I met a very sweet elderly man at the Masonic Home when I did a couple of programs there. He was very nice, low-key, humble and just seemed kind-hearted. I met his daughter Patrice, who was visiting with him. She was from the Atlanta area. Honestly, he seemed like so many of the elderly people that I meet. You look at them and see them as they look now. I don’t have any clue of who they were when they were my age (60) or younger. And in this man’s case, an example of a man to be greatly admired – and who would know of his life so very well-lived……….now by posting his life story in his obituary, many of us will never just look at a man in a wheelchair in the same way.
Joe passed away about 6 weeks ago and I saw his obituary. I sent an email to his daughter Patrice:
11/30/11 Obituary Joseph M. Dickey, Jr.
Everybody liked Joe Dickey. At his 1986 retirement dinner from AK Steel (formerly Armco, based in Middletown, Ohio) where he’d worked his way up from mill laborer to District Sales Manager in a 36-year career, every level of associate at his client, the Buffalo Ford plant, praised his friendly personality.
A 30-year resident of Buffalo, NY, with his wife, Mary Beth Mauntel Dickey, who predeceased him in 1995, Joe served as Distinguished President of the Amherst, NY, Kiwanis Club and Lt. Governor of Niagara Frontier North Division. He carried on his Santa Claus tradition (begun as a Kiwanian in Memphis, TN, where he delivered toys at St. Jude Children’s Hospital) in Amherst at the NE YMCA.
Always involved with worthy children’s causes, as a young man he led a Boy Scout troop in Park Ridge, IL, even though he had two daughters, Dr. Susan Beth Dickey of Ambler, PA, and Patrice Dickey of Avondale Estates, GA. He also taught Sunday school at the First Methodist Church of Park Ridge, and later served as a Deacon at North Presbyterian Church in Amherst.
He and Mary Beth met at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA, where Joe was a member of SAE Fraternity and graduated with a B.A. in psychology & economics in 1950. In 1990 he was awarded Allegheny’s Blue Citation for Outstanding Volunteer Service.
He served as a sergeant in World War II, trained as a gunner on B-17 and B-29 aircraft in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Later he was proud to serve as the president of the 8th Air Force Historical Society in 2004-2005.
Joe’s great love of aviation and renaissance scope of interests earned him the childhood nickname “Flying Cloud.” He was thrilled while attending the 2004 Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture that his business card was one chosen to go up in a space flight. A peak life experience was flying in the Concorde from New York to London.
His service extended to the NW Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania, which he joined in 1949, and over 62 years advanced to 32nd Degree Mason. He joined the Shriners of North America in 1976 and sang a hearty baritone with both the Ismailia Shrine Chanters (serving as president) and the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus for many years. He was a member of Scottish Rite in the Valley of Buffalo.
Renowned for his optimism and great sense of humor, Joe loved theater, art, music, dancing (named Best Boy Dancer at Cambridge Springs, PA, H.S.) golf, football, waterskiing, Britcoms, and lifelong learning.
Born on February 13, 1926, Joe made his peaceful transition on October 6, 2011, while living at the Masonic Village in LaFayette Hill, PA, near his daughter Susan and granddaughter, Elizabeth Carla Isaacs, 14, of Ambler, PA.
During his life he survived four different types of cancer. Donations in his honor may be made to the Masonic Village or the American Institute for Cancer Research. He was interred in a private ceremony at Greendale Cemetery in Meadville, PA, in October with immediate family and a number of nieces & nephews attending. Condolences to PO Box 245, Ambler, PA 19002.