Reference Number: 13474
Name: Robert Leroy Dill
Given Name: Robert Leroy
Surname: Dill 1 2
Change Date: 06 JUN 2010
Birth: 23 OCT 1889 in Chelsea, Suffolk County, Masschusetts, USA
Social Security Number: 454-05-4227 BEF 1951 Texas, USA 3
Death: 21 DEC 1993 in Hemet, Riverside County, California, USA 4 5|
Father: Whitfield C. Dill b: 26 AUG 1861 in Alabama, USA
Mother: Leona Hightower b: 07 AUG 1863 in Clayton, Barbour County, Alabama, USA
Rosa M. Unknown b: 09 JUL 1908
- Title: Smith, Hazel Betty (nee Hightower) (1909-2000), Research, personal knowledge and family records
Abbrev: Smith, Hazel Betty (nee Hightower) (1909-2000)
- Title: Hightower Family Genealogical Database [database online]. Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA: Anthony Lee Rockefeller
Abbrev: Hightower Family Genealogical Database [database online]. Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA: Anthony Lee Rockefeller
Publication: Copyright (c) 1996-2013, Anthony Lee Rockefeller
- Title: Social Security Death Index [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.
Abbrev: Social Security Death Index
Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.
Note: Name: Robert L. Dill
Last Residence: 92543 Hemet, Riverside, California, United States of America
Born: 23 Oct 1889
Died: 21 Dec 1993
State (Year) SSN issued: Texas (Before 1951)
- Title: California Death Index, 1940-1997 [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: MyFamily.com, Inc.
Abbrev: California Death Index, 1940-1997
Original data: State of California. California Death Index, 1940-1997. Sacramento, CA, USA: State of California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics.
Note: Name: Robert Leroy Dill
Social Security #: 454054227
Birth Date: 23 Oct 1889
Death Date: 21 Dec 1993
Death Place: Riverside
Mother's Maiden Name: Hightower
- Title: The Press-Enterprise
Abbrev: The Press-Enterprise
Publication: The Press-Enterprise Company, 3512 Fourteenth Street, Riverside, California 92501
Note: Article written by Ricardo Duran, and published on Thursday, December 23, 1993: Panama Canal worker Robert Dill, 104, dies
Robert A. Dill, the oldest surviving recipient of the Theodore Roosevelt Medal of Honor, bestowed upon the 7,591 men who worked on the Panama Canal longer than two years, died Tuesday night of a heart attack at his home in Hemet. He was 104.
A memorial service honoring Mr. Dill will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Miller-Jones Mortuary in Hemet. The Elks Lodge and the Ramona Shrine Club, both in Hemet, also will hold memorials for Mr. Dill.
He was born in Chelsea, Mass., on Oct. 23, 1889, and was descended from Thomas Pierce, who founded Harvard College in 1630. Mr. Dill graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in accounting.
A retired civil servant who lived through the administrations of 19 presidents, Mr. Dill told the many clubs, groups and school assemblies he enjoyed speaking to that his defining moment came as a young man, working as a machinist, bus driver and accountant during the construction of the Panama Canal.
After losing the hand of a fiancee to one of her old boyfriends, Mr. Dill traveled to Panama with a friend in 1911. He was 22 and just out of college.
Mr. Dill worked as a machinist on the steam shovels and dredges that cut through 51 miles of jungle, swamps and mountains to complete the 10-year, $380-million canal project, which began in 1904.
While working in Panama, Mr. Dill contracted typhoid fever and had to be packed in a tub full of ice to lower a 106-degree fever that nearly killed him.
While Mr. Dill was in Panama, President Theodore Roosevelt issued him the medal as one of the more than 7,500 Americans who worked more than two years on the canal.
After the canal's completion on Aug. 15, 1914, Mr. Dill worked as an accountant for the canal commission until he left in 1916 to join the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War I.
After the war, he owned a tire business in Houston until the start of World War II, when he began civil service work with the War Manpower Commission Board. Mr. Dill retired in 1954 as a high ranking civil servant in San Diego and moved to Hemet with his first wife in 1978.
Mr. Dill attributed his longevity to a healthy but robust lifestyle. "I tried to live a good clean life without being a pantywaist," he once told students during a talk at Rubidoux High School.
He began giving public talks, mostly about his experiences in Panama, after he retired and moved to Hemet.
Mr. Dill was an active member of the Masonic Lodge No. 65, the Scottish Rite Club, the Hi-Twelve Club, and the Ramona Shrine Club, all in Hemet.
He is survived by his wife, Rosa, of Hemet, and two nieces and one nephew, all of Houston.