Eldon Otto Dillenburg was born March 10, 1927 in Diagonal, Iowa, 6th of 7 children, to Otto and Florence Dillenburg. When he was 9 years old, and the family were struggling financially like much of the rest of the country, an aunt in Washington state urged them to come west, saying, "You won't starve here. At least there are shellfish along the shores and berries in the woods."
Once there, times were still tough but Eldon enjoyed the freedom to roam the countryside, play with friends, and find what ways he could to make a little money for the family, including selling shoelaces door-to-door. For a while at age 14 or 15 he worked at a dairy driving a truck, then worked at the shipyard in Bremerton (learning to weld while there), and at age 18 entered the army. He served a short time in Alaska, then returned to civilian life and worked again at the navy yard.
He married Joanne Dietz on August 7, 1951. They had 3 sons: Don, Mike, and Doug. With the help of nephews and father-in-law, he built a home for them in Belfair, Washington. He retired from the Bremerton navy yard about 1970 and went into excavation business with his nephew, Nelson Byerly. Their company was called B & D Bulldozing. He sold his part of the business five years later. Eventually he and Joanne bought a motor home, sold the Belfair house, and hit the road. They had the intention of exploring many new places, but found that they enjoyed Yuma so much, they made it their destination each year, dividing time between summers where their roots and family were, and winters in Yuma with sunshine and friends.
Throughout his life he enjoyed the outdoors, camping, hunting, and fishing. He also loved playing cards with family and friends.
After Joanne died in 2000, Eldon continued the snowbird life, staying longer and longer periods down south. In later years a son would drive him south, then fly home but the family could never convince him to stay "up north" where they could spend time with him and see to his needs. He passed away in Yuma on October 7, 2019.
He is survived by his three sons, his three grandchildren, and his seven great-grandchildren.
His ashes will be interred with those of Joanne in Shelton, Washington.
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