Roland Selke

Roland Selke

Age 98, died peacefully October 20, 2012, leaving deep sadness along with wonderful memories for his beloved wife, devoted children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, friends and so many others whom he loved and mentored.

He was born July 4, 1914 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Chris and Julia Selke. He had two younger sisters and a brother, also deceased.

Roland grew up in New Castle, Indiana during the Great Depression. At a young age he learned the value of hard work, family, helping others and being resourceful and practical as well as appreciating life's simple pleasures.

After graduating from high school, Roland received a partial scholarship from his church to attend Hanover College. He studied math and the sciences and played on the college's football team. It was during a weekend home from college -- sporting a broken arm from a football injury -- that he and some friends appeared uninvited at a girls' gathering. There he met Waneta La Mar, his life love and partner. From that point on they built a relationship which carried them through the joys and struggles of the Depression, World War II, raising their family and growing old together.

They were married in 1937 in the First Presbyterian Church in New Castle where Roland later served as a Deacon and Elder. He and Waneta established an ongoing fund through the church which provides disadvantaged youth the opportunity to participate in extracurricular and enrichment programs. Roland was loyal to the church and devout in his beliefs, which he showed through example in the way he lived his life - always faithful, selfless, kind and forgiving.

Roland was employed 37 years at Chrysler Corporation in New Castle as a tool and die designer. He was chairman of the Die Sinker Apprentice program at Chrysler. During World War II, he worked in Los Angeles for ALCOA designing aircraft parts.

Roland was a man of many talents. He could build, repair and refurbish most anything. He particularly enjoyed restoring classic cars and collecting and refinishing antique furniture and clocks. He enjoyed sports, music, singing and dancing and once won a Charleston contest at Coney Island in Cincinnati. He and his wife were dance partners well into their 90s. They celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary just a week ago on October 13th.

His memberships included the Twenty/Thirty Club in Los Angeles and, in New Castle, the Elks Club, Community Foundation and First Presbyterian Church.

Roland believed that his purpose was to provide for others, particularly his family. He designed and with his own hands, built the home in which his family found joy and comfort for 48 years. He was especially proud of the comforts and security he gave his wife and the college educations he made possible for his daughters "without a bank loan."

Throughout his long life, Roland demonstrated his compassion, gentleness and strength to everyone he met. No one was a stranger. He greeted those he knew with a hug or handshake and was quick to notice where there was a need. He always was anxious to reach out to help anyone regardless of race, social or economic status or life circumstance by providing encouragement, prayer, a meal, transportation or financial assistance.

Roland was the patriarch of the family -- the rock upon which each could rely. The family feels blessed to have had him in their lives. Included are wife Waneta, to whom Roland was completely devoted; his grateful daughters, Diane Robbin of Chapel Hill, North Carolina and Susan Nuss of Zionsville; sons-in-law, David Robbin and Bill Nuss; grandchildren (to whom he was "Boompa") Scott Starbuck, Margot Starbuck, Jeff Lantz, Jennifer Moyers and their spouses and great grandchildren, Teague, Ethan, Zoe, Rollie, Abhi, Evan, Mason, Eli, Cash, Eliana and Katriel.

He sacrificed to better the lives of his family and was proud of each of them. He will live on in spirit and inspiration through them. Among their favorite memories are summers at Lake Wawasee, sharing popcorn and chocolate sundaes, holiday traditions, family celebrations, singing in church, dancing, his sweet blue eyes and his mischievous smile. He taught many life lessons and what is important in becoming a good person.

The family is most appreciative of the personal care, affection, humor and security that their "angel" and Roland's granddaughter, Jennifer Moyers, gave him over his last several years. She lovingly stepped into the role of caregiver allowing Roland and her grandmother Waneta to have the joy and dignity of remaining comfortable and independent.

"Fortunate is the man who loves and is loved."

Services will be 12:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at First Presbyterian Church, 1202 Church Street, New Castle, IN 47362. Burial will follow in South Mound Cemetery. Friends may call from 11:00 a.m. until the time of the service Tuesday at the church. Memorial contributions may be made to the La Mar Fund at the First Presbyterian Church, Big Brothers/Sisters of Greater Indianapolis, and Smile Train with envelopes available at the church. Arrangements have been entrusted to Hinsey-Brown Funeral Service in New Castle. A celebration of Roland's life will also be held at Marquette Retirement Living in Indianapolis at a later date. You may express condolences or share a memory at Roland at

Funeral Home

Hinsey Brown Funeral Home
3406 S Memorial Dr New Castle, IN 47362
(765) 529-7100

Published in the The Indianapolis Star on Oct. 23, 2012