It is an honor to speak about Howard Gustaf Diesslin today. He was a good friend. The newspaper presented his credentials as given to them by the family….. but for those of you who might not have seen the obit…..

He was raised on a farm near LaPorte; was an Ag graduate, earned and was awarded a PhD in Ag Econ. He served in the Navy in WWII including a paid vacation on Maui from 1944-46. He was proud of his service and laughed about it often, sometimes sardonically; he only talked about the good parts. He joined the Ag faculty, left, and after a few years with the Farm Foundation in Chicago, he returned to Purdue in 1962 as Director of the Cooperative Extension Service; serving from 1962-83. This was a major challenge until he was appointed as the first Executive Director for Extension with the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC). He was in C.D. for 5 years, returning to Purdue and retiring as an Emeritus Professor of Ag. Econ. In retirement, he managed the W.L. branch of Diesslin & Associates. He was a certified financial planner, and became highly regarded for his sagacity in the market.

Howard was a family man, a straight arrow, kind, honest and thoughtful.. With all the food, fine, admirable characteristics one expects to find in farm folks. He was a man of strong Christian beliefs and was active in his church. He was a doer, a worker, a dependable colleague. He was always there, for he knew that the world is run by those who show up, and he did that; he showed up. In the later years through his lengthy chronic illness &endash; mostly emphysema -- he demonstrated great courage and inner strength. He was of good cheer to the end. I recall that we talked about his physical problems; which were enough to make one weep &endash; I asked him if he really recognized the seriousness of his condition and he said, "Yes, but I an not going to let it get me down!"

We had a small group going to lunch around town on Fridays….he liked beef, ordering it most often. On occasion we'd drive down to West Point because they had prime rib platters he especially looked forward to. A smile would come to him in anticipation of that event. He couldn't eat much of it, and was somewhat embarrassed by that; responding to the quizzical looks he would get from our server….so he messed up his plate so it would look like he had eaten more. He was not well….for years. Nevertheless, he served on the Indiana State Fair Board and on financial committees for the Salvation Army of Lafayette and the TCHA. He served as President of the PURA for 2 years. In these activities he was always quite low key, believing that for him, it was best to delegate rather than to lead by example. On inquiry, he responded that standing up before the assembled and being persuasive was "not my style". His word, when it came to numbers, was especially attention getting &endash; even when bankers were holding forth. He was humble, forgiving, and had a strong sense of adequacy.

He was devoted to his family &endash; proud of them and their lives. His eldest, David, is founder and Pres. of Diesslin & Association of Fort Worth, Texas. Richard of Beaver Creek, Ohio (just east of Dayton) is a cartoonist; daughter Carol is living in Vancouver, Washington (across the river &endash; north of Portland, Oregon). He loved and adored his wife Mikki. And she returned his affection. When Howard and I traveled, she stood at the door with a farewell remonstrance about taking care, even though she had her own health problems of serious and painful nature. It would be difficult not to admire this couple; it is nice to know that in this grisly world of attention to all that is unhappy -- that there exists such complete trust, devotion and loyalty. Howard, you have made a mark that others may aspire to reach. We are pleased that you passed our way in Rotary.

Donald P. Gustafson -- 10 January, 2006