With each passing year, we mourn and celebrate the lives lost of members of the community who made a difference in their places of work, to civic organizations, and to their families and others. We pored through death records and obituaries to find notable men and women who helped shape the Tri-State through their contributions.
Nancy Koehler, 45 — February 3, 2017
Nancy worked as the executive director of the Deaconess Foundation, where she played a lead role in finishing the Linda E. White Hospice House while also battling spinal cancer. She was involved in the USI Foundation and Alumni Council, Youth Resources, a Network of Evansville Women, and many other organizations. “Don’t be sad it is over, be thankful it happened!” Nancy wrote in her obituary.
Maxine Frick, 96 — February 20, 2017
In her early years, Maxine traveled the country with her sister, performing a dance routine known as the “Martin Twins” — once for auto manufacturer Henry Ford. When her family moved to Evansville, Maxine opened a dance studio with her sister and brother-in-law. She was a president of the Evansville Garden Club and active in many groups, including the Community Players Theatrical Group and Coterie Dance Club.
Anna Mae Haury, 84 — July 15, 1932
Anna Mae was president of her high school graduating class and went on to work as a nurse at Alcoa, St. Mary’s Hospital, and Good Samaritan Home. In 1976, she and her husband purchased Gehlhausen Floral, where Anna Mae acted as president and owner.
Robert “Bobby” Ellis, 74 — March 6, 2017
Bobby began working at the Courier & Press at 18 and sold more than 2 million papers, walking about 150,000 miles in the process. During the holidays, he dressed up as Santa Claus for his delivery route. Everyone knew him wherever he went, he used to say, and he loved being in the limelight.
Martharee Mays, 72 — March 25, 2017
Martharee was the first African-American language arts teacher at Glenwood School. She went on to teach at the EVSC Reading Center and several local schools. She also was the first African-American assistant principal at Helfrich Park Middle School and first African-American principal at Stringtown Elementary School.
Larry T. Haley, 80 — April 1, 2017
A native of Haubstadt, Indiana, Larry co-founded Haub Steak House in 1970 and helped establish Humpert’s Tavern (Carriage Inn). He was involved with the steak house until 2016 and created several recipes including black bean soup, Tornedos of Beef, Coquille St. Jacque, and Haub’s “famous” bread pudding. He enjoyed golf outings and trips to Wren Lake with friends.
Janet Stout, 79 — April 19, 2017
After graduating from Transylvania University, Janet worked for airlines in New York and California. At 40, she returned to school for a degree in fashion design from UCLA. Janet worked as a costumer for many stage and screen productions, and she went on to become president of the premier period wardrobe company American Costume. She was involved in the Newburgh History Club, Newburgh Historic Theater, Newburgh Museum, and restoration of the Bates-Walden home.
Halee Denise Rathgeber, 20 — April 24, 2017
Halee graduated in the top of her class at Castle High School, a two-time recipient of the Presidential award and member of the National Honor Society. She was a nursing student at the University of Southern Indiana and made the Dean’s list every semester. Throughout her life, Halee worked at Donut Bank, Texas Roadhouse, the Veterans Administration, and St. Mary’s Hospital.
Trudy Mitchell — May 17, 2017
Trudy was born in Werdau, Germany, and escaped an East German work camp, later arriving in Nuremberg and meeting U.S. Military Police officer William Mitchell, who would become her husband. The Mitchells owned M&M Oil, which allowed them to generously support the University of Southern Indiana, Mesker Park Zoo, the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, Deaconess Hospital, and many other causes. Trudy was a director emerita of the Deaconess Hospital Foundation Board and the USI Foundation.
David Roy Wood, 78 — May 22, 2017
David began his broadcasting career at WJPS and later moved to WIKY. He founded NTA Studios, worked as a station manager, and provided work for Dick Clark. David also hosted Daddy Dave’s Hollywood Diner on XM Radio, held real estate and pilot licenses, and provided freelance forensic drawings and skull reconstructions for police departments and the FBI.
Loretta Koester, 88 — June 11, 2017
Loretta was a member of St. Wendel Catholic Church, the St. Wendel Ladies’ Club, the Armstrong RRC, and St. Ann’s Auxiliary of the Knights of St. John. She and her husband were inducted into the Bruté Society of the Diocese of Evansville for their service to the church. Loretta enjoyed serving the community through quilting, sharing her garden produce, and cooking. In her memory, St. Wendel was decorated with her quilts during her service.
Brother John James Stout, 94 — June 14, 2017
Brother John earned the rank of staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, and after honorable discharge, he attended college at St. Edwards University, Austin, Texas. Inspired by Holy Cross Brothers teaching there, he joined the order. After a handful of teaching assignments, Brother John settled at Reitz Memorial High School, teaching English courses for 55 years.
Douglas McFadden, 77 — June 14, 2017
After graduating law school, Douglas served as a Deputy and later Assistant Attorney General of Indiana and Chief Counsel of that office. He argued several cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, beginning at the age of 27. Douglas went on to defend Bell Telephone System and AT&T, specializing in antitrust law. He also created one of the first cellular companies in the nation, founded his own law firm in Washington, D.C., and operated a cattle farm near Mount Vernon, Indiana.
Robert “Bob” Boxell, 86 — June 19, 2017
Just out of high school, Bob signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates and later played with the Detroit Tigers farm team until an arm injury. He served as president of the Indiana Young Democrats and on the campaign of Birch Bayh during his 1962 upset victory. Bob went on to work on Senator Bayh’s staff, implement the statewide Commercial Drivers License Program and Indiana’s version of the National Voters Registration Act of 1993, and earn the distinction of Sagamore of the Wabash.
Lea Ann Dowd, 99 — July 1, 2017
Lea Ann became a hairdresser at 18 and established Klein’s Hair Fashions on Governor Street, later moving to Lawndale. Klein’s was Evansville’s premier beauty shop for years, at one time employing 28 people. Lea Ann played golf well into her 90s and enjoyed a weekly game of cards at Thunderbolt Pass.
Dr. Raymond Nicholson, 87 — July 14, 2017
Dr. Nicholson was president of his Bosse High School class and served as a captain in the U.S. Army, running a 300-bed medical unit. He went on to found and direct the Family Practice Residency Program at St. Mary’s Medical Center (now St. Vincent) and serve as medical director of the Muscular Dystrophy Clinic in Evansville. Dr. Nicholson also volunteered countless hours mentoring medical students at the Indiana University School of Medicine Evansville Campus. For his contributions, he was given many awards, including Sagamore of the Wabash.
John Hull Jr., 96 — July 19, 2017
A graduate of Bosse High School and Evansville College, John served as a captain for the Royal Air Force during World War II. After the war, he became a flight instructor and farmer in Patoka, Indiana. John began farming in Costa Rica in the 1960s, fought Nicaraguan Sandinistas, and developed a reputation for working to improve the lives of native Costa Ricans and Mexicans, chiefly through better medical care.
Sylvia Weinzapfel, 81 — July 26, 2017
Sylvia worked as the assistant director of Continuing Education at the University of Southern Indiana, executive director of Vanderburgh County Court Appointed Special Advocates, and executive director of the YWCA, where she launched a shelter for women and children, among other programs. Sylvia also was active in the League of Women Voters, United Way, a Network of Evansville Women, and other programs dedicated to the arts, education, and history.
Riley Scott Carlson, 22 — July 31, 2017
Riley graduated from Reitz Memorial High School and majored in robotics at Vincennes University, completing his degree in 2016. He spent three years courageously battling cancer. Riley was the grandson of Hugh Ahlering, a member of the University of Evansville’s 15-man All-Time Basketball Team.
James Hirsch, 81 — August 18, 2017
James graduated from Reitz Memorial High School, worked 42 years as a journeyman electrician, and built and raced sprint cars from the 1950s through the 1970s. He was a member of the Hoosier Auto Racing Club and raced at the Tri-State Speedway, where he was known as “Gentleman Jim.” He also competed at tracks in Marion and Benton, Illinois, and Manzanita in Phoenix, Arizona.
Robert “Bob” Schulz, 82 — August 30, 2017
Bob worked at Morris Plan and Thrift and Emge Realty before starting his own company, Bob Schulz Realty and Investments — now known as Weichert Realty, Schulz Group. He served as president of the Evansville Board of Realtors and as Indiana Real Estate Commissioner, earning the distinction of Realtor of the Year. Bob was inducted into the Bruté Society for service alongside his wife at Holy Rosary Catholic Church. An avid hunter, Bob never missed a trip to South Dakota for more than 50 years.
Patrick “Rick” Slater, 53 — September 1, 2017
Rick graduated from Central High School where he was an all-city baseball player. He entered the U.S. Army as a member of the 101st Airborne Division. He later worked alongside his mother Jan Howell at Emge’s Deli.
Laurel Szorcsik, 19 — September 11, 2017
Laurel loved all unconditionally and lived life to the fullest despite having a terminal illness. She enjoyed Camp Carson and spending time with animals of all kinds. After graduating from Signature School, she pursued her dream of working with animals at Murray State University.
Dr. Robert “Bob” Kaylor, 74 — September 14, 2017
Bob served in the U.S. Army at an orthopedic hospital, after which he began a private practice and joined Welborn Clinic, which became Deaconess Clinic, earning the Indiana Podiatrist of the Year Award. He also served on the Welborn Clinic Board of Trustees, Deaconess Clinic Board, and Evansville Museum Train Committee. In his spare time, he enjoyed flying, sailing, and cooking.
Edith Marie Rough, 93 — September 30, 2017
In 1958, Edith sought to support working mothers and co-founded Central Daycare, the first daycare in Evansville. She also taught preschool at Evansville Day School, was a founding member of the U.S. Sunday School Class, and volunteered at Central United Methodist Church.
Darrell Ragland Sr., 61 — October 21, 2017
When Darrell retired from Alcoa, Inc., he dedicated himself to serving his church and the community at large. Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2002, he began volunteering and speaking for organizations like the American Cancer Society. Darrell served on many boards, including the USI Parent and Families Advisory Council and the Social Status of Black Males. He was appointed to the Indiana Civil Rights Commission and received the Governors Distinguished Hoosier Award, among other recognitions.
Dorothy Amos, 104 — October 31, 2017
A graduate of Bosse High School, Dorothy — also known as Dottie — joined her father at the family-owned Crescent Cleaners after she attended MacMurray College, Jacksonville, Illinois. Along with her career at Crescent, Dottie enjoyed many years in theatre playing several parts at the old Community Players. Her favorite toast to share was, “When I die don’t cry, don’t shed a tear, and drink champagne and maybe a beer!”
Christopher Dodd, 42 — November 19, 1975
Christopher attended Evansville Day School, Holy Rosary, Reitz Memorial High School, and Purdue University. As a teen he delivered newspapers. Chris managed his family’s restaurant, Jaya’s, and enjoyed sports, reading, and traveling.
Princess, 2, and Prince Carter, 7 months — November 29, 2017
The sweet voices and beautiful smiles of Princess Nyeela and Prince Nolan will be deeply missed by family and friends. Princess was an explorer and curious child who adored her Papa Wayne. Prince was a sweet, happy baby who loved to watch Wheel of Fortune and eat bananas with his grandma.
Wendell Byron Chapman, 89 — December 24, 2017
After serving as a paratrooper in World War II, earning a degree in animal science, and traveling the U.S. and Latin America, Wendell settled in Evansville. He launched Indiana Poultry Supply at 26 and went on to form National Animal Health and Agrilabs. One of his favorite hobbies was running a 200-acre Kentucky cattle farm.