Friday, March 8, 2013

CHATSWORTH — Richard Allan Diller, 63, Madison, Wis., passed away peacefully Saturday (March 2, 2013) at Agrace HospiceCare, Fitchburg, Wis., with his wife, Deborah, at his side.
He was born June 12, 1949, in Akron, Ohio, son of Howard and Annie Olivia Diller. Richard grew up in Chatsworth and graduated from Chatsworth High School in 1967. He began working at the family business, Diller Tile Co., while in high school.
After high school he attended Illinois State University, graduating in 1973 with a degree in industrial technology while continuing his work at Diller Tile.
He married the love of his life, Deborah, on Nov. 17, 1979. They felt blessed to have 33 years together. They spent the first 14 years of their marriage in Rock Falls, where Richard was plant manager of Universal Plastics/Diller Tile.
In 1983, Richard suffered kidney failure and he and Debbie began home hemodialysis. Richard received a successful kidney transplant in Madison in 1987. He used this gift of freedom and time to pursue a new career while continuing his full-time work. He received his computer programming degree from Northern Illinois University in 1992. Then in 1993, Richard and Debbie moved to Madison, where he began a successful programming career with Great Lakes Higher Education, eventually becoming a consultant with TDS and U.S. Cellular. He retired in 2004. His transplant lasted 18 years before he returned to dialysis in 2006.
Richard was active in the Sterling/Rock Falls Jaycees and organized projects as varied as the Chili Cook-Off and the Haunted Ghost Walk. He served as district director of the Northwestern region from 1982 until 1983. He was a member of the Madison West Kiwanis and organized their annual High School Music Award Ceremony for the past two years.
Richard was a high school athlete and lettered in basketball and football. As an adult, he developed a love of bicycling and enjoyed commuting to work on his recumbent bicycle. A regular league bowler, Richard began participating in the annual National Bowling Tournament in 1977 with the Diller Tile team. This tournament became a lifelong enjoyment culminating in his participation in 26 years of competitions.
Richard also loved music. He began with the trumpet in the high school band and was soon asked by his music director to adopt the tuba. He played the tuba with the American Youth Band and Chorus during their European tour in 1967. He and Debbie attended many concerts of all types over the years. They enjoyed participating in the UW Performing Arts Tours to Philadelphia; New York and the Met; the Spoleto festival, Charleston, S.C.; and the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Richard’s entire family was active card players enjoying euchre, pinochle and poker. After retirement, Richard decided to learn sheepshead and participated in the Wednesday group at the Middleton Senior Center.
Richard had a joke for everyone and every occasion. He loved to make people laugh. He was a good listener as well and enjoyed as many social gatherings as his health allowed.
Richard was preceded in death by his father in 1978; his sister, Lynn, in 1993; his mother in 2003; and his older brother, Howard Jr., in 2011.
Richard is survived by his wife, Deborah, Madison; his sister-in-law, Dona; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Gunderson Fitchburg Funeral Home, Fitchburg, Wis. A luncheon will follow the service. Memorial donations will be used to benefit St. Mary’s Renal Center’s patients and staff.
Online condolences may be made at

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