John Dilger

John A. Dilger

1928 - 2022

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Obituary of John A. Dilger

After a long, rich and full life John Anthony Dilger, 94, of Deep River, passed away peacefully on Friday, October 21 at Chestelm Health & Rehabilitation Center in Moodus. John was the beloved father of Patrick Dilger of Deep River, father-in-law of Gale Dilger, and “Pop” to Jonathan and his wife Nicole, Michael and Alexandra. A true world traveler, John was born in Ennis, County Clare, Ireland on June 13, 1928. As he recalled it, a local woman once read his tea leaves and told him that he would “go far away.” So, he left for England to work on the railway at 19 and then five years later, took passage on an immigrant ship to Melbourne, Australia, where he operated trams for three years. He then went for a holiday to New Zealand, where he met Teresa Roache at a dance in Auckland. It was clearly love at first sight, as John never returned to Australia and the couple went on to enjoy 53 years of happy marriage before Teresa passed in 2010, aged 86. A railway train examiner for much of his working career in New Zealand, John was full of life and blarney. He loved to sing, dance and tell corny jokes and tall tales. He played many sports and games and delighted in cheating at most of them. He cherished his faith, his family and his many friends. Never at a loss for words, “he was the type of person who could walk up to a telephone pole and engage it in conversation,” according to his parish priest in New Zealand. He also loved to travel with his wife, Teresa. When John’s son came to America for graduate school and then stayed on to work, marry and raise a family with Gale, Teresa and John would travel to see their grandchildren every second year. They crisscrossed the United States and Canada by bus, train and plane, making new friends along the way. In the intervening years they would head to Ireland, Australia or the Pacific Islands or explore the many beautiful parts of New Zealand. Three years after Teresa’s passing, John sold the family home in Auckland and came to live in Deep River with his son and daughter-in-law. During his nine years in town, John became a fixture at The Nest Coffee Shop, and St. Joseph’s Church in Chester, where he joined the Knights of Columbus. But he truly made his mark on the soccer fields in Deep River and throughout the state, where he would wave his cane vigorously and yell out in his incomprehensible accent, encouraging his grandsons and their teammates and bewildering opposition defenders and referees. John also loved helping out with Valley Soccer Club’s TOP Soccer program for children with disabilities, earning a Southeast District volunteerism award in 2018 at age 90. Aside from his immediate family, John is also survived by a brother, Dermot, of Doon in County Limerick, Ireland. He was predeceased by his brothers Josie, Patrick and Bernie and his sisters Mary, Frances, Teresa and Peggy. Relatives and friends are invited to join John’s family for a visitation from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, November 11 at Robinson, Wright & Weymer Funeral Home, 34 Main Street, Centerbrook. A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 12 at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 48 Middlesex Avenue, Chester. Burial will be held at the convenience of the family. John’s family has established a scholarship in his and his wife Teresa’s names at Southern Connecticut State University, to support First-Generation students. In lieu of flowers, scholarship donations may be sent to the: SCSU Foundation Attn: Krista Hayes, Business Manager 501 Crescent Street, OB1 New Haven, CT 06515 (Dilger Scholarship should be written in the memo of a check). To leave online condolences, please visit:


5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Friday, November 11, 2022
Robinson, Wright & Weymer Funeral Home
34 Main Street
Centerbrook, Connecticut, United States

Funeral Mass

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Saturday, November 12, 2022
St. Joseph Church
Middlesex Tunpk
Chester, Connecticut, United States