Bob Dixon, a former long-time Barrow County Board of Education member and Winder-Barrow High School basketball and football coach who later served two terms on the Winder City Council, died Thursday, Sept. 2, after being hospitalized recently due to COVID-19 and other complications. He was 85.
Funeral services are scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 5, the day when Dixon would have celebrated his 86th birthday, at First Baptist Church in Winder, where he was a member.
A native of Vidalia, Dixon began his career in education as a teacher and coach at WBHS. He led the school’s boys’ basketball team to the state title game and GHSA Class A and Class AA runner-up finishes in 1961 and 1963, respectively. He was later the head football coach at the school and was at the helm when W. Clair Harris Stadium, for which he led the design efforts and was instrumental in helping to build, opened. The Bulldoggs went 7-3 that year and finished the season on a five-game winning streak after a 2-3 start. Dixon, who was 15-5 in two seasons as head football coach, is part of the school’s athletic wall of fame.
After his coaching career, Dixon was district sales manager for Moen, Inc., a Fortune 500 company, but he stayed involved in education, serving on the school board from 1972 to 1998.
Dixon was elected to an at-large city council seat in 2009 and won a close re-election bid four years later. He initially qualified to run for a third term in 2017 but later dropped out of the race for family health reasons. His second wife, Diane Moon Dixon, died in April.
“Bob was a great man,” councilman Sonny Morris, who served on the council with Dixon and was a junior in high school when Dixon arrived at WBHS, said Friday, Sept. 3. “I go way back with him.”
Ironically, a few hours before Dixon passed, his niece-by-marriage, Shannon Hammond, was appointed by the council to fill the other at-large seat that had been vacant since late July. Dixon’s first marriage was to the late Nancy Jenkins Dixon, whose brother was Hammond’s stepfather.
“He was a giant of a person,” Hammond said Friday of Dixon. “(Being appointed to the council) is a bittersweet moment for me because I know he would have had so much to tell me. I know he would have had a lot of advice for me.”