Dillon was mental health advocate

Nancy Dillon is remembered as a committed advocate for Minnesotans experiencing mental illness, and as someone who elevated the status of psychiatric nursing in Minnesota. Dillon died in December after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. She was 74 and lived in Brooklyn Park.

A native of New York, Dillon came to Minnesota in 1983. Her career focus was always in mental health. She spent two decades as a nurse at the Minneapolis Veterans Medical Center, and then became the first chief nurse executive at the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). In that role she worked with nurses at state group homes and other state facilities.

She worked on training and policies for nurses, helped design a new system for patients to get treatment closer to home, taught part-time at the University of Minnesota nursing school and volunteered on the board for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Minnesota.

She is survived by her husband, daughter, son, a sister and two grandchildren. Services are postponed due to the pandemic.