Louise M. Dixon (94), a pioneer in education and women’s athletics died March 9, 2020.
Born October 11, 1925 in Ottawa, Illinois to Jessie (Malcolm) and Carl J. Markhus, Louise was the oldest of three children.
In 1959 Louise founded Little Meadows Nursery School in Sylvania. Over the next 26 years, thousands of area preschoolers enjoyed a mix of instruction, physical activity and socialization at one of Northwest Ohio’s first nursery schools. Mrs. Dixon rejoiced in a child’s natural attraction for small living things. At the farm on Little Road, children could pet rabbits, goats, ponies, chickens and every spring, a newborn lamb always named Pam. There was an indoor swing set, playhouse and “riding corral” for trikes and pedal cars. Little Meadows even had a fleet of buses for transportation and a large green dinosaur in the outdoor playground. Louise followed with pride the many successes of the alumni and teachers of Little Meadows.
After retirement from teaching, Louise continued her passion to work with preschoolers. For 20 years she was a tester for Great Lakes Marketing, the Toledo firm that is one of the nation’s leaders in ensuring consumer products are safe for children.
While a student athlete at the University of Michigan, long before Title 9, Louise excelled in competitive swimming. In September of 2007 at a U of M football game, she and other University of Michigan’s Early Women in Athletics were recognized for their accomplishments. All received their long overdue Michigan varsity athletic letters.
Louise was President of her senior class at the University of Michigan College of Education and a member of the honor society Pi Lamba Theta. She was president of the Toledo Alumnae Club of Pi Beta Phi. After graduation in 1947, she became supervising teacher at the University High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, teaching mathematics and industrial arts for six years. In the summer of 1948 at the age of 22 she received the Clark Schorling Memorial Fund Award to travel Europe working with German youth in the reconstruction of hostels in the American Zone. For months she traveled by bicycle around Germany and Holland. As described by University of Michigan Professor Raleigh Schorling, the benefactor of the award, she rode: “to promote peace time equivalents for the challenges that war activities provided some youth; to enlist youth in the battle against the real enemies of man – disease, ignorance and meanness; and to improve the quality of civic education”.
Louise met her future husband Robert Dixon at YMCA Camp Storer during the war years. Bob was a counselor, Louise taught swimming and was the first female assistant camp director. Robert and Louise celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary shortly before Robert’s death on Christmas Day 2018.
Louise is survived by her three sons Randy (Karen) Dixon, Mark (Lori) Dixon, both of Toledo and Robert (Phot) Dixon of Everett, Washington; five grandchildren, Lucas, Roger, Karla, Mitch and Robert and one great grandchild, James Bradley Dixon. She is also survived by her sister Beulah Westland of Fountain Hills, Arizona. She is preceded in death by her parents, husband and brother Roger Markhus.
The family would like to thank the staff at Guardian Angels, especially Cindy, for years of stellar service.
Memorial contributions can be made to YMCA Camp Storer, 6941 Stoney Lake Road, Jackson, Michigan 49201 and University of Michigan Women’s Swimming and Diving, Code 333337, Gifts and Records Administration, 3003 South State Street, Suite 8000, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109. There will be a celebration of life and Little Meadows reunion on Saturday, June 6th, from 4:00PM – 7:00PM at Inverness.
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