Life Story / Obituary
The family of Robert Gillingham Dillon is deeply saddened to announce he passed away April 22, 2020, at the age of 95. Born in Chicago, IL on Feb 1, 1925, Bob was a kind, caring, humble, selfless gentleman who lived his life in service to others. He was a beloved husband, father and grandfather and was devoted to his family. He especially loved his wife Phyllis who daily reminded all that, “Bob is so handsome, kind and smart, and he is the most wonderful man in the world.”
Bob was an only child who lived in Chicago IL, Montreal CAN, Bay Port MI and Ann Arbor MI. He graduated from Ann Arbor High School in 1943, graduated from the University of Michigan in 1947 with dual degrees in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering and was a Phi Delta Theta fraternity brother. Bob proudly served his country through the U of M Naval Reserve V-12 program. He was stationed in Hawaii and was a Lieutenant Junior Grade on the USS Radford.
Following his military service, Bob returned to Ann Arbor and worked briefly for Argus Camera. Soon he met the love of his life, Phyllis at The First United Methodist Church of Ann Arbor (FUMC) and they were married eight months later. On their anniversary last June Phyllis said, “67 years is just not long enough.”
Shortly after their marriage, Bob began working for Ford Motor Company, retiring in 1980. By 1957, Bob had three children and life became full of music, sports, swim club and family camping vacations. “Vacation Bob” as his family called him, especially loved riding his bike, playing tennis and planning family trips.
Bob joined the FUMC while in High School where he found a lifelong sense of purpose and belonging. As an adult he faithfully served as an usher for 60 years. For many years, Bob coordinated weekly speakers and meals for FUMC’s Thursday noon men’s luncheons and Bob and Phyllis worked together to provide meals, programs and fellowship for the Charles Wesley Club’s older adult community.
Bob loved living in Ann Arbor and was an active volunteer in his community. For over 40 years he was on the board of The House by the Side of the Road, and served as both President and Secretary of the Ann Arbor Exchange Club. Together Bob and Phyllis supported and chaperoned students in the National Exchange Club science fair competitions. When he wasn’t volunteering, Bob was a passionate U of M basketball and football fan. He and Phyllis held season football tickets for many years, and when stadium stairs became too steep they enjoyed donning their maize and blue to attend weekly M Club luncheons to hear all about Michigan athletics.
For years, they could be found dining at Knights or brunching Sunday’s at Weber’s in Ann Arbor. They loved smiling and walking hand in hand around town and at Gallop Park, Briarwood mall, Top of the Park and at the Ann Arbor Art Fair.
Three years ago, they moved from their Ann Arbor home of 60 years to Waltonwood, in Canton MI, to live closer to their son Dave. Dave lovingly accompanied them to the M Club, doctor’s appointments and assisted with their care.
In January, Bob was proceeded in death by his dear wife Phyllis and is survived by his children; Barbara Dillon, David (Maggie) Dillon and Patti (Daryl) Balchan, by his grandchildren; Liz (Mark) Fury, Katie (Steve) DeDyne, Steve (Tori) Balchan, Melinda Balchan, Rich Balchan, and by a great-grandson; Leo Vincent Balchan.
The family wishes to express heartfelt thanks to National Home Care of Redford, St. Mary’s Hospital of Livonia and Waltonwood of Cherry Hill for their loving care.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to the House by the Side of the Road; 2051 S. State St., Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104 firstname.lastname@example.org
Because of social distancing protocols, a memorial service will be scheduled at a later time.