Darryl Dixon’s Celebration of Life

By Rose Quinn

Love for the late Darryl Dixon Sr. was fully displayed during a Life Celebration at Sapovits Park in the heart of South Media on Saturday (July 22).

Family and friends gathered on and around the basketball court where the lifelong stellar sportsman played personally, and as director of the Nether Providence Township Public Works Department, took great pride in overseeing the upkeep to ensure enjoyment for all.

“Whether you realize it or not, everywhere you look in the township has seen the benefits of his work,” reads a portion of the message on the township website posted soon after Dixon’s death on July 8 following an illness. A 33-year employee of the township, the married father of five children was 58.

Family members donned in blue – a favorite color of Dixon’s – processed from the nearby Dixon home to the park, sun-kissed and brimming with colleagues past and present in areas including government, education, fire service, and law enforcement, among others.

“Darryl touched a piece of everything in the township,” Aisha Page, mistress of ceremonies and best friend of widow Felice Dixon, said. It was a sentiment repeated throughout the service that blended music, scripture, and reflection. Among tears there was laughter.

Reminders of Dixon included his truck, a white Ford pickup that was draped with an American flag. A memorial program included a collage of “precious” snapshots throughout Dixon’s life.

“Darryl loved his community. He was a pillar of this community,” Page said, drawing nods and bursts of agreement from the crowd.

Speaker Lystra Mark, a family friend and missionary, reminded that despite life’s curveballs, there is survival.

“Death is not the end. For some of us, it is just the beginning,” Mark said, reminding that one cannot live in the future without letting go of the past.

“His spirit hovers over this place,” she said, pointing to the court where Dixon loved to shoot hoops with his family and friends.

“Look anywhere, and Darryl is there,” agreed Dennis Jones, a part-time highway worker hired by Dixon.

“Everyone loved Darryl. Make no mistake about it,” said Mike “Bubba” MacCall, who now succeeds Dixon as head of Public Works.

“You never thought of Darryl as your boss. He was someone who would do anything for you and ask for nothing in return,” MacCall continued. “Myself and a few of us from the highway department worked with Darryl for almost 30 years. We worked together in good times, in bad times, in the heat, in the rain and the snow, and he always had his sense of humor. He wouldn’t joke too much, but when you made him laugh, really laugh, he had a low rumble, sort of a chuckle. Sometimes he would snort and his shoulders would shake up and down,”

Describing Dixon’s “many sides,” from silly and serious to manager and friend, MacCall noted that Dixon never failed to see the good in people.

“The side I will miss the most is the friendship side. When we would go target shooting, talking about football – Darryl liked the Packers, and mostly about each other’s family,” he said.

“It’s going to be a hard one,” Nate Much, a former township commissioner and longtime resident, said of the loss. He noted he long considered Dixon as “the best public works director in Delaware County.”

Tyrone McGaw became emotional as he reminisced growing up with an “awesome” brother whom he misses.

“Take your time,” a gentle voice from the crowd urged the grieving sibling.

Dixon was remembered by many in the community through cards that were sent to the family and read aloud by Keith Atkinson.

According to his obituary, read aloud by Akilah Evans Pigford, Dixon was educated in the Coatesville and later the Rose Tree Media school districts. He was an alum of Penncrest High School where until recently, he held the record in track for high jump at 6 feet 8 inches. In 2015, Dixon was inducted into the Media Hall of Fame.

Dixon was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. After his discharge, he served as a police officer in Los Angeles, California. In his spare time, Dixon enjoyed playing basketball, sitting on the couch watching YouTube videos, and being with family.

In addition to Felice, he is survived by children Darryl Jr., Ahmir, Mikayla, Dominick, and Camille; a brother, Tyrone McGaw; and nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family, coworkers, and friends. He was the son of the late Eugene Dixon and Yvonne Taylor McGaw, and the brother of the late Antoinette Dixon.

“He is not here on earth, but he is here,” Donna D. Diakite said of Dixon.

To her cousin Felice, Diakite said, “You are truly blessed and highly favored to have found such a love.”

Describing Dixon as more than an employee, Township Manager Dave Grady said he was a friend, a family member. He presented a proclamation plaque, which in part reads:

“The Board of Commissioners of Nether Providence hereby declares July 22, 2023, to be Darryl Dixon Sr.’s Day of Remembrance, and we invite everyone to carry forward his memory as a testament to the profound impact he had on the community.”

Among the adjectives in the proclamation describing Dixon: Loyal, dedicated, invaluable and beloved. Government leaders used the same words in addressing Dixon’s death at the recent public meeting.

Grady placed the plaque on a table with the urn housing Dixon’s cremains, a family photograph and a striking portrait of Dixon.

Eulogizing her husband of 11 years, Felice Dixon shared a poem titled, “I Can’t Help It, I Love Them,”  ” authored by Dixon in his last days at the hospital.

The poem reads as if Dixon is talking and shares a glimpse into his relationships with his family: Felice, his reason for living; Ahmir who is outgoing, and calls his mother every day from his station in the U.S. Army; Darryl Jr. who is an extension of his father’s mind and body; Dominick who is on the honor roll and plays sports; Mikayla who makes Dixon proud; and Camille the cheerleader who is the best athlete in the family.

“Thanks for the support,” she told the crowd.

The service was followed by more fellowship and food.

Before the day was over, township Commissioner Robert O’Connor in a spur-of-the-moment decision by the Board announced the renaming of the site as the Darryl Dixon Sr. Basketball Courts at Sapovits Park.

Arrangements were handled by Funeral Director Linda M. Townsend.

 

 

 

The Public Works Garage will be open Saturday, May 4th from 8am-12pm for yard waste drop-off.
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