Ernest Dilley, 88, of Oskaloosa, died Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, at Mahaska Health Partnership in Oskaloosa.
He was born Wednesday, Dec. 31, 1924, in What Cheer, the son of Carl W. Sr. and Jessie Inman Dilley. He graduated from the What Cheer High School with the class of 1943. Following graduation, Ernest attended Iowa State University. On Sept. 5, 1945, Ernie was united in marriage to Bette J. Mateer at the Christian Church Parsonage in Oskaloosa. Following school he joined the U.S. Army and served during World War II. Following his discharge, Ernie worked as the produce manager at Thriftway and eventually became the manager of the Oskaloosa Thriftway store. When Thriftway was purchased by Safeway, Ernest transferred with them. In 1960, he bought the O. & L. and named it Ernie’s O. & L. and also owned Ernie’s A.G. Ernie often did shopping, delivery and ran errands for the elderly. He later closed his stores and went to work Carroll Van Wyk’s Grocery Store for a year. Ernie served as the custodian at the First Church of the Nazarene in Oskaloosa and volunteered at the Delta Grocery for many years. Ernie was a member of the American Legion and Delta Christian Church. He and Bette volunteered with the Oskaloosa Chamber of Commerce, the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation and IPTV. While Ernie was in the military he promised God if he made it out of the war he would spread the gospel, so over the years he passed out thousands of religious tracks. He was honored to be a member of one of the Honor Flights to Washington, D.C.
His family includes his wife of over 68 years: Bette Jean Dilley, of Oskaloosa; his nieces and nephews: Joanne (and Jerry) Stout, Beverly (and Dale) McBeth, Linda (and Don) Carey, Dixie Shipley, Roger (and Kim) Strong, Greg (and Kim) Moore; and many great-, great-great- and great-great-great-nieces and nephews.