Kosciusko County has lost four prominent and beloved individuals – businessmen, coaches, an attorney, sportsmen and civic leaders.
The communities in which all four men lived and worked are in shock and disbelief.
Charles Smith, his son Scott Smith, former Tippy Valley High School Football Coach Scott Bibler, and businessman and sprint car driver Tony Elliott, were killed in a plane crash en route to the Notre Dame vs. Clemson football game Friday afternoon.
The single engine plane crashed on the South Caroline side of Lake Hartwell in Oconee County. The plane was found on the Georgia-South Carolina border.
Charlie D. Smith was a man who loved his community and gave back to it by serving on various boards. He was also an avid Notre Dame fan.
He was seeking re-election to the city’s common council.
As a member of the city’s common council, he represented the council on the Warsaw Aviation Board, on the Warsaw Board of Public Works and president on the Warsaw Redevelopment Commission.
“Coach” as he was known to many, was a coach and teacher for 16 years. He joined Lake City Bank in 1983 as manager of the Mentone office and was then promoted in 1992 to senior vice president of the commercial banking department. In April 2000, he was promoted to executive vice president of the commercial department. He retired from Lake City Bank in 2011.
He was named Warsaw/Kosciusko County Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year in 2001.
Serving the community, Smith was a board member and past chairman of Kosciusko Development, Inc., board member and chairman of the loan committee for Warsaw Community Development Corporation. He was a past board member of the Kosciusko Community Senior Services and past board member, finance committee for the YMCA.
Smith chaired the Community Gifts Fundraiser for the expansion project and is a member of Warsaw Rotary Club, a former graduate and past president of Kosciusko Leadership Academy and a former member of the Kosciusko County Educational Council. Smith has also been involved with Junior Achievement, March of Dimes, United Way of Kosciusko County, Warsaw Combined Community Services, American Lung Association, Leukemia Society of America, and Boy Scouts of America.
He received his master’s degree from St. Francis College, Fort Wayne, in 1974 and his B.S. from Manchester College in 1967.
Scott Smith, a local attorney, was the son of the pilot, Charles Smith. He lived in Kosciusko County for the majority of his life where he attended Tippecanoe Valley High School and was a part of the Kosciusko Leadership Academy.
Scott attended Warner University in Lake Wales, Fla., where he received his bachelor’s degree in accounting. He played basketball for Warner University and was team captain for two years. He graduated from law school from Valparaiso University. He obtained licenses to practice in the Indiana Supreme Court, United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana and United States District for the Southern District of Indiana.
He was deputy prosecuting attorney in St. Joseph, Allen and Kosciusko counties.
Former Tippy Valley Football Coach
(Editor’s Note: The following is excerpts from an interview with Scott Bibler by Scott Davidson, InkFreeNews sports published on June 11)
Scott Bibler had spent the last 25 years making a difference in the lives of young people as a football coach and educator at Tippecanoe Valley High School.
He hoped to continue that impact by trading in his coaching whistle for a new career.
Bibler resigned as the Valley football coach and accepted a job with CrosssWinds, an in-home family counseling company based out of Fort Wayne. He remained in the area to work with organizations such as schools and youth groups in Kosciusko, St. Joseph, Elkhart and Marshall counties as the Director of Business Development for the company.
Bibler, who had been at TVHS since 1990, had been weighing the change for a couple of months before making the move. The process started when CrossWinds CEO Mark Terrell, who was a former football teammate of Bibler’s from his college playing days, came to speak at Valley. That started discussions for Bibler, who served as part of a Mental Task Force Committee at Valley in his role as a guidance counselor there.
The 50-year old Bibler took over for his second stint as the head coach at Valley for the 2014 season after serving as an assistant coach under Jeff Shriver, who resigned following the 2013 campaign. Shriver was an assistant coach this past fall for the Vikings.
The personable Bibler was the Vikings’ head coach from 1990-2005 before resigning in March of 2006 to spend more time with his family, including his two daughters. He was 98-68 during his first stint, including leading Valley to its last sectional championship in 1992.
Bibler was a 1982 Valley graduate and was a sophomore member of the 1979 state championship team. He played football for four years and baseball for two at Taylor University.
Sprint Car Driver
Tony Elliott, Warsaw, was owner of Elliott’s Custom Trailers, Warsaw, and a 1980 graduate of Warsaw High School. He was the areas famed sprint car driver and was watched by hundreds at the Kosciusko County Fair this past July. He was a 1980 graduate of Warsaw High School.
He placed first in the New Zealand Sprint Car Grand Prix and USAC National Sprint Car Series in 1998, first at the USAC Stoops Freightliner Sprint Car Championship in 2000 and first in the 63rd Australian Speedcar Championship. He also placed second in the YSAC National Midget Series in 1992, and third in the Stoops Freightligher USAC Spring Car Series in 1999 and USAC National Sprint Car Series in 2001. He entered 236 races posting 27 wins during his career, between 1982 and 2012 according to DriverDatabase.