Melville Reese Dill Jr.

Melville Reese Dill Jr. (BS Mech Egr '59) of Weston, Massachusetts, died November 6, 2010. He will be most remembered as a skilled aviator and as the inventor and innovator of large scale, high-density library storage and retrieval systems. Dill died when his 1944 North American T-6 "Texan" experienced mechanical difficulties and crashed short of the Fitchburg (Mass.) Municipal Airport.

Dill was born August 14, 1937, in Cleveland, Ohio, where he attended Hawken School and Western Reserve Academy (Class of 1955). After earning his BS degree at MSU, Dill received an MBA from Harvard University. Following Harvard, he embarked on a career path in engineering and consulting. He founded Dill & Company that revolutionized high-density book storage and retrieval systems. Dill & Company has designed and installed these systems for more than 60 large universities around the world.

He is most remembered for his love of flying and skill as a pilot in numerous aircraft types. He started as a glider pilot in Sugarbush, Vermont, in the early 1960's, and then moved into powered aircraft. He proceeded through a series of ever more powerful airplanes, culminating in his T-6 "Texan," a WWII fighter trainer. He flew in hundreds of air shows doing aerobatic routines both as a solo performer and as part of formations for millions of people over the years. Dill was a lead member of the "6 of Diamonds" aerobatic squadron; a group of six T-6 pilots who performed at numerous air shows throughout the Northeast. To share his passion, he founded T-6 Rides, which enabled others to experience the thrill of his flying as passengers in the T-6. Dill was a past president (1995-1998) and current director of the Aero Club of New England (ACONE), the oldest aero club in the Americas, and also an active member of EAA and the QB's (Quiet Birdmen).

In addition to his flying accolades, Dill was well known as an avid collector and restorer of vintage automobiles, tractors, fire engines, and steam engines. As with flying, he approached these vehicles with a similar passion and skill as the fellow members of the various vintage vehicle organizations of which he was also a member will attest.

Another of Dill’s passions was skiing, which he did throughout his entire life. He skied all over the world, but was probably best known for his runs at Sugarbush in Vermont with his dozens of friends there. Sun Valley, Idaho, and Vail, Colorado, have also seen plenty of Reese Dill and his skiing friends and family.

Dill was preceded in death by his parents M. Reese Dill and Gladys Dill of Cleveland, Ohio. He is survived by his brother Charles (Martinna) Dill, Sr.; nephew Charles (Cindy) Dill, Jr. and their children, Charlie Dill, III and Louise; nephew Barney (Carrie) Dill, and their daughter Reese; and his companion of many years, Geneva Simmons.

Dill has endowed a scholarship through the Aero Club of New England. Memorial donations can be made to the Reese Dill Scholarship fund at the Aero Club of New England (www.acone.org); Aero Club of New England, c/o Reese Dill Scholarship Fund, PO Box 183, Boston, MA 02128.