Arthur H.“Dick” Dixon, 79, died Friday, Nov. 6 at his home in Salida following a lengthy illness.
He was born July 29, 1941 in Dallas, Texas to Alice (Lawton) and Arthur Herbert Dixon Sr.
He graduated from Wheatridge High School in 1959 and attended Fort Lewis A&M in Durango, receiving an Associates of Arts Degree in 1961 and then attending the University of New Mexico in Las Vegas, New Mexico on a journalism scholarship, receiving a Bachelors Degree in history and biology in 1963.
He moved to Salida with his family in 1972 to accept a position at Salida High School teaching American, Colorado and western history. He was advisor for the school yearbook Le Resume and the school newspaper, The Tenderfoot Times which won hundreds of awards and was judged best in the nation among schools of all sizes five times.
He was also a “stringer” for The Pueblo Chieftain for 12 years while teaching school.
After retiring from 31 years of teaching in 1999 he worked as a copy editor at The Mountain Mail, retiring in 2012.
He loved truck driving and traveling around Colorado and made deliveries for Rocky Mountain Cabinets and wrote travel features for the Chaffee County Times.
He did freelance and assignment writing and photography for the Associated Press and freelanced for a variety of magazines and newspapers throughout the United States. His Alpine Tunnel photo is in the National Archives.
He was an accomplished photographer, author and historian and wrote, among other things, “Off the Beaten Path: Back Country by Automobile-Scenic Trips from Salida,” a Chaffee County travel and history guidebook, “Smokestack – The Story of the Salida Smelter” and “Trails Among the Columbine – A Colorado High Country Chronicle, the D&RG’s Calumet Branch and the Turret Mining Area.”
He was a member of the Salida Centennial Committee and editor of the Arkansas Valley Publishing Company’s book, “Salida, The Early Years.”
He was instrumental in the founding of Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District and because of his work there he received the organization’s George Everett Award in 2009.
He married Terry Starr Quick on Jan. 21, 1990 in Salida.
He received many community, teaching and journalism awards over the years including the From the Heart Award from the Salida Chamber of Commerce in 1999.
He received a Journalism of the Year Award and Teacher of the Year Award from the Society for Professional Journalists and Colorado High School Press Association and was a high school newspaper consultant for Columbia University in New York City.
For many years he did slide shows and lectures on Chaffee County history, archeoastronomy and architecture and ancient Anaszi Indians.
He was preceded in death by his parents, grandson Michael Dixon and stepson John Quick.
He is survived by his wife, Terry; son Shane (Debbie) Dixon; daughter Elisha Dixon; step daughter Jodi (Kevin) Hyatt; sister Pam Dixon; three grandchildren Nicole Kinyon, Charlie Hyatt and Jackson Hyatt; and one great granddaughter, Elizabeth Kinyon.
Memorial services may be held later depending on COVID-19 restrictions.
Cards can be addressed in care of Terry Dixon at 9205 CR 175, Salida, CO 81201.
Memorial contributions can be sent to the Ark Valley Humane Society, 701 Gregg Drive, Buena Vista, CO 81211 or Salida Museum Association, 406 ½ W. U.S. 50 or on the website at salidamuseum.org.
Arrangements were with Lewis & Glenn Funeral Home. Online condolences may be offered at www.lewisandglenn.com.
Arthur “Dick” Dixon, 79, well known journalist, teacher and Colorado historian, died Friday at his home following a lengthy illness.
Dixon moved to Salida in 1970 with his family after accepting a position at Salida High School teaching American History, Colorado and western history and was the advisor for the school yearbook, Le Resumé and the school newspaper, The Tenderfoot Times.
His journalism students won literally hundreds of awards, and The Tenderfoot Times was judged best in the nation among schools of all sizes five times.
Tracy Harmon, former student and now an award winning reporter with The Pueblo Chieftain, has worked in journalism for 32 years, the last 30 with the Chieftain and says she owes a huge debt of gratitude to Dixon.
“There is no question I would not be where I am today if it hadn’t been for him,” she said. “I will miss his wit and humor.
“He will always be a big part of the journalist that I have become. Mr. Dixon was an icon of southern Colorado journalism. I had him as my journalism teacher from 1980 to 1982.
“He was not only a teacher but a writer, working as a stringer for The Pueblo Chieftain. At that time he was at the mercy of the bus to get his black and white rolls of film to Pueblo.
“One time, during a big news story he missed the bus and ended up flagging down a semi truck driver and asking him to take the precious film to Pueblo. That was a true journalist – someone who never gave up on the story.
“He was so adept at parking my interest in the profession that I went on to take journalism in college. It was there I realized how lucky I had been to have him as a teacher – many of the classes had lessons I had already learned from Mr. Dixon, Harmon said.”
Gail Ophus taught with Dixon at Salida High School. She said Dixon was a great storyteller and a great writer.
She said he instilled professionalism in his journalism students, many of whom went on to study journalism.
She said under his tutelage the Salida High School newspaper, the Tenderfoot Times, won several awards.
A history lover, he taught Colorado and American history at Salida High School.
Gail said her husband John and Dixon were history buddies who both enjoyed doing research in their preferred eras of local history and sharing stories.
“He was loads of fun and had a great sense of humor,” Gail said.
She said the two men would discuss their finds and theories about local history and try to picture what the people they were researching would have looked like.
“He was a one-of-a-kind person,” Gail said.
For Dixon, journalism wasn’t just a job. It was his life.
Dixon also worked for 12 years as a journalist “stringer” for the Pueblo Chieftain while he was teaching.
After retiring from 31 years of teaching in 1999, he worked as copy editor at The Mountain Mail for 13 years, retiring in 2012
Pat Windolph, former managing editor at The Mountain Mail, said, “Dick and I worked together for a number of years. We respected each other and we had a lot of good times.
“We didn’t always agree on everything but we remained friends. He will be missed,” Windolph said.
As an author, Dixon wrote “Off the Beaten Path: Back Country by Automobile-Scenic Trips from Salida,” a Chaffee County area travel and history guidebook in 1986; “Smokestack – The Story of the Salida Smelter,” in 1987; and “The Calumet Branch and Turret,” a volume in the “Trails Among the Columbine” Colorado High Country History Series in 1996.
As a photographer he recorded historical sites and began accumulating a collection of old photos that illustrated historical articles in The Mountain Mail and elsewhere.
In 1980 he was a member of the Salida Centennial Committee and in 2001 he edited the Arkansas Valley Publishing Company’s book, “Salida, The Early Years.”
After retirement his intent was to keep on writing, working on a book about Whitehorn and other areas along Ute Trail that were cut from what he called his Turret book.
A long time customer at Hylton Lumber, for many years Dixon met regularly for morning coffee there with other old customers.
“We’d get together and compare notes,” said Dave Williams. “Dick was a very versatile guy. I also belonged to Monarch Mavericks Square Dance Club where he and his wife were members. He was a good writer and had a real grasp of history.”
John Sterle of Hylton Lumber said, “Dick was a good guy. I knew him since I was in high school. He was my history teacher.”
Roy Abbott of Hylton Lumber, another former student, said, “I’m going to miss him. For the last 27 years I’ve been trying to correct him on political topics. He was a joy to have around. I didn’t much like school and went as little as I could but when I had Mr. Dixon for journalism I was there five days a week.”
Dixon was also instrumental in the foundation of the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District .
Ken Baker, who served with Dixon on the UAWCD board said, Dixon, a co-founder of the organization, made significant contributions by writing articles and keeping the minutes for the board.
Terry Scanga, current manager, said Dixon started doing the ground work for the formation of UAWCD in 1977 and worked on petitions from 1977-1978 to get the needed signatures to present to the 11th Judicial District for the official creation of the organization in 1979.
Because of his contributions to the water conservancy, he was honored with the organization’s George Everett Award in 2009.
Dixon’s daughter Jodi Hyatt said, “He will be best remembered by students and the community for being a great editor, photographer, historian, journalist and “storyteller.” He wrote local books and loved to spend mornings having coffee with the guys at Hylton Lumber. He loved visiting historical places and being in the country.”
Dixon is survived by his wife, Terry, son Shane (Debbie) Dixon, daughters Alisha Dixon and Jodi (Kevin) Hyatt, sister Pam Dixon, three grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
Services will be announced later and a full obituary will follow in Friday’s Mountain Mail.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Arthur "Dick" H. Dixon, please visit our floral store.