Gordon Henry Dixon

Obituary
  • "May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow."
  • - Bob Church
  • "Gordon kindly welcomed me into his lab as a naive high..."
    - Ken Ng
  • "Dear Sylvia, We are very saddened by the news of Gordon's..."
    - Kostas Iatrou
  • "When I first met Gordon Dixon in 1960, he had recently been..."
    - Harry Schachter

DIXON, Gordon Henry OC PhD FRS FRSC March 25, 1930 - July 24, 2016 Died peacefully in his 87th year after a brief illness, in Victoria, B.C. Beloved husband for 62 years of Sylvia (nee Gillen). Dear father of Frances, Walter, Christopher and Robin. Grandfather of twelve grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Son of the late Walter and Ruth Dixon (nee Nightingale), Gordon was born in Durban, South Africa. The family moved to Girton, Cambs., U.K. He attended Cambridgeshire High School for Boys and received an Open Scholarship to Trinity College, University of Cambridge where he completed a BA Hons (MA) in 1948. He began his graduate studies at the University of Cambridge but followed his supervisor to the University of Toronto where he completed his PhD. He undertook postdoctoral studies at the University of Washington (1954-58) and at the University of Oxford (1958-59). Returning to Canada in 1959, Gordon continued his research at the Connaught Medical Research Laboratories (1959-1960) and then became an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto (1960-63), during which time he made seminal discoveries related to understanding the structure of the protein hormone insulin that subsequently led to its complete chemical synthesis. He relocated to Vancouver to become Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of British Columbia (1963-72) and then to the University of Sussex (U.K.) to become the Head of Department in the Biochemistry Group (1972-74). He was recruited back to Canada in 1974 as Professor of Medical Biochemistry at the University of Calgary where he remained for the duration of his career (1974-94) and served as Head of the Department (1983-88). During his illustrious academic career, he was the recipient of numerous accolades and international recognition. Highlights of his career include his induction as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a Fellow of the Royal Society (London) in 1978. He was also made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1993 in recognition of his long and distinguished research career. Gordon was a family man whose children and grandchildren were a source of great joy to both he and Sylvia. During their twenty plus years of happy retirement in Victoria, Gordon and Sylvia travelled extensively and held many gatherings of family and friends at their home in Victoria. They also greatly enjoyed the fellowship provided by their long association with the Victoria Newcomers' Club. Gordon's many passions included reading, gardening, classical music, history and walking. He loved to follow cricket, formula one car racing and current affairs. The family would like to thank Dr. Geoffrey Luckhurst for many years of medical support to Gordon and all the VIHA doctors and staff, both in the community (especially Andrea Hofmeyr) and at the Victoria Hospice, for their many kindnesses and excellent care over recent months. The family is left to grieve Gordon's passing but also to celebrate, with love, his remarkable life - truly well lived! A celebration of Gordon's life will be held in Victoria and details can be found through the website of First Memorial Funeral Services, Victoria, B.C. (www.dignitymemorial.ca). In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Victoria Hospice (www.victoriahospice.org).


Funeral Home
First Memorial Funeral Services and Garden of Memories
4725 Falaise Drive
Victoria, BC V8Y1B4
(250) 658-5244
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Published in Victoria Times Colonist from Aug. 6 to Aug. 7, 2016
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