John D Dillon, RIP, 28 Years Ago Today

John as a young man handing out gifts

On 22 December 1990, my adopted father John D Dillon passed away. He was Patrick’s first father-in-law, Donna’s dad, the man I called Granddaddy when I was a wee tyke.

After my adoption when I was 12, my new parents and I sat down to discuss naming conventions. I’d been calling him Granddaddy but my mom Willie seemed too young and glamorous to have a name like Grandma and we wanted their names to be of the same pattern. Since I was already calling her Willie (short for Wilma), they became “John and Willie” from that point forward.

Meanwhile, they asked what I’d like to do with my own name. I was originally John Patrick Meador. I gave it some thought and finally suggested tacking on Dillon at the end. (Gretchen, Jennifer, and I were all born “Meador” because we popped out of Mother before Patrick discovered the error on his birth certificate.)

Now that I have a grandson, I asked the kids if I can be “Granddaddy” to baby Max. The term is doubly endearing to me: it’s an expression of love for Max, and for John as well, another one of those “circle of life” moments that will carry me through the coming days and years.

John D Dillon at the Mellon Institute about the time I was born (March 1956)




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