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Thomas ‘Tommy’ Dieterich

January 3, 2014

Thomas ‘Tommy’ Dieterich
1924-2013

In loving memory of our dearest father and grandfather.
Thomas “Tommy” Dieterich joined his beloved Jane on Dec. 22. Passing peacefully with family by his side at Northern Inyo Hospital following a brief illness. Tom was born in Bishop on Feb. 26, 1924 in his grandfather’s home on Third Street. His parents were Thomas F. Dieterich and Minnie (Reynolds) Dieterich. He had one younger sister, Jeri.
He attended elementary through high school in Bishop and graduated in 1941. He was a member of the Bishop High School Orchestra and often played fiddle with his dad at dances at Keough’s Hot Springs. He loved music and also played the Mandolin and Harmonica.
In 1942 Tom enlisted in the Navy. He graduated from the Naval Air Technical Training Center in Norman, Okla. He met the love of his life and wife of 62 years, Jane, at the USO in Norman. Tom served as a Seaman Second Class and was promoted to aviation machinist mate third class. He later attended training at the Naval Air Gunners School in Florida. He spent his active duty in the Philippines in World War II as a seaplane mechanic stationed on the USS Chandeleur.
Following the war, Tom returned to California where he and Jane were married on Nov. 30, 1945. They returned to Bishop in 1959 with their only daughter, Ellie. Tom worked for the Bishop Dairy, Bishop Dry Cleaners and eventually purchased the Mobil Service Station on East Line Street. He owned/operated and managed the Mobil Service Stations from Ridgecrest to Bridgeport for more than 25 years. He and Jane retired to their home in Bishop.
Tom was an avid outdoorsman who loved hunting and fly-fishing. He had a deep love of the Owens Valley and the Sierra, and would joke that he had been there so long that Mt. Tom was named after him.
He was an incredible father, grandfather and husband that shared his knowledge and love of the valley, pride in his country and incredible work ethic. He was a “Rodeo Dad” and traveled the state with a horse trailer in tow attending numerous rodeos with his daughter. His fondest memory was of a “rescue race” horseback completion at the Bishop Fairgrounds. He said, “We didn’t win, but I didn’t get bucked off.”
He was preceded in death by his wife, Jane; and sister, Jeri.
He is survived by his only daughter, Ellie Willoughby; her husband, Barry; granddaughters, Paige and Erin that he loved so dearly and proudly shared their accomplishments with all of his neighbors.
Those same neighbors’ thoughtful assistance allowed him to live independently in his own home which meant so very much to him.
In keeping with Tom’s wishes there will not be a service.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church.
We love you Ga, and will miss so very much.

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