Dillon celebrates 102 years

Mary Dillon, a resident of Hilltop Lodge in Beloit, celebrated her 102nd birthday on Friday, Feb. 9 as cookies and balloons were presented. 

Dillon was born to Fred and Laura Boehner on a farm near Tipton on Feb. 9, 1916.  The family soon moved to a farm southwest of Glen Elder where she grew up and graduated eighth grade at Carthage Country School.  

Cooking was something she learned to do with her mother.

“I had four brothers and they liked to eat," said Dillion.

A “pretty good-sized garden,” was just part of her childhood. When asked if there was quite a difference between fresh garden peas and canned peas, her response was, “Isn’t that the truth".

Dillon continued her education at Cawker City High School, graduating with the class of 1934.  She then taught in country schools for three years.

In 1937, Dillon married Elwood Harrison. Shortly after their marriage, she joined the Friends Church. 

The couple lived on a farm near Glen Elder until the dam was built.  Their farm is now under Waconda Lake. After being bought out, they reinvested in pasture land near Lebanon.

They lived in the Lebanon area until they felt called into mission work for the Friends Church. They sold out, packed up and moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

“We didn’t know what we were getting in to.” said Dillon. 

One of the first things the couple worked with was a youth camp.  One hundred campers were expected but two hundred campers showed up.  Dillon was the cook. It all came together with everyone having enough to eat and a place to sleep.

The couple was involved with mission work for six and a half years.  They made 49 trips to Navajo Indian Reservations plus countless other trips to other locations in the west. When health did not allow them to continue their mission work, the couple moved back to Lebanon.  After her husband’s death, Dillon continued attending the Friends Church.

In 1993 she married another widowed church member, Walter Dillon.  They maintained their affiliation with the Friends Church. Though she is again a widow and has lived for some time at Hilltop, Dillon still has many friends in the Glen Elder Friends Church.  Her family includes four grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.

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