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Barbara Jean Bartz Dillard

Mrs. Barbara Jean Bartz Dillard, age 85, a devoted wife, mother, and champion swimmer, passed away in her home in Lebanon, TN on March 13th, 2024, surrounded by loved ones.  Earlier on this same day her beloved husband of 65 years, Kenneth Rhea Dillard, had been interred.  Barbara and Kenneth were proud, long time, active members of Immanuel Baptist Church in Lebanon, TN.

The daughter of the late George William Allen and Margaret C. McGill, Barbara was born August 20, 1938 in Rice Lake, WI.  As a youth she attended schools in Wisconsin, excelling in the sport of swimming.  At age 12 she was teaching swimming lessons for the American Red Cross.  Through High School she swam competitively, and was a Life Guard during her summers.  After graduation, Barbara moved to California to help her brother and sister-in-law, who had just had their first child, and got a job as a waitress.  There a chance encounter with one of her High School class mates, introduced her to the love of her life, Kenneth Rhea Dillard, a handsome sailor who was with the class mate.  After Barbara threatened to break Ken’s arm for leaning on the glass countertop, he said to himself, “I am going to marry her!”  They settled in Lebanon, TN and started their life together.

Ken’s job in aviation required that he work away from home, and Barbara took care of the home front, raising two children and working several vocations including Lux Time, 20 years with Shoney’s and Lifeway in Nashville.  After her children were grown and she was phasing into retirement, Barbara again became active in swimming.  She joined a Brentwood Swim Club, Music City Masters, for about 10 years.  She became a member of the steering committee for the Aquatic Department of the soon to be constructed Jimmy Floyd Center in Lebanon.  She loved to teach swimming and became a volunteer swim coach for all ages at Cedar City Masters.  Eventually she returned to competition with the Tennessee Senior Games and excelled.  Se earned medals too numerous to count, most of them Gold or Silver.  She currently holds records at both the State and National levels, several which were earned within the last seven months.

Barbara is preceded in death by her parents; the love of her life, husband Kenneth Rhea Dillard, Sr.; brother Vernon Alfred Bartz, Sr.; brother-in-law James Dillard; and sister-in-law Iris Dillard.

Survivors include her children Deborah Lynn Waller (Rusty) and Kenneth Rhea Dillard, Jr.  Grandchildren Jason Waller, Ricky Waller (Kayla), Sandi Frye, Abby Dillard, and Austin Dillard.  Great-Grandchildren Hailey Daly (John), Zara Moore (Jordan), Brianna O’Sullivan (Eric), Karlee Waller, Kaitlyn Waller, Jackson Waller, Kason Roberson, Kylin Baxley, Nossia Corona-Reyes, and Isaiah Frye.  Great-Great-Grandchildren Addie Moore, Jayden Moore, Oaklen Moore, and Wynter Daly.  Brother-in-law Joe B. Dillard (Charlotte), numerous nieces and nephews, including special nephew Vernon Alfred Bartz, Jr. (Rocky).

Funeral service 1:00 P.M. Tuesday, March 19, 2024, at Immanuel Baptist Church with Bro. Darrin Reynolds, Bro. David Calhoun, and Patti Johnson officiating.  Interment Wilson County Memorial Gardens.  Visitation Tuesday 11:00 A.M. until 1:00 P.M. at Immanuel Baptist Church.  Honorary pallbearers: her Sunday school class.  Active pallbearers: Austin Dillard, John Dillard, Shawn Dillard, Joe Dillard, Mark Thompson, and James Bryant.

Flowers are welcome or donations may be made to Barbara’s preferred charity of St. Jude’s Children Hospital at stjude.org.

LIGON & BOBO FUNERAL HOME of Lebanon (615) 444-2142   www.ligonbobo.com

Messages for the Family

  1. Patsy Agee Glunt says:
    I wanted to express my sincere condolences to the family of Kenneth and Barbara Dillard. This family has a special place in my heart since I was a child. Even though our earthly sadness is overwhelming, our heavenly joy overrides. Knowing they are both in the arms of Jesus, together, is the best comfort! Debbie Waller & Kenny Dillard, we send our heart-felt love & hugs, and BIG PRAYERS that the PEACE of Jesus would embrace you in this time of earthly loss! ✝️✝️
  2. Mike Relman ( Alias: Bubba ) Jones says:
    Condolences to the Dillard family at this time. I do not get back to Lebanon very often at all, but since I was unable to make KRD’s funeral I am planning on being there as this was a couple that was married for so long and should be a witness to so many people for how and what they have done. Kenny and Debbie may God Bless you at this time your mom and dad had an effect on so many people. Prayer for everyone that is effected by the loss of Kenneth and Barbara.
  3. Jan Parker says:
    I so loved Barbara. She was a dear friend and encourager. I am so thankful to have had her in my life.