David A. Diehl, 84, of Maple Park, passed away on his farm surrounded by the love and prayers of his family Sunday morning, April 29, 2012. Released from his earthly battles, David left his farmland to claim the promise of his Savior and now surely tends the celestial fields of Heaven.
David was born Oct. 9, 1927, in Aurora, the son of Edward M. and Catherine M. (Pattermann) Diehl.
David grew up on the family farm near West Chicago and attended local schools. He graduated from West Chicago High School with the class of 1945.
David’s love of dancing brought him much joy over the years, but in his heart he knew something was missing. It wasn’t until he fell into step with Joyce C. Anderson at a Pure Milk Association dance that he realized he’d found a partner for life. Four years later, David and Joyce were united in marriage on Nov. 7, 1953.
They made their home east of Geneva, where he farmed before buying his own farm in Maple Park. On March 1, 1961, they packed up the family and moved west to Maple Park, where together they raised livestock, farmed the fields and cultivated 42 years of memories. David and Joyce had looked forward to many more, but they had danced their last when Joyce died unexpectedly following surgery in 1995. Although shook to his core, David continued to farm and make memories with his seven children, 19 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, all the while wearing the smile he was rarely seen without.
In addition to his love of the land, David also was the friendly rural-route mail carrier for 21 years in Maple Park. Not only did his neighbors depend on him for the daily mail, but they counted on his 10-year dedication to the Maple Park Fire Department to keep their homes safe.
David was a faithful member of the St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Maple Park, as well as a 50-year member of the DeKalb County Farm Bureau. The Rural Couples Club, with whom David and Joyce danced many nights away, also counted him as a member.
David was a life-long farmer whose heart believed in the details. His tractors shone bright, his planted rows were straight as an arrow, and his barns warmed the countryside with their color. When he left his fields for the day, David kept busy by making hand-carved decorations that were painted with love and cherished by his family. Jigsaw puzzles also became a pastime, with many completed puzzles ending up framed and hung with care in his home.
No one was better at remembering special dates and occasions as David. A special card was always preceded by a trip down an unseen but well-worn path to his favorite store, where they knew him by name.
He also enjoyed going to Casey’s, where he tried his luck playing Little Lotto. But his favorite trips came on Mondays when he would travel to the gambling boat in Aurora, where he played the cards he was dealt. On his last visit, David left a winner after laying down a full house—twice. His family wasn’t a stranger to card games, either. He taught his children and grandchildren to play “skit scat,” which became a requirement of any and all who joined their ranks.
David was a man who loved to dance—from Long’s Barn to the Blue Moon Ballroom—he and Joyce cut a rug whenever they could. They also liked to travel with family and friends, visiting not only Colorado, California and his favorite Las Vegas, but also on cruises to Alaska, Hawaii and the Caribbean, as well.
David had his share of troubles, too. In addition to losing his wife, David had several bouts with the cancer that would end up taking his life—the first beginning 22 years ago. But through it all, he wore a smile and never let a day go by without letting someone know he cared. His sense of humor was bountiful, making everyone smile and laugh at his practical jokes. Even when cancer stole his voice and he was dependent on his mechanical voice to help make himself heard, David soldiered on with a smile. His family was his most prized possession, and he showed them his love in a thousand different ways.
David rarely missed engaging with his children in 4-H and was a fixture at many sporting events, cheering on his children. David loved life and all the little things that made it beautiful, and has passed that legacy onto the next generation of family and friends who will never forget him.
He is survived by one daughter, Susan (Dennis) Wiles of Batavia; six sons, Richard (Gail) Diehl of Sycamore, Ronald (Linda Asselin) Diehl of Maple Park, David E. (Karen) Diehl of Sycamore, Daniel (Tracy) Diehl of DeKalb, John (Jodi) Diehl of Shabbona, Ill., and Charles (Jennifer) Diehl of Sycamore; 19 grandchildren, Amie (Jason) Rosinski and their two sons, Nathan and Caden, Katie (Rob) Hartle and their daughter, Sienna, Jennifer (Matthew York) Wiles, Julie (Andrew) Anselm, Cody Nance, and Ryan, Kurt, Lauren, Lindsey, Adam (and Angela), Holly, Abigail, Brandon, Drew, Josie, Sarah, Delia, Jillian and Hanna Diehl; one brother, Paul (Mary) Diehl of Elburn; two sisters, Toots (Don) Kohley of Huntley, Ill., and Carol Cibulskis of Batavia; one sister-in-law, Ann Diehl of Elburn; one brother-in-law, Bernard Kuhn of Bartlett, Ill.; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and a countryside of friends.
He is preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Joyce; five brothers, Elmer, Raymond, Franklin, George and Edward Diehl; three sisters, Mary Jane Nagel, Dorothy Kuhn and Marcia, who died in infancy; two sisters-in-law, Eleanor and Patricia Diehl; and a brother-in-law, Robert Nagel.
Visitation was held Wednesday at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. There will be a private family prayer at the funeral home, prior to a Mass to celebrate his life, at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church, Maple Park, at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, May 3. Fr. Dennis Morrissey, pastor of the church, will officiate, and interment will follow at St. Mary Cemetery, Maple Park.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in his name to benefit hospice and cancer research. Checks may be made to the “David A. Diehl Memorial” and mailed in care to P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family through www.conleycare.com.
The family would like to recognize the many professional health care providers who supported David over the years, with a special thank you to the staff of DeKalb County Hospice for their expert care, loving advice and services provided to David and his family during the last weeks of his life.