Michael J. “Mike” Dillon 79, of Elburn, formerly of Chicago, passed away following a long illness on Saturday, March 16, 2013, at Holy Family Hospital in Des Plaines, Ill. An Irishman to the core, he made it to the gates of heaven just in time for a celestial St. Patrick’s Day, the likes of which have never been seen.
He was born March 5, 1934, in Chicago, the son of Edward J. and Mary M. (Fox) Dillon.
Mike grew up a “son of Chicago” and attended St. Mel Grammar School and High School, graduating in 1953.
Mike heard the call of his country and enlisted into the United States Air Force during the Korean War. He spent two years stateside and two more across the pond in England, using every opportunity to travel to places he had only dreamt about whilst growing up in Chicago.
Upon his honorable discharge and return to civilian life, Mike found work as a bartender for a “shirt-tail” relative at Sage’s Pub before entering the police academy in 1959. After graduation, he joined the ranks of the Chicago Police Department as a motorcycle cop before becoming a patrolman and then field training officer. He then drove for Central Detention for many years.
Mike also worked as security for Chicago Catholic Charities on the northwest side of the city. In addition to his many years of service to the City of Chicago, he and his bride also were involved in the real estate market, helping many people buy and sell their homes. After 35 years of living the motto, “To Protect and Serve,” Mike retired, but he never sat idle, instead focusing his attentions and energy trying to keep up with his grandchildren.
When Rosemary (Bubbles) met her future husband (Michael), her intuition immediately said “this is the one.” Although Rosemary was an “uptown girl” with a Cadillac suitor, and Michael was a downtown guy driving an old Rambler, Rosemary’s intuition was right on the mark, and their romance led to matrimony on Sept. 16, 1961, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Elmhurst, Ill.
The couple settled in a “shoebox” apartment in the city, and Rosemary’s talent made it a home. When their first child, Sandy, was born, it was time to move on, and they found a “two-story-shoebox” in Oriole Park, Ill. They would spend 14 years there, and added two more children, Suzanne and Michael S., and added on two bedrooms and a family room.
In 1979 the family moved on to Edison Park, Ill., where they remained until 2001, when they took a leap of faith and moved to Elburn.
Although it took some time to get used to the quiet of Elburn, Mike and Rosemary settled in nicely, getting to know the community and spending many meals at Papa G’s, where he enjoyed discussing politics with Noula and the boys and enjoyed the company of their favorite waitress, Michelle.
Mike always remembered his roots and had lunch once a month with his friends from the old neighborhood, otherwise known as the “Irish Mafia.” In addition to being proud and protective of his ancestry, Mike had a passion for his beloved Chicago Cubs, not to mention the “Monsters of the Midway.” Mike read four newspapers a day, cover to cover, and always had his finger on the political pulse of the Windy City, which was quite a feat considering Chicago’s history. Mike was also a proud “Fenian,” always hoping in his heart of hearts for a united Ireland.
He was an excellent dancer back in the day, cutting the rug with “women a plenty” at the Aragon Ballroom and various Irish dances throughout the city before finding his true dance partner in Rosemary. Though he lost her in 2008, they are now reunited and free to dance into eternity.
He is survived by three children, Sandra (Craig) Orzolek of St. Charles, Suzanne Dillon of Elburn, and Michael S. (Cathy) Dillon of St. James, Mo.; six grandchildren, Matthew Orzolek, Lindsay Orzolek, Jennifer Orzolek, Sara Todd, Lauryn Todd, Michael Edward Dillon; two sisters, Dolores Slater and Margaret Dillon; one brother-in-law, William (Lucy) Lindsay; two sisters-in-law, Gean Frase and Donna (Frank) Blake; and many nieces and nephews that were dear to his heart.
He is preceded in death by his parents; his loving wife, Rosemary (Bubbles); one sister-in-law, Marilyn Capelle; and a sister-in-law who died in childhood, Sandy Lindsay; two brothers-in-law, Robert Frase and Robert Slater; and most recently his beloved dog, Eva Habib Dillon.
Visitation will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 21, with an 8 p.m. wake service to conclude visitation, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. A brief visitation will take place from 9 to 10 a.m. on Friday morning at the funeral home, concluding with prayers before a Mass to celebrate his faith at 10:30 a.m. at St. Gall Catholic Church, Elburn. Fr. Tim Seigel, pastor of the church, will officiate. Interment will follow at Queen of Heaven Cemetery, Hillside, Ill.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in his name to benefit for Masses, as well as to benefit St. Jude Children’s Hospital and Misericordia Heart of Mercy among other favorite charities. Checks may be made to the “Michael Dillon Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or at www.conleycare.com, where you can find his full-life story.
The family would especially like to thank the wonderful medical staff at both Loyola University Hospital in Maywood, Ill., and Holy Family Hospital in Des Plaines for their compassion and care during Michael’s illness.