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Claude J. Dixon Jr.


1925 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Claude J. Dixon Jr. Obituary
Dixon, Jr., Claude J.
Claude J. Dixon, Jr., a longtime Stamford resident and World War II veteran, died Sunday, January 7 in Stamford Hospital, at age 92. He was a retired public-school teacher and radio and newspaper reporter, having worked as an on-air reporter for WSTC-Stamford and WGCH-Greenwich. He was also a reporter, feature writer and columnist for the former Connecticut Sunday Herald, the Bridgeport Sunday Post, and copy editor for The Telegram, of Bridgeport. In addition, he taught in the public schools of Cheshire, Greenwich, Darien and Stamford for 35 years.
Dixon was born on December 27, 1925 in Elmira, N.Y., and raised in New Haven and Hamden. Concerned that World War II might end before he could get into it, he left Hamden High School in 1942, when he turned 17, to join the Navy. Following training at the naval station at Newport, R.I., corps school at Portsmouth, Va., further training with the Marines at Parris Island, S.C., and field medical school at Camp Lejeune, N.C., he served as a corpsman with the Fleet Marine Force in the Pacific Theater. He came home after the war at age 20 with three battle stars and six medals. He was also awarded the ribbon of a Presidential Unit Citation presented to his battalion by the Government of the Philippines.
Within days following his military service, he took and passed the Connecticut High School Equivalency Test, and with that, after passing an entrance exam, and using the G.I. Bill of Rights, enrolled at the New Haven State Teachers College, now Southern Connecticut State University, from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree. He later studied at Fairfield University, earning a Master of Arts degree with honors. He went on to earn a Certificate of Advanced Study, while continuing to work days as a teacher and nights as a reporter.
In June, 2000, Hamden High School presented him with his diploma, after the Connecticut General Assembly approved a measure awarding high school diplomas to World War II veterans, many of whom, like Dixon, had dropped out of school to volunteer for war duty.
During two tours overseas, Dixon was stationed on various islands in the Central Pacific, Southwest Pacific and the South Pacific, also seeing duty in Australia, New Guinea and the Western Sea Frontier with the invasion forces into the Philippines. His military assignments included duty with the 8th Marine Garrison, the 8th Marine Defense Battalion (Reinforced) and the 91st Seabee Battalion under the command of the 7th Fleet. He also served with an air-evacuation team flying wounded from the Fleet out of the Philippines.
Dixon was a Life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, a member of the American Legion, a Life member of both the Connecticut and National Education associations, an honorary member of the Belltown Volunteer Fire Department, and a long-time secretary of the Ponus Yacht Club. In 1982, he was named an Honorary Deputy Police Chief by the Stamford Police Association.
Dixon was married for over 63 years to Roberta Foley Dixon, who died on August 28, 2012, at age 85, while being treated for dementia at the Smith House nursing home. He always referred to his wife as "the most wonderful woman in the world." He was devastated when she died, and never came to terms with her death, mourning her continually until his own demise.
He is survived by his son, Kenneth T. Dixon, State Capitol reporter and columnist for Hearst Connecticut Media, and his wife, Lysbeth Guillorn. Other survivors include his daughter, Jean Dixon Sanders, writer, artist and illustrator, and her husband, Tom Sanders, both of New Bern, N.C.; two grandchildren, Peter and Julia Sanders, and one great-grandchild, Owen Sanders. Also, two brothers: Paul Dixon of Hamden and Robert Dixon of West Haven.
Dixon often remarked that while he enjoyed his hundreds of students, his various classrooms and newsrooms through the years, he had a special love for the Navy and the Marine Corps, and said his time with them were among the finest days of his life. "I served with the best of the best," he said, adding that their shared experiences made them all comrades for life.
The family would like to thank the staffs of the emergency room and the Intensive Care Unit at Stamford Hospital for their treatment and caring, following Dixon's fall in his home.
The Nicholas F. Cognetta Funeral Home and Crematory is handling arrangements. There will be no visiting hours or services. The family will hold a farewell gathering at his Belltown home in the weeks to come. It is planned that his ashes and those of his wife will be buried together in the Stamford's Long Ridge Union Cemetery.
To leave online condolences, please visit www.cognetta.com
Published in The New Haven Register on Jan. 14, 2018
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