Frances Virginia Gaunt Dillon passed away quietly in her sleep on April 10th, 2022 at the home of her daughter in Raleigh, North Carolina; she was 94 years old. Born in Battle Creek, Michigan on November 13th, 1927, she grew up in Missouri and Arkansas. She was raised by her grandmother Helena Boan Cleveland after her parents divorced and later was adopted by Kathryn Snell Gaunt, her aunt, and William Gaunt. Upon graduation from Hot Springs High School, she studied art at Oklahoma City University for two years before moving to New York City. While working there in the graphic arts field, she met and married Louis Joseph Dillon, Jr. in 1956. After having three children while living in Bayside, New York, they decided to move upstate to the hamlet of Wallkill where they bought an historic home on 4 acres bordering the Wallkill River.
While living in Wallkill, the couple co-founded and co-owned Toll House Card Company and Dillon Graphics. Running the businesses from their property, they also raised sheep, beef cattle, and horses at various time as well as tended a vegetable garden. In particular, Frances enjoyed riding her Tennessee Walking Horse. She was also active in the local art scene, often showing her paintings and winning awards at galleries and art shows in nearby towns. In addition to painting, she excelled in drawing and silk screen artwork.
When the children graduated from high school, the couple moved to Foxfire Village, North Carolina. Frances obtained a graphic artist’s position with a small, local company after Dillon Graphics was dissolved and worked there until retirement. During her free time working, and also after retirement, she delved into all aspects of the arts, learning jewelry making, basket weaving, stained glass and new media in painting. She joined the local art community and had her paintings in shows and at nearby galleries. For decades, she ran the Foxfire condominium association where she lived and she was an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).
The couple traveled extensively, owning several RV’s over the years which they used to drive from North Carolina to Alaska and to explore the Canadian Maritime Provinces. Overseas, they visited Mexico, China, the Caribbean, the Middle East and much of western Europe. These trips to foreign lands provided Frances with inspiration for many of her paintings.
Frances is survived by her three children, four grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. Her husband Louis died in 2013. She will be buried next to him in Quantico National Cemetery, Virginia.
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