Evansville – John D. Engelbrecht, 68, of Evansville, IN, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, April 18, 2020, at Deaconess Midtown from a massive heart attack. John was born June 12, 1951, in Evansville to the late John A. and Bettie Ann (Groves) Engelbrecht.

Until his death, John was Chairman of South Central Inc (SCI) and was the epitome of a local entrepreneur and businessman. He took over the reins as CEO of SCI at age 23 after his father, John A., passed away unexpectedly. Under his leadership, SCI grew from a small, Evansville based company into a thriving business with a nationwide footprint with diverse business holdings.

John’s opportunistic nature and strong leadership allowed him to expand the family business greatly from its start as a radio and television broadcasting company to a diversified holding company that also encapsulated financial services, low voltage contracting, real estate, addiction treatment centers, and a myriad of digital media services. He retired as CEO in 2008, whereupon his son, JP, took over as the 3rd generation leader of SCI.

Beyond his extensive business accomplishments, John relished living and being involved in the Evansville community. He truly believed in being a steward of the assets of SCI to serve the Evansville region, often saying he wanted to bring money back home to Indiana. Countless organizations across the Evansville region benefited from his donations of millions of dollars in cash and services during his life. Further, John dedicated much of his time and energy as a director for Citizens Bank, Vectren, Deaconess Hospital, WNIN, and the Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Sciences.

John received many accolades over the years. Notable public honors include being inducted into the Junior Achievement Evansville Business Hall of Fame in 2014 and receiving the Sagamore of the Wabash Award from Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb in 2018. However, John’s greatest honor was bestowed on him by his children and grandchildren when they called him Papa.

John loved the Catholic Church and was a member of St Mary Catholic Church in downtown Evansville. He was a proud graduate of both Reitz High School (1969) and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville (1973).

He is survived by his wife, Stephanie (Mosbacher) Engelbrecht; son, JP (Allison) Engelbrecht; daughters, Elizabeth (Jeff) Cox and Nora (Engelbrecht) Ferguson; grandchildren, Ellie, Will, and Anna Engelbrecht, Myles Frazier, Sullivan, Riley, Caroline, Marilyn, and Robert Cox, and Theodore, John, and Henry Ferguson.

Due to the current pandemic, there will be a private family service with Fr. Benny Chacko officiating. Arrangements will be handled by Ziemer Funeral Home East Chapel, 800 S. Hebron Avenue, Evansville, IN 47714.

A private burial will be at St. Joseph Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Sciences, 411 SE Riverside Drive, Evansville, IN 47713.

Condolences may be made online at



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