Philanthropic entrepreneur leaves behind a legacy of innovation and giving
A Grand Junction businessman and philanthropist who founded an instruments manufacturing company and supported a variety of community causes has died.
Dixson was founder and majority owner of a manufacturing firm that bore his name. The company made automotive instruments; electric meters; and other equipment used in trucks, buses and heavy equipment. The company also made lucite giftware and products for the health care industry.
At the time it was sold in 1987, Dixson Inc. employed more than 450 people working in facilities on Orchard Mesa and downtown Grand Junction.
Ametek Instrumentation and Specialty Controls acquired Dixson Inc. in 1995 and renamed the company Ametek-Dixson. The firm continues to manufacture equipment instrumentation at the Orchard Mesa plant for such firms as Caterpillar, Freightliner and Kenworth.
Dixson started his company in Washington after devising ways to simplify the installation of automotive tachometers through a system that allowed a single model to be installed on a variety of vehicles. He moved the operation to Grand Junction in 1963.
He grew up in the South and graduated from the University of Georgia in 1939. He designed agricultural equipment for Allis Chalmers and later worked for Sperry Gyroscope and Boeing.
Dixson held more than a dozen patents, ranging from devices improving the performance of aircraft gyroscopes to devices filtering out dust and odors from automotive ventilation systems.
In addition to his role as a businessman, Dixson was a philanthropist who supported a variety of causes not only with his money, but his time and management expertise.
Over the past 30 years, Dixson supported what is now Colorado Mesa University as well as Catholic Outreach, Family Health West, Hilltop Community Resources, Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado, the Marillac Clinic,
St. Mary’s Hospital and Salvation Army.
He served as president of what was at the time the Mesa State College Foundation as well as a board member of the Salvation Army and was involved in the acquisition of buildings and facilities.
In 1992, Dixson received an honorable mention as the Colorado Philanthropist of the Year. In 2005, he received the William Booth Award, a prestigious recognition named for the founder of the Salvation Army.
Dixson was preceded in death by his wife, Louise, and son, Bob. He is survived by a stepson, Barton Keith of Denver; a former daughter-in-law, Nancy Dixson Morgan of Denver; three nieces and their families; as well as a life partner, Carole Moritz.