Albert R. Dilley passed away peacefully in the presence of family and in the care of Emmanuel Hospice at Porter Hills Village in Grand Rapids on the evening of June 1, 2021. His age was 100.
He was born on June 28, 1920 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the son of Abner D. Dilley and Francis Westbrook Dilley. Albert was raised in the home of his father and step-mother, Faye Doddridge Dilley with his older brother, Robert, younger brother, Donald, and younger half-sister, Dorothy (Elwood). After graduation from Ottawa Hills High School, he attended Grand Rapids Junior College and then the University of Michigan. His education was interrupted when he enlisted in the United States Navy in 1942, six months after Pearl Harbor. He was very proud of his aviation achievements as a naval aviator. Following the war, he entered the University of Michigan Law School. After receiving his law degree and being admitted to the practice of law, he joined his father and older brother, Robert, in the law firm of Dilley & Dilley where he was later joined by his younger brother, Donald, his son, Fred, his daughter, Nancy and his nephew, Thomas R. Dilley. He was also very proud to welcome the fifth generation of Dilley lawyers with his grandson, Benjamin C. Dilley, who practices with the law firm of Mika Meyers. He pursued an active and successful legal career until his retirement in 1999.
He married Muriel Schurman Ellefson in the Methodist Chapel in Ann Arbor on the evening of the Ohio State football game, November 20, 1947 (Michigan won, 21-0, for a perfect 9-0 season). Albert and Muriel celebrated their wedding anniversary every year thereafter on the day of the Ohio State-Michigan game until her death in 2003. He was a lifelong member of the Victors Club.
He and Muriel moved to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida in 1999 where they enjoyed an active and satisfying retirement. Their location at PGA National Resort was in large measure to pursue his interest in croquet at the championship flight level which he did enthusiastically nearly every day until he ceased competitive play at age 95.
He was an accomplished and enthusiastic private pilot as was Muriel and their son. The family made many memorable trips all over the country with Albert in the left hand seat of his beloved V-tail Beechcraft Bonanza.
Never shy about speaking truth to power, he frequently authored letters to elected officials challenging or commending their actions and providing critical thought and evaluation on a host of legal and social issues. He was a regular contributor of letters to the editor and other op-ed pieces for the Grand Rapids Press and later, the Palm Beach Post.
He was a very proud recipient of the Champion of Justice Award from the State Bar of Michigan in 1999. The established criteria for the award are: "extraordinary professional accomplishments benefitting our nation, state, or community and a career which reflects superior professional competence and integrity". He will be remembered for his fierce devotion to human rights and civil rights and his advocacy for the rule of law. To his family, clients and many friends, he was truly a Champion of Justice.
He is survived by his four children and their families all living in Grand Rapids: Frederick Dilley (Elizabeth); Mary Dilley; Marcia Dilley Allen (Peter); Nancy Dilley Rominger (Charles), three grandchildren, Katherine Dilley Wright (Jeff); Benjamin C. Dilley; and Christopher C. Rominger. Also, three great-grandchildren, Hazel, Jack and Harry Wright of Charlestown, Massachusetts.
No services are planned and no flowers are requested. The family would be appreciative of donations to Emmanuel Hospice of Grand Rapids. Information at: https://emmanuelhospice.org/
401 Hall St SW, Suite 263, Grand Rapids MI 49503