by Henry Lane Hull
Over 20 years ago, Jim and Sue Ann Dale moved to Chesapeake Harbor in the environs of Wicomico Church. They were not retirees, but rather came to engage in their profession here in the Northern Neck. Jim had a lifetime career in construction during which he became extraordinarily knowledgeable on all aspects of the building business.
Jim’s abilities ran the full gamut of the construction process. He was a specialist in stabilizing existing buildings that were affected by shrink/swell soil. From the earth and the foundation to the attic and the roof, Jim was totally proficient in handling any matter that might arise.
Sue Ann for her part was not only Jim’s wife, but also his collaborator and confidante in planning how to undertake and execute his varied projects. They both enjoyed the challenges of bringing properties back from the brink. After college and military service, Jim’s early career led hm through a wide variety of aspects of the construction industry. At each stop he learned more, honing his expertise and learning new methods, all of which ultimately he brought to the benefit of his clients here in the Northern Neck.
In one instance where a house that had been constructed in the late 1960s had crumbling walls due to shrink swell problems, Jim excavated the entire front lawn, installed steel beams beneath the foundation and sealed the process over three decades after the house was built, and the problems had begun. Quite simply, he knew what he was doing. When he finished, the house knew it had to behave. It has ever since he completed the job.
Jim was the type person who knew everyone he met as soon as he said hello. He took interest in others and always was engaging in asking for their welfare. In all that he did he was resolutely happy, which he radiated in his demeanor. Last month Jim died, having left a felicitous mark on the Northern Neck during his time with us. He might have been born in Pennsylvania, but by adoption he became a true Virginia Gentleman.
James Vinson Dale, November 28, 1941 – September 26, 2019. R.I.P.
For nearly two decades Scott Dillard was the rector of Wicomico Episcopal Church, which I understand is the longest tenure of any pastor of that parish. He came to the Northern Neck new to the clerical state, having had a distinguished military career, including significant service in Vietnam.
During his Army service, which followed his graduation from West Point, Scott studied history under professor Donald Treadgold at the University of Washington at Seattle. Treadgold’s field was modern Russian history, and when I was teaching the subject I used his textbook, which remains the best analysis of 20th-century Russia.
After completing his doctorate, Scott taught at his alma mater, and after retirement from the Army as a colonel, he enrolled in the Virginia Theological Seminary to study for the ministry.
As a clergyman Scott was a combination of Friar Tuck and General George S. Patton. He was devoted not only to his own congregation, but to community members across the lower Northern Neck. He spread the word that he was available to help anyone in need, and his energy level was awesome. When parishioners were in the hospital in Richmond, Scott often would drive up to see them every day. He simply saw that effort as a routine part of his mission.
When he conducted a funeral, he would exhibit both compassion and direction in giving his all to the family of the deceased. He liked leading the singing and although his voice might not have been operatic in quality, his enthusiasm was spreading, and the assembled would join in under his leadership. He was a jovial person with a keen wit and profound dedication to the welfare of others. When he retired from the local church he assumed another pastorate in the Shenandoah Valley where he served until his death last month.
Scott’s legacy continues to live in the many good deeds he did while in our midst.
The Reverend Walter Scott Dillard, April 27, 1939 – September 27, 2019. R.I.P.