Date of Death: Feb 01, 2016
Myrtle was born April 4th, 1927 in Hochow, Kansu, China, to missionary parents, Carter and Lora Holton. Carter and Lora had met each other in Kansu, China with the Christian & Missionary Alliance and were married in June, 1925 on the mission field. Their first child Myrtle came along soon thereafter and when Myrtle was only one month old, the missionaries in Kansu were forced to leave to evade the approaching communist forces by floating down the Yellow River on a raft made of inflated pigskins. The family returned to Kansu in September of 1928 and remained there until 1934 when they returned to the US. They returned to China in 1936 and Myrtle attended the CIM boarding school at Chefoo in the Shantung Province of China. She enjoyed the British educational system used by the Chefoo School and grew deep bonds with fellow missionary classmates. Myrtle and her sister, Lora Jean, left Chefoo abruptly in the spring of 1941 as World War II had begun and conditions there had become very dangerous. By God’s great mercy they were safely evacuated and eventually arrived in Orlando, FL in the fall of 1942 where they began attending Hampden Dubose Academy, a Christian boarding school. Myrtle and Lora Jean were separated from their parents for 5 years until they were reunited in May of 1944 in Florida at the time of Myrtle’s graduation from HDA. Myrtle then enrolled at Wheaton College in Illinois in the fall of that year.
Soon after arriving in Wheaton she met a handsome and ardent boy from a farm in southeast Michigan named Alan Dillon. They both enjoyed the thriving Wheaton College environment and grew tremendously spiritually and academically. They fell in love and were married in March of 1948 in a ceremony at the College Church in Wheaton performed by Dr. Merrill Tenney. In the fall of that year they left for Japan as missionaries with the Far Eastern Gospel Crusade. Because the effects of the war were still very present and the country of Japan was on food rations, they brought two tons of food with them aboard the US Troop Transport David C. Shanks for use during their first term in Japan. At first they lived in Zoshigaya at the mission headquarters, which at that time was in a home in the Toshima Ward of Tokyo. They began to study the Japanese language and be involved in mission work. At times, in those early years after the war, they were surrounded during street meetings by Japanese who were interested by what they were teaching. Alan became the training director for the mission (Far Eastern Gospel Crusade, now called SEND Int’l) in 1950, and in addition to his mission work he helped new missionaries become acclimated. Two children, Daniel and James, came along during that period and added much joy to their lives. Myrtle always had a strong interest in Christian education with children in particular. Almost every Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning found Myrtle teaching a large roomful of Japanese children about the Bible. Their third son David joined them in 1956 as a late Christmas present. In 1960 at the beginning of their third term in Japan they moved to the city of Kawagoe in the Saitama prefecture, northwest of Tokyo. They put down roots in Kawagoe and ultimately played a major role in helping to the start the Kawagoe Seisho Kyokai (Kawagoe Bible Church) which is still thriving and worshipping God today under the leadership of Pastor Hiroshi Kishimoto. Alan and Myrtle continued their mission work in Kawagoe through children’s meetings, teaching English and leading bible studies until they left the mission field in 1978, at which time the church was being led by Pastor Koji Yoshida.
Upon arrival in the US, Alan and Myrtle lived in Rockford, Illinois for a number of years and then moved to a beautiful, quiet, farm community near Waupun, Wisconsin. They enjoyed worshipping and helping in ministry at the First Reformed Church of Waupun where Myrtle served as Director of Children’s Ministries from 2001 to 2005. Myrtle loved to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and blessed all those who knew her. She is survived by her sister Lora Jean Heurlin (and husband, Jack), three children: Daniel, James (and wife, Connie) and David (and wife, Michele); grandchildren: Luke, Paul, Kristin, Lauren and Caroline, and great grandchildren: Oscar and Milo.
Friends and relatives may call on the family at the Werner- Harmsen Funeral Home, 201 E. Jefferson Street, Waupun, WI on Saturday Feb. 13 from 9:30 to 11:30 am.
Funeral service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 13 at 1 pm at the First Reformed Church, 422 W. Franklin Street, Waupun, WI. The Reverend Rick Boon will officiate.
Burial will follow at the Forest Mound Cemetery in Waupun.
Donations may be directed to the First Reformed Church of Waupun in lieu of flowers.