Robert Charles Dilks Sr, age 90, of Warren, PA died peacefully Sunday, January 21 surrounded by his family at Kinzua Healthcare.
Bob was born March 6, 1933, in Barrington, New Jersey, the son of Madeline Sodwith and Gerald L. Dilks, Sr. A 1950 graduate of Haddon Heights, New Jersey High School he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from Villanova University in 1959 and an MBA from Duquesne University in 1968. He was a Staff Sgt with the U.S. Air Force. During his enlistment, he was stationed in the Republic of Panama where he hiked with friends from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean.
Bob arrived in Warren in 1962 working for Bell Telephone where he was the Warren office manager. He then met Sally (Dahl) Kasper who he ultimately married and raised their two boys with. He left Bell to join Charles R. Tranter to form Tranter & Dilks, a public relations and advertising firm. Later he opened Dilks Communications which he maintained until his retirement in the mid-nineties.
He was a former member of Holy Redeemer Parish in Warren, served as an officer of the Holy Name Society and a lay lector. Bob enthusiastically served as a member of the Advisory Council for Journalism and Mass Communication for the President of St. Bonaventure University and taught as an adjunct professor in Public Relations at the University of Pittsburgh – Bradford for several semesters.
While in Warren he was past president of the Warren County Chamber of
Commerce, 1980-81, a tutor for the Warren County Literary Council, past active member of Players Club and the Kiwanis. He had also served as member and chairman of the Warren Zoning and Hearing Board and had been Executive Director of the Kinzua Dam Vacation Board and the Route 219 Association. He created and published the Alleghenies Magazine and created Alleghenies Way – The Game.
Bob was part of the group leading the charge of the creation of modern version of Heritage Point in Crescent Park, adding a fourth flag honoring the Seneca Nation along with the since removed Bird Stone Monument. Due in large part to these efforts, he was adopted into the Seneca Nation Bear Clan on May 23, 1987. His given Indian name was Hine Day (The Leader). He continued to be active with the Chief Cornplanter Descendants Association and was instrumental in getting the Cornplanter Monument replaced at the Corydon-Riverview Cemetery. He felt his work with the Seneca Nation was among the most rewarding.
He achieved his Second-Degree Black Belt at the age of 62. In 1992 he canoed the 325 miles of the Allegheny River from its headwaters in Gold, NY to Pittsburgh. He proudly carried the Olympic Torch on its way through Fredonia in 1996 and again in 2001 in Rochester. Bob participated in the New York Senior games multiple times participating in the triathlon.
Bob moved to Cassadaga, NY with former wife, Sue Crossett Dilks and resided in a home they helped design together where they both enjoyed the surrounding land and its inhabitants. He was a member of the Cassadaga American Legion and the Annual Cassadaga Labor Day Weekend Festival. He was a board member of the Northern Chautauqua Rural Ministry, a member of Trinity Episcopal Church where he served as a member of the Vestry and chairman of lay readers and was a delegate to the Diocese Convention twice – serving as a member of the search committee for the selection of the parish rector and, later, for the Bishop.
He tutored youngsters at the Cassadaga Elementary School for a couple of years and assisted in the sponsorship for Cassadaga Valley fifth graders visiting the Albright Knox Art Museum. He was a member and past recording secretary of the Warren Shakespeare Club and was a volunteer for Warren County Hospice
He was an enthusiastic writer and in 2006 completed his first full-length novel, Fremont Bay, with two more to follow, Pols Apart and Commonweal. Bob was a regular contributor to Silver Magazine providing features and interviews with regional citizens with interesting stories or backgrounds to share. He enjoyed the research as much as the writing. He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather.
Surviving are two sons, Robert C. Dilks, Jr. (wife Jennifer) of Warren, and Jason P. Dilks of Oil City (wife Allison); two granddaughters, Bailey Blair (husband Steffen) of Warren, PA and Kelsey Dilks (boyfriend Payton Stewart) of Wexford, PA; a grandson Jackson Dilks of Oil City, PA; a brother Ronald T. Dilks of Virginia Beach, VA; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother Gerald Dilks, Ship Bottom, NJ.
Friends will be received on Saturday, January 27, 2024, from 10:00 to 11:00 A.M. at the Donald E. Lewis Funeral Home, Inc., 304 East Street, Warren, PA. A private memorial service will be conducted at the convenience of the family, with the Rev. Dr. Matthew R. Scott, Vicar, officiating.
Special thanks to the Staff of Kinzua Healthcare and the AsceraCare Hospice Team for their kindness and compassion. Memorial Contributions can be made to the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford Dilks Family Scholarship Fund by calling 814-362-5091, online givetoupb.org, or at Office of Philanthropic and Alumni Engagement, 300 Campus Drive, Bradford, PA. 16701. E-mail condolences may be sent by visiting www.lewisfuneralhomeinc.com