Miriam Dillard

  • "My dear old fiend Dawn my heart is breaking to hear of your..."
    - Debbie Hester
  • "Dawn, See ya down the road Buddy. You are a true and..."
    - Grayson Gile
  • "My heartfelt condolences for the loss of Miriam. In the..."
  • "Dear Ron, I am sorry for the loss of Dawn. Her heart was..."
  • "Ron...so sorry for your loss. Dawn was a great person......"
    - Gregg Olson

Kenai resident Miriam "Dawn" Dillard, 57, passed away Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013 at home after a two year battle with cancer.

At her request, no formal services are planned. There will be a private burial in the Kenai City Cemetery.

Dawn was born Mar. 12, 1956 in Greensboro, NC. Dawn started college at the age of 16. In the late 70's, she left school and went to work in the coal mines of southern Illinois. She was a proud member of the UMWA, a certified welder, and an equipment operator. Dawn loved "driving God's Tonka toys underground" in Freeman Mines No. 4 and No. 6. Eventually, Dawn returned to Southern Illinois University to finish her Bachelor's degree in Political Science in 1990. She went on to earn a Master's degree in American History, with a Minor in Japanese Culture and later, a Juris Doctorate at the University of Tulsa.

Upon obtaining her Law Degree, Dawn traveled to North Dakota where she went to work as an Advocate for a cattle consortium and became a Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. During her campaign, she met President Clinton at the Party's Fund Raising Dinner. Later, Dawn put her law degree to work with Dakota Plains Legal Services on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. She dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of the underdog and in November, 1996, became the supervising attorney in the Alaska Legal Services Office in Bethel, Alaska.

It was in Bethel that Dawn met and married her soul mate, Ron Horvath. In Bethel, Dawn also worked for the State of Alaska's Public Defender Agency, Division of Juvenile Justice, and Office of Public Advocacy. She became a licensed amateur radio operator and her call sign was W8MDD. Dawn and Ron were active in the Bethel Actors' Guild - she was a costume and makeup artist, he built sets. Dawn was a life-long animal lover. She especially loved horses, dogs, and her ferrets.

Toward the end of her fight against cancer, Dawn was involved in an Alaska Public Radio Network series in which she spoke about her cancer and palliative care. (See, www.alaskapublic.org/2013/08/01/not-dead-yet-living-with-terminal-cancer/.

Dawn was a board member of the Tundra Women's Coalition and involved in the "Rebel Yell" show on KYUK Radio. She had also received an Office of Public Advocacy Attorney Award.

Dawn enjoyed reading, art, especially oil painting, theater, horseback riding, and riding snow machines. Her family, friends, and two large dogs, Tim and Daisy, will miss her deeply.

Dawn was preceded in death by her mother, Francis L. (Aldridge) Dillard.

She is survived by her husband, Ron Horvath of Kenai; her father, Frank Dillard of Marion, Ill.; brother and sister-in-law, Michael and Melanie Dillard of Mayfield, KY.; nephew, Ross Dillard of West Frankfort, Ill.; brother, Clifford Dillard of Marion, Ill.; niece, Christina (Dillard) Neff; and nephew, Craid L. Dillard, both of Benton, Ill.

Rather than flowers, the family asks to please donate to Alaska Legal Services Corp., Anchorage, Alaska.

Arrangements were by Peninsula Memorial Chapel in Kenai.

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Peninsula Memorial Chapel
5839 Kenai Spur Hwy.
Kenai, AK 99611
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Published in Anchorage Daily News from Dec. 27 to Dec. 28, 2013