Della S. “Billie” Diehl

Della S. “Billie” Diehl, 95, of St. Marys, peacefully passed on to be with her Lord, on Saturday, November 16, 2019, of natural causes, at the Dove House in Westminster, Maryland.

She was born March 7, 1924 in Turtle Creek, PA, daughter of the late Frank O. Speelman and the late Ellen Rutter Speelman.  She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and was past president of the Sigma Sigma Sigma Alumnae Association.  She was production manager for children’s programming at KDKA television in Pittsburgh, and taught speech and English for many years in the Turtle Creek, Monroeville, Wilkinsburg, and St. Marys school systems.  Billie also taught communications for the Stackpole Educational & Development School, and acted as coordinator of the Pure Industries Training School.

Billie was a member of the First United Methodist Church.  She started the Candy Striper program at the Andrew Kaul Memorial Hospital.  Billie also served on the boards of the Elco Glen building project, the hospital, and Elk County FEMA.  Most notably, Billie also created the ecumenical Christian Food Bank along with a core of founding members, which has grown to 160 volunteers and currently serves over 200 families per week.

Billie received the American Legion’s Distinguished Service Award, as well as the Pennsylvania Outstanding Citizen Award from Governor Ridge.  She loved golfing, bible study, piano and organ, the beach, Crazy 8s, and laughing with her dear friends.

On December 26, 1959, in Wilkinsburg, PA, she married John E. “Jack” Diehl, who preceded her in death on July 1, 1997.

Billie is survived by two stepdaughters, Joanne Diehl (James) Clark of Phoenix, AZ, and Sally Diehl of Annapolis, MD; two nieces Christine Gorsuch (Thomas) Carr of Jefferson City, MO and Beth Gorsuch (Gary) Angell of Westminster, MD; three step-grandchildren and three grand-nieces/nephews.

In addition to her husband and parents, Billie was preceded in death by her dear sister, Evelyn Speelman Gorsuch Larson.

Visitation will be held at the Lynch-Radkowski Funeral Home on Saturday, November 23, 2019, from 10:00 until 11:00 AM, followed immediately by a Funeral Service with the Rev. J. Tim Hoover officiating.  Burial will follow in the St. Mary’s Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please honor Billie’s wishes by making a donation to the Christian Food Bank, P.O. Box 1033, St. Marys, PA 15857, and indicate your gift is in Billie’s memory.


Ken & Cathy Straub November 18, 2019 at 7:35 am

Joanne & Sally & Family: Billie was indeed a trendsetter. There is not enough room on any of these pages to recognize her accomplishments. Her compassion for people led to the opening of the Christian Food Bank and her tireless effort was a model that enabled this service to flourish. It is an honor to have known this lady.

Ann Smisko November 21, 2019 at 6:11 pm

Jack and Billie Diehl were my godparents – they were good friends of my parents, Paul and Louise, and served to help me grow up strong. I always knew I had them in my “corner” and I was so proud when they thought I had done well on something. There is nothing as important as good role models when you are growing up — and I had the best with my parents and Jack and Billie.
I am thankful for their guidance in my life.
My thoughts are with the family in this sad time.
–Ann Smisko

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