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Thomas P. Dixon

Thomas "Tom" P. Dixon, 90, passed away Sunday, June 17, 2012.

Tom was born in San Antonio, Texas to Leonard and Anna (Hanz) Dixon. His father died in 1927, leaving Tom, with his siblings and mother, to survive the Great Depression. Tom worked 40 hours each week through high school to support the family and, when World War II broke out, joined the Army Air Corps in Marfa, Texas teaching ground school and aircraft systems to pilots destined to fly bombers. Tom Married Fern Lucretia (Shiley) Dixon on April 14, 1944, and after the war, he went to college at the University of Southern California, graduating in 1950 at the top of his class in electrical engineering. After college, he worked for three years in Hollywood at Technicolor, where he received a Motion Picture Academy Award for technical achievement for his work in improving film processing.

Tom then went to work for the aerospace division at ITT in Southern California, where he spent 34 years and retired as director of research and development. During his time at ITT, he fulfilled many contracts for NASA and the military, developing space navigation and laser communications systems, and many other space-based electro-optical systems. His work took him to nine countries in Europe where he consulted and advanced their capabilities. He and Fern retired to Ashland, Ore., 25 years ago.

Tom loved sailing and motoring on the ocean and spent many weekends in and around the Channel Islands off the coast of California. When he wasn't on the water he frequently took his family hiking and camping in the mountains. He also loved rocks and minerals and developed a hobby of lapidary. At the age of 78, he earned his pilot's license and flew all over Southern Oregon and Northern California, taking in the beauty of the area. He enjoyed taking friends sightseeing with him and one of his favorite places to view from the air was Crater Lake. His last log book entry was in August 2010, at the age of 88.

Tom's wife, Fern, died in 2002. He was preceded in death by his brothers, Ira and Art; and his sister, Marie. He is survived by his three sons, Ken Dixon, of Houston, Texas, Craig Dixon, of La Grande, Ore., and Glenn Dixon, of Ft. Worth, Texas; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

A graveside service will be held at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, June 23, 2012, at Scenic Hills Memorial Park, Ashland, Ore.

Arrangements by Litwiller-Simonsen Funeral Home, Ashland, Ore. www.litwillersimonsen.com