2017-04-27 / Obituaries

Richard Ditton

Richard (Dick) Paul Ditton, born May 12, 1922 in Fairview, Mont., to Vernon and Maggie Ditton, peacefully passed away April 18, 2017 in Clovis, Calif., surrounded by family.

He was the loving husband of Pearl W. Ditton, father of Judith Appling, Brad Ditton (Belinda) and Jeannine Mitchell Reece (Robert). He was the grandfather of Janet Golden (Robert), Eric Appling, Chris Mitchell (Betsy) and Russell Mitchell (Chrissy). Additionally, he is survived by great-granddaughters Reece, Scarlet, Riley and Piper and his younger brother, Jim.

Dick and Pearl, both working in Yosemite Valley, met at a Camp Curry dance during the summer of 1942. They were married Jan. 9, 1943, recently celebrating 74 years of marriage. Dick joined the Army Air Corps in 1943 and was promptly assigned to the Army Specialist Training School; completing one year of a two year program. This posting was interrupted just after D-Day when Dick received orders to join the 102nd Infantry (Ozark Division,) serving in the European Theater for the duration of World War II. He was honorably discharged obtaining the rank of Staff Sergeant and was awarded The Bronze Star for bravery as well as an Expert Rifleman Medal.

Dick was a two time Master of the Yosemite Pohono Lodge Free and Accepted Masons; upon the closing of the Pohono Lodge, Dick became a member of the Mariposa Masonic Lodge. When he and Pearl moved from Yosemite to Oakhurst, Dick joined the Oakhurst Masonic Lodge, serving as a degree coach for several years. He was a member of the Masons for 55 years.

Dick held several jobs with the Yosemite Park and Curry Company and also assisted the Yosemite Medical Clinic during the 30-plus years he and Pearl lived in Yosemite Valley. Some of his happiest days were spent overseeing High Sierra Camp operations and fly fishing in the mountain streams and lakes.

An accomplished and avid athlete in his high school and college (Cal Berkeley) years, Dick continued this legacy upon returning to Yosemite in 1945, coaching the “Yosemite Badgers” football team. Dick was an active member of the Yosemite Lions Club, served as a Mariposa County School Board Trustee and as a Commissioner of the Madera County Economic Development Commission, most recently working as a real estate broker and consultant with son Brad until retiring when he was well into his 80s.

A Masonic and Military memorial service will be conducted June 3, 2017 at the Oakhurst Masonic Lodge beginning at 1 p.m. A cake and beverage reception will follow in the Masonic Social Hall.

The Ditton family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the staff and owners of: A Place Called Home residential care, Vida Home Health Care and Aseracare Hospice for the extraordinary care they provided for Dick in his final months and days. A special thank you to Teena Hagerman who was instrumental in referring Dick to “A Place Called Home.”

In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be sent to the Oakhurst Masonic Lodge.

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