February 26, 2003

Memorial Service for John Allen Dixon, Jr. '40, Retired Chief Justice, Louisiana Supreme Court to be Held Saturday, March 1 in Brown Chapel, Centenary College.

SHREVEPORT, LA - A memorial service honoring John Allen Dixon, Jr., Chief Justice, Retired, of the Supreme Court of the State of Louisiana, will be held Saturday, March 1 at  3 p.m. in Brown Chapel on the campus of Centenary College in Shreveport.

Justice Dixon was born in Orange, Texas in 1920 and moved to Louisiana with his family, living in Haynesville, Grand Cane, and Shreveport. He graduated from Fair Park High School, and received his B.A. from Centenary College in 1940. From the fall of 1940 until early 1942 he taught high school in Tallulah. In 1942 he enlisted in the army and served in  the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He was a prisoner of war for 21 months in Germany and was discharged as a Staff Sergeant in October 1945. In that year he met  and married Imogene Kathleen Shipley. 

He received his law degree from Tulane  University Law School in 1947. He engaged in the private practice of law and served as Assistant District Attorney in Shreveport. In 1957 he was elected District Judge, serving until his election to the Second Circuit Court of Appeal in 1968. He was elected to the Supreme Court without opposition and took his seat as Associate Justice in 1971. He became Chief Justice in 1980 and served until his retirement from the Supreme Court in 1990.

Among many honors he received, John Dixon became an Eagle Scout and a Silver  Beaver. In 1981 he was named the Outstanding Alumnus Award of the Tulane School of  Law and in 1992 he was inducted into the Centenary Alumni Hall of Fame.  He was recognized by the ACLU in 1991 with the Benjamin E. Smith award for a lifetime of defending civil rights and civil liberties. He championed the cause of the little man, and some people called him "liberal" because of this. However, he preferred to call himself a strict constructionist. He was an active member of the North Highlands Methodist Church before moving to New Orleans, and a member of the Queensborough Masonic Lodge for many years. Additionally he was active in the Shreveport Bar Association, the Louisiana State Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the Conference of Chief Justices. He served as president of the Centenary College Alumni Association, and was a founding member of the board of directors of the Woolworth Foundation, which supported retired Methodist ministers and their families. 

Some of his interests included photography, running, handball, golf, and sailing. He also enjoyed camping, fishing and woodworking.

He is predeceased by his wife, Imogene, and survived by his three daughters: Stella Dixon Shepard and husband Paul Shepard of Glenwood, Arkansas; Diana Dixon Gingles and husband Bill Gingles of Shreveport; and Jeannette Dixon and husband William Howze of Houston. John Dixon has five grandchildren: Luke Shepard, Iris Shepard
Fogelman, John Morehead, Lester Morehead, III, and Sam Morehead, and great-grandchildren John William Shipley Fogelman and Madeline Imogene Morehead.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that contributions be made to the John A. Dixon, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund for minority scholarships to Centenary College.

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