Raymond E. Dillard

Raymond E. Dillard, 91, formerly of Jefferson, passed away peacefully Wednesday, December 16, 2015 in Panora, Iowa.

Following his wishes, there will be no funeral or visitation and graveside services will be held at a later date.

Ray was born May 12, 1924 in Oskaloosa to William and Mary (Baker) Dillard.  He graduated from Oskaloosa High School and attended the University of Iowa intending to be a dentist.  During his sophomore year he quit school because the military was calling, eventually joined the Merchant Marines and toured the world.  When he returned to the University of Iowa, he decided to become a teacher.  For 38 years in Jefferson, Mr. Dillard taught spelling and penmanship and shared his love of reading with 7th graders through poetry and classical novels, often while sitting on his high stool and reading to them. Christmas vacations were travel times and Ray visited six of the seven continents.  Fifty-one summers were spent running the gift shop at the Grand Teton Lodge in Jackson Hole, WY where Ray became the longest serving employee.  He was featured in an article in Reader’s Digest, pictured outside his comfort zone wearing a blue shirt instead of his usual white. During his years in Jefferson, Ray was involved in Arts Council and acted in several plays with Community Players.  After he retired and moved to Des Moines, he volunteered at an elementary school helping children read, rocked babies at Blank Hospital and swam daily at the Y.

Ray was proceeded in death by his parents and sister, Dorothy.  He is survived by nieces, Jean Willmon of TX and Jennifer McGettigan of CA, and many friends. Hundreds of former students will remember him for the example he set, the kindnesses he showed them, and his standards for school attire and decorum.  RIP, Mr. Dillard.

Memorials can be sent in his name to the Jefferson Public Library.

Iles Funeral Homes, (515) 276-4567.

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Jefferson Bee & Herald
Address: 200 N. Wilson St.
Jefferson, IA 50129

Phone:(515) 386-4161