District Judge John Dillon dies at 86

 When John M. Dillon became a District Court judge in the 1960s, he said he was grateful for the trust the people of Redford Township had placed in him. Those citizens must have believed that trust was merited because they reelected him again and again. By the time he retired he was the court’s longest serving judge.


Dillon died at the age of 86 on Wednesday, Sept. 18, at his home after a long illness. 

Although his commitment to the bench was clear, he was also a committed family man. He married wife Janet in 1953 and was the father of five and grandfather of 14.

In addition to his wife and grandchildren, Dillon is survived by his daughters Marybeth Dillon Butler, a writer and author, of Livonia, and Maureen Dillon Egan, a probate court clerk, of Troy; and sons John Jr., a dentist, of Farmington Hills, and Andrew, attorney and Michigan state treasurer, of Redford Township.

An Army infantryman in World War II, he was on his way to the Pacific fighting when the war ended. He then served with occupation forces in Japan. 

Returning to Detroit in 1947, he reentered the University of Detroit and received his law degree from the school. 

After years of private practice in Redford Township, he ran for Justice of the Peace in 1963 and was elected. In 1968, the Michigan Legislature created the District Court and Dillon ran for the bench. He was the top vote getter among seven candidates and was reelected to the bench six times. Dillon retired from the bench in 1992. He was a long-time member of the Society of Irish /American Lawyers.

There will be a visitation today from 2-8 p.m. at the Neely-Turowski Life Story Funeral Home, 30200 Five Mile Road in Livonia. A funeral Mass will be held Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at St. Valentine Church, 14841 Beech Daly, Redford Township. Interment will take place at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 25800 West 10 Mile Road, Southfield. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Valentine Church or the Angela Hospice in Livonia. The guest book may be signed before arriving at the funeral home at www.turowskilifestory.com.