Joseph L. Dauby Endowment Fund
The guiding influence of parents can come in many different shapes and sizes. It can be a forced, dictated-type of guidance, albeit still done for the love of a daughter or son. Or it can be a more gentle, subtle one…one that is hardly noticeable, but just as profound and impacting. For me and my brothers and sisters, Kevin, Neil, Cindy and Amy, this was the manner in which we were guided by our father, Joe Dauby. The values he instilled in us have had a powerful influence in all our lives. My dad was a wonderful man with a loving, warm heart. Known for his outgoing personality and sense of humor, he was one of those rare individuals who never met a stranger. When he would enter a room everyone would know it…believe me, everyone knew it! His greetings and quirky one-liners were legendary. That’s what everyone loved about dad; he was as genuine as the day is long. Although personality-wise dad was, as many say, “quite the character”, in actuality he was a very devoted, dedicated man. He truly loved my mother, Alene Dauby, and my brothers and sisters were fortunate to grow up in such a loving, caring and nurturing home. Together, they showed us that love can endure even through times of great hardship and pain. We have all learned from their example. Dad was very much a disciplinarian and a man who was obsessed with attention to detail (perhaps that is why four of his kids went on to be accountants!). I remember right after my wife, Chris, and I, moved into our first home in Louisville, dad and I were laying a floor in our attic for additional storage. It was a steamy, hot summer day and it had to be over 110 degrees in that humid, cramped, insulation-laced attic! Two pieces of flooring were not quite matching up, but I insisted it was all right. “For goodness sake, it is for storage purposes only, let’s get out of here”, I pleaded. Long story, short…someone in Louisville today is living in a house with the most perfectly laid floor in their attic…compliments of Joe Dauby! It was this type of devotion that dad applied to all aspects of his life. Be it in his early life as Chairman of the Perry County Democrat Party, or in his later life as Tell City’s Street Department Superintendent, he always worked hard and looked forward to challenges, such as a 10 inch snowstorm! He took immense pride in his work. He also was a man of great devotion to his faith and church. If everyone just knew how much he looked forward to his role in making St. Paul’s annual church auction a success! More than anything, dad was a man who enjoyed the beauty of his surroundings. He loved landscaping, planting flowers and trees, and the peace and serenity it brought him. Some call it a hobby, for dad it was his passion. He and his passion brought much beauty throughout Perry County and Tell City. For all this though, my father did not live an easy life. He fought alcoholism for many years and it took a great toll, on not just him, but our entire family. He did persevere, however, and spent his last seventeen years enjoying a life of sobriety.
Last year, however, our family suffered the unimaginable. After falling down a flight of stairs onto a concrete floor, my father went through severe head and body trauma. For months, we watched him struggle to recover through not only his physical pain, but mental ones as well. A mixture of medication, therapy, and a tremendous amount of love and support were not enough to stop his downward spiral, and on May 29, 2006, my father took his own life.
Many people ask how could this have happened. How could this outgoing, smiling, vibrant man who they just saw waving at them as he went by in his city truck, do such a thing? As a family, we still struggle for the answer. The mysteries of the mind are too much for one family to comprehend…we will leave that up to God. If not for the strength, courage and grace our mother displayed, I am positive our family would not have made it through our tragedy.
In responding to dad’s untimely death, our family decided to not focus on his mental illness which occupied only a brief moment of his life, but to celebrate how he truly lived. Through the Perry County Community Foundation, we have created the Joseph L. Dauby Endowment Fund to help better the community of Tell City and its future. He loved serving his hometown and did whatever he could do to better it, and make it a more beautiful place to live.
I think dad knows we have established an endowment in his name, and he is happy he still will have an impact on our community. I know he was proud of every one of his children. In many ways, we all are following in his footsteps. We all have moved back and now live in Tell City. Some of us carry on his love for landscaping, planting flowers and bringing beauty to this world. Some of us are active in the community in which we live. Some of us are active in the church we attend. Some of us work for companies which serve our community and try to bring good to it. All of us have his great heart.
Almost weekly, I get reminded by people how much I look like my father…how much I talk like him…how much I act like him. It makes me smile, and takes me back to a moment I will forever remember the two of us shared. Life is not easy and we all will stumble and go through difficult times. I was going through such a time when my father had a talk with me and shared how proud he was of me and the person I had become, and most importantly that I was a good man. A good man…how powerful his words were and how profound an effect they had on me then, and continue till this day. I hope someday I can be there for my son when he is in need. By the way, people say he looks, sounds and acts just like me. I just smile!
– Jim Dauby