A photo of Elmer W. Dill, Jr.

Elmer W. Dill, Jr.

February 13, 1936 - December 31, 2021

Elmer W. Dill, Jr., age 85, of Townsend, DE, passed away on Friday, December 31, 2021.

 Born in Wilmington, DE, on February 13, 1936, he was the son of the late Elmer W. and Elida (Hudson) Dill, Sr. After high school and a time at the University of Delaware studying engineering, Elmer enlisted in the US Navy completing basic training at Bainbridge, MD and was assigned to COMPHIBPAC out of San Diego, CA, as a naval musician from 1955-1959. After completing his enlistment Elmer transitioned into his lifelong vocation as a master carpenter. First as a union carpenter working on various sites throughout Delaware and Pennsylvania all the way to his own thriving business, Dill Construction.

Sports and athletics were major part in Elmer’s younger life. He achieved Eagle Scout ranking and later was scoutmaster of a Boy Scout Troop.  Elmer was a golf professional at Rock Manor and Wilmington Country Club for a time, gave up professional and returned to amateur status.  He and Marge were members of Garrison Lake Golf Club in the 80’s-90’s.  Elmer had numerous holes-in-one during his golfing career.  He attacked everything with a passion, and in March 1985, he bowled a Perfect 300 game. In the Navy, he excelled at table tennis and represented his unit in many competitions in California. Growing up he was introduced to a shotgun and rifle and became an avid waterfowl hunter with wife, Marge and his younger brother, Ernie Dill. That proficiency transferred to trap shooting where they participated in many state shoots, from New York State to the Carolinas. Several years ago, Elmer started a biweekly trap shoot in the open field behind the home in Townsend with many local shooters participating.

The next longest and perhaps most colorful and entertaining journey started in 1966 with his wife Diana Margaret and the combination of their 9 children. In those early years this blended group enjoyed many outdoor activities such as camping, boating, fishing, crabbing, sports and trap shooting.   Summer places at White House Beach and Angola by the Bay were huge gathering places where the large extended family and friends would eat, drink, laugh, play cards, and enjoy fishing and clamming trips, water skiing and crabbing from a small fleet of “FOXEY LADY” named vessels!

As the family grew up and grew out, Elmer and Marge picked up motorcycle riding. They were Harley riders and enjoyed many biker events in Daytona and Myrtle Beach. Later in life, their motorcycling was mostly in Titusville, FL where they enjoyed events at the American Legion Post 1.  Elmer and Marge owned a home in Titusville, FL and for the last 12 years made some very special and wonderful friends, Sam, Kathy/Jean, Jan and Bob/Ellie, Katina and Victoria and Ray & Randall Parker and others.  Elmer is a member of the American Legion, Post 14 in Smyrna, DE

Elmer founded and directed the SWING CITY BAND, a group of wonderful musicians, that performed in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York State and South Carolina. He loved playing his trumpet and was still working on his “Double Hi C” before his passing. Special friend Walt Angney was always near to critique or praise.  He also was a member of the Navy Musicians Association and served as music librarian for a time.

In later years, Elmer and Marge enjoyed traveling, golfing, sharing time between Delaware and Florida making new friends and enjoying old ones. They would pop in for a visit and help with family household projects.  In those times Pop-Pop became somewhat of a dog whisperer with several beloved family pets.

Elmer was known to have strong, passionate, opinions of service, politics and country and even on a rare occasion it may have been said that he admitted he was wrong about something, though proof of that has eluded most of the family. Maybe that admission occurred while he attended American Legion events in Smyrna, DE or Titusville, FL…the world may never know!!!

 The Townsend, DE home was conceived and designed by Elmer, who with the help of Marge, sons, and daughters, oversaw the construction.  This was truly a family project.  

Elmer was preceded in death by his parents, Elida and Elmer Wilmer Dill, Sr, brother, Professor Norman Dill (Delaware State University), son Brian Craig and daughter-in-law Patricia Dill.                                                

He is survived by his loving wife of 52 years, Diana Margaret (August) Dill;

CHILDREN:  Steve Dill (Debbie) of Newark, Kenneth Dill of Wilmington, Chris Craig of Springdale, AR, Karen Coverdale Brown (Dennis) of Wilmington, Andrew “Rick” Craig (Anne) of Roanoke, VA, Rachel Talmo (Tony) of Townsend, Lisa Dill of Wilmington, and Les Craig (Kim) of Port Deposit, MD;

GRANDCHILDREN:  Roxanna Deming (Scott) of Lewes,  Nikki Marshall (Brett) of Middletown, Alexandra Dill of NYC, NY, Ashley Rising, (Randy) of Newark, Corri Coverdale (Nick Novello) of Jacksonville, NC, Jake and Max Tollenger of Port Deposit, MD, Megan Dill of Newark, Natalie Craig of Roanoke, VA, and  Caroline Craig of Roanoke, VA;

GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN: Nicholas and Teagan Novello of Jacksonville, NC,  Ryder Kauffman of Lewes,  Chloe and Cambria Rising of Newark, and Lucas Tollenger of Port Deposit, MD;

SIBLINGS:  Carolyn Murphy of Thornton, CO, Debbie Szostak (John) of Baltimore, MD, and Ernie Dill (Charmaine) of Townsend;

NIECES/NEPHEWS:  John Szostak, Jr, (Lauren, Kevin, Megan) of  Catonsville, MD, Jaime Dill, of Middletown,  Jennifer Murphy (Meghan Moody) of Thornton, CO, Elizabeth Murphy of Phoenix, AZ, and Paul Szostak (Alix) Max, Stella  of Chevy Chase, MD; and cousin, Dr. Howard Hudson (Pat) of Allentown, PA.

A visitation for family and friends will be held from 11:30 am until 12:30 pm on Thursday, February 3, 2022, at Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 275 East Main Street, Middletown, DE, where a memorial service will be held at 12:30 pm. Face coverings will be required for all those in attendance not immunized with the COVID-19 vaccine. Inurnment will follow in Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 2465 Chesapeake City Road, Bear, DE.

Any family members or friends who are unable to attend the services for Elmer can live stream the service by clicking here.

 In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Elmer’s memory to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, KS 66675-8516, or online by clicking here.

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14 Condolences for Elmer W. Dill, Jr.

  • A great man. And a terrible loss for all who knew him. And God Bless him.

  • Andrew and family..many blessings and prayers are with you during the loss of your dad. Know the memories you have of him will make this road a little easier. God bless all and thinking of you. Gene and Lynda Palmatary, Centreville, Maryland.

  • What can you say about Elmer.? A very outspoken man and dedicated musician …. band leader!
    A good friend, he would give you the shirt off of his back. If he believed in something, he followed it to the end. I don’t think I’ll ever forget him

  • As I reflect on Pop’s life I realize how fleeting time is! He like a lot of that generation took what little a depression era child from a large family had at that time and transformed it into an accomplished life, yes in a lot of instances Pop did make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear! He instilled a strong work ethic that has carried well in my life and pursuits. An example to follow and in all honesty and sometimes to question. I will forever cherish the times he and mom spent with my family in Virginia, the many trips to Happy’s Flea Market and to Harbor Freight to buy yet another pack of screwdrivers! The projects he helped me with and even a future porch expansion that he was willing to entertain even at 80+ years of age! Lord willing I hope to hear that High C note again!!!

  • Hold the line at the Tee Dad; Ernie want to play👊🏼

    Les

  • I will cherish the memory of my friendship with Elmer over the years. We fellow musicians. plan to keep the Swing City Band going as long as possible.
    One day six or seven years ago Elmer, Marge, Ernie, and I won a scramble tournament at Garrisons Lake. He was having a hard time walking but when he stood over a putt there was little doubt it would go in, and it did–one of the most amazing displays I’ve ever seen! My sympathies to your entire family and all the friends Elmer made along his life journey.

  • When I first moved from Philly to the Wilmington area, Elmer was one of the first musicians I met. We had this rehearsal in a garage, and I’m setting up my drums, Along comes this guy over to me and says, “well, he’s another drummer”. I knew this guy would be trouble, but he wasn’t. I formed my own big band and he always helped me find players if needed. We became good friends over the years and I appreciated his wisdom and devotion to his family and his band.
    R.I.P Elmer

  • Marge,

    Please accept my sincere condolences. Elmer touched a lot of lives with his Swing City band, and he will long be remembered for his contribution to music in this area. I hope you will find comfort in his memory and in the love of your family.

    Bruce Evans

  • I met Will through the sport of trap shooting and enjoyed the informal shoots at his place. What a man. What a life. He will be missed. Thinking of you Marge at this time of sorrow.

  • Great times were had by all.

  • It was so nice to share a friendship with Elmer. After watching the video, I feel he was truly a Renaissance Man. I enjoyed the visits at the Dill farm shooting trap. Knowing Elmer for 20 years, I will miss him dearly. My heart goes out to Marge and family for this loss. Rest in peace my friend.

  • You will be missed pop-pop. Love you and will never forget everything we did together when I was young between the hunting, camping, shooting, and mostly learning to be the best clarinet player ever and getting to experience many band outings. You lived a very fulfilling life…can only hope to accomplish half as many things that you did.

  • My condolences Karen on the loss of your Dad. Wow what a fabulous life he had, such awesome achievements.

  • Mine and Roberta Washington’s condolences to you Marge. Last night I dreamed of playing with Swing City, Elmo came and invited me to sing. I woke up and checked the obituary to see if he had passed. God Bless you and thanks for the hospitality you showed us when we visited with you all. Love Fritz