Donald L. Dilley, 82, died on Sunday, February 28th at the Hospice of Saint John in Lakewood following a brief illness. He leaves his son, Neal Ashmun, his wife, Michelle, and two grandsons, Frank and Spencer Ashmun, all from Nashville, TN. Don also leaves nieces and many cousins in the Greely area, as well as a colorful array of lifelong friends from all parts of the US. Born on Christmas Day in 1927 in Des Moines, IA, the son of Neal Dilley and Nellie Edith Clark Dilley, his family returned to their native Colorado in 1931. Don spent the rest of his childhood in eastern Colorado where his grandparents first homesteaded along the South Platte River in1906.
His father, Neal Dilley, served as a State Representative from Wells County. Don attended a one room school in Kersey, which housed all twelve grades. In 1945 he enlisted in the navy. On his way to boot camp, VJ Day was declared, ending the war. During his enlistment Don served in Pearl Harbor at the Headquarters of the Commander in Chief of Pacific Operations. After his military service, he studied at George Washington University on the GI Bill, and received a degree in history. Don married Jeanette Dorsey in 1951. They settled in Kersey, Co where he worked as Deputy Sherriff and briefly owned the local drug store. They later opened a travel agency in Greeley.. In the late fifties he was a disc jockey for eight years on local KYOU introducing popular and country music.
In 1962 he moved to Denver where he would reside for the next 48 years. He was a long term employee in the Western History Department at the Denver Public Library. A Colorado historian, Don was committed to lifelong learning. He was an avid reader, usually reading several books at once. He enjoyed biographies, history, and an occasional novel. Having experienced a spiritual wakening in his mid fifties, Don studied New Thought for the remainder of his life. He completed a four year study of Science of Mind and served as a Spiritual Practitioner at the Church of Religious Science for over twenty years. He was also a mentor and guide for scores of fellow students of the twelve steps of recovery throughout the GLBT community.
At age 76, Don attended Metro State University to study philosophy. A year later he traveled solo to Paris where he rented an apartment in the heart of the arts and museum district. At 80, he penned his autobiography, which included his many travel adventures and life experiences as well as descriptions of his family’s survival stories of The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl in eastern Colorado. A celebration of Don’s life will be held at 3:00 pm Saturday, March 20th at the Center for Spiritual Living, 1420 Ogden Street in Capitol Hill. Rev. Jim Chandler will be officiating. The service will be held in the sanctuary, adjacent to the Don Dilley Memorial Library, which Don spent years lovingly creating for his community of kindred spirits.
today's sound choice is ryuichi sakamoto with "forbidden colors." goodness knows mr dilley certainly made his way through more than his share of those..