Jake Dillon, a colorful Ceres personality who had historic connections to early-day Ceres and who was the first-ever Ceres Citizen of the Year in 1968, has died. Mr. Dillon died Dec. 22 at St. Francis Assisted Living in Turlock.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25 at the Ceres Alano Club, 1660 Herndon Rd.
Born on July 27, 1924 in Kansas, Jake was brought to Keyes by his parents, Jack and Henrietta "Frenchie" Trion Dillon in 1926 and to Ceres a year later. His father was the first police chief in Ceres and his mother was famous for running a boarding house in Ceres and for being the oldest employee in Yosemite's Curry Village.
His father died in 1943, just a year after winning the election for Ceres constable.
Jake was deemed an athlete more than a scholar and joked at class reunions that he must have well liked because he often had classmates doing his homework so that he could be eligible to play football at Ceres High School. He entered the U.S. Navy at 17 during World War II and served aboard the U.S.S. Franks in the South Pacific. Jake returned to Ceres and attended Modesto Junior College where he met with wife Roberta "Bobbie" Jo Shank. They had three boys, Rob, Jack and Doug.
Mr. Dillon was active in the community as a coach for baseball with George Costa and The Ceres American Legion. He was well-known for putting on spaghetti feeds after games and engaging in fundraisers for the teams. Mr. Dillon was the first owner of Family Pizza. A member of the Ceres Lions Club, American Legion, Sportsmen of Stanislaus, and Elks Club, Jake worked as a postal carrier in Modesto for 25 years and flew crop dusters with Don Mobil (Don's Mobil Glass) on the side. When he retired he delivered donuts and also worked with his mother at Curry Village as a chef.
He was an avid bowler and had a love for the opera.
In later life Jake became a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and remarried.
"His generous spirit has had an influence on this community in the little town of Ceres and will be sorely missed," said granddaughter P. Lynn Dillon, who is a licensed marriage and family therapist.
Survivors include two sons, Rob Dillon of Ceres and Jack D. Dillon of Lincoln; six grandchildren, Jeff Dillon, Jason Dillon, Aaron Dillon, Joe Dillon, Lynn Dillon and Julie Shank; and eight great-grandchildren, Amy and Ashley Dillon, Olivia and Dominic Shank, Cole and Trey Dillon, and Carter and Shelly Dillon. He is preceded in death by son Doug Dillon, his parents, and sister Vivian Mocabee.