Obituary for Mary Dixon
Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Thompson Dixon, affectionately known as “Maeliz”, was born on May 28, 1932, in Greenville, South Carolina. She was a daughter of the late Grover Mansell and Annie Mae Smith Mansell. She closed the last chapter of her long and committed life on July 10, 2017, at her home at the Manor in West Greenville.
Mary was preceded in death by her loving husband, Robert L. Dixon and three siblings, Grover, Lougenia and Charles Mansell.
Mary was a 1950 graduate of Sterling High School and attended Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, NC. Mary resided in the West Greenville Community for over 70 years of her life. There are few among us who can compare to the many sacrifices and contributions Mary has made to her family, her church, those in need and to the West Greenville Community.
Mary raised four children in West Greenville and was instrumental in the success attained by scores of other young people, who today thank her for the positive impact she had on their lives.
Mary was a member of the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church for over 70 years where she served as the Sunday School Superintendent for 20 years or more. She served as President of the Senior Missionary, the Dean of Vacation Bible School, member of the Church Publicity Committee and Christian Education Committee. Mary was an excellent singer and loved to sing hymns. She sang on the Sanctuary Choir and served as the President of the Senior Choir. Mary also served on the Selection Committee for the current Pastor of the Antioch Baptist Church. In 2009, she received the Esther Award from Antioch recognizing her uncompromising courage and commitment to God’s work.
Mary’s community service was extensive. She served as the Director of the Groce Street Community Center which was rebuilt and renamed the new West Greenville Community Center. She served in this capacity for over 15 years. She assisted with the Voter Registration Drives West Greenville. Mary also helped with the Political Campaigns in encouraging the underprivileged people in the community to get out and vote. Mary was instrumental in helping the swimming pool remain open for many years in the West Greenville Community. Mary served on the former Mayor Cooper White’s Human Relations Commission and helped with desegregation of the Greenville Schools. She helped diffuse a sensitive situation in the West Greenville Community after a police officer was killed. This effort along with the effort of others helped with the creation of the Officer FriendlyProgram in the West Greenville neighborhood, which helped the kids and Police Officers have a better relationship.
Mary served as a member of the Community Development Task Force, a group which provided recommendations for the use of Federal dollars in the community. She served on the Board of the Greenville Urban League. She directed Project Cue for 8 years (a project inside the Urban League) which was headquartered in the West Greenville Community. This program was a behavior modification program for discouraged and unemployable youths. Through this program Mary assisted countless individuals within the community to obtain their High School diploma or GED as well as find employment in order to maintain a stable home environment for their families. Mary was a member of the 1st Graduating class of the Greenville County Human Relations Commission Leadership Class and a former Member of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and Share. She was recognized as Greenville Urban League’s Woman of the Year. She also organized the “Clean-up the Community Campaign” for West Greenville. Mary served on the board of Directors for the Bridge Builders Program.
Mary was known to help anyone in the West Greenville Community and surrounding area in any way possible. In doing so, she single-handedly aided countless individuals in obtaining meaningful employment.
Mary retired after over 50 years of volunteerism and hard work in the Community. At the time of retirement she was employed with the Greenville Hospital System where she worked for years in Personnel and at the New Horizon Family Health Center.
In honor of her birthday, Mary received a Proclamation from Mayor Knox H. White, declaring May 28, 2010, as “Mary Dixon Day” in the city of Greenville.
Mary was known to engage in spirited debates and for being straightforward, a hard and dedicated worker who was also very strong-willed. Everyone who knew Mary understood that when talking with her “she said what she meant and meant what she said.” Mary exemplified profound wisdom along with phenomenal commitment. She leaves a legacy of exemplary life lessons for her children, her family and her community.
Mary leaves to celebrate her long life four children: Catherine Ann Greer, Charles G. Thompson Jr. of Greenville, South Carolina, Reginald Thompson (Tosha) of Southaven, Mississippi, and Karen D. Thompson-Young (Les) of Stafford, Virginia. From her union to Robert, she leaves six children: Robert Dixon Jr. (Janice), Diane Scott (Clark), Dexter Dixon, Derrick “Ricco” Dixon (Nell), Darlene Dixon-Hall (Verlon), Donna Paul, all from Detroit, Michigan; and a dear friend who Mary considered one of her sons, Terry Shumate (Beverly) of Greenville, SC; two siblings; William Mansell (Emma), Annie Loretta Adams (Paul) and a loving aunt, Catherine Cannon, thirty-six grandchildren; thirty-three great-grandchildren; six great-great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends.