Mary Ellen was born in Toronto to Audrey and C.R. “Reg” Williams. She grew up and went to school in the city, but as a child learned to appreciate camping, swimming, and canoeing with her mother in Muskoka. After heading off to Europe as a young adult to work as an au pair, Mary Ellen was proud to return to Canada and become part of the University of Toronto’s first Bachelor of Nursing class.
It was at the U of T where she met Delanty Dillon, whom she later married. “Del” remained the love of her life. Del and Mary Ellen relocated to Del’s hometown of Cobourg, where Del went on to become a beloved high school teacher and head of the physical education department at the then newly opened CDCI East. Mary Ellen and Del remained active members of their social and St. Michael’s Church communities. They not only celebrated 50 years of marriage in 2009, but also were at Maple Leaf Gardens on May 2, 1967 to witness their revered Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup.
For Mary Ellen, the idea of “home” was always foremost in her heart. This was evident early in her career as a public health nurse when she did house-call checkups on newborn babies and their moms, initially in Toronto neighbourhoods for newcomers to the country, then for the Health Unit in Cobourg. Not surprisingly, she always seemed most relaxed and content when she was holding a baby in her arms, whether it was a patient, her own child, or one of her nine grandchildren. Her family remained anchored at the home she and Del established by the lake in Cobourg, no matter where in the country or the world her children ventured. Family and friends and neighbours were always welcomed into their home with humour and grace, curiosity and appreciation.
Following her career as a nurse, and after raising four children, she chose to enter the world of real estate sales, and this became a true devotion and delight. Starting with Frank Real Estate, she eventually became an Agent and Broker with Royal LePage. In a career touching five decades, Mary Ellen helped countless families find their dream homes in and around Cobourg and the Northumberland Hills. Highly principled, she valued honesty, communication, and integrity more than anything else in her business. By the time she had pounded in her last SOLD sign at the age of 80, she had developed many deep and lasting relationships with clients and colleagues alike.
Mary Ellen’s pace slowed slightly in recent years after the passing of her beloved Del, and subsequently because of some health concerns. It is a great testament to her care community that Mary Ellen remained bright, happy, and content in her own home. She was forever grateful to all her friends, neighbours, and faith community for their continual support and prayers. Special thanks to PSWs from Home Instead, St. Elizabeth, and Cardinal Nannies, and to the compassionate staff at the Northumberland Hills Hospital.
Left with warm feelings of deep appreciation and love are Mary Ellen’s four children: Mary Dillon (Louis Robitaille) of Lunenburg County, NS; Joe Dillon (Ruth Lillington) of Lindsay, ON; Joanne Dillon-McKay (Eric McKay) of Orléans, ON; and Michael Dillon (Moira Easton) of Shawnigan Lake, BC. Also feeling well-loved are Mary Ellen’s grandchildren: Madeleine and Marcel Robitaille; Tristan Lillington; Mark, Reta-Anne, Lauran, and Patrick McKay; and Jesanna and Séamus Dillon-Easton.
A funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, September 6, 2018 at 10 a.m. at St. Michael’s Church 379 Division St, Cobourg, with interment at St. Michael’s Cemetery thereafter. Visitation will be held on Wednesday, September 5 from 6 to 9 p.m. at MacCoubrey Funeral Home, Cobourg, 30 King Street East. In lieu of flowers and in recognition of Mary Ellen’s spirit, the family would appreciate a donation to Toronto Hospital for Sick Children ( www.sickkids.ca ), Northumberland Hills Hospital ( www.nhh.ca ), World Vision Canada ( www.worldvision.ca ), or an offering of a simple act of kindness. Condolences received at www.MacCoubrey.com.