The final chapter of a wonderful love story ended Thursday November 9, 2017 with the passing of David D. Dillon. This, six days after the love of his life, best friend, soulmate and wife of 64 years, Phyllis Dillon, passed on Friday, November 3.
As an 18-year-old, Dave was serving in the Air Force and stationed at March Air Force Base in California when he met his future bride, then 15-year-old Phyllis Ann Havens of Glendale, California. Their courtship blossomed while Dave completed his service requirement despite the distance created by several overseas postings. Upon his return to the U.S., they were married on June 20, 1953, and, following his discharge from the service Dave and Phyllis returned to his native Red Bank to begin their life together and start a family. Residing in the Little Silver/Red Bank area for 68 years, the couple moved Leisure Village West in Manchester in 2001.
Mr. Dillon enjoyed dual careers in the insurance industry and also as a professional actor. He started his life insurance career in 1955 with Metropolitan Life, and in 1961, he joined John C. Paige & Co. in New York City where he was vice president and manager of their Life and Group department for 12 years. Mr. Dillon retired from Prudential Insurance Company in 1987 where he was a brokerage manager for their New York office.
Following his life-long dream of being an actor, Mr. Dillon gained stage experience locally in various productions with the Monmouth Players. Following a variety of roles there, Mr. Dillon, started attending casting calls in NYC. Landing his first role as a bartender in a beer commercial in 1967, Mr. Dillon continued to hone his craft and eventually gained a solid reputation among directors and producers and his bookings continued.
After nearly 40 years in the business, Mr. Dillon’s portfolio includes work in film, print and radio, and included appearances as an on-camera principal in over 200 television commercial, 250 industrial training films, and numerous print ads and radio voice over spots. In 1992 he was honored by the International Television Association (ITVA) for Outstanding Achievement in On Camera Performance. In addition to his on screen work, Mr. Dillon performed as master of ceremonies at many civic, charitable, and corporate events. He retired from acting in 2007 a vested member of the Actors Equity Association (AEA).
Mrs. Dillon worked locally for several area companies before eventually starting her own business. She was a licensed real estate agent with Jean Irwin Realty in Red Bank, worked as a payroll manager for Nuewirth Management and Research Corporation, Middletown, and also as an outside sales representative for Commerce Clearing House.
Having been closely involved with her husband’s acting career, Mrs. Dillon leveraged her knowledge of the entertainment industry and in 1984, with her husband, founded and was president of Special Artists Management, Inc., a Red Bank based talent agency supplying both union and non-union talent to casting directors, production houses and ad agencies in the local, Philadelphia, and New York marketplaces. With their focus on industrial/corporate training films, print advertising, and voice-overs, the agency distinguished itself as a source of top talent, and during its years of operation the agency provided hundreds of actors bookings that became direct stepping stones for many of them to qualify for membership in the Screen Actors Guild. In 1989 Mrs. Dillon was honored for Outstanding Business Contributions from the Jersey Shore Public Relations & Advertising Association (JSPRAA). Mrs. Dillon retired in 2003 following the sale of the business.
Mr. Dillon was born in Bound Brook on May 17, 1932. Shortly thereafter his family relocated to Red Bank. He was a 1950 graduate of Red Bank High School where he lettered in football and track. He was a veteran of the Korean War, serving with the Strategic Air Command of the U.S. Air Force in Texas, California, Japan, England and North Africa. Mr. Dillon was a lifetime member of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), was a charter member of the Red Bank Jaycees, a former member of Jersey Coast Club, The Players Club (NYC), Little Silver Fire Department Company #1, Red Bank Kiwanis, Princeton ITVA, Monmouth Players, VFW, The B-47 Association and LVW Golf Club, He was also a charter member of the ROMEO Lunch Club (Retired Old Men Eating Out). In 2012 he was inducted into the Red Bank Regional High School Hall of Fame for being a distinguished alumnus. An avid fan and former season ticket holder of the New York Jets, Mr. Dillon also enjoyed golf, swimming, spending time at the beach and shooting sports.
Mrs. Dillon was born in Greenville, Texas, on February 20, 1935, and was a 1953 graduate of Hoover High School in Glendale, California. She is a former member of the Junior League of Monmouth County, and was active for many years as a committee member with the annual Monmouth Park Charity Ball. She was a wonderful cook and consummate hostess, enjoyed playing piano, bowling, genealogy, attending Broadway plays and the challenge of a good crossword puzzle, card or board games.
Together, beyond enjoying each other’s company, Mr. and Mrs. Dillon delighted in spending time with their children and grandchildren. They also enjoyed attending the theatre and movies, travel and entertaining.
Among their fondest memories, were of times spent with family and friends at their home in Little Silver.
Mischievously known as “Bahlzanahl Hall,” the house was a bee hive of activity with the constant flow of visiting relatives, friends, and associates from far and wide, and was the site of many gatherings, parties and several weddings. Mr. Dillon, a raconteur with attendant facial expression, character voices and timing, could elevate the telling of a joke, story or shared anecdote to an art form. Meanwhile, Mrs. Dillon, seemingly more comfortable planning, preparing and serving a dinner for 20 people instead of “only 5” would always prepare a memorable offering.
Mr. Dillon was the son of the late Col. Asahel S. Dillon and Estelle Greenawalt Dillon. He was also predeceased by his sister, Patricia Dillon Gerber and his brother, Zale Dillon. Phyllis was predeceased by her parents, Weldon J. Havens and Velma Todd Havens.
They are survived by daughters, Dana Leigh Dillon of Asbury Park; Marjorie Dillon Dellecker and son-in-law James Dellecker of Venice, Florida; a son, David D. Dillon II and daughter-in-law Lisa Brodfuhrer Dillon of Severna Park, Maryland; five beloved grandchildren: Christina Leigh Walling of Bloomfield, Melissa Ann Walling of Brick, David D. Dillon III of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Erica Dillon of Severna Park, Maryland, and Laura Dellecker Foray of Jackson; three great-grandchildren: Ava June Westdyke of Brick, Drew Dellecker of Brick and Savannah Foray of Jackson; Mr. Dillon’s sister, Bunny Bell of Geneva, New York; Mrs. Dillon’s four half-sisters: Elaine Chapman of Norfolk, Nebraska, Susan and Jeff Garrett of, Newalla, Oklahoma, Mary and Kenny Jones, Pottsboro, Texas, and Lisa Girdlestone, San Diego, California; six half-brothers: Jeffrey Burgess of Chatham, England, Rodney Havens of Denison, Texas, Joseph Havens of Warner Robins, Georgia, Steve and Debbie Havens of Cedar Park, Texas, and Robert Havens Smith of South Carolina.
Arrangements are being made by Thompson’s Memorial Funeral Home in Red Bank, with visitation on Monday, December 11 from 2 to 4 and 6 to 9 p.m. A Memorial Service will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church in Red Bank at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, December 12. Interment will be private in the Dillon Family section of Woodlawn Cemetery in Zanesville, Ohio.
Memorial donations in Mr. and Mrs. Dillon’s memory may be made to HABcore, Inc. of Red Bank, Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Hospital in New York City or any charity of an individual’s choosing.
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