Professor Don-Dillon-Obituary

Photo courtesy of Winnfield Funeral Home - Baton Rouge - Baton Rouge

Professor Don Bolden Dillon

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Dec 19, 1932 – Sep 10, 2019 (Age 86)


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Winnfield Funeral Home - Baton Rouge - Baton Rouge Obituary

His life was devoted to his family and music. Don Bolden Dillon Sr. (“DB”) spent over four decades teaching countless young men and women music, specifically percussions. He would be known as one of the architects of band formations and the institution of unique and tight drumlines that would be used by HBCUs throughout the country. These drumlines and their accompanying precision would later be employed by large majority institutions. He would develop the cadences and assist in the creating never before seen marching formations that were showcased at the Super Bowl and beyond. He would then export this unique sound worldwide and help Southern University become a household name.

While Don passed away on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 at the age of 86, his musical legacy lives on. He was born December 19, 1932 in Oakdale, Louisiana to Henry Austin Dillon Sr. and Magnolia Williams-Dillon. An Eagle Scout, DB showed musical talent and performed at high school events and, as a teenager, opened for Lionel Hampton in Kansas City, Missouri. He was then offered a scholarship to Florida A&M, but, at the urging of his father, a Southern University graduate, traveled to Baton Rouge for his education. He would be awarded a music scholarship and play percussions in the Dukes of Rhythm Jazz Band and the school’s symphonic band and played snare drum in the marching band. At Southern, DB would become a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Inc. and ROTC.

Upon graduation, DB was commissioned as an officer in the United States Army and later promoted to First Lieutenant, where he was at one time stationed in Germany. Upon honorable discharge, DB continued his studies at the University of Southern California where he participated in both the marching and symphonic bands and Northwestern University. 

His career in music education would then begin. He would serve as Head Band Director at Alcorn State in 1957 and would eventually return to Southern University as Assistant Band Director in 1963. He would become renowned and widely respected for leading Southern University’s famed drum section during that time. During this time he would earn his Master in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, Illinois.

Don was a pillar of Southern University and Scotlandville communities. While making history at Southern, Don believed in ownership. He started several businesses, including DJ’s Bar-B-Q on Scenic Highway. He would own and operate this Scotlandville institution for 35 years. Additionally, Don established and ran the well-known and regarded National Institute of Knowledge (“NIK”) where musicians from all over the country would descend onto his property for music, fun and food.

Don leaves behind his love and faith to his devoted wife of 59 years, Barbara Lee-Dillon, sons Don B. Dillon Jr. (Rhonda Dillon) and Kirk Becker (Trina Becker) and daughters Dawn Malveaux (Mark Malveaux), Jamie Dillon and Donna Jean Neal (Elver Neal). He is preceded in death by his father Henry A. Dillon Sr., his mother, Magnolia Dillon, and his brother Melbourne G. Dillon, and his grandsons Kirk Becker Jr. and Christopher Buckles.

Don is survived by his brother Henry A. Dillon Jr. (Agnes Dillon), his sister Joyce Holley (Tim Holley), 8 grandchildren, 11 nieces, 9 nephews, and a host of relatives and friends.

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My prayers are with Dawn ,Don & Family.

Deepest sympathy to Jaime and the Dillon family.

Extending our heartfelt condolences to the Family of Mr. Don B. Dillon, Sr. Praying for peace to bring each of you comfort, courage to face the days ahead, and loving memories to forever hold in your hearts.

A great instructor and a great person. Praying God's peace and comfort for his family during this time of bereavement.

God Bless your Soul. We have lost a veteran of the Southern University band family He will never be missed, Because the drummers play his music every where they preform.

Sincerest condolences are sent out to surviving family & friends. The light that Mr. D turned on in most of us will never be extinguished....

My condolences to the family. Mr D was a major influence in my life.

Hi Don, you have my deepest condolences... may God comfort you & the Family with his everlasting love..❤ sending much love. love cousin Wanda

My Uncle DB will be truly missed...
Thank you for being a teacher on my road to my adulthood...
Love you much