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Robert Earl Dixon, age 72, known affectionately as “Bob” to his family and friends, departed this life on Aug. 21, 2021, in Panama City, Fla.
Dixon was born June 25, 1950 in Thomasville, to Johnnie Lee Dixon and Lottie Marie Norris Dixon, who both preceded him in death, as well as his baby sister, whom he loved, Julia Ann “Judy” Dixon.
He and Mary Kelly Dixon of Pine Hill married in 1969, just days after his 19th birthday. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary prior to his passing.
He graduated from Thomasville High School in 1968. He was an accomplished member of the band while he was in school and this love for music stayed with him his whole life. He graduated from the University of South Alabama in Mobile in 1972 with a degree in Industrial Management. He was a member of the Alpha Kappa Psi fraternity.
Dixon’s career in industrial management took him to locations across the southeast United States, and during this time his two children were born, Shantel in Starkville and Elana in Plano. He achieved great success with Haggar making slacks, earning the title of Plant Manager of the Year in Dallas, Texas in 1982. He owned horses in Stevenson, Alabama, and Bob and his girls took part in quarter horse shows. Bob loved being around animals.
He returned to his hometown of Thomasville in 1989 with his wife and children. They bought a beautifully restored home in the historic downtown area. He opened and operated several different businesses. Dixon enjoyed hunting with pedigreed dogs and maintained a kennel of dogs as long as he lived in Thomasville. He supported the Thomasville School System where his wife worked for many years. He had many trusted friends in the town he loved whom he cared deeply for all throughout his life, even when he moved to Panama City, Florida to be close to his grandchildren.
Dixon enjoyed playing and listening to music his whole life. He took guitar lessons into his 70s and performed in concerts and recitals throughout his 60s. He would get up every morning and play for at least an hour, singing songs from Hank Williams to Darius Rucker, with gospel music making an appearance occasionally. While he mostly played acoustic guitar, some mornings in his 70s he would wake up the house with the Fender Stratocaster and the electric amplifier.
He is survived by his loving wife, Mary Kelly Dixon of Pine Hill; two daughters, Shantel Dixon and Elana Dixon (Wesley) Hatcher; four grandchildren, Ella Grace Hatcher, Wesley “Tripp” Hatcher II, John Tolbie “J.T.” Hatcher and Julia-Marie “Jules” Hatcher; many furry grands, all of Panama City, Fla; his brother, James Fellon Dixon (Tami) of Thomasville, and his nieces, Christy Dixon Gray (Steven) and Nikki Dixon Wilkerson, and their children, Aubrey Gray, James Gray, Lillian “Lil” Gray and Piper Wilkerson, as well as Tyler Pierce and his daughter Annsley Rose, Todd Pierce (Emma) Jr., Charlie and Beck.
After his death, his body was donated for medical research as he suffered from early onset Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. The University of Florida in Gainesville was able to use his body to study these hereditary diseases and hopefully cures will be found soon. After completing their research, the university has returned Bob’s cremated remains to the family.
At this time, the Dixon family would like to welcome all to a Celebration of Life beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 25, at the Cotton House in Thomasville. This would have been his 73rd birthday. The family request that those who knew him attend and share a story, share some food and share a drink in memory of this son of Thomasville.
The Cotton House is located at 8575 Highway 154 in Thomasville.