Wilbur L. ‘Bill’ Dankert, 82, Kokomo, passed away early Monday morning, July 22, 2013, in his home. “Bill” was born in LaPorte July 21, 1931, to the late Wilbur L. Dankert and Lulu Schmidt Dankert.
He attended High School in White Pigeon, Mich., and later attended Hillsdale College and graduated from Western Michigan University, where he majored in math and physics and was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. Bill was married to Marjalee A. Tiedeman in 1956 in Ludington, Mich.
In 1955, Bill was employed as a contract negotiator for the Bendix Talos Missle Program in Mishawaka, and later transferred to St. Joseph, Mich., as a contract/sales engineer. He retired from Bendix in 1968 to pursue a career as a Burger King franchisee. He opened his first restaurant in Kokomo in 1969, and successfully expanded his business throughout the state of Indiana. He served on Burger King’s marketing advisory council in the brand’s formative years. To present, he remained an active franchisee and member of the National Franchisee Association. Bill was a passionate business owner/operator and was well-respected by fellow franchisees, community leaders, philanthropic organization, and most certainly the many, many dedicated “long time” employees ( past and present ), who also knew Bill for his generous heart and “fatherly” advice.
Throughout his life, Bill has been an integral part of the communities in which he lived. While living in Mishawaka he was active in the Jaycees serving as the vice president. After moving to St. Joseph, Mich., he served as the president of the Shoreham Village Township. During his years in Kokomo, he was a former member of the YMCA’s Y’s men club, the Kokomo Country Club and a founding investor in the Wildcat Golf Course. He has also been a generous supporter of Purdue University, Western Michigan University and Indiana University- Kokomo for several years.
Bill was an avid reader, and a long-standing Purdue season ticket holder for football and basketball. He also loved attending his grandson’s sporting, theater, and music events. Earlier in life, Bill was an accomplished golfer who enjoyed many memorable rounds with friends and family. He quietly celebrated a hole-in-one while vacationing with friends in Arkansas. Additionally, he was a talented pitcher and played fast-pitch softball for many years at Kokomo’s Foster Park. Later in life, he enjoyed retreating to his condo in Wesley Chapel, Fla., for a few weeks in winter and his summer cottage in Grand Haven, Mich., and highly valued the special friendships he made there.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, and love of his life, Marge; and his daughter and son and their spouses, Lori and Jim Reichert, Noblesville, and Steve and Bobbi Dankert, Cicero. Five grandsons, Mike Reichert, Jon Reichert, Kyle Dankert, Mitch Dankert and Zach Dankert.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents; stepmother, Dora Dankert; and his youngest son, David Dankert.
Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Monday at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Kokomo, with burial immediately following in Sunset Memory Gardens, 2097 W. Alto Road. Visitation will be from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday at Shirley and Stout Funeral Home, 1315 W. Lincoln Road.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 700 E. Southway Blvd., Kokomo, IN 46901 or the Community Foundation of Howard County, 215 W. Sycamore St., Kokomo, IN 46901. Shirley & Stout Funeral Home & Crematory will be assisting the family with arrangements. Messages of condolence may be left online at www.shirleyandstout.com.