Earlier this week, Heaven gained an Angel. Toni Ann Dillon, age 51, of Erie, passed away at her home on Monday, January 6, 2014, following a long and courageous battle with cancer. She was born in Point Pleasant, N.J., on January 7, 1962, a daughter of Anita Baragona Dillon and the late Thomas J. Dillon Sr.
Toni was raised in Flanders, New Jersey and graduated from Mount Saint John's Academy. She continued her education at Mercyhurst University, where she received her Master's Degree in Special Education. Toni taught in the Erie School District for 29 years, and was awarded teacher of the year twice, 1989 at Burton School, and 1992 at Lincoln School. She received The Golden Apple Award in 2010, and was named in the Marquis Who's Who of American Women 2004-05.Toni was very involved in Girl Scouts for 45 years, becoming a First Class Scout. She won the American Legion Department of PA Non-legionnaire Scouter of the Year Award in 2010. Most recently, she led four troops at Perry School. She received many other awards, including the Sisters of Saint Joseph Spirit of Courage and Outstanding Leadership Award in 1991, The Elizabeth Ann Seton Award, and the Bread Box Award from the Second Harvest Food Bank. Toni loved photography and had a picture published in the National Geographic for Kids Magazine, on top of winning many awards at the Waterford Fair. She was an Erie Zoo Docent since 2007.
Toni had many interests that included gardening, collecting NY Yankee baseball cards, arts and crafts, cooking, baking, kayaking and writing. Her greatest interest, in recent years, was making strides for breast cancer
, participating in the Relay for Life and supporting the John Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation.
In addition to her mother, she is survived by four brothers, Thomas Dillon Jr. and his wife Linda of Houston, Texas, Timothy Dillon and his wife Joni of Eagle River, Alaska, Bryan Dillon and his wife Kathy of Las Vegas, Nev., and Bruce Dillon and his wife Dr. Barbara of Mount Arlington, N.J., one sister, Colleen Dillon-Rutzler and her husband Gene of Ocean City, Md. and twelve nieces and nephews.
Friends may call at Erie First Assembly of God Church, 8150 Oliver Rd., Erie, PA 16509, on Sunday from 3:00 p.m. until the time of the service at 5:00 p.m., with Pastor Jack Risner officiating. Toni will be laid to rest on Tuesday, in the mausoleum of Gate of Heaven Cemetery, in East Hanover, N.J., at 1:30 p.m. Arrangements are under the care of the Russell C. Schmidt & Son Funeral Home Inc., 5000 Wattsburg Rd., Erie, PA 16504. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to either the John Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation, 130 West 8th St., Erie, PA 16501, or the Visiting Nurses Association of Erie County, 2253 Grandview Blvd., Erie, PA 16506