Something’s fishy about diet of local man, 105

One of Thorncliffe Park’s oldest residents received an unexpected birthday present on May 21. Ward 26 councillor John Parker arrived, delivering a framed letter from the city celebrating John Henry Dillon’s 105th birthday.

Dillon, born in Guyana on May 19, 1909 and living in Canada since 1975, was speechless at first. But when asked later to share the secret to his long life he was glad to oblige.

“Don’t eat chicken,” he said. “Never.”

He said he also cut red meat from his diet years ago, and eats mainly fish.

Before moving to Canada, Dillon spent 13 years in Guyana’s militia, and 29 working for the country’s Berbice Electric Company.

His wife passed away in 1996, after 59 years of marriage. Along with four daughters he has nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

The Dillons remain a close-knit family: daughters Ruth and Sonita live in Thorncliffe Park, while Aileen lives in Mississauga and Cora visits every month from Pennsylvania.

Longevity runs in Dillon’s family, too. His mother lived to age 105 and his father to 96. Two siblings, who live in London, England are 102 and 98. His youngest brother died at 92.

Dillon jokes that his immediate goal is to live until September, when he’ll have outlived his mother.

“It’s rare that I’m honoured with the opportunity to play a role in something like this,” Parker said about his role in the celebration, adding that he was “flattered” when Dillon’s daughters invited him to their father’s apartment to mark the occasion.