June 27, 1927 ~ July 20, 2009
Jean Jenkins Dixon
June 27, 1927 - July 20, 2009
Jean Jenkins Dixon of Manhattan Beach, CA, died July 20, 2009 after bravely battling leukemia for almost three years. She was a loving wife and mother to four children, an intrepid world traveler, and active in her community.
Jean was born in Los Angeles to British immigrants, Alexander and Marjory Jenkins. She grew up in Colton and later Monterey Park, graduating from Mark Keppel High School in 1945. She was awarded a scholarship to attend UC Berkeley, earning her bachelor's degree in public health in 1949.
In the 1950's, Jean worked as a medical technician in Merced and Sacramento, and at County Hospital in L.A. She also travelled to South America, skied, camped, and folk danced in Pasadena, where she met her future husband, Bill Dixon.
In 1958 and 1959, Jean was employed by the World Health Organization on the island of St. Helena in the middle of the South Atlantic. She designed and equipped a medical laboratory on a budget of $1000, including a hand centrifuge and a monocular microscope, and she trained a local resident to run the lab after she left. Before and after her stay in St. Helena, Jean travelled throughout Europe and southern Africa.
Soon after returning to Southern California, in March 1960, Jean married Bill Dixon. For their honeymoon they flew a small plane down the Baja California peninsula. She raised four children, serving as soccer mom, ski instructor, chef on family camping trips and mountaineering expeditions, and PTA president. Many family vacations were taken in a four-place airplane. Jean and Bill instilled in their children a love of education, sports, the outdoors, aviation and travel.
After her children were grown, Jean returned to work, running early HIV tests at LA County Public Health. In the 1980s and 1990s, she and Bill travelled widely, to five of the seven continents, and she would visit Australia later. She was an avid badminton player and boogie boarder, and loved to bicycle along the beach. She was active in the Women's Fellowship at the Manhattan Beach Community Church, and in the South Bay Cal Alumni Association. Jean will be remembered by all as strong, humble, adventurous, unfailingly upbeat, and a delight to be around.
Jean Dixon was preceded in death by her brother Robert Jenkins in 1981 and by her husband Bill Dixon in 1999. She is survived by her brother Donald, by her children, Lance, Roy, Wendy and Alan, by four grandsons, and by a great circle of friends and relatives from both her community and around the world.
A memorial service will be held on Sunday, July 26 at 1:30pm at Manhattan Beach Community Church, 303 S. Peck Ave., continuing at 2:30pm at the Manhattan Beach Badminton Club, 516 18th St.
Donations in lieu of flowers may be made in Jean's memory, either to the South Bay Cal Alumni Club Scholarship Fund (code W7939) and sent to Cal Alumni Association, 1 Alumni House, Berkeley, CA 94720-7520, or to the Manhattan Beach Community Church, 303 S. Peck Ave., Manhattan Beach, CA 90266.
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