Lyle D. Diller

Lyle D. Diller, 91, of Onaway, died Thursday, April 30, 2020 at Orchard Manor in Posen. Born to German farmers, Lyle grew up on a farm near Pigeon. The Korean War took him from the farm and Lyle served his country with honor. 


Following the war, Lyle returned to the thumb area of Michigan, married, and worked construction and many other jobs to support his young family. Eventually Lyle landed a job with the State of Michigan Conservation Department (now the Department of Natural Resources [DNR]) and moved to Grayling. It was during his years in Grayling that Lyle developed a passion for hunting and fishing and ran with some Michigan outdoor giants, including Fred Bear, Carroll Wert and Curly LaMotte. 

Through the years his job duties changed as he worked as a fire spotter, in the fish hatcheries, as a prison guard and finally as a forest fire control officer. He took a promotion to Indian River where he fought fires and was in and out of the hospital with burns and smoke inhalation. His outstanding work fighting forest fires qualified him for an elite, national firefighting team and Lyle was sent to fight fires in New Mexico. He eventually divorced and went on to work in Sault Ste. Marie, Newberry, Millersburg, and Onaway, where he met Donna Miller. They married July 31, 1982. 

Lyle retired from the DNR and settled into a very happy and quiet life with Donna. He spent his time volunteering at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and St. Paul Catholic Church, spent winters in Florida, and enjoyed his time with his children and grandchildren. He became a fan of local high school sports and followed the Michigan State Spartans. He was a farmer, a soldier, a firefighter, a sportsman and enjoyed a quiet retirement. Lyle loved and lost and found love again. He raised a little hell and bent a pious knee. He was a man in every sense of the word. 

Affectionately referred to by his family as “Poppa,” Lyle is survived by his wife, Donna Diller of Onaway; sons, Greg (Mary) Diller of Onaway and Robert Allen Diller of Richmond, Virginia; Donna’s family, Colleen (

Jeff) Whitsitt of Millersburg, Joseph (Heather) Miller of Alaska/Florida, and Daniel (Denise) Miller of Flint; grandchildren, Martin “Marty” Diller, Jay (Dollie) Diller, Katie (Brett) Gleason, Brian (Amy) Whitsitt, Tricia (Tom) Selke, Joseph, Lucas and Logan (Dana) Miller, and Loralee (Grant) Mativity; as well as a great-granddaughter, Lina Diller; and 15 great-grandchildren. 

Lyle was preceded in death by his son, Lyle D. “Sonny” Diller; five siblings; and his parents, Wilford and Edith (Wolfe) Diller. 

Visitation was held at the Chagnon Funeral Home Monday, May 4, with social-distancing guidelines being observed. A private funeral Mass was held at St. Paul Catholic Church in Onaway. The Rev. Patrick Maher officiated. Lyle’s final resting place will be with Sonny at Caseville Township Cemetery. Those planning an expression of sympathy please consider a donation in memory of Lyle to St. Paul Catholic Church or Onaway Sports Boosters.