Retirees Association

Robert Dan “Bob” Dixon, 86, Professor, College of Computer Science & Engineering

memorial candle

Robert Dan “Bob” Dixon, 86, died peacefully in his sleep, at his home in Hot Springs, N.C., on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022.

Bob was born Sept. 3, 1936, near Englewood, Ohio, to John Clarence Dixon and Helen Beatrice (Stefanak) Dixon. His father was a tenant farmer (having lost his dairy farm during the depression), and they lived in a house without electric or indoor plumbing. As a child, Bob was recognized as being very gifted at mathematics, if not a prodigy. According to his sister, by the age of five, he was playing for money, in adult euchre tournaments. He graduated from Randolph Township High School (now Northmont HS) in 1953, a three-year graduate and at the age of 16 he started at the General Motors Institute (a five-year co-op program). He continued there for four years, receiving an engineering certificate, but transferred to OSU for his fifth year, and received his BS in Mathematics. Bob continued at Ohio State to complete a master's and ultimately a Doctorate in Mathematics in 1962. During his education, he met and married the love of his life, Carol Ellen Parkison.

After completing his graduate studies, Bob was an assistant professor of mathematics at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. He was there briefly. In 1964 Ohio State opened a new branch campus, partnering with Miami (Oxford), which later became Wright State University, in Fairborn, Ohio. Bob was hired as the first mathematics coordinator/chair for this new “branch” campus. In 1965 the Dixons moved to Yellow Springs. In 1973 Bob participated in the formation of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at WSU, and was, for a time, chair of both the math and computer science departments. He eventually moved to only the CS department, where he was chair twice again, in the early ’80s, and mid-’90s (after a brief retirement). Bob was also the president of the WSU faculty in 1986.

In the late ’90s, Bob and Carol relocated to Hot Springs, N.C. After the death of his beloved wife Carol, in 2017, with his memory slowly fading, Bob fully retired to the farm where he lived. Still insisting on "being of use," he mowed, weeded berry patches, and helped on the farm, until he finally went home to see Carol. He is no longer missing her.

Bob (and Carol) are survived by their three children: Dan Dixon (Sherryl Kostic) of Yellow Springs, Peter Dixon (Mary) of Hot Springs, N.C., Ellen Dixon of Half-Moon Bay, Calif.; and by five grandchildren: Elizabeth Dixon (Mike), Olivia Dixon, Josey Dixon (Gio), Eliot Dixon, and Elise Harding; and by three great-grandchildren: Jude Robert, Colin and Simon; and by many nieces and nephews.

Bob was preceded in death by all of his siblings: Rosetta “Sis” Cooney, John “Ed” Dixon, Andrew “Don” Dixon, and Dorothy “Dede” Sullivan; and his nephew James “Jim” Cooney.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, at Jackson Lytle and Lewis Funeral Home in Yellow Springs. There will be a visitation from 1-3 p.m. with service starting at 3. Afterwards friends and family can gather at a local eatery, TBD, to talk and eat.