Although he lived to be just 26, it was clear Tuesday morning that George Dillman touched lives at every stage of his life.
Hundreds of family, friends, firefighters, utility workers and former classmates, many forced to stand, crowded into the Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church to mourn the death of Dillman, a College Point native and Con Edison splicer, who was killed in a manhole explosion in Brooklyn last Thursday.
Wearing a necklace she gave to her brother for Christmas five years ago, his sister, Theresa Dillman, struggled through tears as she remembered her sibling, who walked her to school every day and would throw parties when she was upset.
“I bought him this necklace and I was so proud of it. I gave it to him,” Theresa said. “My brother never took this necklace off. And now I’m never going to take this necklace off until the day I die.
Con Ed workers retrieved the necklace from Dillman’s body and gave it to the family.
“You all can’t cry. You can’t cry. Georgie wouldn’t want it that way. I know my brother, you guys can’t forget him,” Theresa said.
A Queens native, Dillman attended Holy Trinity Roman Catholic School in Whitestone and St. Francis Preparatory High School in Fresh Meadows, where he graduated in 2000. He had been working at Con Ed for about three years and was a volunteer firefighter at the Hicksville Fire Department in Long Island, the same community where he lived at the time of his death.
Dillman was splicing two high-voltage cables together beneath a Brooklyn street last Thursday when an explosion occurred, shooting flames out of the manhole and killing him. The cause of the explosion remained under investigation Tuesday, Con Ed officials said.
Janice Hengl, Dillman’s first-grade teacher at Holy Trinity church, across the street from where his funeral was held, said the 26-year-old was mischievous but overwhelmingly charming.
“He would just melt your heart,” Hengl said. “He was the kind of boy who would do something wrong and you’d reprimand him and he’d just flash you that smile and that was it. It was forgiven.”
Following the funeral, firefighters and Con Ed workers solemnly stood in lines forming a hallway of public service workers as Dillman’s casket was slowly carried to a waiting Hicksville fire truck, which now bears his name in block letters across the front.
Dillman’s fiancée, Alyssa Block, said it was a testament to the man he was.
“He loved knowing he could make a difference in someone else’s life. I’m so sad he’s gone, but so glad for the time we had,” Block said. “I will never know why God took him, but I’ll always love him and miss him.”
Dillman was survived by his fiancée; his parents, Raymond and Anne; his sisters, Mary, Theresa and Andre; and his brothers, Patrick and Gary.
Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@
©2008 Community News Group
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