Jeffrey Andrew DillSeptember 30, 1953 ~ November 5, 2017 (age 64)
Jeffrey Andrew Dill was born to parents Joan and Warren Dill on September 30, 1953 in Hobbs, New Mexico. He grew up with his siblings John, Jim and Sidney in New Mexico and Texas. The quintessential self-made man, Jeff joined the Air Force at age 17 and used the GI Bill to pay for his undergraduate education at the University of New Mexico. While studying chemistry at UNM, Jeff met his professor and lifelong friend, Tom Jones. Seeing Jeff’s potential early on, Tom and other professors encouraged Jeff to pursue a doctorate degree in Analytical Chemistry at Colorado State University in Fort Collins Colorado.
On October 30, 1979, Jeff met the love of his life Donna Morey, who was an undergraduate at the time. Following a brief, whirlwind romance, Jeff proposed and they were married in Tucson on January 4th 1980. While Jeff was finishing his PhD, he and Donna worked as caretakers on a horse farm in Ft. Collins, Colorado. On December 13th, 1982, Jeff’s first daughter was born, mere days before Jeff had to give his final defense for his doctoral dissertation.
After completing his PhD Jeff, Donna and Kristen moved to Richland, Washington where Jeff’s old professor Tom Jones had helped him find a job on the Hanford Reservation. Jeff and Donna later found a small ranch house on 12 acres of dry land wheat, nestled at the base of the Rattlesnake Hills. Jeffrey later found a job working for Battelle as an inhalation toxicology researcher in North Richland where he worked for 29 years. On May 16, 1986 his daughter Sarah was born and Jeffrey’s little family was complete.
Jeff worked hard his whole life to ensure his family was well cared for and that his children would have a good start in life. For Jeff, this meant to provide his daughters with good dependable cars and educations so that they could be independent and support themselves. He saw the value of higher education not just in the degree you earned, but in learning how to learn so you could teach yourself anything you needed to know in life.
Jeff loved to be in nature, from skiing in the Cascades to hiking with his “main man” dog Zeppelin, or taking long walks in the Rattlesnake Hills, being outdoors helped Jeff to find clarity. Although he loved nothing more than spending time with his wife Donna, he supported her on her crazy adventures, often staying home to take care of the critters. He was an avid reader, devouring both fiction and non-fiction and wearing out more than one kindle. He was a connoisseur of food and wine, and in retirement he had taken up cooking and enjoyed making elaborate dinners for himself and Donna.
In the early 2000’s, Jeff took up cycling and made friends with several folks in the local wine industry. Cycling through vineyards, Jeff dreamed of having his own vineyard and winery and ultimately decided to make his dream into reality. Jeff put his love of learning to the test, reading endless books and taking classes in winemaking. He started out growing and selling grapes but after retirement was able to build a winery and realize his dream. Along the way, Jeff met his dear friend Pedro Reyes who helped him to plant the vineyard and build the winery. Jeff named his winery Kolibri, the German word for hummingbird, in honor of the jewel bright birds that embody the spirit of the small and beautiful vineyard. He bottled his first vintage in 2016.
Jeffrey passed away peacefully at home from natural causes on November 5, 2017. He is survived by his wife Donna, their daughter Kristen Dill (husband Steve Boone), daughter Sarah Dill (husband Brendan Mercer) and grandchildren Gage Boone and Dylan Mercer, brother Jim Dill and sister Sydney Devereaux; his dear friends Tom Jones and Pedro Reyes and his faithful, loving dog Zeppelin. Jeffrey was preceded in death by his parents Joan Heald, Warren Dill and his older brother John Wren. A celebration of life is planned for spring/early summer 2018. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Jeffrey’s name to the American Heart Association or Service Peace Warriors (servicepeacewarriors.org-- a non-profit that trains service dogs for veterans).
Those wishing to sign Jeffrey’s online memorial book may do so at www.funeralhomesmith.com Smith Funeral Home in care of arrangements.