The Journey Continues: Cathy Dillon

On my journey I have read and admired Cathy Dillon’s articulate letters to the editor of this newspaper. Everyone who lives in San Marcos has passed the Crystal River Inn on Hopkins Street where the Dillon’s settled in 1984. Cathy, a cardiovascular nurse nurse and her husband, Mike Dillon, a real estate entrepreneur, were living in Houston and came for a leisure weekend to San Marcos. They fell in love with the river and the town. They purchased the 1883 Judge William Wood house, and renamed it “the Crystal River Inn” (naming each room after a Texas river). Both Mike and Cathy love to canoe on the San Marcos River.

To begin: Dillon said, “We loved the house, but living on a main street had little appeal, until I had an epiphany—why not start a B&B here in San Marcos! So our oldest daughter Sarah and the Crystal River Inn share the same birthday which is Valentine’s Day 1984. We adopted her via my father, a rancherphysician in California who gave us not only our first wonderful child, but also an endless supply of almonds grown ‘Dr. Coats’s Nut Farm’. Sarah was in high school when we fell in love with Alexey and Tatiana, a brother and sister pair from Russia that we met though a summer fostering program. I was the oldest mom in the PTA before we got them, our second family, through high school. Now, I am an elated new grandmother, totally blessed because all three children and their families live either here or in Austin.”

“Dillon has served on the Heritage Association Board of Directors, many civic boards and committees and received numerous accolades including induction in 1982 into the San Marcos Women’s Hall of Fame. She was presented in May 2015, the Rogers Family Tourism Award and Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her dedication to and development of the San Marcos tourism industry,” an article from May 2015 in the San Marcos Daily Record reads.

Dillon is proud that The Crystal River Inn is acknowledged by the Texas B&B Association as the oldest one in Texas still operated by the original owners.

During our interview, several people stepped into the study to speak to Dillon; and it became apparent to me these folks were refugees from Hurricane Harvey in Houston. I asked Dillon to share how she and Mike became involved in offering shelter to storm victims. It is this part of her journey that highlights her Christian witness and concern for folks in distress.

“It started with Hurricane Katrina which struck New Orleans in August 2005,” Dillon said. “Mike and I thought we could help – we offered the Inn to FEMA – like in the ‘Starfish’ story, we thought we could make a difference for some! Katrina led us to ultimately coordinate help more than 250 people from New Orleans. After that, Hurricane Ike, two major local floods in 2015 and Hurricane Harvey brought more guests in need of comfort and shelter.”

Dillon grew up in the Methodist church back in California and says her life verse is Romans 12:13: “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice Hospitality.” Dillon is a connector; a liaison between willing sources and folks in need. She does it all.

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666