Staff Spotlight: Jeannie Regan-Dinius

Director of Historic Preservation Jeannie Regan-Dinius cleaning one of the veteran’s stones at Crown Hill.

In 2023, we highlighted some of our great volunteers. For just a bit of 2024, we thought we give shout outs to our staff of both the Foundation and the Cemetery. This month (Historic Preservation Month), we highlight Jeannie Regan-Dinius, director of historic preservation of the Crown Hill Foundation.

Jeannie’s favorite tombstone on site, Corliss Ruckle.

Jeannie was born outside Detroit, Mich., but moved to Indianapolis when she was 10. As long as she can remember, she has loved history. She’d visit her grandparents and just listen to their stories about growing up, times during the war, and other aspects of their lives. Jeannie always knew she would work in the history field but thought that only meant teaching. So, off to Ball State University she went.

There she was exposed to a larger world known as Public History, where individuals work in places like museums and archives but certainly not cemeteries. Jeannie did her first internship at the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis, where she met Sheila Riley. Not only a mentor in the history field, Sheila was also a volunteer at Crown Hill Cemetery, and to this day, Jeannie says Sheila is her cemetery mentor.

One aspect of Jeannie’s job includes public programming.

After graduate school and a stint at a museum in northern Indiana, Jeannie landed at the Indiana State Preservation Office, where one of her duties was the Cemetery and Burial Ground Registry Coordinator. With over 23 years of work there, it put her in the perfect place when the time came for the Foundation to hire their first Director of Historic Preservation. Jeannie found her career home!

As Director of Historic Preservation, Jeannie works on everything related to the built environment on property. This includes tombstones, buildings, fences, archival resources, and public art. Whether it is cleaning stones, managing the contracts for the contractors doing more complicated work, leading volunteers, or helping with tours, the job encompasses it all.

While it is hard to choose, Jeannie’s favorite tombstone is Corliss Ruckle. He died young, and this life-size statue of him is just perfect. Jeannie is excited to be working on cleaning his stone this year.

Outside of work, Jeannie likes to volunteer with various groups like the Indiana Women’s History Association, Kelly’s Fund (a non-for-profit that engages the culinary industry), and the new Indianapolis City Archives. She and her husband Mike love to travel, so Jeannie spends much of her off time planning the next trip and figuring out which cemeteries to visit as they wander the world.