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John "Deryl" Dalby '60 March 21, 2024 11:13 AM updated: March 21, 2024 11:21 AM

John Deryl Dalby 

August 16, 1938 - February 29, 2024 

On August 16, 1938, John “Deryl” Dalby, 85, was born to John Henry and Oletta Hampton Dalby in Daingerfield, TX. Deryl passed from this world into God’s eternal presence on February 29, 2024, due to a long battle with heart issues.

At age 5, a cousin and pilot introduced him to the then B-24 aircraft of WWII. This sparked his passion to become a pilot. Then in high school, his second passion grew, that of classic cars, while attending the State Fair of Texas where he saw a 1955 Ford Thunderbird.

Upon graduating from Daingerfield High School in 1956, Deryl enrolled at Texas A&M University where he enlisted in the Corps of Cadets and joined their Rifle Team. In 1960, he graduated with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. That same year, Deryl joined the United States Marine Corps, signing an aviation contract and received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. His training in jet aircraft allowed him to fly many world class jet planes of that era, including the F-4 Phantom II jet.

In January 1965, his battalion, the 3rd Battalion 3rd Marine Division, received combat ready training on Okinawa. They sailed to an air base in South Vietnam and were the first group of soldiers to land there; this battle was known as Operation Starlite and was the first major battle of the US forces in Vietnam. Deryl served as an Air Liasson Officer and a Forward Air Controller. He directed helicopter assaults of the battalion as it landed on the beach of Da Nang and was responsible for all the needs of the battalion, including airstrikes and medical evacuations. During this time, Deryl was wounded in a mortar barrage, thus earning him the Purple Heart. After serving nine months overseas, he was reassigned to NAAS Chase Field in Beeville, TX as an advanced training flight instructor. In 1966, Deryl met his wife, Gerry Lynn Cox, a native resident of Dallas. He burned up the highway in his 1957 T-Bird traveling back and forth to see her while dating. They were married on February 10, 1967, at the Chapel in the Pines at the US Steel Mill in Lone Star, TX.

In May 1968, Deryl resigned his commission as Captain in the Marine Corps to accept a position with LTV Aerospace Company in Grand Prairie, TX as a Human Factors Engineer. He worked on cockpit designs; however, he became the Manager of the Systems Safety & Human Factors Division before retiring in 1998.

After retirement, Deryl’s passion for aviation and cars continued. He became a certified flight instructor and pursued many other aeronautical certifications. His passion for T-Birds continued as well with the restoration of his 1956 and 1966 T-Bird’s. He nicknamed the ’66 T-Bird “The Batmobile.”

Because Deryl was raised in a Christian home, he developed a strong faith in God and His direction upon his life. He spent his Sunday’s singing in the church choir, and when helping others, he was a witness to his faith in God. Throughout the years, Deryl used his many talents to remodel homes and help Gerry build a dovecote for her birds. He also helped her build sets for many of the church musicals she directed. All our married life was centered around love for the Lord and serving him through church work. We enjoyed helping others as we were a team.

Deryl is preceded in death by his parents, John & Oletta Dalby, sister Betty (Bill) Martin, and brother Richard H. Dalby.

He is survived by his loving wife of 57 years Gerry Lynn; nephews Billy John (Jackie) Martin of Texarkana and Walter (Jill) Martin of Hughes Springs; great nephews Paul (Marsha) Martin of Magnolia, TX, Brian (Crysten) Martin of Daingerfield, Terry (Kristy) Runk of Daingerfield; and great niece Nichole (Chris) Waddill of Texarkana, and many other nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Semper Fi

Services: The funeral service will be held at Park Cities Baptist Church at 2pm on March 12 (Tuesday), in the Ellis Chapel. Military Honors & Internment will take place at Dallas/Fort Worth National Cemetery at 1:30pm on March 13 (Wednesday). The family requests any memorials be sent to Park Cities Baptist Church or the charity your choice.


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