Johneen Bice Dillon passed away from complications of emphysema at age 81 on Jan. 17, 2012 in her daughter’s home in Houston, Texas. Born June 20, 1930 in Dimmitt, Texas, she was the only child of Thomas Floyd Bice and Cecil Maurine Smith Bice.
She is survived by her son Tom Dillon and wife Ruth, residents of Moab, Utah, and twin daughters Karen Duncan and husband Grant and Kelly Jones and husband Bobby, residents of Houston, Texas. She is also survived by her granddaughters, Kara Planchard, Kacee Planchard and Kathryn Jones.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Texas Tech University and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Southern California. She was an accomplished impressionist oil painter, drawing and painting a wide variety of subjects from portraits to desert landscapes. Johneen was proud to have studied under such artists as Frederic Taubes and Jan De Ruth. She loved to teach oil painting and did so for much of her adult life.
Johneen was a Texas Tech beauty queen and a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. While there, she was commissioned to paint a mural in American State Bank. The mural covered a large interior wall of the bank and greeted customers as they entered the building.
As a young mother in Midland, Texas, Johneen designed a veritable plethora of houses and buildings, including the home in which she raised her children. She was also active in the bridge community and even played in a number of international tournaments.
Johneen was an exceptionally fun-loving free spirit. In Dimmitt, when she was only 7 she called the parents of each of her girlfriends and said that there was a birthday party at one of her friends’ house, giving each parent a start time 10 minutes later than the last one. Kids showed up at the little girl’s house all day long, dressed in their party dresses, presents in hand. Johneen got caught with this prank because she was the only one who didn’t show up.
During the last few years, while she lived in Moab, Utah, Johneen loved to go to the Slickrock Cafe and listen to Dakota and Rod play music. She would often sing “Summertime” and “Over the Rainbow” to great applause from the people in the bar, often causing a small crowd to form outside to hear her sing. She was gregarious and never hesitated to strike up a conversation with someone at the next table, meeting people from all over the world. The people who knew her in Moab called her “The Momma”. She also loved sightseeing in the Moab area, marveling at the red rock formations, which were a common theme in her landscape paintings from decades earlier.
Johneen’s favorite saying was always, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” In her later years she added, “And it’s all small stuff.” Johneen would love to know that each of you would tell someone that you love them.
A burial will be held in Dimmitt, Texas with a quiet family service.