Story & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb

With its customary pride and precision, the award-winning Windsor Fife & Drum Corps led an annual parade & muster in Windsor, Connecticut September 8 – but missing from his traditional front post was co-founder and former director Fran Dillon. This year’s “parade & muster” was a tribute to the memory of Dillon, whose life was lost after his motorcycle was hit by a car this past February.

Fran Dillon:  May 17, 1945- February 17, 2012.

“Carrying his espontoon and marching as the color guard commander, Fran was always found at the front of the Windsor Corps leading them down the street,” – these emotional words were spoken during a ceremony on the Windsor Town Green.

In offering a blessing, Dr. Dan Mack commended the Windsor Corps for carrying on ” in a most unfortunate time,” despite the tragic loss. Clad in a shirt with a “in memory of Mr.D” patch and choking back tears, Dillon’s daughter who has taken the reigns of the corps, spoke of her father’s legacy. She noted that although his family built and ran Bart’s restaurant which became a Windsor landmark, Fran Dillon left his own mark on the town that he loved through his devotion to the Windsor Corps and countless hours of dedication to the group.

Fran Dillon’s daughter.

“For my father, the corps was all about the kids,” she said, “To many people he was the face of the Corps.”

“Over the years, thousands of kids from the Windsor area passed through the ranks of the Corps and through the heart of Fran Dillon. He knew every member well and always pushed them to give their best.”

Dr. Dan Mack.

Under Dillon’s leadership the Windsor Fife & Drum Corps, founded twenty-seven years ago, received numerous awards. In their inaugural appearance in the Windsor’s Shad Derby Day Parade, the Corps took first place. They went on to win many regional recognitions, as well as, two Northeastern championships and four Connecticut state championships. They performed in Washington D.C., at West Point, Fort Ticonderoga, the Eastern States Exposition and four times at Walt Disney World in Florida.

Marquis of Granby enters Windsor Town Green

In a special tribute to Dillon, the Windsor Corps performed his favorite song and our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Joining the Windsor Fife & Drum Corps in the order of the march were: Marquis of Granby, Gloucester Light Infantry of Chepachet, Rhode Island, Deep River Juniors, Milford Volunteers, Nutmeg Fife & Drum of Groton, Adamsville Ancients of Delmar, New York, Connecticut Patriots of Plainville, Warehouse Point Seniors, Westbrook Seniors, Colchester Continentals, Col. John Chester of Wethersfield, Colonial Musketeers of Hackettstown, New Jersey, Valley Field Music of Middletown and the Windsor Fife & Alumni.