Donald Floyd Dickey Sr., 89, passed peacefully to his heavenly father May 22, 2016, surrounded by loving family.
He was born in Batesville May 14, 1927, to Herschel and Elsie (Freeland) Dickey as a twin to his dear brother, Ronald Lloyd Dickey, who predeceased him. With a strong sense of patriotism, Don graduated early from Batesville High School so that he could enlist in the armed forces during World War II. He proudly served with his twin brother in the Seabees (Construction Battalions) in the U.S. Navy in Guam. On Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, 1948, Donald married Cathryn Marie Fries at St. Michael's Catholic Church, Brookville. They proudly raised seven children and were blessed to be together, even in his last days.
At a young age, Don began working at Dickey & Sons Sinclair Service Station located in the middle of Batesville. He continued with a varied and illustrious career, working for New York Central Railroad, Texas Eastern and Procter & Gamble. He held positions with the state of Indiana and Ripley County for over 25 years. Don was a lifelong member of the Batesville United Methodist Church. Additionally, he was a member of the American Legion Post 271, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3183 and Batesville Free and Accepted Masonic Lodge 668.
Most remarkably and significantly, Don impacted the Batesville community, Ripley County and Indiana through his commitment, dedication and leadership of the Republican Party. Embracing his role as leader of the GOP, he served as precinct committeeman and chairman of the Ripley County Republicans for over 40 years. While Don had many friends on both sides of the political aisle, he was instrumental in transforming the county political leadership from Democrat to Republican. In 1980, the Indiana Republican Party bestowed on Don the honor of being a member of the Electoral College and casting a vote for Ronald Reagan.
Throughout his life, Don received recognition for numerous achievements. For his distinguished service to the state of Indiana, Don was awarded the prestigious Sagamore of the Wabash by Govs. Edgar Whitcomb, Dr. Otis Bowen and Robert Orr. Don worked tirelessly with these governors to promote positive change for Indiana citizens and to create jobs in his Ripley County home. Amazingly, he was privileged to meet Presidents Nixon, Reagan and George H.W. Bush. His active involvement in the GOP, including inviting political dignitaries to Batesville, prompted one supporter to call him "Governor." Thereafter, Don was affectionately referred to as "Governor" or "Gov," a title he greatly enjoyed.
Furthermore, Don's interests extended to playing bridge and chess, trapping, hunting, fishing, golfing, collecting coins, listening to big band music, reading several newspapers daily and, especially, watching old classic movies with his loving wife. Also, he thoroughly enjoyed cheering for the Cincinnati Reds, the Bengals, all Indiana college basketball teams and watching NCAA March Madness with his beloved wife, an equally enthusiastic fan.
In later years, one of Don's greatest passions focused on horseracing. Unquestionably, Hilton Head Island was "Grampy's" favorite destination for family vacations with "Grammy," the children and grandchildren. Meeting with friends for coffee was a frequent activity, and until recently, he made daily trips to Kroger, where he greeted the employees as friends. Most importantly, "Dad" and "Grampy" relished family gatherings and visits from his children, grandchildren great-granddaughter, nieces and nephews. Almost every visitor was a proud recipient of a special gift, a historic U.S. silver dollar. Don's signature memento will serve as a lasting reminder of his warmth, smile and giving nature.
Undoubtedly, Don's quick wit, sense of humor, entertaining stories and joyful spirit of giving are truly his legacy. All who knew him could tell of a delightful interaction with him. He will be immensely missed by his beloved wife, Cathryn, and his loving children: Beverly Ehrhardt (Phil), St. Charles, Illinois, John Dickey (Terri), Batesville, Glenn Dickey (Deb), Florence, Kentucky, and Mary Sitterding (Mitch), James Dickey (Sandy) and Donald Dickey Jr. "Dogger" (Elaine), Batesville, and Janine Burkhart (Lincoln), Indianapolis; 12 grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.
Visitation will be held Wednesday, May 25, from 4-8 p.m. at Meyers Funeral Home, Batesville. Funeral services will be held Thursday, May 26, at 11 a.m. at Batesville United Methodist Church. Burial will follow in St. Louis Catholic Cemetery with military rites.
Memorial donations may be made to Food for the Poor Inc., in care of Father Paul Walsman, 6401 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek, FL 33073, and Margaret Mary Health Foundation, in care of Mary Dickey, 321 Mitchell Ave., P.O. Box 226, Batesville, IN 47006.
Published on May 23, 2016