Retired Lt. Col. Colbert Lee Dilday, 88, died June 13, from the effects of COVID-19 after a long battle with Alzheimers disease. He was born in Bertie County, North Carolina where he graduated from Ahoskie High School in 1951. He went on to study at then-N.C. State College, earning a degree in Agricultural Engineering and participating in the Army ROTC program. Upon graduation, he married his sweetheart, Annie Earle Raynor, to whom he remained a loving and faithful husband for over 64 years. After graduation in 1955, he was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army, proudly serving for 20 years. During his military service, he also earned a degree in Aerospace engineering from Georgia Tech. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam and was decorated for acts of courage and valor.
After retiring from the military and settling in Fayetteville, NC, he held several positions in local businesses and helped start Highland Savings and Loan. Later, he graduated from Fayetteville State University with a master’s degree in education of mathematics. He taught math and physics at both Pine Forest and E. E. Smith high schools, retiring from education in 1991. Not willing to stop working, he and partner, David Nichols, bought a business, the Stamp Mill, which they ran together out of his home for several years.
As a longtime member of Snyder Memorial Baptist Church, Colbert chose to devote his retired years in volunteer service to his church and community. He was active as a deacon, a Sunday school teacher and director, and worked tirelessly through many mission activities. He was one of the founders of Operation Inasmuch, the Snyder bicycle ministry and the Carpentry Ministry and helped to build numerous homes for Habitat for Humanity. He was also a member of the Lions Club for many years.
Colbert is survived by his wife, Earle; his children Cindy Farmer (Keith) of Davidson, Colbert Lee Dilday Jr. of Beaufort, SC, and Dotty Lewis (Randy) of Fayetteville; grandchildren Katie Farmer Mason (Patrick), Ben Farmer, York Dilday, Cauley Dilday, Tinslee Dilday, Abby Lewis and Gracey Lewis; and siblings Robert Dilday (Marian), Mary Anne Williams (Kindred) and McCoy Dilday (Lona). He was preceded in death by parents Joseph and Mabel Dilday as well as an older brother Jesse Dilday.
He has been cared for by many kind and dedicated caregivers at the N.C. State Veterans Home in Fayetteville. The family will forever be grateful for the love and compassion they have shown him.
He will be greatly missed by his family, who will remember his humility, his love and warmth, and his service to so many. For his grandchildren, their “Andaddy” has left a legacy of commitment and service and an example of faith in action.
Funeral services will be held at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church on Thursday, June 18 at 2 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Fayetteville Operation Inasmuch (531 Hillsboro Street, Fayetteville, NC 28301.) http://www.faoiam.org/
Online condolences may be left at http://www.jerniganwarren.com
Arrangements by Jernigan-Warren Funeral Home, 545 Ramsey St. Fayetteville, NC 28301
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