The Obit For Knute Dobkins

Knute F. Dobkins Sr.

Published in the The Indianapolis Star on January 29, 2012

Knute F. Dobkins, Sr. 90, died January 21, 2012, in Lake Panasoffkee, Florida. The fourth of six children, Knute was born in Indianapolis to Edward F. and Rebecca Cordell Dobkins on December 13, 1921. He grew up on the city's west side in the neighborhood known as Cerealinetown because of its proximity to the Central Soya plant.

He was an outstanding athlete at Arsenal Technical High School, where he excelled at football and baseball. In 1937, he was awarded the Purdue Medal for his outstanding performance on the football field. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, where he piloted beach landing craft in the Pacific theater. He continued his service in the U.S. Naval Reserve, retiring with the rank of lieutenant commander.

On March 21, 1948, Knute married Bettye Jean "BJ" Ratliff in Holcomb Gardens on the Butler University campus, where they were both students. Every morning thereafter, he sang, "I Love You For Sentimental Reasons," to BJ.

While at Butler, Knute lettered in football and baseball. He remained a life-long Bulldogs fan and felt privileged to have played for Tony Hinkle. Following graduation, Knute was signed to play minor league baseball with the Kingston Ponies in Canada. He was also a Heavyweight Golden Gloves Boxing Champion.

Knute dedicated his life to public service. He served as a federal probation officer for more than 20 years in the Southern District of Indiana. In 1974, he retired from the federal courts after having served as Chief Federal Probation Officer. He also served as Chief Deputy Sheriff under Marion County Sheriff James Cunningham and Chief Probation Officer for the Marion County criminal courts. The probationers he supervised often sent him notes and Christmas cards long after their supervision ended, expressing their gratitude and appreciation for his support in their transition and re-entry.

He was passionate about the political process and served as Marion County Chairman of the Democratic Party from 1976-1982. As chairman, he sued the city of Indianapolis to block the City Council from imposing a surtax on food and beverages in order to pay for the Hoosier Dome. He did not feel the citizens of Indianapolis should have to solely shoulder the burden.

He continued to be active in community affairs during his retirement in Sumter County, Florida. His well-informed editorials were published often in the local newspapers.

He was a past member of the Castleton Masonic Lodge and Castleton United Methodist Church. Knute loved being a father and husband.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Bettye Jean; daughters Claudia Dikinis, Bettye Dobkins (Kathleen Sweeney), Becky (Joe) Keever; sons, Knute Jr. (Linda Bozeman) and J.E. Mack (Lori Bell); grandchildren, Seth Keever (Maggie Loiselle), Evan Keever, Knute Scott (Staci) Dobkins, Mack Dobkins; and great-grandson, Talan Dobkins. He was preceded in death by his brothers, Mack, John and Tom Dobkins; and sisters, Claudia Smith and Mercedes Salge.

The family will celebrate Knute's life privately. Donations can be made in his name to the Humane Society of Indianapolis, 7929 Michigan Road, Indianapolis, IN 46268. Memories and condolences can be shared with the family online at Arrangements are entrusted to Purcell Funeral Home , Bushnell, FL.