Those who knew the late William T. “Bill” Dymond remember him as not only a dignified, thoughtful and caring man — but also as a local celebrity.
Dymond, former managing editor of the Latrobe Bulletin, died Feb. 11 in the Baltimore area. He was 89.
“I thought that my dad was famous,” his daughter Michele Heacox (Dymond) said, recalling back to her childhood.
And according to his friends and colleagues: Dymond was just that.
He met his wife Philomena “Phil” while working at WTRA (now WCNS) radio station in Latrobe. They married in 1957. She was a former president of the Latrobe Chamber of Commerce.
Don Orlando, a longtime friend and former public relations director at St. Vincent College, said the two of them were a staple at community events.
“Anytime the two of them were there, it was like celebrities had shown up,” Orlando said. “They knew everybody and everybody knew them. It made it really a treasure for a small town to have somebody like that working and living locally.”
“The community had a real asset in both of them. Together, they made a dynamic duo,” added longtime friend Ralph Scalise. He and Scalise lived near each other in Lawson Heights.
Dymond was born Aug. 11, 1931, in Nicholson, north of Scranton. He attended naval radio communications school and served in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Fremont during the Korean War until his release from service in 1955.
After finishing broadcasting school in New York City, he joined the staff of WTRA where he was employed as an announcer, program director and ultimately, the station’s general manager.
That’s also where he met Phil, his wife of 63 years.
“She worked for (Kate) Mahady and I guess dad would see her there,” Heacox said. Mahady owned the radio station and a real estate business where Phil worked at the time. “He eventually asked her out on a date,” Heacox added, and the rest of history.
Dymond joined the Bulletin as a reporter and later became managing editor. He worked in the desk across from then-sports editor Steve Kittey, who also later became Bulletin editor.
“Bill was a super person to work with. He very seldom complained about anything,” Kittey said. “I can say he never had a bad thing to say about anyone. He didn’t let people down. He was very professional, very dignified.”
Heacox recalled when her father would take her and her siblings to the Bulletin newsroom on Saturdays while he was working.
“It was pretty cool. I remember him taking us and showing us plates with the words printed on them and how they would set the type for the papers,” she said.
In 1973, he moved on to the Tribune-Review in Greensburg and was the news editor before becoming the founding editor of the newspaper’s Sunday edition. He held that position until his retirement in 1994. There, he again crossed paths with Kittey, who was the Sunday Tribune-Review sports editor during the 1970s.
“Everybody that worked with him had only good things to say about Bill,” Kittey said. “He was just so professional about everything. He liked to make people feel comfortable. He did that just by his mere presence.”
Dymond extended his service to the community beyond his career in journalism. He was past president of the Latrobe Lions Club, a member of the American Legion and, in later years, an active member of the Pittsburgh Antique Radio Society.
He and Phil also co-chaired the St. Vincent Summer Theatre’s Gala during the opening of its 50th season.
“They were both very avid fans of the St. Vincent Summer Theatre. From the first day it was created, they were regular attendees and supporters of the theater,” Orlando said.
He also enjoyed folk music, feeding the birds in his yard and laughing with friends over a home-cooked meal and a glass of red wine. His friends and family noted Dymond’s affinity for collecting and restoring antique radios.
“He had a beautiful collection of radios. Several of them he actually bought in ill-repair and fixed and worked on them. He was pretty talented,” Scalise said.
But standing out among the rest was his love for the news, his daughter said.
“One of the things that really stands out is his sense of integrity and only wanting to publish the facts,” Heacox said. “He just had a thirst for news. And he passed that on to all of us.”
He also is survived by a son, William T. Dymond Jr. of Winter Park, Florida; and two daughters, Michele Heacox of Lutherville, Maryland, and Lynn Hutchinson of Woolford, Maryland; eight grandchildren; two sisters and three brothers.
He was preceded in death by a son, Joseph, who died in January 2019 from complications following treatment for acute myeloid leukemia (ALM).
“It was heartbreaking because they could not see each other,” Heacox said.
Bill suffered a stroke in 2018 and afterwards moved to the Baltimore area to be closer to family.
“We’ve all gotten to spend time with him these last two years, which has been great,” Heacox added.
His friends and family remember him as a man who cared deeply for others.
“He knew so much about so many different topics, probably because he was a great listener,” Heacox said. “He was remarkably gracious and humble.”
Kittey said, “He was just a very, very nice person. Probably one of the nicest persons that I ever knew, not to mention worked with.”
Added Scalise: “He was the most gentle, caring, thoughtful human being I’ve met.”
“Bill was bigger than life. He was like a giant,” Orlando offered. “He was not only big in stature, but everything he did was just over the top.”
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in memory of Mr. Dymond to either Joseph Dymond Scholarship in Geography, George Washington University, Washington, D.C. https://geography.columbian.gwu.edu/support-geography, GW Division of Development and Alumni Relations, The George Washington University, P.O. Box 98131, Washington, DC 20077-9756, Phone: 1-800-789-2611. Checks should be made out to “The George Washington University,” with “Joseph Dymond Scholarship Fund” in the memo line; Students First Fund, St. Vincent College, Latrobe, PA https://ssl.charityweb.net/stvincent/, Office of Institutional Advancement, St. Vincent College, 300 Fraser Purchase Road, Latrobe, PA 15650, Phone: 724-805-2897.