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Noel Dillon was an active member of Towson Presbyterian Church.
Noel Dillon was an active member of Towson Presbyterian Church.

Noel J. Dillon, a retired Maersk Line executive who was an active member of Towson Presbyterian Church, died Dec. 27 from heart failure at Orchard Hill Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Towson. The Stoneleigh resident was 87.

Noel Patrick Dillon — he later legally changed his name to Noel John Dillon in the 1950s — son of Dermott Dillon, owner and publisher of the East Hampton Star newspaper on Long Island, New York, and his wife, Marion Boughton Dillon, a registered nurse, was born in New York City and raised in East Hampton, New York.

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He was a 1950 graduate of East Hampton High School and enrolled at Duke University, where he was an ROTC scholar and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1954. After graduating from Duke, he served on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific and was discharged with rank of lieutenant commander junior grade in 1956.

While attending Columbia University in a master’s degree program, Mr. Dillon met and fell in love with a fellow student, the former Barbara Estelle Bivin, whom he married in 1962.

In the 1960s, Mr. Dillon moved to Baltimore when he joined SeaLand, which later became a division of Maersk Line, where he rose to become regional sales director for the Far East. He retired in 1996.

Mr. Dillon was an active member of Towson Presbyterian Church, where he was an elder, deacon and trustee. He often sat with the “homeless people who came to the church for a hot meal,” family members said.

He was also a member of the church’s book club as well as the one at the old Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church, which has since merged with Govans Presbyterian Church.

Mr. Dillon loved the ocean and enjoyed ocean swimming and sailing aboard his Catalina 27-foot sailboat, the Noel’s Ark, which he kept berthed at Snug Harbor in Middle River on the Chesapeake Bay.

He was also an inveterate tennis player and was a member of the Cross Keys Tennis Club and Homeland Tennis Club.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Jan. 18 at his church, 400 W. Chesapeake Ave., Towson.

In addition to his wife of 57 years, Mr. Dillon is survived by two daughters, Virginia Freeberger of Stoneleigh and Elizabeth Cooney of Medfield, Massachusetts; and three grandchildren.

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