Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Packy Dillon's Obituary

Old Ballplayer Dead

Heart Disease Claims a Victim in Patrick Dillon

Patrick Dillon, a member of the old St. Louis Browns when that team won the baseball championship of America, died suddenly Sunday afternoon within a few minutes after a lengthy discussion with his wife about the sudden death of John W. Mackay, the capitalist at London, about a week ago. Mr. and Mrs. Dillon made their home at Mehlville, in the southern part of St. Louis county, for many years and it was there that the end came. They had just completed their midday meal and were sitting at the table conversing. Mr. Dillon remarked about the suddenness of the end of so active a life as that of Mr. Mackay and a few minutes later he fell from his chair and died. Dr. Will, who had been treating him for the past several years, pronounced the cause of death heart disease.

Mr. Dillon had led what might be called a strenuous life and three years ago he became alarmed at the condition of his heart. He had a physician attend him ever since but at no stage was his condition considered serious. Only a few days before his death he had a plunge bath with a number of friends in a neighborhood pond. For probably three months he had been ailing to the extent that he had been under the care of Dr. Will. Despite this fact his sudden death was a great surprise to his physician as well as to his relatives. In the morning while his children were away from home, he had assisted his wife in her household duties and seemed unusually cheerful.

The funeral will be held from the home of the deceased's mother, Mrs. E. Mullen, 1401 Glasgow avenue, to-day, to St. Bridget's church. The deceased was 49 years old and leaves a wife and several children.

I must admit that I've been looking for Packy Dillon's obituary for a long time and to finally get a hold of it is something that's given me a great deal of pleasure. I have to acknowledge the efforts of Lynn Dillon and the Dillon family in digging through their family albums, scrapbooks, and archives in order to furnish me with a great deal of information on Packy Dillon and his family. They really can't be thanked enough-especially Lynn, who has gone out of her way to help me. Good people all around.

A couple of notes about the obit:

-Which newspaper it appeared in and the date it appeared is unknown. Based on information in the obituary, specifically the reference to the death of John W. Mackay, it can be dated to late July 1902 which meshes with the information we have regarding Patrick H. Dillon's date of death (July 27, 1902).

-Dillon, of course, never played for the Four Time Champion Browns but I think this is the first reference that we have to Patrick H. Dillon being a baseball player. The Dillon family oral history, which I'll be posting this week, also has references to Dillon playing professional baseball and specifically mentions St. Louis and Covington, Ky. I feel that this is the confirmation that we need to state emphatically that Patrick H. Dillon was Packy Dillon the baseball player. The evidence up to this point, while strong, was basically circumstantial. The material provided by the Dillon family, combined with what we already know, makes the case.

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