We all know it is inevitable—that instant that we breathe out our final breath, perhaps knowing that there is no more “breathing in” the next breath, and we take that first step into Eternity when the “thump, thump, thump” in our chest makes its final “thump”. When our Creator made “man”, we were the only living creature on this planet that realized its own mortality—that knew from our youth that our lives were finite, that we had only so many “heart thumps”—so many sunrises and sunsets—so many changes of seasons—before we joined that vast number of humans who have gone before us, ever since our Creator made the first male and female in His beautiful Garden. That instant, for Col. Bob, came in the early morning of August 14, 2023.
To my knowledge, there are no lesser life forms—i.e. animals—on the planet that also recognize their limited life spans. Perhaps it’s better that way, at least for them. Their Creator takes care of them, or has “trained” mankind to care for them, and for better or worse, that’s the way life has proceeded since the dawn of Creation. But it’s the “saying goodbye” to loved people and/or loved pets that sometimes tears our hearts out. Saying goodbye to someone who was a special friend or spouse is doubly difficult. Saying goodbye to a beloved pet can be even more heart-wrenching.
So it is, now, as we prepare to say “goodbye” to our great friend, a man who was a genuine Christian and a true Patriot, a man who was a mentor to me over many years, as I wrote hundreds of articles for Col. Bobby Dill’s “passion” in his later life—his starting and running his beloved newspaper, THE TIMES EXAMINER, with his beloved wife and partner, LaVerle Dill, by his side.
Sometimes, in the course of human events, a person is privileged to share another person’s dreams and goals. The person who shares another’s dreams should count himself or herself very fortunate, because dreams and goals are the “stuff” of progress, the fuel of all human achievements, and should be considered as the basic ingredients of what separates humankind from the lower species. Essentially, dreams and goals are the proven “building blocks” of all human liberty, and have been ever since the first person raised his or her gaze from the fearful boots (or sandals or bare feet) of some “strong man” or “tyrant” in the ancient past and looked upward toward the heavens and proclaimed that his or her freedom to RESIST, to dare to “vision”, to set goals, to plan for a better future, was just as important—vastly more important—than the goals or plans or threatened repression of that “strong man”—that tyrant—or that repressive collectivist government under which he or she was forced t live.
Back around the early summer of 2012, Col. Bobby gave me a copy of a South Carolina based magazine, Capital Play, that included a feature story called, Meet Bobby Dill, written by Dasha Morgan. I’d like to quote from her excellent article that featured the story of Bob’s life, how he grew up and met LaVerle, how they were married in June of 1953 (he was 21 and she was 19), had two boys—Tim and Glenn—and how they spent 26 ½ years (active and reserve service) in the U.S. Army, retiring in 1980 with the permanent grade of Colonel. During that time, Col. Bobby “received a number of decorations, including the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Joint Services Commendation Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and Army Commendation Medal.”
But the time finally came when Bob and LaVerle returned home to Greenville Country, eventually building their home in the Blue Ridge Community. I’ll let Dasha Morgan take up their story beginning around 1993 or 1994:
“From his home office Dill began writing letters to the Greenville newspaper, but they would only take one letter a month, and even then they chopped it up sometimes. A small local newspaper then accepted his commentary, and he soon had quite a following of readers. ‘People began asking me to start my own newspaper with one person even offering to help. I just said I am retired. I am NOT going to do that’. But they were persistent.
“People kept asking me, so I decided to have a prayer meeting with my wife, LaVerle. We asked about the basic issues and decided on a path of action. The newspaper would be issue oriented, and it would have a Judeo-Christian perspective. It would be a labor of love. There would be no stock, no stockholders, no money borrowing. We would not be beholden to anyone. The newspaper would not cover sports, murders, fires or wrecks.’
“We would knowingly give up some business so as not to compromise our positions. It was to be issue oriented. If the Lord wants this to be, well, we would try to publish a newspaper. If not, we will just close….Our first issue of The Times Examiner was published on May 14, 1994, and it is still going strong.’”
As I recall, I read my first issue of The Times Examiner back around 1997 or 1998. Bob and LaVerle had previously proclaimed their dream and goal was to publish a weekly newspaper, devoted to serving God and Country and the Greenville community (it was a newsprint version from May, 1994 to July, 2018 when it went full digital on-line). Their goal was to proclaim the truth that was the birthright of all Americans, to revere and preserve the heritage of “Duty, Honor, Country” that had characterized all Americans from whatever portion of the U.S. they hailed from. That is what appealed to me when I first started reading The Times Examiner, and I’m still reading it in 2023 (and I’ve been writing for The Times Examiner since 1999, and I haven’t run out of “stuff” to write about over all that time.)
Saying “farewell” to Col. Bobby will be difficult. Saying farewell to the old newsprint version back in July,2018 was also difficult, but the new owner/publisher/managing editor, James Spurck, a long time Editor for Col. Bobby, has made it better than ever). But this “goodbye” is final, at least in earthly terms. So, Col. Bobby Dill, as L. Frank Baum said in “The Marvelous Land of Oz”, : Everything has to come to an end, sometime.” And so, my friend and mentor, until we meet again and walk “the streets of gold” together, I give you an affectionate “farewell”, along with my sincere appreciation for all you did for God and Country.