Paul Hyrum Dille, having fulfilled the full measure of his calling here on earth, left this mortal existence and was welcomed into the arms of his kind and loving Heavenly Father on Sunday evening, February 5th. His passing was quick. He simply decided it was time to go and stopped breathing while at home with us.
Paul was born on April 25, 1980 in Torrance, California to his parents Layne Hyrum Dille and Emily Jan Dille (Slone). There were complications during labor and delivery that caused Paul to suffer from a lack of oxygen. We knew right away that he had Cerebral Palsy. After seven weeks in the hospital, Paul came home. This was somewhat unusual as most severely disabled individuals at that time were institutionalized. Paul’s parents were told that this was just an “unfortunate occurrence” and that they should do the same, but this was not an option and was never considered. After getting three physicians to agree to sign off on the decision, Paul went home with his parents. Once home, Paul was quickly joined by two brothers. Clark came 16 months after Paul and David 10 months after Clark. Later, in 1986, Paul would add a little sister, Adrianna to his siblings. And finally, in 2004, a baby brother, who was also special, named Ian.
Paul was always a beautiful child with bright red hair. It took a long eight months for Paul to begin to respond and smile, but once he began smiling and making sounds, he never stopped. Those who attended church with Paul will remember how he would sing loud and proud when hymns were played. He was always nonverbal, but that didn’t stop him!
Paul’s parents did all they could to help Paul achieve his full potential. When Paul was three, we even tried a new and controversial therapy seen on 60 minutes called Doman Delacotto Patterning. A special room was finished in the basement and supplies were bought. This therapy involved several people doing movements and stimulating Paul for one-hour sessions six times a day every day. The entire church community came together to fast and pray for Paul and to assist with the patterning. There was a hope that because of neuroplasticity of young brains, that we could train the healthy parts of Paul’s brain to take over for the damaged parts. We did this for two years with limited success. Paul did during this time learn to kick his legs and scoot around the floor on his back. Because one side of his body was stronger and better coordinated, this would often end up with Paul moving in circles, but we took it as a win.
Paul attended school at Monte Vista School for the disabled in Farmington, Utah. He had many special friends and wonderful teachers along with his principal, Lee Glad. He enjoyed his time there and participated in all of the activities offered to him. As a teenager, Paul attended Northridge High in Layton, Utah where he earned a certificate of achievement.
Around age 10, Paul began participating in Special Olympics. He did bowling, swimming, and even biking. We had a special seat and wheel made that we would attach to the back of Paul’s wheelchair so we could tandem bike with him. He won many awards and ribbons. He ran in the annual torch run across Utah and even was chosen to carry the torch one year at the opening ceremonies of the summer games at BYU. These were fun times for the whole family. There were parties, dances, and so much more for the athletes and their families.
Paul was a faithful and active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He attended primary, young men, and seminary. Paul was always welcomed by his church family. We hope that those his age who participated in the church programs with him enjoyed their association with Paul and were able to learn many lessons from being his friend. Paul’s favorite part of church services was always the music. I’m sure he also loved the times that he and his brothers would occasionally skip priesthood lessons to run around in the chapel parking lot. Yes, boys, your parents knew!
Paul lost his biological father in 1996. In 2001, his mother met a very kind and handsome man named, Richard. 2003, Richard became Paul’s step Father, although we quickly dropped the “step” from that title. Rich jumped right into caring for, advocating, and loving Paul. He was an active important part of the family. It didn’t take long for Rich to become a part of the culture of the disability community. He was comfortable interacting with Paul and his friends. Most who knew the family after 2003 never realized that Rich was not Paul’s biological dad and were shocked when they learned differently. To Paul, Rich was Dad.
As Paul got older, his body became more medically fragile, but he remained happy. In his thirties there would be bowel resections, gastric tubes, and many hospital visits. At these times, it was always assumed that Paul would pass but he felt differently. He would fight and rally to get better and return to his family. It was during this time that we realized the need for reform in the care and treatment of the disabled, so we became strong advocates for both Paul and his peers. We worked with Glen Larsen at the Utah Department of health and the disability law center to improve things for this population. A law suit was even brought at one time in order to change protocols and allow the disabled in facilities to return to live with family members. In 2020, we actively worked with the Utah Legislation to pass a bill that would improve the care of the disabled. Paul was pioneer, often and usually being the first to fight for programs and changes and the first to reap the benefit of these changes. With the help of his Support Coordinator, Mary Ann Nef, Paul was able to pave the way for many others that will follow.
Paul had a great sense of humor. He loved watching Gordan Ramsay on tv and would laugh when he would yell and swear. Paul liked action movies, loud music, and animals. He enjoyed going to the zoo, to movies, to Broadway plays and to concerts. He hated scary movies or movies where animals got hurt. He did many things in his life and has left us with many memories.
Paul was preceded in death by his father, Layne, his grandparents, Doris and Emery Slone, and his brother Ian. He is survived by his parents, Emily and Rich Miller (Layton, Utah), his brothers Clark Dille (Roy, Utah) David and Elizabeth Dille (South Pekin, Illinois), sister Adrianna Dille (Tooele, Utah) and step sister Brittany and Courtney Archuletta (Bountiful Utah), 6 nieces, Hannah, Grace and Isabella Dille and Kathryn, Lilyann, and Nataly Dille, and two nephews, Alexzander Paul Dille, named after his Uncle Paul, and TJ Wilson. He also is survived by and continued to love and include as family, his former brother in law Kaed Wanlass and former sister in law Amber Corbin.
Special thanks to Dr Imad Farrukh, DR Dan Hibbert, Dr Rebecca Reiser, NP Emily Himebaugh, Support Coordinator Many Ann Nef, and Paul’s special friend Christal Lakey. You were a key part of Paul’s team and helped to keep him as happy and healthy as possible for many years.
Paul, how blessed we have been to be your family. You are the best and greatest part of us. You are loved and always will be loved. We are grieving terribly and are wondering how we can go on without you. But know that we will go on because we know that is what you want. We know that you are at peace. We know that you are having a joyous reunion with your Grandma and Grandpa Slone, you baby brother Ian, your dad, and other family members. You can now run and interact without the encumbrance of a fragile body. We are looking forward to the morning of the first resurrection when we shall all be together and see you with your perfect body. We can only imagine how tall and handsome you will be and the conversations we will have. Until we meet in Paradise sweet boy!
Funeral Services will be held Saturday, February 11, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. at Lindquist’s Layton Mortuary, 1867 No. Fairfield Rd., Layton, Utah. Friends may visit with family Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the mortuary.
Interment, Lindquist’s Memorial Park at Layton.
Services will be live streamed and may be viewed at www.lindquistmortuary.com by scrolling to the bottom of Paul’s obituary page.