Harry Edward Reasner, 91, formerly of Tipton was born Aug. 15, 1924, in Greenfield, to Harry Reasner, Sr. and Crystal Reasner. He passed away Nov. 8, 2015, at his home in Sarasota, Fla.
He was raised in Greenfield, where he graduated from Greenfield High School. In the fall of 1942, Harry entered General Motors Institute as one of four co-op students with the Allison Division of General Motors Corporation. When Pearl Harbor was attacked and marked his country's entry into World War II, he applied for Aviation Cadet Training in the Army Air Force. Harry flew a P-47 Thunderbolt as a World War II fighter pilot. After being discharged from the AAF on Sept. 29, 1945, he attended Purdue University on the G.I. Bill and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. While at Purdue, he became a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. Following graduation from Purdue, he began a career at Midwest Plating and Chemical Corporation.
In 1950, engaging his entrepreneurial sprit and seeing opportunity in the food business, Harry bought the Polar Bear Frozen Custard in Tipton. In 1964 he opened his first Jim Dandy restaurant, which was the beginning of the Jim Dandy chain and J.D. Restaurants, Inc. The first Dairy Queen was added to the company in 1988, and today the company has a total of 15 restaurants.
Harry's greatest love was his family. He also enjoyed his time at Lake Wawasee, his passion for flying his private aircraft and building his business. He was a life-long member of the Elks Club and the Air Force Association, and a former member of the Columbia Club. Beginning in 1973, Harry proudly served on the advisory board which helped create Purdue University's School of Restaurant, Hotel and Institutional Management. He had also served on the Tipton School Board.
He was a member of the Indiana Restaurant Association since 1964, and served as its President from 1988-1990. He had the honor of being one of the first members of the Indiana Restaurant Association's Hall of Fame. He was also a member of the Wawasee Property Owners' Association, the Aircraft Owners' and Pilots' Association and the Siesta Key Chapel in Sarasota.
During his career, Harry mentored many young people in their careers in the food service industry and he displayed his strong dedication to his family, his business, his employees and his community. Following retirement, Harry split time between homes on Lake Wawasee in Syracuse, Ind. and Sarasota.
Harry is survived by his wife, of 20 years, Susie Garland Reasner; children, David Reasner (Cheryl) of Carmel, Rebecca Cleveland (Peter) of Indianapolis and Brent Reasner (Donna) of Noblesville; stepson, Christopher Lowther of Bloomington; grandchildren, Ryan Reasner (Christine), Elaine Reasner, Wesley Cleveland, Brent Cleveland, J. Paul Reasner, Carly Reasner Fitch (Gabriel) and great- granddaughter, Claudia Christine Reasner.
Harry was preceded in death by his parents, Harry and Crystal Reasner; his first wife, Rheba Grishaw Reasner; his brother, Richard Reasner and sister, Joanne Reasner Strubbe.
A memorial service for Harry will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015, at the West Street Christian Church, 132 N. West St., Tipton with Rev. Linda McKiernan-Allen presiding. Military honors will be presented at the church. The family will receive friends starting at 2 p.m. that day.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, 4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300, Jacksonville, Florida, 32256.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Young-Nichols Funeral Home, Tipton.