Walter L. Dillard, Professor Emeritus of Zoology at the University of Oklahoma, died Saturday, May 7, 2011, at the age 75, after a year-long battle with lung cancer. A celebration of his life will be at 4 p.m. Friday, May 13, at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Carson City.
Walter was born on Nov. 9, 1935, to Pansy Salone and William Dillard in Chicago, Ill. After graduating high school, he attended Fisk University for three years before joining the U.S. Army. He left the service in 1960, after serving for two years and went on to complete his Bachelor of Science in Zoology at the University of Oklahoma, graduating in 1961.
Walter received his doctorate in Zoology in 1966 and completed his post-doctorate fellowship at the Max Planck Institute in Wilhelmshaven, Germany from 1966-1969. He and his family returned to Norman, Okla., where he served on the zoology faculty from 1969 to 1996. During his tenure, Walter served on various committees and was instrumental in the renovation of Richards Hall, home to the zoology department. Walter returned to Germany on three occasions, twice for sabbaticals and once post retirement, to work at the Max Planck Institute for Cell Biology in Ladenburg by Heidelberg, Germany. While at the Max Planck Institute, Walter co-authored numerous research papers.
Walter loved classical music. He served on the Oklahoma Chamber Music Society for many years, and after moving to Dayton, became a member of the board of directors of the Reno Chamber Orchestra. Walter's latest passion was astronomy and he felt privileged to serve as a docent at the Jack C. Davis Observatory.
He is survived by his loving wife, Cleta Dillard; daughters Claudette Dillard and Andrea Foster; son-in-law Clyde Foster; three grandchildren, Zachery Slocum, Sean Slocum and Alex Foster; and brothers Charles Redd and Billy Bruce Redd. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Reno Chamber Orchestra, P.O. Box 547, Reno, NV 89504 or Western Nevada College Foundation for the Jack C. Davis Observatory.