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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thomas Dusthimer was ‘a breath of fresh air’ for Elkhart

Thomas Dusthimer was known for his crazy outfits and tireless passion for the city.

Posted on July 10, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on July 10, 2013 at 3:03 p.m.

ELKHART — Friends and colleagues remember Thomas Dusthimer as a man who brought passion and energy to every project.

The banker, businessman and community leader died Monday, July 8.

Dusthimer moved to Elkhart with his family in 1973. He spent many years in banking and was president, CEO and chairman of First National Bank in Elkhart. Dusthimer was also involved in many community projects and served on several community boards.

Bob Deputy, local businessman and longtime friend of Dusthimer’s, said on Wednesday that Dusthimer “hit the ground running” when he arrived in Elkhart.

“Tom was a gem and he and his family were a gift to this community,” Deputy said. “Tom gave 100 percent. He went to his social commitments at night until all hours but he was there at 7 a.m. for United Way or (other community groups) too. Not only did Tom personally give money to projects, he raised money to make Elkhart what it could be. He was just over the top as far as the support he gave the community.”

Deputy added that he went to school with Dusthimer and had maintained a relationship with him over the years. He said that Dusthimer’s people skills and personality — including some wacky outfits — were key to his success in banking.

“He was not your typical banker,” Deputy said. “He was one of a kind. Part of the reason he was a good banker was that he was a people person.”

Another friend of Dusthimer’s, Art Decio of Skyline Corp., remembered Dusthimer’s respect for all kinds of people.

“I don’t care if you wore overalls or who you were, (Dusthimer) would treat you like a king or queen,” Decio said. “He was a lot of people’s friend, and he had a charming sense of humor. He had a colorful choice of slacks, when everyone else would have a conventional suit on. Tom was very unique — he was his own man.”

Decio continued, “Tom cared about Elkhart. A lot of us were born and raised in Elkhart and it was easy for us to love it. Tom was a new member who came in and whatever we asked him to do, he would do. I really think he contributed a lot to this community.”

Visitation for Dusthimer will be at Hartzler-Gutermuth-Inman Funeral Home, 403 W. Franklin St., Elkhart, from 2 to 6 p.m. Thursday, July 11. Friends may also call at 10 a.m. Friday, July 12, one hour prior to the 11 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial at St. Mary of the Annunication Catholic Church, 411 W. Vistula St., Bristol. A private graveside service will be held at Rice Cemetery.

Memorials may be given to United Cancer Services of Elkhart, 23971 U.S. 33 E., Elkhart, IN 46517; the Humane Society of Elkhart County, 54687 C.R. 19, Bristol, IN 46507; and John Hopkins University C/0 Fund for John Hopkins Medicine, 100 N. Charles St., Suite 436, Baltimore, MD 21201, with a note indicating that the donation is in memory of Thomas L. Dusthimer for the Parkinson’s Research Department.

His full obituary is available at www.elkharttruth.com/obituaries.

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