the Village Residents Association to give people in the village the same voice and unification that they witnessed with surrounding subdivisions.

Phillippe made it clear that she didn’t want to lead the VRA but simply wanted to help with the initial preparations.

“She said, ‘I want to facilitate,’” Apple said. “I always remember that word she used.”

So when the time came to appoint the association’s first president, Apple was the one to step forward. Twenty years later she looked back fondly on her early days in Zionsville.

“I’m proud of what we created,” she said.

Her work with the VRA led to an appointment to the Historic Preservation Advisory Group to the town council and later became a member of PZAZ, People of Zionsville for the Aesthetics of Zionsville. She became a founding board member of Maplelawn Farmstead; president of the Kiwanis; member of the Century Structure Committee; and president of the Zionsville Historical Society.

Her accomplishments were recognized by the town council July 17 when Mayor Tim Haak declared it “Jean Apple Day.”

Apple left Zionsville at the end of July to be closer to her family in Nevada but left behind many friends and who have fond memories of her impact in the community.

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