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James Robert “Bob” Plankenhorn passed away peacefully in his home early January 1, 2019. Born June 28, 1927 in Richmond, Indiana to Russell and Erma (Newman) Plankenhorn, he was 91 years old. Survivors include: Mary, his loving wife of 68 years; son, Rob and his wife Connie of Indianapolis; son, Dan of Palo Alto; 3 grandchildren, Robbie, David and Isabella; 1 great-grandson Eli; sisters-in-law, Elma, Christine, and Nancy; nieces and nephews. He was a member of the First English Lutheran Church, Richmond.
Bob was a lifelong Wayne County resident, growing up in rural Webster Township. He graduated from Webster High School in 1945 where he lettered in track and basketball. After high school, he was 4H leader for the township until his marriage to Mary in 1950. Bob farmed with his father and grandfather, Oscar, for a number of years until choosing to enter the gasoline business in 1961. He partnered with Dick Ross to operate the Texaco Service in Fountain City selling a full line of automobile products as well as home-heating oil. When Dick left the business in 1965 Bob continued to operate the full-service gas station and heating oil distributorship until his retirement in 1973.
Plankenhorn’s Texaco was located in the heart of Fountain City at the busy intersection of Main St. and Highway 27. The location gave Bob a unique visibility into and from the community as most citizens passed through the intersection each day. This traffic acquainted Bob with almost every resident of the town and he became lifelong friends with many. His service to the community included elected positions on the town board and the volunteer fire department.
Bob’s service station was much more than a place to buy gas and oil, it was also central to Fountain City’s community where locals lingered and socialized in the station’s large, comfortable waiting room. Also, as a full-service gas station, Plankenhorn Texaco was an employer to many of the area’s young men as “pump jockeys”; with whom Bob maintained close friendships until his death. Bob retired from the gasoline business in 1975, but the relationships formed with the employees, customers and vendors to Plankenhorn’s Texaco continued to be an important part of his social circle.
Following his retirement and partially due to his large network of friends within the community, Bob was employed by Smith & McQuiston Funeral Home in Fountain City. In their moment of grief, family survivors and funeral attendees were always cheered to see Bob’s familiar face and hear his kind words which were often laced with an appropriate level of wit. Riggle-Waltermann Mortuary in Richmond similarly employed Bob and his tenure in the funeral business stretched past 40 years.
Bob Plankenhorn will be remembered for his kindness, intelligence, open disposition, humor and loyalty to friends. In many ways, Bob was the personification of Fountain City, Indiana, the community that he loved so dearly. He will be sorely missed by his family, his many friends and the entire community.
Bob’s life will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 5, at the Smith-McQuiston & Webster Funeral Home, 321 US 27, Fountain City. Interment will follow in Willow Grove Cemetery.
Family and friends may gather for visitation from 4-7 p.m. on Friday, January 4, at the funeral home.
Memorial contributions are encouraged for the First English Lutheran Church, 2727 East Main Street, Richmond, IN 47374 or the Reid Foundation for Hospice Care, 1100 Reid Parkway, Richmond, IN 47374.
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