July 4, 1916 - October 15, 2020 Long time Glendale, CA resident, John "Jack" Podesta Dixon, 104, passed away on October 15, 2020. He and his twin sister, Lucile Carolyn (Coffey), were born July 4, 1916 in San Francisco, CA. They were the children of John Everett Dixon of Newcastle, Henry County, KY and Alida "Lyda" Marie Podesta of Jackson, Amador County, CA. In 1920 the family moved to Los Angeles. Jack started working early as a child actor in the silent movies of the 1920s. His first movie was a comedy made at the legendary Vitagraph Studios in July 1920 at the age of 4. In 1926, he started selling the Saturday Evening Post and Ladies Home Journal door to door. He built a successful route that he continued through high school. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, he hustled about selling every newspaper in Los Angeles: the L.A. Times, the Examiner, the Herald, the Express, the Record & the Daily News.Jack was educated in the Los Angeles school system attending Rosemont Grammar School, Virgil Junior High and Belmont High School. At Belmont he was an honor student and campus leader serving as president of the Boys' League and president of the graduating class of Spring 1935. He was also a member of the cross country and track teams. In 1933 he attained the rank of Eagle in Boy Scout Troop 75, Los Angeles. After high school, Jack entered the Civilian Conservation Corps earning additional funds for his college education. In September 1936 he was admitted to Stanford University where he graduated with a degree in Graphic Arts (Architectural Design). Among his activities at Stanford he was a member of Theta Xi fraternity, the cross country and track teams, Hammer & Coffin Society and Block S Society. He was associate editor and lead cartoonist on the CHAPARRAL, the monthly campus humor magazine. He drew the comic Indian decal which served as the school's athletic mascot symbol for three decades. During WWII, Jack was in the US Navy in the Pacific Area serving aboard the escort aircraft carrier, USS Altamaha (CVE 18) as Air Combat Intelligence Officer during the Philippine Operations and later on the USS Tripoli (CVE 64). He was recalled for the Korea Conflict and served as an Assistant District Intelligence Officer for the 11th Naval District. After 20 years of Naval Reserve service, Jack retired with the rank of Commander. In civilian life, Jack spent 35 active years with AT&T's Pacific Telephone Company, first in the Plant Engineering Department, followed by a move to the Chief Engineer Department where he experienced two of his most memorable jobs. One as a member of the Pre-acceptance Inspection Teams for the "DEW Line", the Distance Early Warning system constructed in the Alaskan-Canadian Arctic. The other as Project Manager for the nine story telephone Pacific Bell office building and parking structure on Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena. In 1981, Jack retired as Engineering Manager for Building Design & Construction in the Southern California area. In 1940, Jack married his school days sweetheart, Linnea Lethin, a love that lasted 62 years until her death in 2002. They had two children, Jack "JD", of Maui, HI and Diane (George) Gennuso of Palmdale, CA. Jack remarried in 2005 to the loving, devoted homemaker and caretaker, Shirley Lamke of Rapid City, SD. Jack is survived by his wife Shirley, his son Jack, his daughter Diane, four grandsons, Jack and Chris Gennuso, Koa & Kai Dixon, along with nieces, nephews, grandnieces & grandnephews.
Published in Los Angeles Times from Oct. 27 to Oct. 29, 2020.