AUBURN — Roger J. Wertenberger, 88, of Auburn, Indiana, passed away Sunday Nov. 22, 2020.

He was born on Jan. 21, 1932, in Ijamsville, Indiana, in Wabash County, to Robert and Mable (Rodgers) Wertenberger.

Roger was a graduate of Auburn High School, where he played on the Red Devils State Finals Basketball team in 1949.

After graduation he attended Michigan State University and served in the U.S. Air Force from 1951 to 1954.

Following his service he returned to Auburn, attending Tri State University while at the same time working at his father’s bank, then known as Peoples Federal Savings and Loan. When his father died unexpectedly of a heart attack, Roger became managing bank officer and continued with Peoples for 52 1/2 years. He oversaw the bank's growth from one office to eight full service locations, and its financial growth from $4 million in assets to more than $325 million.

Roger has also served as president of the YMCA of DeKalb County and president of the DeKalb Memorial Hospital board and the Hospital’s foundation board. In 1999, he was awarded Indiana’s Distinguished Citizen Award. He served as president and chairman of the Indiana League of Savings Institutions, was a national board member of America’s Community Bankers in Washington, D.C., a member of Pentegra (National Pension Board) in White Plains, New York, and served eight years on the board of Federal Home Loan Bank of Indiana, a reserve bank system that serves Indiana, and Michigan.

Also locally, he was active in serving Youth For Christ and Auburn First United Methodist Church, where he was chairman of pastor-parish relations committee, as well as the gifts and endowments commission, among other roles.

His many memberships include the Elks, the Moose, American Legion, Mizpah Shrine and DeKalb Lodge F&AM No 214.

Roger married Joanne Billings on April 4, 1952, in France, while he was in the service and she survives.

He is also survived by two daughters and sons-in-law, Susan R. and Maury Winkler, of Waterloo and Jan E. and Jim Rocco, of St. Charles, Missouri; four grandchildren and their spouses, Jan and Greg Hewitt, of Auburn, Maury and Megan Winkler IV, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Andrew and Kelli Rocco, of St. Louis, Missouri, and Elizabeth and Aaron Theby, of St. Louis, Missouri; two great-grandchildren, Gregory Hewitt and Cora Hewitt.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and a sister, Lois Susan Emenhiser.

Services will be held at a later date.

Burial will be at Woodlawn Cemetery in Auburn.

Memorials may be given in Roger’s name to Eckhart Public Library or Auburn First United Methodist Church.

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