John Douglas Dalzell, 91, of Davidson, NC died January 3, 2017 at The Pines at Davidson. He was born October 10, 1925 in Kokomo, Indiana, son of Harry and Mary Ellen Lyon Dalzell.
He is survived by his son, Bruce David Dalzell and wife Nancy Dalzell; daughters, Lee Ann Phelan and husband Michael Phelan and Chris Louise Miller and husband William Miller. Mr. Dalzell is also survived by three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Jeanne McCormack Dalzell.
He served in the US Navy from 1943 until 1946.
Mr. Dalzell attended Indiana University and Butler University studying Journalism and Radio Journalism. In 1950 he graduated with honors from Butler University with a BS in Radio Journalism.
He began his broadcasting career at WAOV in Vincennes, Indiana as a disc jockey and newsreader. He moved on to work as a disc jockey and newsreader for WSAL in Logansport, Indiana where he met his future wife, Jeanne Eileen McCormack. They were married in May 1951 and shared a very close and loving 51-year marriage.
Mr. Dalzell continued to gain experience with other TV and radio stations in Pueblo, Colorado where his three children were born.
In May 1958, he relocated his family to Fairfax County, Virginia and joined Voice of America, an international public broadcasting service funded by the United States federal government. Mr. Dalzell prepared news rewrites and was a producer of news programs.
He covered the MLK March on Washington in person. He produced the radio broadcasts and news conferences originating from the State Department when covering John F. Kennedy.
After Alan Shepard’s sub-orbital flight, Mr. Dalzell had the opportunity to interview Mr. Shepard.
He interviewed Robert Kennedy for a news story.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis he directed a program that carried the address by President John F. Kennedy when the President advised Cuba to cease taking missiles to Cuba. He broadcasted continuously for 24 hours covering President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
Shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis, Mr. Dalzell moved from the Worldwide English Division to the Latin American Division of Voice of America where he produced and directed news programming. Very shortly thereafter he became the Executive Producer for the Latin American Division.
In 1967 Mr. Dalzell was appointed as Executive Producer for the Middle East in Arabic, French and Spanish broadcasts from Rhodes, Greece. The family moved there and Mr. Dalzell held that position until April 1976 when he and Mrs. Dalzell returned to Washington, D.C. where he continued to work for Voice of America.
During the time Mr. Dalzell spent living in Greece, his family was able to take trips to many different countries and enjoy the many benefits that foreign service provided.
He retired from the Voice in 1980 and he and his wife relocated to Pittsboro, North Carolina where he accepted a position with WUNC Radio at the University of North Carolina where he wrote and broadcast human interest stories. He retired from WUNC Radio in 1990.
Mr. Dalzell had a great sense of humor and loved to bring a smile to everyone’s face. He was always interested to know where everyone was from, where they went to school and anything else they wanted to share with him. He was thirsty for knowledge in any and all aspects of his life.
The family would like to sincerely thank the staff at the Pines of Davidson for their friendship, love and the care they provided Mr. Dalzell while he lived in Independent Living, Assisted Living and most recently, the Health Care Center. He always told his family how fortunate he was to reside there and how well all of the staff treated him.
Mr. Dalzell had advanced macular degeneration for the last five years of his life, which severely limited his eyesight. This took away his favorite leisure activity of reading. However, Metrolina Association for the Blind got Mr. Dalzell in touch with the North Carolina Library for the Blind. This library provided him with a digital talking book player and an endless supply of any talking book he desired. He spent most days listening to history books, furthering his knowledge of the world. This service helped to keep our father’s life meaningful and continue to do what he loved most – learn. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Mr. John Dalzell’s name to:
Friends of the North Carolina Library for the Blind, Check payable to FNCLBPH, 1841 Capital Blvd. Raleigh, NC 27635.
Services will be private.
James Funeral Home of Huntersville is serving the family.