Longtime La Jolla resident and San Diego Mediator and Peacemaker, Elizabeth Dickinson, died March 24, 2013, in her sleep. She was 85.
Elizabeth was greatly beloved at the National Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC), formerly San Diego Mediation Center), where she participated over a period of twenty years as a volunteer mediator, trainer and Board member. She began mediating in 1988 and over the years handled all types of cases including Superior Court personal injury cases and eldercare cases. She was active as a mediator and board member until she was 80 years old. Elizabeth was on the selection committee of the Peacemaker Awards, and annual event honoring peacemakers in San Diego and around the country.
Born Marion Elizabeth Crouch on July 10, 1927, in Pulaski, Virginia, her family moved fifty miles to the Appalachian foothill town of Marion, Virginia, when she was 11 years old. Her father managed the Virginia Lincoln Furniture Company while her mother raised Elizabeth and her older sister, Mildred. In the beginning of the seventh grade, a boy in her class named Nathan Dickinson scratched "I love you" on a protractor and passed it to her. They eventually became high school sweethearts and married in 1950.
The Dickinson family moved to La Jolla in 1960 and lived in the Windansea area. Elizabeth was soon involved with the League of Women Voters and a variety of drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs. She also returned to college at San Diego State, earning her degree in political science. Nathan worked for Control Data and during the 1970s and 1980s, the company posted the Dickinsons in various foreign locales including Mexico City, Mexico; Vienna, Austria; and Melbourne, Australia. They always maintained ties in La Jolla.
When they returned to La Jolla in 1984, Elizabeth continued working with nonprofit and community organizations. In addition to her work with NCRC, she spent two decades on the board of the directors for Rachel's Women's Center, a homeless women's shelter sponsored by Catholic Charities. She was an active member of the Democratic Party and ACLU. "She brought her whole self to the moment, her quick mind, her wide circle of friends, her love of family, her great repertoire of lifetime stories, and her love of chocolate," said Liz O'Brien, a past president of the NCRC.
Elizabeth could often be seen walking along the La Jolla Cove wearing a yellow sweater or jacket, befriending locals and tourists alike. She is remembered for her love of her friends, grandchildren, chocolate, and her own month-long birthday celebration.
She is survived by a daughter, Lisa Hyslop of La Jolla; son, Nate of Portland, Oregon; two grandchildren, Natalie Dickinson in Portland and Kate Dickinson in San Diego; and two great-granddaughters, three-year-old Luella and one-month-old Zora Villaseñor, daughters of Kate Dickinson.
A celebration of life service will be held Saturday, April 13, 2013, at 2 p.m. at the La Jolla Bridge Club at the La Jolla Cove Park.