BY DEAN HOCKNEY
KOKOMO, Ind. – When David and Shirley Dubois arrived in Kokomo in late 1998, they thought the stay would be short lived – five years at the most. As the newly crowned CEO of the Kokomo Family YMCA, Dave’s intentions were to continue the capital building campaign, build a new facility and move on to a new assignment within the organization.
“When the board interviewed me 18 years ago, I gave them the stock answer of three to five years,” said Dubois. “I promised them I would be gone within a year of opening a new Y. I firmly believed the timeline – I would get the new Y built and find my next Y gig. Here we are 18 years later. But instead of moving on, I am going to retire.”
Dubois will stick to his word – he will retire on March 3, 2017, which is one year and three days after the new state-of-the-art downtown Kokomo YMCA building was opened – now called the Delmar E. Demaree Family YMCA.
“I told them I am giving them a bonus three days,” Dubois said with a chuckle. “I have told my board and national, so it is official – I am going to retire.”
Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight, who worked closely with Dubois through the years as the new YMCA was built next to the Stephen J. Daily Government Center, said the community leader will be missed.
“First, congrats to Dave on his retirement,” said Goodnight. “The next person leading the YMCA is going to have some big shoes to fill and I hope the board does a thorough job because it is an important position in the community. It will be hard to find someone to stay as long as Dave did, but I hope they find someone who was as passionate about it as he was.”
Dubois, a 33-year YMCA employee, said he is just the seventh director of the Kokomo branch. The YMCA of Kokomo began meeting in 1875 and was active in Sunday school, teaching and was evangelical, though it had no permanent space to call its own for the first 35 years. In 1910, a new building was erected at 200 N. Union St. in Kokomo. At the time of completed construction, it was the biggest and newest building in downtown Kokomo.
“There has only been seven (directors) in 106 years,” said Dubois, who noted the title has changed through the years. “It is not like they turnover very often. For a while I thought I had the longest tenure, but it turns out that one gentleman was here from 1920-1958. He wins. I am not going that long! But the YMCA in Kokomo has an interesting history.”
The father of four grown children – Kyle, Kaitlyn, Kelci and Keaton – arrived in Kokomo after working for 10 years at the YMCA of Pittsburgh and five years in Gadsden, Alabama. While he said he will not sit idle in retirement, the 56-year-old is not looking for another high-stress position.
“I will still have to work for another few years, but I have some freedom and flexibility in what I do next,” said the Indiana State University graduate. “I love the Y and I believe in the Y. My retirement has nothing to do with me losing faith in the organization. What we do matters. But it is time; I just want to do something different.”
Dubois said his intentions are to stay in Kokomo once he retires.
“This is where my network is. This is where we raised our kids,” he said. “Like I said, I have flexibility. But this has been my home for 18 years. We love Kokomo. I think I will be able to find something here.”
The CEO position at the YMCA in Kokomo is currently posted through Sept. 6 with intentions of selecting the eighth leader of the Kokomo mainstay by Nov. 21. Questions about the CEO search process should be directed to Franciene Gill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story was first reported by the Kokomo Herald and appeared in the Aug. 18 edition.