August 26, 2010 | 1165 views
Former county D.A. remembered
Hundreds attend funeral Mass to pay final respects to Denis Dillon
In a funeral Mass attended by hundreds, including public officials, representatives of the law enforcement community and local residents, former Nassau County District Attorney Denis Dillon, a Rockville Centre resident, was remembered at St. Agnes Cathedral on Aug. 19 as a man of service with unwavering beliefs.
Dillon lost his battle with lymphoma on Aug. 15, dying in his home at the age of 76.
In their words of remembrance, state Supreme Court Judge Arthur Diamond and Dillon’s daughter, Barbara, praised the late prosecutor for his life of public service and his dedication to the people and the religion he loved.
Diamond, Dillon’s former campaign manager and a longtime friend, delivered the first eulogy at the nearly two-hour-long service, describing Dillon as a “man for all seasons,” comparing him to Sir Thomas More for the fervent devotion he felt for his Roman Catholic faith.
“Denis and I were inseparable,” Diamond recalled. “He was smart, funny and loving. But perhaps most importantly, he was a true servant of his religion and valued it over almost anything else.”
Fighting back tears, Barbara Dillon said that her father was a great provider for his family and the community. “He was a man of principle who sought to do right,” she said. “Who he was and what he stood for made him a special person.”
Dillon, one of the longest-tenured district attorneys in U.S. history, from 1974 to 2005, was eulogized with a mix of sadness and humor. He was described as an independent thinker, well-read, contemplative, worldly, always proud of his Irish ancestry, sometimes uncompromising, and never a politician because he passionately embraced the rights of the unborn — a stance not well received by many voters.
Msgr. Robert Brennan, who led the Mass, said, “Denis wanted to know God and his truth. Integrity was the best word to describe him, and he was a watchman waiting on the Lord and looking out for the well-being of people.”
Bishop William Murphy was unable to attend the Mass, but in his stead, Bishop John Dunne spoke to the congregation. “Denis is now in a place in which he has prepared for his whole life,” Dunne said at the end of the ceremony. “May he rest in peace.”
Uniformed pallbearers, bagpipe players and an honor guard from the Nassau County Police Department were on hand, and after the ceremony, a procession followed a hearse to the Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury, where Dillon was buried.
He is survived by his wife, Anne; Barbara and another daughter, Alice Marie.
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