10:30am Tuesday 20th December, 2022
Stella Maris Catholic Church, Maroochydore
A celebration of life
Cecily Mary Dillon passed away peacefully at 82 years of age, on December 10, 2022, at Regis Allora Lodge Aged Care in Maroochydore.
Born in Preston, Lancashire (England) on June 27, 1940, Mary had a happy childhood as the middle of seven children to Cecily and Harry Gornall. She gained her Certificate in Education and Practical Teaching and began a teaching career at St. Bede’s Secondary Modern School at Lytham St. Annes, in Lancashire
Her adventurous spirit – and a forbidden romance – drove her to leave the UK in 1966, bound for Australia on a £10 assisted passage. Mary taught firstly in Sydney, before falling in love with Queensland, where she found a job at St. Joseph’s Primary School in Nambour on the Sunshine Coast.
It was on the Sunshine Coast that she met her husband-to-be, Ian Dillon, with whom she had three sons – Geoff, Marty and Ray. In 1978 the family established themselves in the growing township of Mudjimba Beach, where Mary set about raising her kids. During this time, she also proudly founded the North Shore Kindergarten.
In 1984, Mary was overwhelmed by a mental illness which was to dramatically impact her life. For many years she battled the effects of what is now known as bipolar disorder, and courageously overcame the related alcoholism with help from Alcoholics Anonymous. Her Christian faith sustained her throughout, and she was a dedicated member of the Stella Maris parish in Maroochydore.
Despite never regaining her full working capacity, Mary continued to be a loving mother to her boys and three granddaughters. Her infectious chuckle and Lancashire accent is particularly fondly remembered by her daughters-in-law. Mary remains a beacon of resilience to all those she met.
The family would like to thank the staff and volunteers at Regis Allora Lodge, Maroochydore, for the love, support and care they offered Mary in the final years of her life.