CHESTERFIELD, West Virginia (Formerly Warren, Ohio) – Robert L. “Bob” Dillon, 73, formerly of Warren, Ohio died Wednesday, February 1, 2017 after struggles with several painful and debilitating illnesses in recent years.
Born in West Union, West Virginia, the first child of Encil and Marie Hardesty Dillon, he was welcomed into the family by five sisters born to his father and a previous wife. When he was only six weeks old, the family relocated to Warren, where he grew up and eight more children were added to the family.
Following high school he served in the Air Force and during that time met and married the love of his life, Ann.
He returned to Ohio and worked 21 years for Republic and LTV Steel in an occupation custom-made for his mechanical talents; being surrounded by and working on the large industrial equipment was a constant pleasure. He was a supervisor in the Combustion and Engineering Department in 1984 when he became a casualty of America’s steel industry decline, along with 50,000+ other steelworkers who lost jobs. Although a major career blow at the time, the highlight of his working years was yet to come.
His Ohio job loss ultimately led to relocation to Florida and a position as a quality specialist for the solid rocket boosters on the space shuttle at Cape Canaveral. Beginning his tenure there when the space program was recovering from America’s Challenger loss, he proudly watched the first shuttle flight back into space, mindful of the special book on board that had his signature along with all others who had participated in the efforts for that first “return to space” flight. He and his wife were fortunate to watch many other awesome liftoffs at Cape Canaveral afterwards and knowing he played a role for each was a source of immense professional satisfaction.
Later job transfers for him and his wife led to Virginia. After she accepted an early retirement offer, he returned to Ohio for five years where he was vice-president and managing partner of Dillon and Dillon Aeration, Inc., in Aurora. Following the untimely death of his brother and business partner, Fred, Bob accepted an offer to return to previous employment back in Virginia. He returned there and subsequently retired in 2008 as a quality specialist at the Defense Supply Center in Richmond.
Bob was a 32nd Degree Mason and Past master of Cortland Masonic Lodge #529. He was a member of the Valley of Youngstown Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Ali Baba Grotto and Shriners of Cleveland.
From when he was old enough to hold tools in his hands he delighted in working on anything with a motor or engine, and this turned into a lifelong love of bringing automobiles and machinery back to life. Among his proudest achievements were restoring several TR3 sports cars. Until health problems intervened, he was an avid bowler and dart player, winning various awards in both sports.
Prior to relocating to Florida he served on the Bazetta Township Zoning Board. He belonged to the American Legion and was a member of the Sinks Grove Baptist Church in West Virginia.
Survivors include Ann, his wife of 54 years; brothers David (Deborah) of Haverill Massachusetts, Larry (Debbie) of Leavittsburg, Ralph (Diane) and Howard; sisters, Helen (Russ) Sprague, JoAnn (Steve) Wickline, Mary Dillon and Vonda (Alphonse) Bianco all of Warren; brother-in-law, Marvin Porterfield and sister-in-law, Karen Porterfield (Don DeLoach) of Palm Bay Florida; one special niece, Marjorie Gottsch (Nathan) of Chesapeake Virginia and several generations of beloved nieces, nephews and cousins.
In addition to his parents and brother, Fred, he was preceded in death by twin daughters, Regina Dawn, who died in infancy and Angela Renee, who died in childhood; brother, John; sisters, Louise Kuschuto, Deloris Morris and Carrie Palcisco.
Visitation will be Friday, February 10 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. and funeral services Saturday, February 11, at 11:00 a.m., at Lane Funeral Home, Roberts-Clark Chapel, 180 Garfield Dr NE, Warren.
Masonic services will precede visiting hours.
Burial will be in West Virginia.
Bob’s family requests any material expressions of sympathy be made in Bob’s memory to either Best Friends Animal Rescue, 5001 Angel Canyon Road, PO Box 567, Kanab Utah 84741, or the Indian Creek Community Cemetery, 778 Fullen Road, Union, West Virginia 24983.
A television tribute will air Thursday, February 9 at the following approximate times:
6:41 a.m. WYTV and 8:41 a.m. MyYTV and 9:58 a.m. on FOX plus two additional spots throughout the day.