Marieka “Rickey” Dagon – (88) – a resident of Updyke’s Nursing Facility, formerly of 11 Main St., Hornell and later 440 Seneca Road, Hornell, died early Sunday morning (July 26, 2015) at McAuley Manor where she had been a patient for the past week.
She was born in Olean, NY on November 20, 1926 to Chris & Sarah Beliles. When she was 2 months old, she was adopted by her loving parents, John & Bessie (Dromazos) Plianos.
Marieka grew up in Bolivar, NY where she attended Bolivar Central School. When she was 15 years old, she moved to Dansville, NY and was a graduate of Dansville High School (class of 1944). While in high school, she worked at the former Sugar Bowl, a restaurant owned & operated by her uncles.
Growing up in Dansville, Rickey never knew that she actually had a brother & 5 sisters. Being of Greek origin, her parents were unable to read English and Rickey had to read their mail for them. At the tender age of 15, Marieka, while reading a letter for her mother, was thrilled to learn that she had a family in Olean. She finally got the opportunity to meet them when she was 19 years old. They remained close from that day on.
Following high school, Rickey moved to Rochester where she graduated from Highland Hospital School of Nursing (class of 1947) earning her Registered Nurse’s license. She later furthered her education, taking several nursing related courses at Geneseo State College. She also took courses in Psychology and Pediatrics at Albany Hospital where she met her future husband, Jim Dagon. At that time, Jim was a pre-law student at Sienna College. Jim eventually became a funeral director, taking over the operation of the Dagon Funeral Home, following the death of his father in 1947.
Marieka began her nursing career by serving as Operating Room Supervisor at Noyes Memorial Hospital in Dansville for about 3 ½ years. She was offered a position at the former Bethesda Community Hospital and briefly was in charge of the Operating Room — again, as O.R. Supervisor.
She was married on September 6, 1950 to James J. Dagon. Throughout the 1950’s & 1960’s, as Rickey & Jim began raising their family (eventually seven children), Marieka worked part time as a “floor nurse” at St. James Mercy Hospital. She later served as “Charge Nurse” of the night shift of the North Wing of St. James and later as Emergency Room Supervisor. On occasion, she would act as a private duty nurse for family & close friends.
From 1972 – 1986, Rickey was employed as the school nurse at the Hornell High School. She thoroughly enjoyed her years at HHS, especially the close relationships that she had with the students. In 1979, she was honored by the students as they dedicated the HHS Year Book in her honor. Marieka taught nursing classes to High School Seniors and also adults via the Steuben County BOCES program for several years, helping others to begin their careers as nurses.
Following the death of her husband, Jim, in 1983, Rickey began helping her son, Jim, JR in the operation of the Dagon Funeral Home which her husband had operated since 1947. For the next 21 years, Marieka assisted by tending door during calling hours and also working funerals. She “retired” in 2004, but would still help out if needed.
She was a member of Our Lady of the Valley Parish and a communicant of St. Ann’s Church. Marieka had been a member of the Ladies of Columbus and the Catholic Daughters of America. She served on the Board of the American Red Cross for 11 years and was a member of the American Heart Association.
Rickey will be remembered as a devoted wife, who adored her husband, and a wonderful, caring & loving mother, who never missed an opportunity to say “I Love You” to her seven children. As an adopted daughter, she brought sunshine & happiness to her parents who were unable to have children. As a sister, she was “the best” & as a friend, there were none better. She certainly has earned a warm spot in the hearts of everyone whose life she touched.
In addition to her husband, Jim Dagon, who died in 1983, she was preceded in death by her granddaughter, Jill Andolina who died in 2013; her brother, George Beliles; sisters, Kate Lamberson, Anna Stocum & Fran Dieter.
Surviving are 2 sons, Jim (Patty) Dagon of Hornell and John (Karen) Dagon of Hornell; 5 daughters, Ellen Dagon of Hornell, Mary (Larry) Clark of Hornell, Molly (Rick) Andolina of Arkport, Sally (Rich) Head of Hornell and Anne (Rich) Scavo of North Hornell; 2 sisters, Mary Havers of Olean and Freda Schultis of Oneonta; 23 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; several nieces & nephews.
The family of Marieka “Rickey” Dagon will receive friends on Tuesday from 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM at the Dagon Funeral Home, 38 Church St., Hornell, NY. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday at 2:00 PM at St. Ann’s Church with burial in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Rickey’s family request that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in her name be made to St. Ann’s Academy, PO Box 446, Hornell, NY 14843 or to the Jillian Andolina Memorial Dog Yard, C/O Hornell Humane Society, 7649 Industrial Park Road, Hornell, NY 14843. Memorial forms will be available at the Dagon Funeral Home or click here to print a memorial form
Marieka’s family would like to express their sincere gratitude to the wonderful staff at both Updykes Nursing Facility and McAuley Manor. Mom’s last few years at Updykes were “good years” because of the outstanding care that she was given. The staff at McAuley Manor made mom’s last few days extremely comfortable and pain free. A hearty “Thank-You” to all of the staff at both facilities.