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Connie Mae Dillow

Alumni Remembrance

Obituary for Connie Mae Dillow

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Connie Mae Dillow was born September 30, 1931 in Stanley, North Dakota to Franklin C. and Helen (Rude) Isaacson. Connie graduated from Minot High School in 1949 and attended Minot State Teachers College for two years. In 1953, Connie earned a Bachelors Degree and, in 1954, a Masters Degree in Dramatic Arts from the University of Minnesota.
She met Ted at Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa where she was running the theater department and he was teaching and serving as the college chaplain but she moved to New York City in 1956 to pursue her dream of acting professionally. During her three years in NYC, Connie acted in several off Broadway shows and also taught acting classes. She also appeared on several variety shows on television. She taught at The Boy’s Club at Brick Presbyterian Church while in New York City. Ted travelled to New York City to propose to Connie and bring her back to Fairfield. They were married in Fairfield on February 1, 1960 and continued their work at Parsons College until they moved to Wahoo in 1965 where Ted served as Dean and President and Connie was the head of the theater department. She continued in that job until the college closed in 1975. In 1978, Connie became the first teacher for the Lincoln Public Schools Advanced Theatre Company which brought advanced theater students from all LPS high schools together for a semester of 90-minute master classes on all aspects of theater, and staging a full production. Connie had a way with young people, and yet she held them to her own high standards. The plays she chose for her Advanced Theater Company were all great classics. Connie began teaching theater part time at Wahoo High School in 1979 where she shared her infinite passion for theater with hundreds of students. Her excitement ignited passion in others. She often said that her job was to let her students “taste drama and literature and wallow in them.” She retired from teaching in 2006.
In conjunction with her role as a teacher, and her strong involvement in the Kid’s Summer Institute, Connie embraced her role as a mother raising four children. Finally, in 1994, she returned to the stage for the first time in 31 years, appearing in “You Can’t Take it With You” at Lincoln Community Playhouse. In 1995, Connie earned a Best Actress Award for her portrayal of Daisy in “Driving Miss Daisy.” In 1998, she was inducted into the Educational Theatre Association Hall of Fame at the association’s National Conference in San Diego, CA. Among her other many honors was winning the Governor’s Arts Award for Excellence in Arts Education in 2012.
She is survived by her children Eric (Kathy) Dillow of Papillion, Tanya (Mike) McArtor of Grant NE, Tamra (Rob) Spykstra of Davenport IA, Tori (Jeff) Ryan of Lincoln; grandchildren Carl Dillow, Allison Dillow, Heidi Dillow, James McArtor, Sam McArtor, Zachariah Spykstra, Caleb Spykstra, Seth Spykstra, Emily Spykstra, David Ryan, Michael Ryan, Hannah Ryan and Jonathan Ryan; brother Bill (Jane) Isaacson, Stanley ND. Connie was preceded in death by her parents Franklin and Helen (Rude) Isaacson, and husband Ted Dillow.

Memorials may be made to Alzheimer’s Association or Lincoln Community Playhouse.
 

 

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