Charles H. Dillon, Jr.
I started looking into the story of the drowning death of Charles H. Dillon, Jr., after Tom Ragonese, a
neighbor of the Dillons years ago, asked about it. Thanks to John and Betty Butcher and Ann in
Reference at the Milford Library for finding the story for me. Here's what Tom had to say about the
tragedy and Charles's parents:
It is hard to believe that this little boy would have been 73 now. His parents were really nice people.
They used to come over every Xmas eve when I was a kid. He always had a good story to tell from his
exploits as a part time policeman in Hopedale.
I remember when I was a kid I had to stay with Charlie and Milly overnight because my parents were
going out of town. I had a toy model I had just finished building of a hearse with a casket, from the old
1960's Dark Shadows soap opera which I was a big fan of, that had ghosts and vampires etc. I really
wanted to bring it with me to play with but my mother quite wisely said I could not. She knew of course
that it would be too much for them to see a small boy playing with such a thing. Of course I asked why,
and that was the first I heard about their son.
It is also good to know where they are buried. I had searched Hopedale Village Cemetery and was
pretty sure they were not there. I will soon pay them a visit, and let them know there are people who
still remember with kindness.
And here's more, from Tom's sister, Marcia:
I remember the Dillons as being kind people and wonderful neighbors. Being the oldest of the five
"kids" in our family, I have many random memories of them. Some of the earliest are of our mom
baking coffee cakes or other goodies and asking me to take them over to the Dillons to enjoy. And
when I was in elementary school there were many winter days when some of us neighborhood kids
would go sledding in their back yard for hours! They always seemed to welcome us and never
complained about the noise I'm sure we made.
For many years, Mr. and Mrs. Dillon were a part of our Christmas Eve tradition. They would come
bearing gifts for all of us and enjoyed the excitement of a house filled with kids and noise! I'm sure
that, if only for a few hours, it helped them to forget the pain that must have haunted them, especially
during the holidays. Mum had told me about their young son who had drowned several years before in
the pond across the street but said they never really talked about it.
Saturday nights were "date night" for our parents. Unless there was something special going on, they
would go out to dinner, either with friends or just the two of them. On many of these Saturday nights in
the late '50's Mrs. Dillon would offer to babysit and her husband would come in around 10 PM after his
shift on the Hopedale police force. I can still picture him in his uniform sitting in my dad's chair in our
family room watching the Saturday Night Fights. And that followed the Lawrence Welk show which Mrs.
Dillon (and her husband if he didn't have to work on that particular Saturday night) watched faithfully!
As my brother Tommy has expressed, we appreciate all the work you've put into this project. And I'm
looking forward to reading through many of the memories on your home page... it'll be nice to revisit
my Hopedale roots through the memories of others!
Marcia (Ragonese) Falzone
And here are two more memories of the tragedy.
I remember Charles Dillon and his tragic drowning. He was in my kindergarten class. I recall going to
the viewing of Charles at the family home on Hopedale Street. He was dressed in a sailor suit . There
is not a day that goes by when I travel by the pond that I don't recall that sad event. Alberta L
Kearsleys. That is one of my first recorded memories of that night. Our bedroom faced the Dillons'
house and I can still see the police and firemen's lights reflecting on our bedroom wall. We were not
aware of what had happened. Shirley (Johnson) Cahill, January 2017.
Memories Menu HOME
St Mary's Cemetery, Milford
The Kearsleys lived at 141 Greene Street.