Terrance Norman Dilley turned down a chance to study at the Vatican to spend a lifetime doing what he called “the Lord’s work” — teaching at Riverland Community College. Dilley was born May 20, 1940, in Huron, S.D., and he started teaching at Austin Junior College in 1965 — the same year he married Ann Kelly, who died about 10 years ago. They had three children: Sean, Erin and Sheila. Riverland’s Executive Assistant to the President and Alumni Director Marijo Alexander was Dilley’s partner for about the last eight years. From 1965 on, Dilley never left the school, and he played a pivotal role in making the college what it is today by serving on several hiring committees and helping with transitions when Austin Community College, South Central Technical College—Albert Lea, and Riverland Technical College locations in Austin and Owatonna merged to form Riverland Community College in 1996, his colleagues said. Dilley taught philosophy, sociology, anthropology, history, religions of the world, economics and humanities, among other subjects. He also spoke Latin, French, German and Greek. Friends remember him as a master at handling the classroom. Despite being remembered for a photographic memory, Dilley still completed thorough prep work for class. Dilley also coached tennis at the college from 1976 to 1993 and is a member of the school sports hall of fame. He also served on the ethics board at the Austin medical center for about a decade. Even when he retired in 2004, colleagues say he still probably spent the most time at the school. Dilley didn’t stop teaching until last December when he went to class but couldn’t physically teach. When Hyland discussed the possibility of her own phased retirement with Dilley, he said he never regretted teaching through retirement. “He retired and he never stopped teaching,” she said. In a letter recommending Dilley for an honorary doctoral degree, Campbell called a Dilley “as much a ‘landmark’ of this college as its buildings, its logos, and its other employees.” “I am certain that when people think of Riverland, they think of Terry Dilley!” Campbell wrote. Several friends said many teachers stayed at Riverland because of the environment Dilley helped created. Dilley stayed at the school because he loved the students and the people.
“He loved everything about it,” Grove said.
Information from Austin Daily Herald, 5/4/2014