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             Tuesday, June 17 2003  

Where are they now...Rich Dilling

Born November 3, 1952, Nanty Glo native Rich Dilling is one of seven children born to George and Nora (Lantzy) Dilling. His six brothers and sisters include Peggy Walker, Chicago; Donna Bozarth, Wichita; Posie Stock and Lois Matvey, Pittsburgh; Nancy O'Donnell, Orlando, Fla., and Ken, deceased.

Rich Dilling

After his 1970 graduation from Blacklick Valley High School, Rich went on to earn an undergraduate degree in chemistry in 1974 from McPherson College in McPherson, Kansas. He also attended the Moody Bible College in Chicago for two years and earned a Master of Theology and a Doctorate of Ministry from Bethany Theological Seminary in Dothan, Alabama. He has completed refresher courses at Jones County Community College in Laurel, Mississippi, attended Mississippi State University for one semester and has enrolled for the summer at the University of Southern Mississippi in Tupelo.

Married to Galva, Kansas, native the former Debbie Decker since August 10, 1973, the Dillings are the parents of five children. Their daughter, Devyon Watts, has presented them their only grandchild. The remaining Dilling children, Jeremy, Josh, Josiah, and Dawn, continue to live at home.

While in high school, Rich struggled with career choices. "I was mucically inclined and had been a choir director and played the piano and couldn't decide if it was to be music or chemistry," he says. Rich started teaching in Mississippi in 1991 and currently teaches science (chemistry, physics, and physical science) at North Pontotoc High School.

While ultimately choosing chemistry as a vocation, Rich is still involved in music. "I'm currently a member of a gospel music group called The Fishers of Men," he says. "I've been a member of the group for 14 months...I sing tenor and play the keyboard. We're not professional, but we're getting busier...we perform throughout northern Mississippi and Alabama." Rich says he's composed five gospel songs. "My favorite is titled 'The Hands That Held Me.' It pertains to the nail scarred hands of Jesus," he says.

Along with teaching, Rich has been a pastor for the past 19 years, serving at Baptist churches in Illinois, Alabama, and Mississippi. He ministered for four and a half years at New Covenent Baptist Church in Illinois, but the majority of Rich's pastoral duties have been within the churches of the southern-based Free Will Baptist Church, four and a half years at Springfield Free Will Baptist in Dothan, Alabama; five years at the Free Will Baptist Church in Buckatunna, Mississippi; 15 months at Bethlehem Free Will Baptist Church in Pontotoc, Mississippi, and five years at Antioch Free Will Baptist Church, also in Pontotoc.

"I have so many memories of Nanty Glo, and a lot of them are centered around the Nanty Glo Church of the Brethern," he says. "There were a lot of precious people there who helped shape my life, and I got to preach there last summer while on a visit to Nanty Glo." Rich recalls one particular memory of an incident that happened in a high school chemistry room that involved potassium metal, water, and flames. "I believe the blackened ceiling tiles are still there," he says.

"What I miss most about Nanty Glo is people and friends," he says. "I remember going to the little pizza shop across from the Methodist Church on Wednesday nights after church and buying a slice of pizza for 10 cents, sled riding down Rogers Street in the winter. In the summer there was a place called Cave-in Rocks that had a fresh water spring and we'd slide down 'Jeep Hill.' Picnics at Idlewild Park, old west movies at the Capitol, and swimming at White Mill."

Rich left Nanty Glo in 1970 to attend college and now makes his home in Tupelo, Mississippi, but gets home every two years. "One year we visit my family in Pennsylvania and the next year we visit Debbie's family in Kansas," he says. Like many who have moved away and made lives elsewhere, Rich still has hopes for his home town. "I wish for a stronger economy for Nanty Glo," he says, "And there's a need for something for the young people to do."

Anyone wishing to say hello to the Dillings can find them at richd1@vista-express.com.


If you have a suggestion for a subject for Where Are They Now, please write Judy Rose.

Click here for an index of all Where Are They Now profiles in this series.


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— Sent by Mary Ann Losiewcz

Thought for the day

Which of the religions of the world gives to its followers the greatest happiness? While it lasts, the religion of worshipping oneself is the best.

...As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity. I am certain there must be a patent American article on the market which will suit you far better, but I can't give any advice on it.

— C. S. Lewis

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