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Obituary: Robert Leland Vinson, Columbus

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Robert Leland Vinson, only child of Marion and Monta (Beach) Vinson, was born in Indianapolis on July 10, 1924. The young family soon moved to Jennings County where Robert grew up helping with his parents' farm.

He played on the Butlerville High School Basketball Team. Soon after graduation, he met the love of his life, Betty Geane Wilds, at the Columbus Roller Rink on Valentine’s Day 1945. That year Robert joined the Merchant Marine Corps and traveled to Europe twice aboard the Liberty Ships which carried soldiers and supplies during World War II. Following the war, he and Betty were united in marriage on May 31, 1947, in Jennings County.

Robert had a variety of jobs including farming, dairyman at Muscatatuck State School, driving trucks for Railway Express, tombstone salesman, grocery store keeper at Forest Hill, rural route mailman and was employed at Cummins Engine Company.

Robert’s mentor, Ernest Reider, encouraged him to explore the Real Estate business as a career. In 1956 Robert became a salesman for Lawless & Williams Realty and two years later for Dunlap Realty in Columbus. He worked at Reliance Electric while taking classes to become a Real Estate and Insurance Broker. During this time Robert was also appointed as Bail Bondsman by Sheriff Nolting, a job which continued through the 1970’s.

In 1962 Robert established House & Home Realty Co. in the back of The Music Box Store (Carter’s Sweeper Sales) on 25th Street. Also that year, he was introduced to builder, Don E. Dilley. The two men created Estate Development Corporation and became lifelong friends, business partners and land developers. As Columbus was booming, House & Home Realty Co. thrived until Robert’s retirement in 1998 at the age of 75 when the business closed. He was a Lifetime Honorary Member of the National Association of Realtors. Estate Development Corporation was responsible for creating many housing subdivisions, including Crump Estates, Flintwood, Park Forest, Sims, Arrowood, Foxpointe, Colony Park, Skyview and the Holiday Shopping Center. Robert also built many homes as a contractor within these subdivisions. He also built Clifford Apartments and other various commercial buildings in Columbus.

Aside from his business life, Robert was a member of Elizabethtown Masonic Lodge, Indianapolis Valley of Scottish Rite, Columbus High Twelve Club, Optimist Club and the River Rats. He was a member of First Baptist Church where he participated in a mission project in Kodiak, Alaska, building Church Camp Cabins during the 1970’s. Robert loved to fish and took annual trips to Dale Hollow with his father and friends. Robert also loved aviation and had his small-plane pilot’s license. He enjoyed music, traveling, working outdoors mowing, maintaining his properties and especially spending time with his family. He was a loving, devoted husband and father who committed himself to hard work, integrity and generosity.

Robert died at the age of 89 at 3:45 a.m. Tuesday, September 10, 2013, at his home, with his wife of more than 66 years at his bedside.

Surviving with his wife, Betty, are a daughter, Loretta Vinson of Columbus; a son, Larry Vinson of Columbus; four grandchildren, Laila McMaculiffe, Aimee and Kayleigh Vinson, all of Columbus, IN, and Richard Vinson of Greenwood, IN; and four great-grandchildren.

Along with his parents, Mr. Vinson was also preceded in death by an aunt who was like a sister, Joyce Tull Dick Hutcheons.

The funeral service celebrating Robert's life will be conducted at 11: a.m. Friday, September 13, 2013, at Myers-Reed Chapel on 25th Street with Dr. Dan Cash and Rev. Donald Buck officiating. Calling hours will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday and from 10 a.m. until the time of the service on Friday. Burial will be in Vernon Cemetery in Vernon, IN.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Our Hospice of South Central Indiana, the Parkinson’s Foundation or the First Baptist Church Foundation.

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