To us he was a pillar of the community, to five others Ian Rolland was dad

Ian Rolland

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Community activist and former CEO of Lincoln National Ian Rolland passed away Saturday. For the first time since his death, his family is speaking about Rolland’s life and legacy.

Most of us know Rolland as a pillar of the community. He fought to make sure Fort Wayne Community Schools had racially balanced schools. He supported local arts, the Mimi and Ian Rolland Art and Visual Communications Center at the University of Saint Francis is evidence of that. To Cheri Stone, Carol Rolland and Larry Rolland he was dad.

“We never thought growing up he was anything but just a father,” Carol said.

After his death at age 84 on Saturday the family has been sifting through all his belongings, and finding out even more about their dad, grandfather and husband.

“You didn’t realize how many things he was able to do, how many people he touched,” Stone said. “So [we are] going through and looking at some of the [awards] he got.”

“To me he thought it was really important to pass along that spirit of compassion and generosity for those less fortunate,” Larry said.

Three of Rolland’s five children spoke to the media before a celebration of his life on Friday. For eight hours family, friends and those impacted by Rolland are celebrating his life with an ice cream social. Even in his last days when eating was difficult the family said he had to have ice cream.

“At the Rib Room he wanted to have peppermint ice cream but they didn’t have a freezer,” Stone said. “So, he bought them a freezer to keep peppermint ice cream.”

It’s those quirky, personal memories the family will remember most about  Rolland. They said he was compassionate, loving, non judgmental, and had a good sense of humor.

“We couldn’t ask for a better dad,” Stone said.

Rolland’s funeral will be Saturday at 2 p.m. at Turnstone with a visitation an hour before.