Friday, November 2, 2018

William Edwin Dibble 1930 - 2018

Obituary for William Edwin Dibble

William (Bill) Edwin Dibble, 87, passed away Monday, October 29, 2018, in Provo, Utah, of cardiac arrest. He fought a long and difficult battle with kidney disease that eventually wore his physical body down.

Bill was born in Schenectady, New York, on December 25, 1930, to Edwin Smith and Ruth Emily Gollaher Dibble. His father was an engineer with the General Electric Company. The family moved to a Los Angeles suburb in the mid-1930s and he received all his education in California.

As part of his high school experience, Bill was a finalist in the Westinghouse National Science Talent Search which took him to Washington, D.C., to attend a formal banquet honoring the finalists. He also received the Junior Statesman Award in high school

With an early interest in scientific things, Bill earned his undergraduate degree and a Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. He interrupted his undergraduate studies to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the British Mission from 1950 to 1952.

Following graduation from Cal Tech Bill was employed at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In 1960 he joined the Physics Department faculty at Brigham Young University from where he retired when he was well into his seventies.

Bill was a valued faculty member who was co-founder of an Honors Colloquium in the Sciences, a nine credit hour honors course that spanned two full semesters. The BYU Magazine in an article in the Winter 2004 issue had this to say about the class:

“Dibble’s physical demonstrations are the stuff of folklore. On any given day, you’ll find him at the front of the class, an amused grin painted on his face, firing off bolts of static electricity; or launching metal rings from an electromagnet, across the quad, to a student wearing a catcher’s mitt; or choreographing amazing chemical reactions with all of the enthusiasm of a child using his first chemistry set. He is as much a performer as he is a teacher. Given that the class is designed primarily for students whose academic fields lie outside the sciences, this talent becomes an invaluable asset.”

Bill married Marilyn Thompson on January 16, 2018, after years of friendship and dating. He is survived by her and by a sister, Jane (Roy) Valantine. There are also two nieces and two nephews surviving: Diane (Aaron) Rappaport, Kathy (Robert) Stepp, William R. (Connie) Valantine, and John E. (Lauren) Valantine. He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Edwin and Ruth Dibble.

Funeral services will be held Monday, November 5, 2018, in the Grandview 9th Ward Chapel, 1555 North 1350 West, Provo, Utah, at 11 a.m. There will be a viewing at the same location from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. Interment will be at East Lawn Cemetery, Provo, Utah. Condolences may be expressed at
If people know where the Deseret Industries is in Provo, get on the street on south side of the D.I. going west. The 9th Ward Building is just west and a little bit south of the D.I.  In Provo get onto N. University Ave. Right onto 1230 North St/Bulldog Blvd. (pass Taco Bell on right) Continue onto W Columbia Lane. Turn left onto W. Grandview Lane. Continue to 1460 North. Turn right onto 1350 West. Ward is on the left. Hope these directions help. 
Funeral notes:

Bill Dibble Funeral was FUN! What an amazing character Bill was!
His sister Jane Dibble Valantine spoke first and gave a life sketch. She started by stating she is 2 years younger than Bill, so his first experiences come from their mother. Bill was a busy baby, so much so that he jiggled his crib across the room and fell out of the window into a snowbank. The neighbor across the street saw him fall and went over and dug him out of the snowbank.  Knocked on the door. When Mother opened the door, neighbor held up Bill and asked, "Does this belong to you?" 
Very young age, Bill began reading. He would sit in a small rocking chair and R & R - Read and Rock - with the rocking chair moving across the floor. 
When living in New York, Mother read article stating Hoover High School in Glendale was very good school. Family moved a few times, ended up near Glendale. Bill went to school first day, came home disappointed, stating, "Nothing for me to learn there. I know it already." 
Mother took Bill & Jane to the library. He brought home stacks of books, she stayed outside and played on the monkey bars. They went to the Glendale planetarium. Bill so turned on by that, astronomy became his focus and he turned his room into what he had seen. People came to see what he had done. He ended up giving a presentation to all the elementary classes in the school. In Jane's class, after his presentation, he asked if there were any questions. A young boy raised his hand and asked a question. Bill replied that he must be dumb because everyone else in the room knew the answer. 
Jane went home and told their mother that Bill had really hurt the little boy's feelings. Mother and Bill had a very long talk about people and their feelings. From then on, Bill was VERY KIND - for the rest of his life. 
Science fiction and rockets became Bill's focus. Family moved to home on Grandview Ave in Glendale. Perfect place with the observatory near, Verdugo Hills to walk, library close. While on a hike with another boy, it got dark. Boy said, "Ouch!" They had one match. Lit it and saw the rattlesnake that had just bitten him. Bill - always prepared, had a razor blade, but the bite, sucked out the venom, got the boy to his home and onto hospital. Discovered boy had a heart problem. Bill had literally saved the boy's life.  Newspaper headlines read: Youth Saves Buddy." 
Hoover High School councilor took extra interest in Bill. Encouraged him to enter Westinghouse Contest. Bill didn't want to because of his interest in another project. At last minute, thru something together, and was one of the winners. Went to D.C. with his parents for award ceremony. Graduated valedictorian from Hoover High. 
Attended Cal Tech. Came home and stated, "Everyone there is really smart. Some of them speak 3 languages." So Bill learned Russian. Served mission in England. This was during a major recession. Food rationed, no fuel. He & companion took the rug off the floor and put it on top of them to sleep. Bill not well. He had pneumonia. Was to stay in and get well. No! Too much to do. He had to be assigned to mission home for president to keep him inside and get him well. He returned home frazzled. Jane did not recognize him, he had lost so much weight. 
Returned to Cal Tech. Then on to PhD. Discovered his true love was teaching. Taught at BYU, even after retirement age, until he couldn't do it any longer. Student reviews - All stated how kind he was!!!
He was so knowledgeable on sooo many subjects. He was grateful for all his knowledge and the gospel. 
Wilfred Griggs (professor of archaeology & ancient science) spoke. Longtime friend and colleague. Bill prepared for hours for each subject he taught - in classroom or in gospel doctrine classes. LOVED to learn. He was the consummate scholar/teacher. 
One time Wilfred arrived at Bill's office to take him to dinner. Bill was trying to help a student understand a concept. Explained. Student still didn't understand. Bill explained it a different way. Still didn't understand. Wilfred sat down in corner and waited. Not minutes but hours later, and several different ways concept was explained, student finally understood. To be sure, Bill had student explain it to Wilfred.         
Bill had the ability to "hole up" in basement of BYU building, and emerge 2 or 3 days later deciding that maybe he needed to get something to eat. 
He is well published. Made the classroom fun for the students. He helped the students “see more in the world around them, so that they come to live in a state of constant fascination.”
Bill's mother died. Father bought condo here in Provo and Bill moved in. Father died. Wilfred visited Bill and was given a tour of the condo. Bill showed him entire kitchen, dishes, pots, pans, silverware drawer, pantry. Told Wilfred he was welcome to cook anything anytime he wanted. Then commented, "There are some cans that are bulging. You might want to stay away from those." Bill was not into flashy cars or designer clothes - or food storage. 
He kept his private life very private. 
Bill knew we were given a spiritual jump start with Joseph Smith and the gospel being restored. Felt we all should study and learn all we can, then live it. He also professed that one day Science and Religion will all be reconciled. 
Plato stated: A wise man practices dying every day. Meaning, set aside life and concentrate on life after. And perhaps the Savior would add, "Beware of bulging cans." 
Bill married Marilyn Thompson on January 16, 2018, after years of friendship and a few brief dates. 
Wife Marilyn spoke, and she too was delightful. Bill was diagnosed with a melanoma a year ago. Knew he was sick, but weren't prepared for him to pass so soon. 
They had a LONG courtship - if you could call it that. YEARS! She would come to Provo and phone him. He would indicate he didn't have much time to spend with her. Just once she would have liked him to say, "I'm glad you are here." 
Jan 2018 he was in rehab. She visited. Asked him where their relationship was going. He decided they could marry. She hurriedly got things set up, and they were married in rehab. Too ill to get to the temple, their sealing will take place soon. 
Marilyn learned how much Bill was liked by the nurses. Incredibly polite. Always said, 'I thank you." He didn't think rehab was the Hilton. Marilyn asked him if he loved her. Bill reminded her that he told me once he loved me. "It remains the case." He had the temperament, she does not. Final words, "I adore you." 
Bill loved the song that was just sung "The Holy City. 
The lines And all who would might enter
And no one was denied. - Tho not given to much emotion, those lines would cause him to weep. Also, Behold the Great Redeemer died. They pierced His hands and feet and side. 
Marilyn is anxious to learn about the genealogy of the Dibble clan, and about Philo Dibble being with Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon when they received The Vision. 
Glendale West Warders in attendance: Roy & Jane Dibble Valantine, Desilyn Edling Triplett Grant, Lou Ann & Corinne Thorne - who slipped away before we could talk, Sheryl Lee Jamison Wilson (whose husband died 5 months ago), and Claire Crowley Field Petersen. See photos attached. 
A funny: Desilyn was called Desi during her youth. She dated Bill Dibble in high school. She was teased if she married him she would be Desi Dibble.  She did not like the sound of that!  
It truly was a fun and excellent celebration of Bill's life. So glad I attended! CFP