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Dale Dietrich and his gift

by Ethan Clewell - eclewell@chronicle-tribune.com

Sukhjinder Bath keeps Dale Dietrich close to her heart in the form of a necklace holding his ashes. Dietrich was like a father to Bath and they kept close and took care of each other until the day Dietrich died.

According to Bath, the two were incredibly close. He helped her through her mother’s death. She helped him move on to the last stage of his life.

She says he was a very good man and an honest man, but he had trouble trusting.

“In the last 35 years he lived here, he only trusted me,” Bath said.

According to Bath, he was social, loved to fish and he would save every penny that he could.

Near the end of his life he put those pennies, and his trust, into the organizations made to help Grant County.

When Dale Dietrich passed away, he donated $728,660.40 to Hands of Hope, Salvation Army, Meals on Wheels, Marion Public Library, Hearing and Vision Repair, Grant County Senior Citizen Center and Cancer Services of Grant County.

This includes a nearly $250,000 donation to Hands of Hope, a resource program for victims of domestic violence.

“Most of the money went to Hands Of Hope so that women and children can have a better life,” Bath said.

Dietrich also donated his house, worth nearly $70,000, to Cancer Services of Grant County.

The other programs all received donations of $82,707.

“Something like this means so much to a community,” said Samantha Hyde, director of community relations for Salvation Army.

Officials at the Salvation Army has not decided what they will be doing with the money, although Hyde said they typically use large donations to expand their Pathway to Hope program. Hyde says the program attempts to break the cycle of poverty in a way geared towards the individual’s situation.

Giving without taking was a part of Dietrich’s life, Bath says.

Dietrich worked at the Philips 66 on North Washington Street under Bath. According to Bath, he got his job by working when nobody asked him to.

Bath had asked him if he wanted a job cleaning. That night he cleaned the entire gas station and Bath asked him what his payment should be.

“He (Dietrich) said, ‘I want five dollars and a generic pack of cigarettes,’” Bath said.

Until the end he trusted Bath to take care of him. And after he passed, he trusted her to deliver the checks.