THOMAS FRANCIS DILLON
Age 64, of Sarasota, Florida, formerly of Point Breeze, passed away suddenly on Monday, May 21, 2018. Tom was the beloved youngest son of the late James J. and Grace M. Dillon. He is survived by brothers, James (Shirley), Michael (Liz Boyle), John (Sandy) and the late Joseph and Patrick Dillon. Tom was a graduate of Central Catholic High School (1971) and Edinboro University of PA (1975). He worked for Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus as a Trainmaster, Blue Unit, for ten years, then became Manager of Rail Operations for the remainder of his 30-plus year career. Tom loved his job and considered the people he worked with his second family. He enjoyed telling circus stories and people loved hearing them. At Tom's retirement party in 2016, Roy Fullgrapp, Tom's longtime friend and supervisor, proudly remarked "if Tom were an athlete, his number would be retired". That says it all about Tom's work ethic and ability. He cherished his childhood and college friends and enjoyed traveling with them. Tom will be deeply missed by his beloved brothers, family and friends.
Remembrances in Tom's honor may be made to Circus and Traveling Shows Retirement Project, Inc., P.O. Box 15121, Sarasota, FL 34277.
Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from May 23 to May 24, 2018
On August 23, 2017 we received a 93 foot train car from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus .
We will forever be indebted to Tom for his passion and expertise in helping to guide and ensure the train car making it to our property in Seffnerso smoothly.
RBX Car #57 has found it's ‘forever home’ at our retirement village as our new community center. Your donations continue to help with many upgrades that need to be complete before our residents are able to enjoy community activities in RBX # 57. We thank you for helping in supporting the upgrading of SWQ’s infrastructure systems, necessary upgrading on the train (air and electric) etc...
About the Train Car (RBX #57)
RBX #57 was built in 1953 by American Car and Foundry Company of St. Charles, Missouri as Union Pacific passenger car 5453. It was acquired by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey in 1972 and refurbished as the trainmaster’s car. Constructed of aluminum, the body of RBX #57 will remain practically maintenance-free for many years to come. Once installed at the SWQ, RBX #57 will be remodeled as a community center, complete with an activity space, kitchen, bathroom and laundry facilities. The railroad bed has already been laid to receive RBX Car #57 at the SWQ.
“The Ringling Bros. Circus train was one-of-a-kind, something people came out to see and celebrated every time it rolled through cities across the U.S. The circus train was home to performers and their families for over 146 years,” said Kenneth Feld, Chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment. “With the closing of the circus, it was important to our family that the donated Ringling Bros. train cars served a special purpose in local communities and functioned as a place to gather and make memories.”
About Showpeoples Winter Quarters (SWQ)
“The SWQ charges nominal rent to its residents, and is supported primarily by private and public donations,” Father Hogan explained. “The Greatest Show On Earth® provided wonderfully wholesome family entertainment to countless millions of circusgoers over the years. We are now asking the public to help support some of those hard-working showpeople during their retirement years.”
The SWQ is located on a beautiful, heavily-shaded three-acre site along U.S. Route 92 in Seffner, Florida. It can house up 10 mobile homes on permanent sites, as well as provide electrical, water and septic hookups, and equipment storage for temporary RV parking. SWQ was converted into a retirement mobile home park in 2015 with financing from the Florida Community Loan Fund, FCLF, a financing service for Florida-based nonprofits and for-profit, mission-focused developers and housing authorities that offers a wide range of assistance to social service organizations and community health service providers.
Our Staff and Volunteers
Fr. Jerry Hogan and Fr. Richard Notter, President & Vice President of Showpeoples Winter Quarters in Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Reunion parade in Baraboo, Wisconsin July 22, 2017
A few of our volunteers at the Sunday Ecumenical Service in Baraboo, Wisconsin
- A Giovanni Zoppe
- Matthew Cross
- James Ragona
- Allan Kirk
- David Carlyon
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more