Bob Lindner was born Aug. 5, 1920, in Dayton, Ohio, to Carl and Clara Lindner. He was the second of four children: Carl Jr., Richard and Dorothy (Kreuzman). the family moved to Indianapolis and later Cincinnati, as his father started dairy businesses in each city, with varying success. They were a very close, hardworking family that required everyone’s involvement to make their ventures successful. During the great depression, Bob dropped out of Withrow School after the eighth grade to work full time in order to support the family business. He was always proud of the fact that a kid who never graduated high school could end up being successful in the business world. The family finally found success when they opened United Dairy Farmers in 1940. Bob’s sister, Dorothy, always said the “United” in UDF was chosen to represent the family unity necessary to find success.
In 1942, Bob joined the Army Air Corp and was trained as a weatherman/cryptographer. He was eventually stationed in the South Pacific. It was the military that instilled his life-long dedication to physical fitness, a practice he kept up until his final days, through a weekly schedule of home fitness instructors. His military experience also established his love of country and support for our veterans. He was an active supporter of the USO and was proudly awarded “the spirit of hope.” Bob was stationed on the islands of Guam and Saipan before returning home on the USS West Virginia after three years of service.
It was also the war that led to the introduction of his future wife. An Army buddy gave him the name of a girl he knew from El Paso, who had recently moved to Hamilton, Ohio. Bob and Betty (Johnston) Lindner were later married and were inseparable as they spent the next 66 years raising four boys. They loved traveling the world with friends and family, boating in Florida and enjoying the majestic beauty of Colorado.
Bob spent his early years at UDF managing milk and ice cream production. He was instrumental in R&D, developing ice cream flavors, hot fudge and UDF malt base. Under the leadership of Carl Jr., the company ventured into other businesses, including Thriftway Supermarkets, Hunter Savings and Loan, Provident Bank and American Financial. As the business and families grew, the brothers went in different directions and Bob remained at UDF, his first business love. He oversaw UDF’s operations until what he would refer to as “his proudest moment,” when his sons were old enough to join him and eventually oversee the business.
A family camping trip to Colorado in 1969 exposed Bob to the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. He fell in love with the western way of life and spent the next several decades acquiring over 15,000 acres of ranch land in northern and southern Colorado. He often referred to them as “his Rembrandts.” Establishing the land as a cattle ranch operation, Bob discovered his passion for ranching. Bob was a steward of the land and was committed to maintaining the ranching heritage. Preserving these properties from development became a priority that led him to place the land into a conservation easement, establishing his “legacy of the west,” by protecting it from future development.
Most importantly, Bob’s life was defined by his faith. His life-long dedication to Christ started as a young boy, was strengthened during the war and grew even deeper through his marriage to Betty. He was a generous man who realized his good fortune came by blessings from God. As a result, he spent his energy and resources sharing this message in an effort to lead others to expand their Christian faith. He was honored to be awarded the Masonic 33rd Degree.
Bob passed on early Wednesday morning, Feb. 16, in his home surrounded by his four boys. He was 101.
Bob was preceded in death by his wife, Betty Johnston Lindner. He is survived by children: Robert (Paula) Lindner Jr., Jeff Lindner, Brad (Marsha) Lindner, David (Joann) Lindner; grandchildren: Jolie Lindner, Jill (JP) Boldt, Trisha Flynn, Robert (Kali) Lindner III, Leela (Martin) Metz, Sita Lindner, Emma (John) Gill, Will (Lee) Lindner, Sadie Lindner, Avery Lindner, Andrew Lindner, John Lindner; great-grandchildren: Olivia, Nate, Keira, Hayden, Campbell, Brooks, Thea, Trevor, Huxley, Piper, Frankie and Arlo.
A private visitation was held on Monday, Feb. 21, at Montgomery Community Church. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library, 811 San Juan St., Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.