Mary Ellen Collamer Dillon, 75, who raised six children and was an active volunteer, died Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, after a 15-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
She was born Jan. 11, 1937, to Siama and Ben Collamer in the coal mining community of Hanna, Wyo. Her mother died when she was a young teen, and she learned to cook, clean and do laundry, including the coal dust from her father’s mining clothes. She also became skilled at shooting deer and antelope and cooking fresh trout. She graduated from Hanna High School in 1955.
In 1956, she married Donald Kiesel in Laramie, Wyo. They moved to Portland, Ore., and then to Casper, Wyo. They had three children, Charles, Cathy and John. They later divorced, and she married Russell Dillon. They had three more children, Michael and Michelle (twins) and Jerry. They lived in Billings.
Mrs. Dillon was a “stay at home” mom who also spent much of her time doing daycare and volunteering for local organizations. She worked with Planned Parenthood and was active in PTA and Little League Baseball. She made many quilts and afghans and a few wedding dresses for friends and family.
She had received care from Eagle Cliff Manor.
Survivors include her husband; a brother, Jack Collamer; sons, Charlie Kiesel, John Kiesel, Mike Dillon and Jerry Dillon; daughters, Cathy Ray and Michelle Dillon; 16 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4, at Cremation & Funeral Gallery, with a reception to follow.
Memorials are suggested to McLaughlin Research Institute (for Biomedical Sciences) at mclaughlinresearch.org or 1520 23rd St. S., Great Falls, MT 59405; or the Alzheimer’s Association.