The Garden Island
Notice #: 0001233566-01
Funeral Notices


June 14, 1943 – August 24, 2019

“None knew thee but to love thee, None knew thee but to praise.”
(F-G Halleck)

Our world feels dimmer, but the night sky is brighter because its newest star, the universally beloved and admired Ted, has slipped earth’s hold, quietly and comfortably at home in Santa Rosa, CA. The cancer he fought bravely for years suddenly rose up to rob him of more time and to steal him from us.

His warm and caring personality, infectious sense of humor, storytelling prowess, curious intellect, keen integrity, and steadfast support of his family and friends (and pets!) won the hearts of everyone he encountered. As a devoted father, he proved himself extraordinary. While he was a constant source of delight, courtesy, and fun on the outside, the strength and true depth of his character shone inwardly, as he met, managed, and endured an onslaught of personal and profound challenges with silent, unfaltering, heroic courage, grace, perseverance, and acceptance.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet
Voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.'”
(M A Radmacher)

Born in Honolulu, HI, the third child to parents Harold (Harlo) Garfield Dillingham and Mary Cooke Dillingham, Ted attended Hanahau’oli School (1947-55) and Punahou School (1955-58), then graduated in 1962 from high school at Desert Sun in Idyllwild, CA. In 1966, Ted graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, with a BA in Economics. He was a member of the Chi Phi fraternity and an accomplished goalie on the Varsity Lacrosse team.

His scholarly pursuits over seven years at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara earned him an MA and a Doctor of Philosophy in Mythological Studies, with an emphasis in Depth Psychology, in 2001. His dissertation is titled The Uses of Myth for Scientific Education; The Case of Cosmology and Mythology.

Among his diverse interests and involvements was serving as a former director of the Joseph Campbell Foundation. He shared his "Stories of the Stars" at Esalen Institute’s annual Joseph Campbell birthday commemorations, and wherever an audience was lucky enough to be outside at night with him. He was an avid traveler; Paris was a favorite destination where he exercised his French! His adventurous and contemplative spirit found him on the Chemin de St. Jacques in France. He was a supporter of the arts and a wide reader of literature. The Grand National Quail Club claims him as a member.

Ted never let anyone think of him as a childhood polio "victim" because he refused to view his past afflictions as obstacles. In spite of some residual limitation, he excelled in myriad physical activities, whether in the water (he loved to swim in the ocean and was a qualified scuba diver) or on the ground (it was only in the last 5-6 years of his life’s journey that he added a cane to facilitate his gait).

He is survived by his son, Casey Montague Dillingham, sister, Catherine Hyde (Heidi) Carlson, sister-in-law, Lina Jean Dillingham, step-daughter, Heather McGibbon, many cousins, numerous nieces and nephews and their children, and countless devoted friends, far and near. He was predeceased by his beloved wife, Phyllis Jackson, his brother, Kenneth Henley Dillingham, and his parents.

His final earthly destination is the Dillingham Mausoleum, designed by his grandmother, Margaret Bayard Dillingham, at the Valley of the Temples on Oahu, HI.

A private memorial will be held on Saturday, September 28 in San Francisco. Inquiries: Contact Daniels Chapel of the Roses (707) 525-3730.

If you would like to honor Ted’s memory with a gift, please consider NAMI, Doctors Without Borders, or another worthy cause of your choice.

“Blessed are the happiness makers. Blessed are they who know how to shine.” (H W Beecher)