David Franklin Dickson
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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.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Tallahassee Democrat on Oct. 2, 2013.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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10 entries
September 23, 2020
Looking back on my first entry, I failed to add that as a member of the Charter Class, out of Dean Ladd and Professors Phillips, Millet and Dave Dickson, the latter put me at ease in class more than all the others, thus allowing me to concentrate solely on learning rather than on my trepidation of being called upon if being unprepared to respond intelligently.
John Stoddard
October 3, 2013
My nomination for most inspiring professor for the Charter Class. I actually grew to really enjoy Con Law with the good professor. Teach them well in Heaven, David.
Roy Gonzalez
October 3, 2013
As a member of the second class, I was so fortunate to have Dave to teach me constitutional law and Florida Law; he expected each of us to do the best in his class and he instilled in us the thirst for the practice of law. And... he was a great guy! My prayers go out to all of his family
October 2, 2013
I was very fortunate in having Professor Dickson teach me as a member of the law school's first class. His passing saddens me and my heart goes out to his family at this difficult time. God bless.
John Stoddard
October 2, 2013
Dave Dickson was one of my favorite professors. I also enjoyed playing ping pong with him.
I will miss David.
Rick Rumrell
October 2, 2013
Dave was one of the first 3 faculty hired by Mason Ladd for the new FSU law school. When I joined the faculty a year later our offices shared an entry way in Longmire.

He was a wonderful colleague and friend every sense. All of the students and friends who benefited from his wisdom will miss him, as I do.
Chuck Ehrhardt
October 2, 2013
Please accept our sincere condolences.
Steve Edwards and Family
October 2, 2013
Dave was a wonderful colleague. His office was a few doors down from me from the time I joined the faculty until his retirement. I could always count on Dave for encouragement and support. I have nothing but fond memories of him.
Nat Stern
October 2, 2013
October 2, 2013
Dave was a great guy. It was my deep pleasure to have served for years with Dave on the Florida State Univesity College of Law faculty. Back in the old days in Roberts Hall, we were just down the corridor from one another. Dave was always accessible and he always had a kind word. My favorite memory of Dave is sitting at his desk and pouring over "advance sheets," as they were then called, copies of the most recent court opinions. He never failed to call my attention to cases that impacted the courses I was teaching. He was a wonderful person and colleague. Don Weidner
Don Weidner
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