Brother Tom Dillman dies in Ghana at 94

Brother Thomas Dillman, C.S.C., age 94, died on Nov. 2, 2021, at the Holy Cross District Center, in Brafuywa, Ghana, West Africa. He was born in Evansville, Ind., the son of Joseph and Minnie Dillman and graduated from Reitz Memorial High School in 1945. He began college studies at Evansville College for a year, then transferred to the University of Cincinnati to pursue a degree in engineering. After reading Thomas Merton’s Seven Story Mountain he decided to follow a calling to join the Holy Cross Brothers. He entered the Congregation of Holy Cross in January 1950 and professed final vows on Aug. 16, 1954.

Brother Tom was assigned to study at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in general engineering in 1952, and later a master’s degree in Industrial Arts at Indiana State College in 1958. Prior to going as a missionary to Liberia and then to Ghana in 1969, he taught at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, Ind., at Archbishop Hoban High School, Akron, Ohio, and at Holy Cross Junior College (now Holy Cross College) in South Bend, Ind. 

In West Africa Brother Tom was known as an excellent math teacher, even publishing his own textbooks, which were used for many years throughout the region. During the 1990 Liberian Civil War, Brother Tom was forced to leave, yet he stubbornly stayed until the many missionaries and the archbishop had gotten out safely.  He barely escaped to Senegal, then back to the States, and eventually to Ghana, where he remained for the rest of his life, making a dramatic and extensive outreach with the poor. He will be buried in Our Lady of Sorrows Cemetery in Ghana.