Robert Drabenstot had the sweetest of smiles, one that warmed up friends and strangers alike.
Much of that warmth came from his relationship with God, said his daughter, Audrey Mihich. He began a personal relationship with Jesus at the age of 12, she said.
Robert E. Drabenstot, 81, of Hammond, died Nov. 17.
"The Lord was first place in his life," said Millie Drabenstot, his wife of 61 years.
Mihich said her dad was a deacon and usher at Dyer Baptist Church.
He also sang in the choir, taught Sunday School, drove the church bus and often visited various nursing homes.
"He loved going to church and serving," his daughter said.
He also loved visiting the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago and speaking to the people about the Bible and salvation, his wife said.
"He just loved to talk about his savior to other people," Mihich added.
Drabenstot married his lifelong sweetheart, Millie Holler, in 1952 and they had four children: Cliff, Audrey, Roger and Gloria (deceased).
"They were a beautiful example of true love and a great marriage," Mihich said. "I was blessed to have been raised in that environment and have a Godly example to follow."
They also enjoyed being with 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, who loved making "homemade" donuts with their grandpa when spending the night.
Cliff Drabenstot said his dad loved cars and taught him how to buy and sell classic vehicles.
He recalled going with him often to buy an old car.
"I'll miss those times," he said.
Roger Drabenstot recalled his days as a runner and how his dad would ride a bike along side of him as he was training to encourage him.
"He was just a likeable guy," Mihich said. "He liked people and they knew it."