LURAY—The Rev. Dr. Walter Scott Dillard, 80, of Luray died on Friday, September 27, 2019, at Winchester Medical Center.
He was born on April 27, 1939, in Greer, S.C., the son of the late Walter Willimon Dillard and Mildred Scott Dillard. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Lester Dillard; his son, Walter Scott II; daughter, Leah Dillard Smith; brother, Toney Dillard; and six grandchildren.
The Rev. Dillard served St. George’s Episcopal Church in Pine Grove for the last four years. He graduated from Georgia Military Academy in Atlanta and in 1961 from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He received a doctorate in history from the University of Washington in Seattle and was a tenured member of the faculty at his alma mater West Point. He served as longtime rector of Wicomico Parish Church, in Wicomico Church.
Scott had a distinguished military career. For his service in the Vietnam war he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, with Valor, and the Silver Star Medal, a decoration awarded for gallantry in action against an enemy. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his leadership as commanding officer of a cavalry squadron at Fort Riley, Kansas. Later in his career he was a senior research fellow at the National War College and an associate professor of history at West Point. Scott also taught classes at Rappahannock Community College during his years in the Northern Neck.
Scott joined the Episcopal priesthood after graduating from Virginia Theological Seminary. For 18 years he served as leader of Wicomico Parish Church (Episcopal) (WPC), first as a deacon, then as rector after his ordination at the National Cathedral. His enthusiasm at having his own church in such a beautiful area was abundant and contagious. It is said that he once remarked to the Bishop that this was so much fun that he would do it for nothing and was quickly reprimanded by the Bishop and told that he should never say that again.
WPC, when he arrived in 1993 was a relatively small country church with an average Sunday attendance of a few dozen people at its one service. During his time at WPC, a second Sunday service was added and today each service has 50 to 60 people in attendance. His easy-going manner and his personal appeal to all types of people led to this steady growth. He believed that the Lord’s house should be a beautiful place; under his guidance old buildings were refurbished or completely renovated and restored to usefulness.
Scott was tireless in his work to assist those who needed help, using outreach funds to aid individuals or churches that were in distress. He did this work individually and for years in a close working relation with the late Joe Curry. Today the parish enjoys a reputation of being a family that love their church and work hard to support efforts to help those less fortunate.
One of Scott’s other accomplishments for the good of the parish and the community should be mentioned: he was instrumental in encouraging the current rector of Wicomico Parish Church to seek ordination 25 years ago.
A memorial service with military honors will be conducted at 2 p.m. Saturday, October 12, at St. George’s Church. Memorial contributions may be made to the Memorial Service at St. George’s Episcopal Church, 3380 Pine Grove Road, Stanley, VA 22851.