Dickinson, Roy M.
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Roy M. Dickinson, one of Westport's longstanding civic leaders in the environmental, historical and town government arenas, died Friday, February 14, 2014, from heart failure at his home in Chester, CT, according to his wife, Betsy. He had been ill for a number of months.
In Westport, he served in a variety of volunteer posts, among them Parks and Recreation Commissioner, Conservation Commission Chairman, president of both the Westport Historical Society, the Y's Men, and deputy moderator of the Representative Town Meeting. He was also a director of the Aspetuck Land Trust, a member of the Republican Town Committee, and a member of the Green's Farms Congregational Church.
Born in Newark, NJ, on January 2, 1929, he was a graduate of Swarthmore College in 1950 with a BS degree in in chemistry. In 1953, he received a chemical engineering degree from the University of Delaware, and an MBA in 1959 from Rutgers University. Roy was a Korean War Veteran, having served as an officer in the US Air Force in 1953.
He worked at Union Carbide Corporation from 1960 until 1974 when he left for Pfizer. During those years Roy and his wife Joan, and young sons Mark and Ty, lived overseas for a time in Switzerland and Belgium. Dickinson had a long career with Pfizer as an executive for 20 years prior to his retirement in 1994. He was in charge of the company's efforts in the water purification area and brought water to areas of the world with limited access to it.
He was a member of the American Chemical Society from 1950 to 1985, and the Chemical Market Research Association, from 1955 to 1994.
As president of the Historical Society in the late 1990s, Dickinson was instrumental, along with former WHS president Arnold K. (Pete) Wolgast in the publication of a book on Westport's history, titled, "Westport, Connecticut, The Story of a New England Town's Rise to Prominence." Written by former Westport News writer Woody Klein, it was edited by Dickinson, designed by Miggs Burroughs, and published in 2000 on the 165th anniversary of the founding of the town in 1835.
Former WHS president Arnold J. (Pete) Wolgast commented: "Roy was a tremendous asset to the Westport community. He was always looking for what was best for Westport."
Added Klein: "Roy is a superb editor with a fine mind. He was a man of the highest integrity and always enjoyable to be with."
Roy and his wife, Elizabeth (Betsy) Balch Dickinson were married on July 3, 1998. Since then they have taken many trips together, including New Zealand, Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam. They especially enjoyed an around the world plane trip sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation which took them to the Galapagos Islands, Easter Island and Papua New Guinea. In the sports arena, Dickinson enjoyed skiing, tennis and biking. Throughout his life he enjoyed books and biographies about World War II and its heroes, especially Winston Churchill.
In 2010 Roy and Betsy left Westport for Clinton, Connecticut to seek a more tranquil life close to the ocean. Roy took great pleasure tending his apple trees and blueberry bushes. Enjoying the peacefulness and beauty of their marsh side home in Clinton CT gave them great happiness over the last three and a half years. While living in Clinton, Roy worked with Wally Woods of Westbrook CT, also formerly of Westport, to produce an historic House Tour Booklet, which coincided with their celebration of the 300th anniversary of Clinton's founding.
Due to Roy's declining health, in December 2013, the Dickinsons became members of an assisted living community, Chester Village West, in Chester, CT while retaining their home in Clinton.
Dickinson, a history buff, was descended from Nathaniel Dickinson, of Cambridgeshire, England, and Hadley, Massachusetts. From 1600 to 1676, Dickinson's ancestors settled in Haddam, Colchester, Ansonia, and many other eastern towns. His mother, Georgia MacGregor Brown, emigrated from Glasgow, Scotland, married his father, Clarence William Dickinson, of Waverly, NY and moved with him to Albuquerque, NM in their later years.
Survivors include his wife, Elizabeth Balch Dickinson, his brother and his wife, William Dickinson and Lee Dickinson, of Ridgefield, CT; His sons and their wives and children include: Mark Dickinson and Lisl Dickinson, of Atlanta, GA, Griffin Dickinson, 9, and Carter Dickinson 7; John (Ty) Dickinson, and Pamela Dickinson, of Lincoln, MA, and their children, Catharine (Cat) Dickinson, 19, Micaela (Caley) Dickinson, 17, Sibley Dickinson, 14, and Reese Dickinson, 12. Stepsons and stepdaughters and their spouses and children include Douglas Hopkins, and Kyle Hopkins, of Buffalo, NY and their children, Eliza Hopkins, 19, and Abigail Hopkins, 15. His stepdaughter Laura Hopkins also of Buffalo, NY and her children, Finley Baba, 22, and John (Jack) Baba, 18; a stepson, Timothy Hopkins, and Aliina Hopkins of West Hartford, CT and their children, Sarah Hopkins, 22, Caroline Hopkins, 19, Grace Hopkins, 16, and Margaret (Maggie) Kinabrew, 15.
Roy's first wife, Joan Hartig Dickinson, predeceased him in 1995.
A memorial service will be held at Green's Farms Congregational Church in Westport on
Saturday March 1, 2014 at 11 a.m. with a reception at the church to follow. In lieu of flowers for the service, please send flowers to a loved one in memory of Roy.
Published in Connecticut Post from Feb. 21 to Feb. 28, 2014