Patricia Kay Dillehay

March 6, 1933February 10, 2013

Ballerina Patricia Borella Dillehay Dies at 79

Oklahoma City February 11, 2013

Oklahoma City ballerina “Pat” Dillehay died peacefully at home with her family on February 10, 2013. She was 79 years old. Pat is survived by her daughters Kaylyn Dillehay Blank, Michele Dillehay, Shaun Dillehay, son-in-law Larry Blank and her grandchildren Jamie Blank, Michael Blank, Danielle Blank and Haley Dillehay Lister. Predeceased are daughter Jamie Dillehay and husband Gene Dillehay. Memorial services will be held on Wednesday, February 13, 2:00 pm at Guardian Funeral Home located at 5820 NW 41st Street.

Patricia Kay Borella was born on March 6, 1933 in Calera, Oklahoma to parents Giacomo “James” Natale Borella and Myrtle Campbell Borella. She had one older brother Thomas. The family moved to Oklahoma City when Pat was very young.

Pat began dancing ballet at age nine. At age 17, Pat left Classen High School and headed to Los Angeles, California. Pat Borella danced in six Hollywood movies The Road to Bali, The Merry Widow, Limelight, Stars and Stripes Forever, Story of Three Loves and The I Don’t Care Girl. Dillehay also danced or studied with George Balanchine’s protégé’ Eugene Loring, Yvonne Chouteau, Miguel Terekhov, Maria Tallchief, Debbie Reynolds, Jack Cole, Busby Berkley, Michael Kidd, Sir Frederick Ashton and Hermes Pan. Pat Dillehay’s Hollywood career ended when she broke her ankle. She returned to Oklahoma City to attend Oklahoma City University.

Pat Borella married Oklahoma City broadcaster and artist Gene Dillehay in 1954. They raised their four daughters in Oklahoma City. Pat taught ballet at the Paula Gleason dance studio, Bill Graham Dance Studio and Encore Dance Center. She choreographed dance for musicals Oklahoma, West Side Story, Camelot, The Sound of Music, Oliver and many more. Pat also performed in local theater, such as the Jewel Box Theater productions of 70 Girls 70, Ballroom and Follies.

Pat also owned a women’s clothing store, bought in 1967 named “Papa’s Girls” in honor of her Italian papa and her four daughters. Pat ran the successful business for 20 years and retired in 1987.

Pat Dillehay was involved with the Bethany Chamber of Commerce, the NW Oklahoma City Rotary Club, the Oklahoma City Orchestra League, the Organization of Psychic Research Associates, DECA, Classen High Reunion Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. While retired Pat also wrote newsletters for OPRA and the Metaphysical Society.

Pat and husband Gene Dillehay were members of many organizations such as Lyric Theater, the OKC Arts Festival, the OKC Philharmonic Orchestra, OETA-TV, the Western Heritage Awards and more.

In lieu of flowers, you may send donations to the Arts Council of Oklahoma City.


  • Memorial Service

    Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Patricia Kay Dillehay

have a memory or condolence to add?

betty wood

February 13, 2013

what a beautiful woman and what a beautiful memorial service! thank you for sharing the memories, the photos, the music of her life. i am betty garrett wood, and i was a student of Pat's ballet classes at Paula Gleason's Dance School when i was young. our classes were at May Avenue Methodist Church on May Avenue near 23rd Street. i took ballet from your mother for several years. i wish i had continued to take dance from her and to continue dancing, but alas, i did not. To me then she was the most beautiful, graceful, intelligent and exciting woman in OKC. she was so kind to give me a ride to dance classes (as my parents both worked). she would pick me up for class at my home in her convertible automobile usually with the top down dressed like a REAL dancer with mocassins on her feet - her red hair flowing and big sunglasses. i wanted to be just like her when i grew up. i was sure i was riding with a movie star - i do not remember knowing then that she WAS a movie star! she encouraged me, gave me "strict" dance instructions (when i did not do it the way she wanted it done), taught me how to act (express emotion) while dancing when it was called for, praised me when i deserved it and let me have it when i did not do my best. i learned a lot from her, and i am thankful i was privileged to take dance from her. when i was older, and graduated from college, at my first job, a new friend said to me, "you walk and carry yourself like you are six feet tall, but you are only 5'3" - how do you do that?" i told her i was lucky enough to take lessons for years from a wonderful ballet instructor - that was your mom. i know it is difficult to lose your mother but as you know we never really lose those we love. my kindest regards to you all.

Dana Billingsley

February 13, 2013

Michelle, I remember your mom helping to choreograph whatever Camp Fire skit we needed--she was so much fun and made us all feel like real performers. I thought she was just elegant. All my best to you and your sisters.

Billie Jean Buckley R.N.

February 13, 2013

Pat is dancing in Heaven..she was a true friend..will always love her. My prayers are with you all. Billie Jean Buckley R.N.

Kristen Morris

February 13, 2013

Mrs. Dillehay was an amazing teacher and lady. I still have fond memories going to her house and practicing our ballet recital piece if we had to miss class during the week. She was a true inspiration and her grace and passion will continue to flow through Encore Dance Centre. My thoughts and prayers to her daughters.

February 13, 2013

It's hard to think that Pat will no longer be with us on this earth. But she will always be remembered as the beautiful & gracious lady she was. I will always remember her as a wonderful teacher and brilliant choreographer. I learned so much from her. She was a very speacial friend to many and will be missed by all. Blessings and love to her beautiful daughters.
Ti Amo, dearest Pat,
Barbara Berard (OKC)

Claire Schwartz

February 12, 2013

Your Mother was a beautiful person not only for her talent but for her beauty within. I will cherish my memories of her, and i will hold each of you close in my heat, my thoughts and my prayers.

Johanna Schneider

February 12, 2013

Dear Michele, Kaylyn and Shaun,
I was just thinking of Pat last week. She was such a beautiful, gracious lady. My thoughts and prayers will be with you.

Sharon McClure Menn

February 12, 2013

One of my favorite memories of your mom and dad was around 1973 when they came for dinner at the chandelle club! I seated them next to each other and your dad said "I would rather sit across from Pat so I can see her beautiful face"! They were still so much in love and yes your mom was very beautiful!

February 12, 2013

What a beautiful lady and what a pleasure to work be able to work and learn from her at Papa's Girls, one of my fondest memories. My thoughts go out to her daughters. Dana Smotherman Giusio

Nancy McClure-Long

February 12, 2013

Dear Kaylyn, Michele & Shaun:
I was folding clothes yesterday, right after I learned of Pat's passing. It happened to be bath towels. And the thought came to me that I have been folding my towels the way your mom taught me in the early 60s. I was babysitting you guys and she asked me to fold the clothes from the dryer. She didn't like the way I had done it, so she taught me her more elegant way--folding the sides into the middle so that they had plump folded edges when hung. I've folded my towels that way ever since. It was almost as if Pat herself had stopped by to give me a thumbs up.