By: Mike Rhodes—
Muncie, IN—All of us at MuncieJournal.com and the community at large are very saddened by the passing of our good friend and community leader, Pat Botts.
Aside from touching the lives of every MutualBank team member he met during his 33 1/2 year tenure with the bank, Pat had a deep and passionate connection to the the rest of the Muncie community and East Central Indiana. He believed in Muncie and was often at the forefront of many initiatives that helped children. Like BY5, the Muncie Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers-Big Sisters and more. For these reasons and many more, Pat received the Community Foundation’s David Sursa Leadership Award in 2017.
But above all, Pat had a deep commitment to his family and always put “family first.”
I spoke with some of Pat’s colleagues, friends and associates on Monday, October 14th. Here’s what they had to say about Pat:
Joann McKinney, Horizon Convention Center
I’ve known and worked with Pat for about 15 years. Pat’s humble leadership style was his essence. He was quiet, but mighty!
Jay Julian, Muncie-Delaware County Chamber of Commerce
Pat was a champion for not only Muncie, but the entirety of the East Central Indiana area. Pat was really active here at the chamber and was currently sitting on the Delaware Advancement Corporation (DAC) board. He was involved with the chamber for a number of years and in a number of different capacities. Pat clearly had a passion to help youth. He wanted to grow our community in a better way—from the youngest to the oldest—of our citizens. He was really just an impassioned person, especially when dealing with our youth. It’s always a shame when a community loses a major talent like Pat. His passing is difficult to process.
Casey Stanley, Ontario Systems
While Pat served on many boards in our community, he never compromised his responsibilities and duties as a husband, father, and grandfather. If someone were to ask me, “Why did you look up to Pat? Why was he a good mentor?” I would have to say it was because not only because of what he did professionally in community service, but also what he did as a parent and husband.
There was never a question about what the priority was in his life. He always put his God and his family first. I always admired that about him. His face would always light up when he talked about his children and his grandkids. I feel like a lot of people rightfully saw Pat as a successful businessman and a leader in the community, but he was just as successful, if not more, as a husband and father.
Missy Modesitt, BY5
Pat was an amazing leader. He was always there to lend and ear, or a hand, especially since I was new to the organization. He really helped me make the transition into my new role at BY5. Pat was on the board with our organization since its inception. Pat cared about everyone. He was always very caring and concerned about how our organization could make life better for other people. We are going to miss Pat a great deal, as are others in our community.
Jenni Marsh, United Way of Delaware and Henry Counties
My first day at work at United Way included a Finance Committee meeting—and there was Pat Botts to give me a warm welcome. Over the past six plus years, Pat has not only been an excellent Finance Committee member, but I have had the pleasure of serving alongside him on the BY5 board and marveled at his leadership. He had such an unassuming way about him. He truly was a gentle giant of a man—and his passing will be keenly felt throughout our community.
I could count on Pat to come up with strategies and recommendations that strengthened our United Way. His ideas were always presented as observations and options—and in the most humble way. They were of course outstanding ideas that had the whole committee leaning into make them come to fruition…but he never took credit for them—and he never wanted it. He wanted our organization to continue to be strong and serve people, and he quietly worked to make it so.
He also approached MutualBank’s workplace campaigns with that same sense of earnestness—but also with a terrific sense of fun. He was always up for putting himself out there and looking a little silly if it meant he could entice more employees to support United Way.
Early on in my time here, MutualBank had the idea to have a pie in the face contest. People could buy tickets for a chance to pie Pat—and you could put someone else’s name on the ticket. For some reason, someone thought it would be a good idea to put my name on there. That was one of the hardest things I had to do! He took off his suit jacket and donned his LIVE UNITED t-shirt over his shirt and tie and suit pants. There he was, standing on a sheet in the lobby of MutualBank and someone gave him a pair of kid’s googles to wear—which added to the hilarity of the moment. I was trying to be so careful to not get the whipped cream in his hair—that I ended up getting it all over his suit pants, shoes, and the front of Jennifer Nye’s desk! I was so embarrassed—and Pat just good-spiritedly laughed it off.
In 2018, he joined Stephanie Johnson, Chris Caldwell, Jaime Faulkner and Dorothy Douglass to give Mutual employees a chance to dunk him—all to benefit United Way. You can see from the attached photos which I took at that event—Pat enjoyed his team and doing fun things for good a cause. His smile was contagious. Pat has such a heart for people—and it comes from such an authentic desire to help people live their best life possible.
Pat was an amazing family man as well. He was devoted to his beautiful wife Jane and their children and grandchildren. His whole face lit up when I would ask about those grandkids.
He was the 2007-2008 Board Chair for United Way. One of my staff members, Lesley Devine (also copied here) reflected on his leadership by saying, “He was one of the most brilliant board members” she ever had the pleasure of knowing. Lesley’s been with us for over 25+ years serving in 19 counties to help strengthen United Ways and the nonprofits they serve—so she’s seen a lot of board members over the course of her career. She had helped lead our United Way through strategic planning and saw how he worked.
Monday’s Finance Committee meeting was tough—as we all intensely felt Pat not being there.
UW Finance Committee Member Lori Luther had this to say: “Pat’s commitment and long history with the United Way were visible at every Finance Committee meeting. He was a kind, considerate, and caring leader that will be missed by all that knew him and had the privilege to work with him.”
Kevin Woehler, UW board chair said, “I had the privilege and opportunity to work alongside Pat in supporting the United Way. He was truly the definition of a servant leader and an exceptional human being. His legacy will be long lasting and felt throughout the community.”
Finally, UW board member Jennifer Dudley said, “I’ve had the pleasure of serving with Pat on the United Way finance committee for the past seven years. His wealth of knowledge of the history of the organization was invaluable. But the kindness he showed to all those around him, and his passion and genuine concern for bettering lives through United Way’s work in the community are the qualities he carried that will be most sadly missed and fondly remembered.”
Dorothy Douglass, MutualBank
Pat was my boss for just a few short years. I think, though, all of his direct reports today would tell you the same: He was approachable. He wanted to know about your functional area of work. He listened. He still stopped by my office to check on me, even recently, during a tough project.
He learned Human Resources quickly, and though he would outwardly say he didn’t care for (the function of) HR, he was good at it. His door was open, and he loved to teach. And to learn. Pat listened to me when I had a concern, and he pushed me to think with facts, not emotions. He was easily the smartest man I’ve ever known – he really could do math in his head, way quicker than a calculator. When the numbers were flying around the executive table, many of us would simply turn to Pat, who most often had the number quickly.
Pat was a competitor and enjoyed debating. That was difficult for most of us, because he was so smart, and he thought well on his feet. He and Chris Cook, our CFO, would have entertaining debates on data and numbers. I’ll miss those spirited conversations.
I used to get frustrated because Pat (and Dave Heeter) are so humble. I would want to communicate some things they did to help make our company better – from our MutualBank Foundation – which put money back in our communities throughout our footprint, all the way to making people-based decisions on benefits or pay. Things that impacted people – Pat always wanted the employees to have the advantage when it was possible.
One example…He (and Dave Heeter) would get up at 3:30 am on a frosty winter morning, to drive 3 hours up to Mishawaka to honor our Years of Service employees at a breakfast meeting. They never missed a year that I’m aware of. And Pat’s not an early morning person, as I understand it! But he always showed up when called upon.
Serving the community was another thing that Pat “just did.” He did not want limelight, and he tried to run from it – sometimes successfully, sometimes not. He was mighty (yet quietly) passionate about Habitat for Humanity. I texted him last Friday morning while at our build, and let him know our team was just a little behind the highest fundraisers. He replied with, “We’ll make it happen.” Then he came out to visit the site. It was then some others on our team “caught him” helping a young lady with her broken bicycle. That’s just who he was. I understand that he did try to “chase away” our employee photographers, but they captured him “just being Pat.” He cared about helping others with a hand up, not a hand out.
My friend Juli Wright, when I called to tell her the news of Pat’s passing, says she remembers sitting at the restaurant across the street from the bank during a heavy rain at lunchtime. A lady and her young daughter were walking along and the daughter’s umbrella blew out of her hand and into the road. Pat saw this, and chased the umbrella down in the pouring rain to return it. That’s just who he was.
Dr. Jeff Bird, IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital
Working with Pat on the Delaware Advancement Corporation (DAC) board, supporting the Horizon Convention Center and economic development activities, were two important areas where I had immense respect for Pat and what he did for the community. But, boy, what an incredible family man he was! We were blessed that his kids and my kids attended Muncie Central High School together and played sports together. One of my sons was in one of Pat’s boys weddings, so our families go way back.
Pat always had a humbleness about himself and how he led that was always inspirational to me. You could always count on Pat being the voice of reason. If there was a controversial leadership topic, you could always count on Pat’s insight to help lead and facilitate us to the right decision for the community. Pat will be incredibly missed.
Editor’s note: WLBC’s Steve Lindell interviewed Pat Botts in 2015 during the initial launch of MuncieJournal.com. You can listen to that interview with Pat below. I think some folks might like to hear Pat’s voice again, and this is the only audio we have.
To read more comments from the community about Pat, please visit the MutualBank Facebook page and scroll down to the post that looks like the image below.
A memorial service in Pat’s honor will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, October 18th at High Street United Methodist Church, 219 S. High Street, Muncie. A private burial will take place in Markle Cemetery, Markle, Indiana.
Friends and family may call at High Street United Methodist Church on Thursday, October 17th from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., or one hour before the memorial service on Friday.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Muncie Habitat for Humanity, The Community Foundation of Delaware County, or High Street United Methodist Church.
The Meeks Mortuary and Crematory, Washington Street Chapel is in charge of arrangements and online condolences may be sent to the family at https://www.meeksmortuary.com/obituary/patrick-coleman-botts/