On May 2, 2019, Robert Menke was be inducted into the Dubois County Business Hall of Fame, an award that highlights members of the county who demonstrate vision and innovation within their respective industries.
"As anyone who has had the pleasure of working or associating with Robert know, he deserves this prestigious honor," Christian Blome, assistant vice president of Vincennes University and dean of the university’s Jasper campus, said. "Through business excellence, vision, innovation, and community involvement, he provided inspiring leadership to this community."
Menke Sr. started his business journey working at Du Crafts, which was owned by his father, William Menke, stringing Venetian blinds. After his father’s death, Menke Sr. took over the company, which had about 30 employees at the time. When the company’s Ferdinand plant burned in 1970, it was moved to Huntingburg. Du Crafts became Styline and the businesses were merged.
He was a member of the 1940 Indiana University NCAA championship basketball team, won the Gimbel (now the Trester) Award, and was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982. Menke Sr. valued education and obtained his bachelor's degree in government from Indiana University in 1941 and his master’s degree in government in 1953.
Menke Sr. was a first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force during World War II and returned home in 1945 to take over business responsibilities. He was a state representative to the Indiana General Assembly from 1952 to 1954. He was environmentally-conscious and helped encourage education in public and environmental affairs.
During his life and career, Menke Sr. was awarded several honors, including multiple Sagamore of the Wabash awards; the Nature Conservancy’s highest award, the Oak Leaf, in 1982; the University of Evansville Medal of Honor in 1988; and the Distinguished Citizen Award of Boy Scouts of America in 1996. Menke Sr. and his family have been very charitable and supportive of the Dubois County Community Foundation and the various endowments managed by the Foundation.
Menke Sr. died in 2008. His son Hank, now president and CEO of OFS, was inducted into the Business Hall of Fame in 2017.
Menke Sr. and his family were instrumental in the development and building of the Huntingburg Event Center, which fills a major role in the economic and tourism development of Dubois County.
We all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Robert Menke Sr. for his generous philanthropy, extensive efforts in the community and for the overall excellence of his character, in the way they conducted their business and themselves.” Blome said. “They truly are the kinds of role models we need for our young people, and for the area’s future business leaders.
To see Robert Menke in the Business Hall of Fame, stop by the Dubois County Museum, where the display was recently completed.
Scenes from the event
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