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
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
lived, behind 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.
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St Mary's Cemetery, Milford
The Kearsleys lived at 141 Greene Street.