Photo by Carolyn Miller Photography

Robert Allan “Bob” Dillard II, 74, of Fort Davis died Saturday, July 20, 2019 in Lubbock, Texas surrounded by loved ones.

A celebration of life for Bob has been planned for 6pm Saturday, August 3 at the Kelly Pavilion behind the Old Union Building. The family asks that those planning to attend dress casually and come with an empty stomach as there will be briskets, beans and tortillas to eat while Bob’s life is celebrated.

Bob was born May 17, 1945 to Allan and Laura Margaret Dillard in Tyler, Texas. His father, a lawyer by trade, had the family on the move for a portion of Bob’s early years living in Tyler, Corpus Christi and eventually Fort Worth.

It was in Fort Worth public schools that Bob would meet his lifelong friends Kendall McCook, Paul Tate, Bob Larmer and Larry Guthrie. He graduated from Fort Worth Eastern Hills High School in 1963 and after a job at the T&P Railroad in Fort Worth, Bob set out to follow the family tradition of attending Baylor University.

Through the years following his time at Baylor, he worked for a time as a plumber’s helper with Guthrie for their high school friend Duane Williams, as well as spending some time working with McCook at a concrete company and living with both at the Snooty Fox Apartments in Arlington.

In the early 1970s, he enrolled at the University of Texas at Arlington working to earn a degree in journalism. During his time at UTA, he became the sports editor of the school newspaper, The Shorthorn, and later the newspaper’s managing editor.

In June of 1973 while visiting McCook in Clayton, New Mexico, two young ladies came to McCook’s ranch house with car troubles with their Volkswagen Bug on a cross country trip to Big Sur, California. One of those two young ladies, Christi Miles, never made it to Big Sur, nor did she leave Bob’s side for the next 46 years. The two were married in Kenton, Oklahoma in September of 1973 at the Kenton Methodist Church.

The couple would move to a small farmhouse close to Tate Springs, Texas where Bob would continue his work with The Shorthorn newspaper at UTA.

Upon graduation the two had set out to move to Far West Texas and start a newspaper in Fort Davis. Their oldest son, Luke, was born in July of 1975 in Fort Worth and in the fall of 1976 news of the sale of the Alpine Avalanche had reached the pair. Along with Jimmy Allison of Midland and Bill Brooks of Alpine, the Dillards purchased the Avalanche.

Bob and Christi settled in Fort Davis, where they have lived for the last 43 years.

In 1980, their youngest son, Tate, was born in Alpine. During the 1980s the Dillard’s would eventually own all three of the tri-county area newspapers, the Avalanche, the Big Bend Sentinel and the Jeff Davis County Mountain Dispatch.

In the early 1990s Bob and Christi went on the buy the weekly newspaper in Stanton, as well as starting a newspaper in the Midland suburb of Greenwood.

He continued to write, manage and edit the Dispatch and the Martin County Messenger until his death.

Beyond his love for the news, Bob was a tremendous advocate for the children of Fort Davis and the surrounding communities. He served on numerous boards and committees ranging from the Big Bend Livestock Association and Jeff Davis County Livestock Association to most recently the Fort Davis ISD School Board.

After his two children graduated, he stayed active in the local 4H and FFA communities, making trips to Iowa, Kansas and beyond to pick up pigs for kids to show and delivering them one by one to families all over West Texas.

Much like his love for the children of Fort Davis and the tri-county area, Bob was a constant and unwavering supporter of his community, having been elected to the Jeff Davis County Judge seat in the 90s and was board member on the Fort Davis Chamber of Commerce for most of his time in Fort Davis.

Bob would often be found on the weekends cooking briskets for one event or another that would support the town or the kids. When Bob was not lending his time, money or cooking to the area, he was spending time with his family whom he loved dearly, especially his seven grandkids.

He was preceded in death by his father, Allan Dillard, his mother, Laura Margaret Dillard, and his faithful dog Gabby.

He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Christi of Fort Davis, his two sons, Luke and wife Melissa of Lubbock, Tate and his wife Amy of Midland; a brother, Stephen and wife Cathie Dillard of Houston; a sister, Betty Dillard of Fort Worth; seven grandchildren, Quinn Dillard of Lubbock, Jaycee Caldwell of Lubbock, Eric Haverstock of Midland, Kennedy Caldwell of Lubbock, Reagan Haverstock of Midland, Mason Dillard of Lubbock and Ryan Dillard of Midland, his mother-in-law Joyce Miles of Fort Davis and his brother-in-law, Eddie Miles of Pipe Creek.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that all donations be made to the Bob Dillard Memorial Scholarship Fund with Fort Davis State Bank.