Dental 01

Donald C. Findlay

October 5, 1934 ~ August 21, 2022 (age 87)


Donald Cameron Findlay II passed away on Sunday, August 21, 2022 at the age of 87 in his Elkhart, Indiana home. Don’s exemplary commitment to family, friends, and service have long provided a road map for all who were blessed to know him, and this legacy will continue to live in each one of us.

Don was born on October 5, 1934 in Freeport, Illinois to Donald Cameron Findlay (Cameron) and Viola Blair Findlay and he grew up in nearby Mount Morris.  Don’s mom and dad raised their only child with the counsel that, “Time is to be used, not spent.” Both parents’ lives provided instruction on how to do just that: they were devoted parents, dedicated professionals, respected community leaders, and strong in their faith. Don grew up active in athletic pursuits including swimming, baseball, basketball and football. In high school, he marched with the band at halftime wearing his football uniform and playing the sousaphone. He worked as a lifeguard on the Rock River in the summers, detasseled corn in local fields, and delivered the Mount Morris Times on his bicycle. Don followed his father into a lifelong devotion to the Boy Scouts of America, traveling to many Jamborees in the United States and once in Europe. At age 14, Don became the youngest Eagle Scout in the history of Illinois. Don was proud of his 70 years of continuous BSA membership and active engagement as a district commissioner and council board member. In 2021, he was given the highest honor bestowed by the Boy Scouts when he was awarded the National Outstanding Eagle Scout Award presented to Eagle Scouts whose efforts have made a significant impact and have inspired others.

In 1952, Don departed Mount Morris to attend DePauw University on the school’s preeminent merit academic award, the Rector Scholarship. Soon after arriving on campus, Don’s father, Cameron, died of cancer, requiring Don to work his way through college doing odd jobs.  At DePauw, Don majored in History, joined Sigma Nu Fraternity, played a year of football, excelled on the swim team, took second place in the inaugural Little 500 bike race (after a fall on the very last turn), and (most fortuitously) worked as a waiter at the Alpha Phi Sorority House where he met his future wife Judy Lilly in 1954. Don and Judy made lifelong friends during their DePauw years and Don remained active in the University serving as a trustee from 1990 to 2002, and an advisory trustee until his passing. He also served as a trustee of the DePauw Malpas Scholarship Foundation from 1994 until his death. His love of DePauw was infectious and strong so much so that it could be argued he was one the university’s best admissions recruitment officers. Any discussion of DePauw started with a smile and ended with one.

Upon his DePauw graduation in 1956, Don was admitted to the Ph.D. program at the University of Wisconsin, with the intention of becoming a history professor at a small liberal arts college like DePauw.  However, realizing that he wanted to marry Judy, he switched gears and attended the University of Illinois College of Dentistry to pursue the more stable and lucrative career in dentistry. In addition to his studies, Don worked in the lab of his mentor, Dr. Rosenthal, and also for the Burlington Railroad at Union Station. Don and Judy were married September 6, 1958 at Trinity United Methodist Church in her hometown of Elkhart. Upon graduation from dental school in 1960, Don and Judy moved to Elkhart where he began Findlay Family Dentistry, which would continue for 42 years until his retirement in 2002. At that time, Don wrote to his patients that “…every tooth has a person attached to it…and I thank each of you for choosing me to be your dentist; it has been a privilege.”

As his parents taught him by example, Don used his lifetime to serve others. He was especially dedicated to his Elkhart community, where he began his service in 1963 as a director of the Elkhart County United Way. He was also a long-standing member of the Elkhart Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club. His commitment to education was a priority and he remained actively involved with Elkhart Community Schools until recently. Don also devoted a great deal of time to his faith. Don grew up a United Methodist in Mount Morris and he became a member Elkhart’s Trinity UMC in 1960. He found fulfillment in recent years serving as the Chair of the Commission on Archives & History of the Indiana Conference United Methodist Church. 

Health and well-being were important to Don and he demonstrated this passion through extensive volunteer work with Elkhart General Hospital, YMCA and YWCA, Indiana University South Bend Dental Program, IUPUI School of Dentistry, Elkhart County Health Board, and ultimately in founding Heart City Health Dental upon his retirement.  The Findlay Dental Center provides free and low-cost dental care to underserved families in Elkhart County. Don served as the Center’s volunteer Director of Dental Health for several years until a full-time staff was formed and funded. In recognition of this commitment in particular in addition to his long-standing record of community service, Don received the 2005 Humanitarian of the Year from the United Labor Agency of Elkhart County, the 2007 Humanitarian Award from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the 2003 Sagamore of the Wabash (the highest honor bestowed by the governor of Indiana).

Personally, Don remained physically active throughout his life, especially enjoying tennis and golf with friends and family. Don and Judy were early members of Elcona Country Club and Don served as the President of the Board in addition to spending many years on its beautiful golf course. 

Don was most proud of his family. He was a devoted husband, a steadfast dad, and a beloved Papa. He is survived by Judy, his wife of 63 years, and their three children and their spouses: Cam and Amy Findlay, David and Susan Findlay, and Anne and John McGowan. He is also survived by his seven grandchildren (in order of age), Alex Findlay, Audrey Findlay, Mac Findlay, Emma Vail Cangialosi, Blair Findlay, Isabelle Vail, and Eli Vail. The family wishes to extend our deep appreciation to the many health care professionals who have supported Don in recent years. In particular, we are grateful to Senior1Care and the Center for Hospice Care for helping Don live his last months in the peace of his own home where he has been treated with the dignity and respect he so richly deserved.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 10th at 11 a.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, 2715 E Jackson Blvd, Elkhart, IN 46516. A celebration of life will follow at Elcona Country Club, 56784 Co Rd 21, Bristol, IN 46507 from 12:30 until 2:00 pm.  Hartzler-Gutermuth-Inman Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Donald and Judith Findlay DePauw Trust Scholarship at DePauw University, Development Office c/o Sara Tuggle P.O. Box 37, Greencastle, IN 46135-0037 or The Community Foundation of Elkhart County for “Fund for Elkhart County Scholarship” at or P.O. Box 2932, Elkhart, Indiana 46515


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Memorial Service
September 10, 2022

11:00 AM
Trinity on Jackson Church
2715 E. Jackson Blvd
Elkhart, IN 46516

Celebration of Life Open House
September 10, 2022

12:30 PM to 2:00 PM
Elcona Country Club 56784 Co


Donald & Judith Findlay DePauw Trust Scholarship, Depauw University Development Office c/o Sara Tugg
P.O. Box 37, Greencastle IN 46135

The Community Foundation of Elkhart County for "Fund for Elkhart County Scholarship"
P.O Box 2932, Elkhart IN 46515

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