“Fran” Dillon, lifelong Groton resident and senior statesman in many town government positions, died Saturday morning after a long illness. (Arrangement details are in Dillon’s obituary. — Ed.)
A short biography of Dillon was published in the 2011 Groton Annual Town Report:
George Francis Dillon is a bona fide Townie – living in the house on Kemp Street that his grandparents owned, where his mother and her eight siblings were born and where his mother was born and passed away in the same room. This home built in 1898 has been in his family for 110 years. His father emigrated from Ireland, worked at the local mill. His aunts, uncles and grandparents helped to build St. James Catholic Church. As a young man growing up in West Groton, Dillon had numerous jobs – at the Groton Leatherboard (now Rivercourt), at The Elms, at the Wharton Place on Broadmeadow Road, at Forcino’s Market (Now Country Butcher), at the First National Store (now Bruno’s Pizza) and at the Village Store (Sherwin’s Market).
He and his wife Janet raised their three children in West Groton and they and his grandchildren went to Groton public schools. Dillon served the town as a member of the Groton Finance Committee and most recently as a three-term Selectman. He graduated from college, served in the military during the Vietnam era, he rose through the ranks to become the President of Fitchburg and Valentine Paper Companies. He has traveled all over the world – from the jungles and slums of Brazil and Peru to Communist Romania, France, Switzerland, England, Germany, Ireland, and Austria to mention a few, but “there is just no place like home.”
He never moved. Dillon would commute to Louisiana to the paper company – fly home at the end of the week only to return south the following week. But Groton is his home, and he did whatever it took to come ‘home’ to the town that holds so many memories and so many friends.
Today, there are many, many residents that simply love this town, love the history, love the
character, and who are deeply grateful to all the townies for preserving the wonderful, diverse,
community that they built, nurtured, and cherished.
As Fran might say, you do not need to be a Townie to love, respect and protect this great
community, but it helps.