Roger Umbaugh

Easterday Construction lost another good friend last week. Roger Umbaugh passed away Thursday evening, August 5th. (Obituary here.) We completed several projects for Roger at his home on 12th Road, including a re-siding project with Mary Ellen Rudisell. That was one of those projects that could have become contentious as it seemed that every day we would find a new underlying problem that we couldn’t foresee. The home was a RT house that Roger’s father had constructed and that designer/builder had a reputation that his homes were guaranteed to leak. It was a cool home though! Roger and Carol took the odd construction discoveries and issues in stride.

Personally, I really became friends with Roger when we were tapped to start the Marshall County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) in 2007. Roger was asked to do this by Kevin Overmyer as a representative of Marshall County. I represented the town of Culver. At first meeting of the group, Roger forgot to invite me! He followed up, apologized, and we went out to dinner with our wives, Carol & Becky, so he could bring me up to speed. That went so well and we all got along so well, that it became a regular thing. We rarely went more than a month without a night out together and one year we vacationed with them at their cabin in Pagosa Springs, CO.

Roger and I shared a sense of pragmatism and impatience that fortunately wasn’t turned against each other too often. (No relationship is perfect, ha!) We both were officers for MCEDC nearly our whole tenure there. For better or worse, we went through 4 executive directors. In the end, the issues caused by the last one under our tenure became too stressful for Roger and he had to step down. I had stepped down a couple months prior to that and Roger said that played into his decision as it wasn’t as much fun without us there together.

Marshall County Philanthropy Center
Roger helped make this building possible.

Roger left a legacy at MCEDC as a founding member, but at times that legacy was as much in his support role as when he was out in front. He was my vice chair when I chaired the organization. When I wanted to gather the communities together to foster better understanding and cooperation, he worked behind the scenes to help me. That became the quarterly County Development for the Future (CDFF) meetings, which made Culver Stellar designation and Marshall County Stellar designation possible. I don’t know that I could have made those county meetings happen without his help. He was also the one that made the New Market Tax Credit project happen. Without him, the financing of the pool and the new building for the Marshall County Community Foundation (MCCF) would never have happened. It was his knowledge and contacts with the State that made it viable. These are just a couple of the things that I was closely tied with and can relate. I know there are many others. But Roger wasn’t one to want credit. He was just happy to see the groups he supported succeed.

We remained friends after MCEDC, kabitzing from the sidelines. We also served on the MCCF Investment Committee together, so our civic service together continued to the end. We continued to have nights out together though the last couple of years they were fewer due to Covid and Roger’s health issues. Both of these fueled his impatience. He never liked dealing with things he couldn’t affect!

Thanks for all the great times, wonderful support and unending wisdom, Roger!

Kevin

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