Dad on his dad's 1947 Harley in 1947

In Memory of


Joseph R. Dille


(October 22nd 1930 - February 17th 1999)


A natural born educator. Throughout his life dad was either teaching or being taught. In grade school in the Bronx NY, he was skipped over two grades. At the age of eleven he entered the prestigious Bronx High School of Science where he excelled. At the tender age of 15 he graduated and went on to the New York State Teachers College in Oswego, NY where he graduated in 1950. After graduation dad got a job as an industrial arts (shop) teacher for a public school in New York city. He took a second job with the New York Central railroad engineering steam engines like his dad to supplement his school teacher's salary. On the railroad he helped several of the brakemen learn to read well enough so they could pass the tests to become firemen and engineers and earn a better wage.

In 1951 Dad was drafted into the army for the Korean conflict. After boot camp he went on to Officers Canditate School (OCS) where he graduated as an ordinance officer. After completing active service Dad went to to New York University to earn his Masters Degree in safety education. He then went back to teaching shop and working on the railroad during weekends and summer break. His parents moved to Ossining NY and Dad started teaching at the Pleasantville Cottage school which was run by the New York City board of education. In 1956 he married my mom and moved to White Plains, NY. Then in 1957 they had me, and in 1960 my sister Cathy came along. As I now know, parenthood is both a learning and teaching process.

Aviation was Dad's favorite subject. In 1965 his father bought a small Cessna 150 airplane and he let my dad take lessons in it. Dad loved flying and went on to earn his private pilots licence, commercial licence, glider licence, then his ground instructor's certificate. In 1966 he took a part time job as ground school instructor at Westair (FBO) at the Westchester County Airport (HPN). This job added to his already busy schedule, but let him earn a little money to support his desire to fly. It also gave him a good excuse to hang out at the airport. Dad continued further his aviation education career by teaching both the private pilot ground school and the instrument ground school. He also became an official FAA examiner. After retiring from New York City schools in 1985 he became a certified flight instructor. Over 32 years dad taught over 6,000 students the fundamentals of flight preparing them for their written exam. He continued to teach this class up to and including the night of his death.


My sister Cathy's letter to dad which she read during his memorial service at the First Baptist Church in front of over 200 of dad's friends. It sums up his relationship with his kids and how he helped us on our life journey. I am proud of Cathy for putting it all down in words to share her special relationship with his friends.


Letter of Tribute from the Ancient and Secret Order of Quiet Birdmen. The organization is one of the most esteemed in aviation and included members such as Lindbergh. It still has chapters, called hangars, throughout the United States.

Memorial Details
Birthplace: Bronx, NY
Residence: White Plains, NY
Occupation: Educator
Father's Name: Joseph Matthew Dille
Mother's Name: Della Lundin Dille

The steeple of the First Baptist Church is White Plains landmark, and it was used by his fellow pilots as a VFR navigational tool in guiding pilots in their approach to Westchester County Airport. Restoring the steeple to its original glory would certainly make it more visible to his fellow aviators, and would help beautify the neighborhood in which Dad lived for over 43 years. Contributions to the First Baptist Church, In Memory of Joe Dille, 456 North Street, White Plains, NY, 10605 would be appreciated.

I appreciate you taking the time to learn more about my dad and the special relationship he had with his family.
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