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December 20, 2014

Larry Dixon is spending retirement with his best friend

Pursued education later in life

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Posted: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 3:54 pm

Larry Dixon’s family moved often and he attended four different schools in the first grade.

“That was just life,” he said. “That’s just what we were used to.”

The family finally settled down when he was in sixth grade. By settling down, he explained that they only moved between Hokes Bluff and Jacksonville.

Dixon was born in the Holy Name of Jesus Hospital in Gadsden. To keep her children busy and out of trouble, his mother always had a large garden every year for them to take care of.

The most enjoyable part of his young life was when his family moved to Jacksonville and were caretakers for the property of Dr. James Williams, later Dr. Paul Lampru, on the Camp Cottaquilla Mountain Road. They lived in a small house near the gate.

“The other day I went to see it,” said Dixon. “It seemed even smaller than it did when we lived there. The living room was so small, you could sit on the couch and change channels on the television. But we were small too. It was very enjoyable.”

Dixon’s mother attended White’s Gap Baptist Church. She went home from church one day and told Dixon that he should go to church with her because there was a very pretty girl who went there. Her name was Sara Murray.

“She had her friends, and I had my friends,” he said. “We moved and I never saw her again until after I graduated (from Hokes Bluff High School), we moved back to Jacksonville.”

Three weeks after becoming reacquainted with Sara, Dixon proposed. Four months later they were married.

“We really couldn’t afford to get married, but we did, and we’ve been together ever since,” said Dixon. “They say to find your best friend and marry her and that’s what I did.”

They were married at the home of Rev. Crook Bradley and lived in a rental house on White’s Gap Road. That was 48 years ago.

When their daughter, Terri Bensaid, graduated from Jacksonville State University, Dixon decided it was his turn for further education. He enrolled at Ayers State and received a degree in industrial electronics. It took him seven years but, with the support of his wife, he received his diploma.

Dixon is retired from Battelle, a company associated with the chemical incinerator at Bynum. His job was to repair the air sampling machines. Prior to that he worked at Hager Hinge.

“Getting the degree really helped me,” said Dixon. “I encourage everyone to get some kind of skill or training.”

After he retired, he wrote a book of short stories about growing up in the South during the ‘50s to give to his daughter for Christmas. It was later published.

Dixon is spending his retirement “hanging around with my best friend.” Dixon said he and Sara enjoy each other’s company and share many hobbies.

“I enjoy the outside very much,” he said.

He and Sara are Master Gardeners. When the weather is nice, that’s is where they spend a lot of their time.

Dixon worked with the Boys Scouts over 20 years as a scoutmaster and leader. He is a member of the Masonic Hiram Lodge. He said that being a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints has made him a better person.

“I’ve had a wonderful life,” he said. “I’ve learned that if you treat people with kindness, life goes better. I worked with United Parcel service for a while and met some very influential people and some very poor people. I found out that everybody is struggling with the same things -- trying to take care of the family and make house payments. It’s all the same.”

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