Daniel William Dimich Jr. (Bill, Pertz, Dan Jr.) died peacefully and unexpectedly in his sleep the evening of Oct. 5, 2020, due to heart complications.
He was born on Oct. 25, 1947, to Daniel W. Dimich Sr. “Danny” and Jean Engle Dimich. The first six years of his life, Bill lived in Red Lodge with his parents and younger sister, Diane, where they were surrounded by loving grandparents from both sides of the family and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. His parents owned and operated the Red Lodge Dairy as well as an indoor skating rink on Broadway. Bill had fond memories from a young age of helping his dad deliver the milk and his mom collect the payments for their Red Lodge area customers.
The family moved to Billings in 1954, so Dan Sr. could help transition his father’s “Mike Dimich and Sons Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company” franchise from its headquarters in Red Lodge to Billings. Bill began proudly volunteering and working at the family soft drink business on weekends and during the summers when he was 14.
A 1965 graduate of Billings West High School, Bill graduated from the University of Montana in 1969 with a degree in business and, upon graduation, took on a larger role in the family business. He eventually became a co-owner of today’s Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Billings. Bill always had a passion for the business and was especially proud of its humble beginnings. He greatly admired his grandparents, Mike Dimich and Sofia Teslich, who immigrated to America from Serbia in the early 1900’s and who, with their courage, perseverance, and strong work ethic, made a better life and created more opportunities for their family than they ever could have imagined. Bill was committed to carrying on his grandparents’ legacy. He was known not only for looking out for the company’s employees and their needs but also for cultivating relationships with the community’s business owners, especially the smaller ones. His ability to find solutions that could help others as well as his visual acuity, attention to detail, and desire for perfection were legendary. In a somewhat amusing way, Bill enjoyed the challenge of trying to place a Pepsi sign on every corner building in town and was actually quite successful in achieving this personal goal.
A “humble humanitarian with a glowing smile and a generous and compassionate spirit” is a fitting description of Bill. In addition to his work at Pepsi, he started his own residential real estate and rental business that focused on providing affordable living for those less fortunate. This business was never intended to generate much revenue but instead was meant to allow disadvantaged members of the community to buy their own homes via a long-term contract for deed. This endeavor had a positive impact on many! Some would say Bill did more for providing affordable housing than most government-funded programs.
He was a lifelong learner. To say Bill was an avid reader is an understatement, as practically every shelf in his home was dedicated to books. His travels were truly worldwide, and it was reflected in his artwork and memorabilia. He grasped each adventure with an open mind and was always curious about traditions and customs wherever he went. Especially meaningful experiences included his meeting Mother Teresa in person at her hospital in India, visiting the grave of Carl Jung in Switzerland, and touring the concentration camps of WWII. He enjoyed attending nationally and internationally known spectator sports, concerts, and plays and collecting antique cars throughout his life. Bill nourished himself not only intellectually, but also physically as he prioritized and valued daily exercise.
As his parents, Jean and Danny, aged, Bill had an unconditional, daily devotion to providing oversight to their senior care until they passed away. More recently, he and his sister, Diane, collaborated to honor their parents’ and grandparents’ lives through various sponsorships in the community. Bill was loved and will be dearly missed.
He is survived by his sister, Diane Dimich Gorder; brother-in-law, Mark S. Gorder; niece Julianna Gorder; niece Kristina Gorder MacKenzie, her husband Benjamin Roe MacKenzie and grandnephews Alex and Owen MacKenzie. Family members who worked with him at the Pepsi Company and who survive him include his uncle William Dimich and cousins Mike Dimich (Donna), Mitchell Dimich (Julie) and Tom Dimich (Pam). He is survived by numerous other cousins, including Mark Dimich, Dr. Linda Cox, Susan Greenshields (Hugh), Nancy Dimich Louvet (Thierry), Sandra Dimich Tunnell, and by maternal aunt Ilah Larson and cousins Scott Larson (Violet Wan), Linda Larson (Gerry Johnson), and Karen Larson (Robert Spencer).
A memorial service to honor Bill is being planned for a post-COVID time. Memorials may be made to the “Daniel W. Dimich Jr. Memorial Fund” at the Billings Public Library Foundation, Inc. located at 510 N. Broadway; Billings, MT 59101.
Condolences may be made at www.michelottisawyers.com.