Sarah "Sallie" Alice (Wilkens) Rowland Profile Photo
1932 Sarah "Sallie" Alice (Wilkens) Rowland 2024

Sarah "Sallie" Alice (Wilkens) Rowland

November 14, 1932 — May 2, 2024

When Sallie made up her mind, there was no deviation from course.  It’s how she ran her life, both personally and professionally.  Anyone who knew her before she succumbed to lymphoma at the age of 91, knew that she was a determined business executive who accomplished what she set out to do.  She was preceded in death by her parents, Cleo and Howard Wilkens, her beloved sister, Molly Wilkens, and her dashing and loving husband of 40 years, Richard “Dick” Rowland.  There are many lessons that Sallie took from each of them, and they were present in her life long beyond their passing.  The genealogy efforts that her mother Cleo accomplished in Ft. Wayne molded Sallie’s determination to make an impact on the broader community.

After graduating from Indiana University in 1954, she went to work for Business Furniture, then started her own corporate design business, Rowland/Hawkins with partner Bill Hawkins.   When he left, she took the reins to found Rowland Design.  During her leadership in the 1990s, Rowland Design was listed as the fifth largest interior design firm in North America.  Sallie’s involvement in the community started when she became president of the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission.  She felt that historic preservation was about neighborhoods and connecting people: “We saved the Circle Theatre and Union Station…The historic preservation movement isn’t just about saving individual buildings but saving neighborhoods.”   With this experience and success as a small business owner, Sallie was invited to serve on corporate boards, such as Indianapolis Power and Light, Walker Research, Meridian Mutual Insurance, and Indiana National Bank.  Her involvement in the community extended to numerous nonprofits, including Central Indiana Corporate Partnership co-founder, Christian Theological Seminary, Hanover College, Brendonwood Historic District Foundation, and The Gathering.  Sallie was named a Sagamore of the Wabash and a laureate of the Indiana Business Hall of Fame; she also received the Indiana University Distinguished Alumni Service Award and the May Wright Sewall Leadership Award.

Sallie was an Indianapolis proponent and recruited both her sons to return to their neighborhood to raise their respective families; Eric John (Sally) and Jason Howard (Susy) have lived in Brendonwood for years.  Grandchildren include Sarah Hanna (26), Nicholas Jacob (24), Grace Gerda (24), Jacob Thomas (24), and Stuart Hunter (20).  The Rowland family would like to thank everyone who has already expressed their love and condolences.

Celebration of life services will be held at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 W 86th St., Indianapolis, IN 46260 on May 10 at 2:00 p.m., with visitation beginning at 12:00 noon.  A reception will be held following the services.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to:  Brendonwood Historic District Foundation c/o Greg Stephens, 5730 Ridge Road, Indianapolis, IN 46226 (EIN: 81-4125556) or Indiana Historic Landmarks, 1201 Central Avenue, Indianapolis IN 46202-2656 (EIN: 35-1162873).

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Sarah "Sallie" Alice (Wilkens) Rowland, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Gathering

Friday, May 10, 2024

12:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

St. Luke's United Methodist Church

100 West 86th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46260

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life

Friday, May 10, 2024

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

St. Luke's United Methodist Church

100 West 86th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46260

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Inurnmnet

Friday, May 10, 2024

4:00 - 5:00 pm (Eastern time)

St. Luke's United Methodist Church

100 West 86th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46260

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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