(Apr. 22, 1903-Dec. 25, 1993). Echols was born in Hubbard City, Texas. At age 14, he hitchhiked to find work and send money home. In 1919, Echols began working as a part-time clerk at Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in Dallas. He graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1925. He married Leatrice “Peggy” Echols in 1933. The couple had one daughter.

Echols worked his entire career with the Bell system, serving in Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma before moving to Indianapolis in 1954. He was vice president and general manager of Indiana Bell for four years, then became vice president of operations for American Telephone & Telegraph Company in New York. After two years in New York, he returned to Indianapolis as Indiana Bell president from 1960 to 1968.

Echols served as a director for the Indianapolis Water Company and several other corporations. Echols was active in community affairs. He led a fund drive to finance the Indiana Convention Center, served as president of the Indianapolis Chamber Of Commerce, director of the Indianapolis Athletic Club, and chairman of the United Way. Echols also held leadership positions with the Indianapolis Development Association, the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, the Indianapolis Center for Advanced Research, Clowes Memorial Hall, St. Vincent Hospital, the 500 Festival, and Starlight Musicals. Butler University honored him with a doctor of laws degree and a distinguished service award.

Echols and his wife created the Roy and Peggy Echols Scholarship Fund in 1980 at Indiana University. The fund provides scholarships for business students (Roy’s career) and nursing students (Peggy’s career).

Revised March 2021

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