Our Post has been blessed with many, many dedicated and caring members who have contributed greatly to our Post. This is the story of one of them that was encouraged to join Post 6 about seven years ago.
Dr. Dingfelder was a close friend of both Robert “Bob” Bauman and Pete Jaeger. They shared a lot of common interests and got together frequently. Dr. Dingfelder was an extremely busy person with little extra time for a new quest, but Bob and Pete kept after him and encouraged him to visit American Legion Post 6.
It so happened that Post 6 was struggling with membership and finances. The Post was “house poor.” We had a large piece of land, lots of trees, and were the envy of many. However, our home was 60+ years old and eating through our cash and discouraging our membership. You have probably witnessed a like situation.
Pete Jaeger was a “doer” and self-starter. He was full of energy. Bob Bauman was of the same fabric and together they were working with the Post Commander in his quest to keep the Post operating and “growing” as it hemorrhaged and searched for solutions.
Somehow, Pete persevered. Doctor Dingfelder joined Pete and Bob at a Post meeting and he kind of enjoyed the camaraderie. He became a member in short order. Ever observant, he started coming up with ideas and ways to improve the Post and its finances. The three of them quickly became catalysts for improvement and growth.
Leadership by personal example can and did make a significant difference. We think that Dr. Dingfelder was one of our greatest benefactors. He dedicated much time, talent and treasure—gifts that made a difference.
In the years that Dr. Dingfelder was active in our post, we became financially independent and built a new Post Home for future generations. Yes, this quiet doctor and Vietnam War veteran helped save our Post. Without his support we might not have survived. For that, we are forever grateful.
…And, there is more to share.
Dr. James Ray Dingfelder died April 10, 2019, at his home in Chapel Hill with his wife Judythe “Judi” Dingfelder at his side. He was 82 years old and was a longtime Chapel Hill resident.
Born at home in 1938 in Erie, PA. He served in the U.S. Air Force before being honorably discharged as a Captain, U.S. Air Force.
He completed his OB-GYN residency at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland and moved to Chapel Hill as an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UNC. He served in the academic program there before opening his private practice. In partnership his wife Judi, he maintained that practice for over 30 years. “Dr. Ding”, as he was often known, absolutely loved babies and children of all ages. He delivered thousands of babies including at least one set of triplets and was a pioneer in the field of in vitro fertilization and laparoscopic surgery.
Dr. Dingfelder was a prolific academic, having published numerous scholarly papers and several book chapters. He was on the clinical faculty at Duke University where he helped train generations of medical students and residents. He was universally beloved in the hospital, the community, and basically everywhere he went.
In 2014, Dr. Dingfelder was recognized by the ACLU for his work championing women’s reproductive rights. He was also the inaugural recipient of the “Susan Hill Legend” award in 2011. Ding was musically gifted, played viola in his younger years and was an active choir member for many years at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.