David Bobilya, president of Pizza Hut of Fort Wayne, died early Monday.
Bobilya, 65, was a lifelong resident of Fort Wayne. He recently became a recipient of the Sagamore of the Wabash, one of the highest awards given by the Indiana governor based partly on leadership and community contributions.
State Sen. David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said Bobilya was a calm, decent manager. Long, who works as general counsel for Pizza Hut, said Bobilya had ALS.
“His greatest attribute was staying calm in the eye of the storm,” he said. “He was the eye of the storm.
“That’s a rare individual that we lost. It’s a loss for the community.”
Bobilya received a bachelor’s degree from the Indiana University School of Business at IPFW in 1975 with a concentration in accounting and passed the CPA exam in 1975.
Bobilya began his business career with Maloley’s Supermarkets as a carry-out boy while in high school and later was controller of Maloley’s from 1976 to 1981. He began his employment with Pizza Hut of Fort Wayne in 1981 as controller when the company had 13 locations. As president and CEO of the company, Bobilya was overseeing an enterprise that operates 47 Pizza Hut restaurants and four KFC restaurants.
He traveled to Poland in 1995 to visit the Pizza Hut and KFC franchisee and soon became a minority partner in that business. In October 2000, the franchisee company and parent company were merged into a joint venture named AmRest, which operated more than 100 restaurants in Poland and the Czech Republic. In 2005, AmRest concluded an initial public offering and began trading on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.
Before his death, Bobilya was still on the board of directors for Parkview Hospital and recently served on the national board of the Pizza Hut Restaurant Supply Chain Solutions Co-op. He had also served as chairman of the board for Turnstone Center for Disabled Children and Adults and the Foellinger Foundation. Other affiliations include the Convention and Visitors Bureau board of directors, for which he participated from 1992 to 1999, including holding the office of president from 1994 to 1996. In addition, Bobilya served on the Fort Wayne Country Club board of directors and also was its president from 2010 to 2011.
Foellinger Foundation President Cheryl Taylor said Bobilya served the organization for 16 years in different roles. He was still serving on the Foellinger Foundation board at his death. He was an advocate for a number of initiatives designed to improve the Fort Wayne and Allen County communities, she said.
“Dave’s kind and gentle spirit provided strength and wisdom for many efforts that benefited the community,” Taylor said. “Dave’s influence had a very far reach, but his spirit of generosity serves as a model for us fortunate enough to have known him.”
Parkview Health President and CEO Mike Packnett said in a statement Bobilya provided “leadership and vision” to the organization.
“He kept us focused on our mission to provide excellent care and supported us both professionally and personally, known to many as an amazing leader and an even better friend,” Packnett said. “This is a tremendous loss for our community and we join many across our region in sharing that our hearts go out to Dave’s loved ones during this difficult time.”
Bobilya was a member of the Financial Executives Institute.
He is survived by his wife, Annie.