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 Murray County Museum  

Mary Dilbeck Dill

William Asbury Dilbeck was a saw miller from Fannin County, GA and he boarded at the Thomas Grizzle home while working in Pickens County, GA. There he met and married the oldest daughter of Thomas, Rosa Lou. Rosa was sixteen years old at the time of their marriage.

Mary Effie Dilbeck was born November 15, 1920 at Talking Rock, Pickens County, GA.

The family moved to Murray County in January 1931. Their home and farm was in north Murray County near the Sumach Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the Sumach School.

Mary started school at the Union Springs School in January 1931 as a sixth grader for a seven month school term. The Union Springs School had one teacher. The students were from first to seventh grade. Mr. Walter Richards was the teacher. At that time, Mary was the only student in sixth grade. She seldom had a regular class. She was given her assignments each day and completed them at night with her father's help.

When school began in July for a new term, her father thought that the Sumach School would be a better school for Mary. It had three teachers. Mary entered seventh grade at the Sumach School with Harold Ellis as her seventh grade teacher and then her eighth grade teacher.

Mary entered Murray County High School in 1934. The students had to furnish their own textbooks. All the high school students were transported by bus. Mary walked a mile to catch the bus. In the winter months, the school buses often got stuck in the mud as there were no paved roads.

Mary was a member of the third graduating class at Murray County High School in 1938. Her father, William became ill and died in 1940. Because of the ill health of her mother, Rosa, Mary stayed home to help take care of her younger brothers, Thomas and William. She worked as a bookkeeper in a general merchandise store for one year in Copperhill, TN for her grandfather, Thomas Grizzle.

In October 1940, Mary married William Bentley Dill of Murray County. To this marriage three children were born: the late William Arnold Dill, Rosa Lee Dill Stewart, and Oveda Marelle Dill Jones. There are two grandchildren and three great grandchildren in the family.

Mary joined the Sumach Cumberland Presbyterian Church in August 1933. Over the years, she has faithfully served the Sumach Church as: an Elder, Stated Clerk of the Session, Sunday School teacher for sixty five years, President of the Women's Ministry and on several church committees. In 1985, the senior adult Sunday School class was named the Mary Dill Bible Class. She was chairman of the Missions Committee in 1991 when the annual Thanksgiving meals for the community began.

In 1944, the country was plunged into World War II. Teachers were scarce. Mary was asked to consider teaching the upper four grades and serve as Principal of Sumach Elementary School. She agreed to teach for that term. She missed the term of 1945-46. "Miss Mary" taught at Sumach School from 1946 until Northwest Elementary School was formed in 1955. At Northwest Elementary School, she taught grammar, spelling and reading for the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades.

During Mary's teaching career: she faced and battled cancer, worked on the family farm and pursued her teaching degree. She continued her education by traveling daily to night classes at North Georgia College in Dahlonega, GA and spent her summers at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA. She graduated from the University of Georgia with a B. S. in Education in 1964.

After thirty-one years of teaching, Mary retired from Northwest Elementary School at the end if the 1975-76 term. Her decision to retire was due to her husband, Bentley's illness with cancer. He died in September 1984.

Mary was active in the Murray County Retired Teachers Association and the American Red Cross. She was appointed to the Murray County Board of Education in 1980 to fill the unexpired term of Mr. Ray Bagley. She was the first woman to serve on the Board of Education. In 1999, she was inducted into the Murray County High School Alumni Hall of Fame.

At the age of 90 years of age, Mary remains extremely interested in the education of the Murray County youth and remembers fondly her past students.

Submitted by Miss Mary's daughter, Rosa Lee Dill Stewart


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