David Franklin Dickson

David Franklin Dickson

David Franklin Dickson, 80, died September 25 in Fernandina Beach, Fla.

Dickson was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the only child of the late Paul and Anna Dickson. He graduated high school in Munich, Germany, where his father was a colonel in the United States Army.

An original faculty member of the Florida State University College of Law, Dickson earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton University in 1954, after which he was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the Army. He was posted to Germany, a culture which he appreciated and relished the remainder of his life. He was a member of the Army Reserves for 25 years, achieving the rank of colonel with the 400th Military Police Company, Tallahassee.

Dickson earned his law degree from Yale University in 1962, and began teaching at the Florida State College of Law when it was founded in 1964. While teaching at Florida State, he earned a master of arts and a doctorate in Government. A popular professor, he taught US constitutional law, advanced family law, and - his forte - Florida Constitutional Law, in which he was an advisor to the Florida Legislature, state courts and top Florida political columnists. He retired in 1999.

Known for his love of good wine, Dickson was the "ultimate host" for friends and family. His knowledge and love of gardening, which continued throughout his life, began during college when, on his summer breaks from Princeton, he worked in landscaping at West Point where his father was on faculty. Another lifelong pursuit was his study and love of the Episcopal faith; he was a member at St. John's in Tallahassee and later at St. Peter's in Fernandina Beach.

Dickson is survived by his wife, Gwen Willis Dickson of Fernandina Beach; his sons Tom (Johanna) of Haymarket, Va., David (Atlanta), Paul (Brandi) of Tallahassee, and their mother Claire Wolkind; his sons, Jon (Lejla) Dickson of Atlanta, Staff Sergeant Evan Dickson (Santa Rosa Beach) and their mother Catherine Lotspeich; stepdaughters Leigh (David) Beal of Fernandina Beach and Lynne Coulter, Tallahassee; and five grandchildren, Hannah and Rachel of Haymarket, Delaney of Tallahassee, and Grant and Grace of Atlanta.

Memorial service and burial will be at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Thursday, October 3, at 11 am with the Rev. Stephen Mazingo officiating. A reception follows in Burns Hall. A second memorial service will be held Thursday, October 17 at 3 p.m. at St. John's Episcopal Church, Tallahassee.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to St. Peter's Episcopal Church or to the Roberts College of Law at FSU.

Oxley-Heard Funeral Home, Fernandina Beach, is in charge of arrangements.

Funeral Home

Oxley-Heard Funeral Home
1305 Atlantic Ave Fernandina Beach, FL 32035

Published in Tallahassee Democrat on Oct. 2, 2013