Obituary for H. Dean Dixon
H. Dean Dixon, 71, of Coldwater, peacefully went Home to God on Saturday, November 12, 2016 in his sleep at home.
The service will be Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 4:00 PM at Dutcher Funeral Home in Coldwater with Pastor Jeff Bream from Northview Christian Church officiating. Visitation will be held Tuesday, prior to the service, beginning at 12 Noon. Interment will take place following cremation at Oak Grove Cemetery in Coldwater.
Dean was born December 23, 1944 in Newport, Arkansas to Dean A. Dixon and Ima Lee Lassiter. He was raised by his adoptive mother Bernadine Shepard. He received an honorable discharge after serving in the U.S. Air Force from 1965-1968, mostly in England.
On February 24, 1975, he married Vera Mae (Mast) Nelson in Three Rivers, Michigan and became the father of five children the same day, beginning the adventure of a lifetime for Dean. He and Vera graduated from Western Michigan University with a 4.0 GPA in 1978, earning a degree in Sociology and Criminal Justice. He worked at the Saugatuck prison before moving to Coldwater in 1985 to help open the prisons here. When he retired in 2001, he was a Resident Unit Manager at Lakeland Correctional Facility, and Florence Crane Correctional Facility.
Dean and his wife Vera enjoyed traveling the country in their RV and spent many winters in Arkansas, eventually moving there in 2001 so that he could enjoy Arkansas Razorback football, basketball, golf and any other sport that yelled "Ooooo, Pig Soiee!" on a victory. He was an avid fan of golf as well, playing all over the country and occasionally helping at the Masters Golf Tournaments. He was proud of his friendships with people from all walks of life, and how far a self described "alley rat" like him could go in life if he had a mind to. They moved back to Michigan in 2015.
Dean led a large and colorful life, filled with many opportunities for adventures. He had a quick, dry, witty sense of humor. He was a man who commanded respect but had a huge soft spot in his soul, blessing, supporting and loving his family. He was an absolutely devoted husband of 41 years to Vera, and a wonderful father, grandfather and great grandfather.
Dean was a compassionate generous soul who volunteered for the CASA program (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children) in Arkansas mentoring children, and also drove a Senior Courtesy Shuttle for the Commission on Aging. Dean was a proud sponsor of the Jillian Crist Scholarship Fund, assisting future health care professionals with their educational expenses. He never left anyone out that wanted to be a part of his life, and continued counseling people until the last day of his life. He was a member of the Unity Church of Bella Vista, AR.
Dean leaves behind a huge void in the hearts of those who knew him. Among those are the love of his life Vera, his children Nicki (Mick) Niland of Harrisburg PA, Thom Nelson of Little Rock, AR, Jaime (Ed) Cook of Fuquay-Varina, NC, Louise (Mark) Crist and Vincent (Carol) Nelson, all of Coldwater, MI. Also mourning the loss of the incredible "Bumpa Dean" are his grandchildren Tara, Sean and Craig Niland, Shea, Zac and Amanda Cook, Erica Crist-Krenzalek and Sierra Crist, Ben, Ian and Kenton Nelson and 6 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his aunt Nancy Williams, one 1/2 sister, Michele Donnelly, three 1/2 brothers, William, Ronald and Kerry Milligan, and his aunt Lavonda Warren.
Dean was preceded in death by his parents and adoptive mother. His granddaughter, Jillian Crist also welcomed him Home, and will take good care of him until those who love him can someday follow. We are all just walking each other Home.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Jillian Crist Memorial Scholarship Fund or CASA of Branch County. (Checks to the Community Foundation of Branch County, specify CASA) www.dutcherfh.com.