William Henry Aufenberg



Retired Master Conservation Officer William Henry Aufenberg, 64, succumbed to a prolonged battle with COPD on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015, at his family’s farm near Cortland. He was surrounded by his wife, Barbara; daughter, Bethany; and son-in-law, Kenny Engleking.

Born Dec. 5, 1950, in Seymour, he was the son of Leonard and Ruby Ruth Cutlip Aufenberg, both of whom preceded him in death.

Bill was an energetic youth who grew up on the Twin Lakes surrounding Monticello. Following his 1968 high school graduation from Roosevelt Military Academy in Aledo, Illinois, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, completing his basic training at Camp Pendleton, California, before serving a tour in Vietnam between 1968 and 1969. After fulfilling his military contract, Bill returned home, where he briefly attended mortuary school in Indianapolis before marrying his long-time sweetheart, Barbara Joann White, at Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church in Monticello on Jan. 2, 1971. Though he chose not to follow into the family funeral business, his parents and family were exceptionally proud when he earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Vincennes University, followed by a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Ball State University.

Shortly after purchasing their first house in Monticello, Bill and Barb were blessed by the arrival of their daughter, Bethany Anne, in November 1977. Three months later, on Feb. 25, 1978, Bill was appointed to the prestigious rank of Indiana State Conservation officer with the Department of Natural Resources in Jefferson County. He and his family lived in Madison for just under a decade before moving to Jackson County, where he served until his retirement on March 31, 2007. In his 29 years of loyal service with the DNR, Officer Aufenberg will be remembered most highly for his integrity, honesty and compassion toward his fellow man and the surroundings of nature.

Known for his expertise as an airboat operator, Bill responded to countless calls of rescue along the Ohio, Muscatatuck and White rivers throughout his career during times of need, when his skills in aquatics brought relief to countless victims in life threatening conditions. The DNR Law Enforcement Division granted Officer Aufenberg the Lifesaving Award of Heroism for his actions taken Jan. 24, 2000, at Redbrush Park. The following year he was named 2001 Jackson County Officer of the Year by the Brownstown Exchange Club. In 2005, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Bill accompanied fellow officers to the Mississippi Gulf Coast in a unified effort of relief of which he was very proud to be a part.

Bill was a member of St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Seymour and American Legion Post 89, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1925, the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 108, Bobtown Conservation Club, the Wounded Warrior Project, the National Rifle Association of America and the Indiana Archaeological Society.

Ever the avid outdoorsman, Bill enjoyed traveling, camping, fishing, hunting, boating and skiing. Unparalleled in his skills behind any wheel, Bill was an excellent marksman, gun enthusiast, concertgoer, antique collector, artifact hunter and proud caretaker of his family’s farm. Outwardly shy, his humble tendencies were an endearing trait matched only by his adventurous spirit. Bill leaves behind a legacy of unsurpassing love for his family and friends second to none. He will be sorely missed and fondly remembered.

Besides his wife and children, survivors include his mother-in-law, Joan White of Monticello; sisters-in-law, Kathy (Danny) Fulton of Delphi and Janice Botoff of Casa Grande, Arizona; two nieces; two nephews; one great-niece; and one great-nephew, who was born just days before his passing.

Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by an older brother, Leonard Aufenburg Jr.; his grandparents; his father-in-law, Donald White of Monticello; and his great-aunts and great-uncles.

A memorial service will be at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Woodlawn Life Celebration Centre, 311 Holiday Square Road in Seymour.

Visitation will be from 1 p.m. until time of service Saturday followed by a catered dinner once the story of his life has been lovingly shared.

In lieu of flowers, Bill requested memorials be made to the Jackson County Humane Society or to the Donald Winn FOP-Cops and Kids program. Memorial donations may be sent to the funeral home and will be forwarded appropriately. Family and friends may share a memory of Bill or leave a message of condolence at WoodlawnFamilyFuneral.com.

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