Donald Finley Elliott Jr., a prominent Indianapolis attorney and retired partner at the firm Ice Miller Donadio and Ryan, died Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. He was 96.
Mr. Elliott began his professional career at the Indianapolis law firm then known as Ross McCord Ice and Miller. During his tenure, it became one of the largest law firms in the state of Indiana, where he worked in the areas of business, corporate and banking law until his retirement in 1987. He represented national corporations such as RCA, as well as local businesses. He earned the respect of his colleagues and legal adversaries alike through his thoughtful, confident demeanor, and his knowledge of and passion for the law.
Known to his friends as "Fin," Mr. Elliott was born Oct. 8, 1921, in Kokomo, Indiana, to a family steeped in the law; his father, Donald Finley Elliott, was an attorney who graduated from DePauw University and Columbia Law School, and his grandfather, James Finley Elliott, was a Civil War veteran who became a circuit court judge. His mother was Pauline Hoss Elliott.
He attended Kokomo High School for two years, and then graduated from Culver Military Academy in 1939. Like his father, he attended DePauw University, where he was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. After graduating in 1943 with a major in history, he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, ultimately as the executive officer aboard the USS Bannack, operating in the South Pacific. After the war, Mr. Elliott attended Columbia Law School, where he lived for a time in the same dorm room his father had occupied years earlier.
In 1954, he married Dorothy Ann Yates, who survives him along with their three children, Kenneth Elliott, Richard (Anne) Elliott, and Emily (Robert) Browning.
Among his many charitable and civic activities, Mr. Elliott served as a member and elder at Second Presbyterian Church, where he was clerk of session for 10 years. He organized and served as a director of both the Indianapolis 500 Festival and the Marion County Association for Retarded Children. He served on the Metropolitan Development Commission, and the boards of the Maxinkuckee Country Club, Marquette Manor, United Hospital Services, the Eagle Creek Park Foundation, the Pike Township Residents Association, and the American United Life Insurance Co.
For 27 years, he was chairman of the board of directors of the Kokomo Opalescent Glass Co., a business purchased and developed in part by his great-grandfather, Peter E. Hoss, in 1891. The company became a flagship supplier of stained and decorative glass, counting Louis Comfort Tiffany and Frank Lloyd Wright among its prominent customers. At the Opalescent, he worked as a close advisor to his son, Richard, who was for many years president of the company. "My father had a remarkable gift for diplomacy in business," according to Richard. "He instinctively knew when to turn on the pressure, and when to listen, when to exert his influence, and when to let others lead." The business enjoyed some of its most profitable years of expansion and growth under Mr. Elliott's leadership.
Fin was an avid golfer who also loved playing bridge with friends, gardening and relaxing at his family cottage on Lake Maxinkuckee.
In addition to his wife and three children, he is also survived by eight grandchildren, Rebecca Elliott, Lillian Elliott, Andrew (Deanna) Browning, Elliott Browning, Charles (Allison) Browning, Robert Browning, Theodore Browning and Melissa Browning; a niece, Malinda Elliott; and two nephews, James Elliott and William Elliott.
A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Dec. 28 at Second Presbyterian Church, 7700 Meridian St. Indianapolis, IN 46260, with a visitation preceding the service at 10 a.m. A private interment ceremony will immediately follow the service in the Memorial Garden at Second Presbyterian Church.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to BrightFocus Foundation, Macular Degeneration Research, 22512 Gateway Center Drive, Clarksburg, MD 20871; www.brightfocus.org.
Funeral arrangements entrusted to Leppert Mortuary.
Published on December 23, 2017