Operating under his lifelong philosophy to “never tell anyone how to do their job,” Bob Wopat, former chief executive with GTE, along with his wife, Dorothy, established the Robert M. & Dorothy C. Wopat Scholarship Fund. The largest scholarship fund at Marion Community Foundation, the Wopat Scholarship awards $100,000+ annually in support of local students.
Bob held a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan and made a career in the telecommunications industry. Having witnessed technological changes from battery service and crank phones to the invention of the dial system, the digital switch, and cellular technology, he knew the inevitability of change and created funds open and available for addressing new community needs.
Bob’s career included service in World War II as a Naval officer and specialist in magnetic and acoustic firing devices. In 1964, Bob became president of GTE’s Ohio Operations, a position he held for 16 years until his retirement in 1980. He enjoyed woodworking, gardening, and was an avid golfer. Bob was a member of the MedCenter Hospital board, the predecessor of Marion Community Foundation, from 1965-1998.
The Wopats married in 1940. Dottie held a teaching degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, was an avid bridge player and enjoyed floral arranging and dance.