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Life Story / Obituary
Dixie Saxton was kind, gentle, and one who housed a heart of gold within. She was a loving wife, a caring mother, and a cherished grandmother. We are thankful for each day we were able to spend with Dixie. We know she is flying high now, in peace, and that helps with our sadness.
Not too far into the decade of the 40’s, 1941 had its share of celebrations and times of hardship. After over 10 years of work, South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore was finally completed showcasing the heads of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln carved out of granite rock. It was also the year in which families could, from then on, count on celebrating Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November. The United States braced itself as news spread about the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, and war was declared against both Japan and Germany just days later. Before these tough times, though, in Paw Paw, Michigan, Garth and Lela (Munson) Kimble were preparing to meet their sweet baby girl. She was born on April 18th, and they named her Dixie. She was the fourth child in the family, and before too long, she was joined by three more little sisters to complete the Kimble family.
Their childhood was spent playing and working on the family farm. The cows, chickens, and horses provided great entertainment but also provided the family a living. They grew delicious asparagus and the magical scent of grapes was always rich in their vineyards during harvest time. Though the sound of the farm life is charming, it was a great deal of work. The family all worked together though, sharing the load, and this instilled an appreciation of a hard work ethic early on in Dixie’s life. There were many wonderful times spent together as a family even as they endured the chores.
Dixie earned her education in the Mattawan schools which is a place she would eventually spend the greater part of her life. As she matured, the potential for love happened to be working right on her family farm. His name was Arden “Art” Saxton, and he was a local boy who had helped on the Kimble Farm now and then. The two fell in love quickly, and the rest was history! They were married at the Van Buren Courthouse on a crisp fall day, October 19, 1958. Young and in love, the two began their adventure in life together.
In their adventures, they added some excitement with four beautiful children: Rhonda, Ricky, Randy, and Ray. As a mother, Dixie continued to pass on the tradition of hard work within her own family. They made a home in a house located on Alvord Avenue. It was a small house, but within its walls, the family built a strong and close relationship with big memories. Dixie was a supportive mother and made sure to attend all of the kids’ sporting events. The family did not travel too much, as Dixie was definitely one who enjoyed being home. They did go on a few camping trips, but the bonfires in her yard with friends and family were just as enjoyable for Dixie. She was a terrific cook and would prepare a fresh meal for her family every night - never serving leftovers! Dinner would always include meat and potatoes with vegetables. Her meatloaf was definitely a family favorite, and her baked desserts and bread made mouths water.
While the family was growing up, Dixie lovingly tended to her vegetable garden which harvested many fresh vegetables for the family’s enjoyment. She would spend hours canning fresh fruits and vegetables to last them through the cold winters in Michigan. When she was not caring for each member of the family, she also worked as a custodian in the very school district she once attended, Mattawan Consolidated Schools. Her ingrained work ethic was of utmost importance in this position because keeping the buildings clean was a challenge. She was used to these efforts, and she very much enjoyed working amongst the students. In fact, the students absolutely adored her too, and they affectionately greeted her daily as ‘Miss Dixie’. Her good reputation was known to many, many students, teachers and staff throughout the years, and she made a positive impact on their lives every day. She spent 37 years in this important position (the least of which had to do with cleaning), and finally retired in 2001.
Before retirement though, Dixie and Art watched as they were joyfully blessed with four grandchildren: Nick, Nate, Kali, and Kolton. Dixie loved spending time with each of them. Eventually, they also celebrated the birth of a great-grandson, Beckham. Dixie loved being around the children and watching them grow up.
In times of solitude, Dixie was an avid mushroom hunter and also liked hunting and fishing. During one trip to the Upper Peninsula, Dixie and Art were snowed in for four days. She also frequented the bowling alley now and then. Her heart though, was always at home, as this was the place she found the most happiness, and sometimes ‘being home’ merely meant being with her family.
Gradually, Dixie and Art both began to struggle with health issues. Sadly, Dixie was forced to endure saying goodbye to her husband in 2016. She closely held, in her heart, all the love she had for him over so many years together, and with the support of her family, she found the strength to carry on. It was not long before Dixie started to lose the struggle also. As her health took more drastic turns, her children helped and cared for her with enormous amounts of love. It was important to Dixie that she spend her last days at home which is where her heart truly was all throughout her lifetime. She took her final breath on Monday morning, April 10, 2017, in her beloved home surrounded by the spirits of so many who loved her. She was 75 years old. Her mark on this life is unforgettable, and we are deeply saddened to have to say goodbye to her. She will be greatly missed by all of us.
Surviving members of her family include 4 children: Ray, Randy, Ricky and Rhonda Saxton (Devon Krueger); 4 grandchildren: Nick, Nate, Kali and Kolton; great-grandson, Beckham; siblings: Lawrence Kimble, Sally (Denny) Harrison, Elaine (Bill) Quan, Barb Lounsbery, Janice (Rush)Harrison, 2 sisters -in-law: Pat (Tom) Pfannes and Maxine (Gene) Barker, brother-in-law Carl (Joanie) Saxton, and a special friend who helped and was a great companion Ron White and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband Arden “Art” Saxton in 2016 and a sister Patty Holder.
A special thank you to Dixie’s sister, Barb Lounsbery and her niece Linda Conner for spending time, giving affection and being such loving caregivers during her last days.
Cremation will take place. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Friday from 12 noon until 5 PM at the Antwerp Twp. Hall, 24821 Front Avenue Mattawan Please visit Dixie’s personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her guestbook online.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice Care of SW Michigan or an educational fund for her great grandson Beckham Plunkett. Arrangements by Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler & Thompson, Paw Paw, 60900 M-40; 657-3870.