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Robert H. Dill

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Robert H. Dill Obituary

Robert "Bob" Henry Dill

85, of Indianapolis, a dedicated Hoosier and student of history, died July 26, 2013. He was born December 14, 1927 to Dr. E.M. Dill and Martha Gertrude Paddack.

He was a fourth generation Hoosier, dedicated father and loving husband. Mr. Dill's formative years were spent living at the Indiana Boys' School in Plainfield where his father, as superintendent, transformed juvenile rehabilitation. His parents were prominent in Indiana social work and Mr. Dill grew up with a keen sensibility for the life and fate of the ordinary citizen, whom he championed by his allegiance to the traditional principles of the Democratic Party.

He graduated from Plainfield High School in 1945. After two years as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army, Mr. Dill graduated in 1950 from Indiana University, Bloomington with a degree in business. Upon graduation, Mr. Dill married and over the next 50 years, started, rescued and supported several of his own and others' business ventures. After his parents' death, he co-managed Dill-Fields Implement Co. in Greenfield with his sister, Virginia Dill McCarty who was a prominent lawyer, U.S. attorney and political figure in Indiana. He worked for several years as a salesman for Continental Steel based out of Kalamazoo, Michigan, then managed the Dill family dairy farm in Hendricks County.

An active member of the Hendricks County Farm Bureau, he was also involved in the local health board activities. He was instrumental in founding the Indiana Chapter of the Pony of the Americas Club helping the family-oriented organization take a foothold across the Midwest. In 1972, he relocated to Taos, New Mexico where he founded and managed a clothing and leather goods store called "The Hole in the Wall." His charm and outgoing spirit quickly made him a regular among the locals of Taos.

Homesick for his native state, in 1978 Mr. Dill returned to Indianapolis and founded a business accounting firm. He retired in 2000 as business manager for the Indiana State Teacher's Retirement Fund. Mr. Dill was a licensed pilot and flew across the country many times. He also supported his sister Virginia in her political bids for Indiana State Attorney General and Governor.

Friends and family remember his passion for new ventures and his engaging enthusiasm. He was an avid reader and history buff, with a special interest in the Civil War and presidential politics. He enjoyed sport fishing and spent many seasons ice fishing and trolling for perch in Michigan streams and lakes with his children. In his later years, he fly-fished Rocky Mountain and Indiana waters. He was also an avid golfer and a competitive contract bridge player.

Mr. Dill's quick wit, charm, infectious laugh, his love of "closing the deal" and his political fervor will be missed by his friends and family alike. His children remember him as a devoted father, enthusiastically engaged in their education, activities and family life. His favorite sayings were "Don't be afraid to go for broke. I've done it many times and I'm still here." and "Write when you get work."

He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Grace A. Falvey; by his children, Jennifer Dill Ovink of Washington, Elizabeth "Betsy" D. Holtsclaw of Indiana, and Tom M. Dill of California; by step-daughters Annie Kuhn, Joan Falvey, Ruth Falvey and Gillian Steele; by sons-in-law, Roger W. Ovink and Rick D. Holtsclaw; by grandchildren Amanda Reynolds, Audra Courtney, Sarah M. Ovink, Kathryn R. Ovink, and Aria Zia Sophia Dill-Fielding; and by nine great-grandchildren. Pragmatic to the end, Mr. Dill declined services. In lieu of flowers, please contribute in memorium to the Indiana State Museum Foundation. Online condolences may be sent to

Published in the The Indianapolis Star on July 28, 2013
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