Richard DiBatista

Obituary of Richard DiBatista

10/5/1920 – 2/29/2020 Richard (Dick) DiBatista, of Media,PA, passed away peacefully on February 29, 2020 at Riddle Memorial Hospital. He was 99 years old. Dick was born in Palombaro, Italy on Oct. 5, 1920 and moved with his family to Ardmore, PA as a young boy. The oldest son of Peter and Mary Carmella DiBatista, Dick was predeceased by his parents, a brother, Leonard, and a sister, Mary (Giaccio). Dick is a graduate of Lower Merion High School (class of ’38), Franklin and Marshall Academy, and the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a B.S. in Education in 1943. Dick also received his graduate degree (M.S. in Education) from Penn in 1946. Dick was a distinguished athlete in football, track and wrestling. Certainly, wrestling was his best sport, as he never lost a wrestling match, posting a remarkable undefeated 137-0 career record that included high school, prep school, college and amateur competition. He became the first Pennsylvania State Wrestling Champion in 1938 and National Prep School Champion in 1939. As a Penn wrestler, Dick or “DiBi”, as he was known, was arguably the most accomplished wrestler in Quaker history. With an undefeated record, he won the EIWA Championship in 1941, 1942, and 1943 and captured the NCAA Championship in 1941 and 1942. Dick was on the 1940 and 1944 Olympic teams, although the Games were not held because of WWII. During the War, Dick served as 2nd Lieutenant in the Marines and was stationed in the South Pacific. Among his many awards, Dick was inducted into the Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame (1974), the District One Hall of Fame (1990), and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame (1995). He was an inaugural inductee at the National Officials Hall of Fame in 1996 and was honored in 2004 when Lower Merion School District established the Dick DiBatista Wrestling Facility. In 2019, at the age of 98, Dick was inducted into the Delaware County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. Dick enjoyed a 37-year career as a teacher and coach at Lower Merion High School. He continued to officiate at the collegiate level and also served as the Director of Lower Merion summer recreation programs. Dick moved from Havertown to Riddle Village in 1997 with his first wife, Marie June (Marquette), who died that same year. Dick found support in his new community and became active in the social life at Riddle Village. He was involved in many activities and especially enjoyed traveling with his second wife, the late Ann C. Twombly, also of Riddle Village. Dick is survived by his two step-children, Carol (Michael) Dixon, of Rose Valley, John (Simone) Twombly, of West Chester, and by his niece, Nancy (George) Gray. Funeral services will be private at St. Paul’s Cemetery in Ardmore. Donations may be made to Riddle Village, 1048 W. Baltimore Pike, Media, PA 19063.
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