After a long life of faithful service to the Lord, his community, and his family, Hal Bernard Dixon entered his heavenly home peacefully on Tuesday morning, December 28, 2021 at the age of 93.
He is survived by his loving wife of 70 years, Starr Dixon; his adoring daughters, Valerie Babb (Stan), Candace Ramsey (Chuck), Vanessa Torrence (Madison); and preceded in death by his son, Hal Bernard Dixon, Jr. He also leaves to cherish his memory 12 grandchildren, Brandon Ramsey (Bethany), Erika Henshaw (Joey), Dixon Babb, Caroline Ogle (Dylan), Hensley Babb, David Babb, Banks Ramsey, Rebecca Torrence, Stone Ramsey, Isabelle Torrence, Luke Ramsey, JP Ramsey; and two great-grandchildren, Elliana Henshaw and Ramsey Henshaw. His younger brothers, Beverly “Biggon” Dixon (Bessie), the late Henry “Bud” Dixon (Ruth), Jerry Dixon (Pat), and sister India Moody (Edward) all held a special place in his heart, along with his many other family members from the Dixon and J.W. Stone families.
Hal was born to Dudley Burgwyn Dixon and Cynthia Lou Crowder Dixon on March 6, 1928, in Wake Forest, N.C. After graduating from Wake Forest High School in 1945, he served in the Army as a Quartermaster Clerk and Military Policeman in Kobe, Japan, and later served in the Army Reserves for four years as Staff Sergeant. Upon returning from military service, he attended Wake Forest College and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1951. He also completed post graduate work at NC State and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
As a senior in college, Hal surrendered himself to Jesus Christ. His commitment to Christ led him to Cleveland, Tn., in 1955 to begin work for the Church of God Publishing House. He also became very involved in his local church, North Cleveland Church of God, where he served as Sunday School superintendent for over 30 years, a member of the Church Council for multiple tenures, and chairman of several committees including Master Planning, Building and Historical Committees. He was also the president and director of the North Cleveland Towers from 1971-2013.
Hal’s professional accomplishments are too numerous to list at length. He owned shopping centers, Bojangle’s properties, Checkers restaurants, a dry cleaning service, television stations, and real estate developments. He also owned and operated 10 McDonald’s restaurants in NC for 20 years. He was one of the founding members of First Citizens Bank of Cleveland and served on the board for 34 years. The majority of his companies have “Starr” in the name, a tribute to his wife and three daughters.
Lee University held a prominent place in Hal’s life. As a Lee board member for 32 years and the first Emeritus Board Member, he gave countless hours to the university. His greatest joy came when he chaired the Construction Oversight Committee for 27 years. His commitment to Lee combined his two great strengths: his business acumen and Christian service.
Hal had a deep appreciation for Bradley County. He served as the chairman of the Bradley County Commission, as well as a member of the Bradley County Board of Education, Bradley County Nursing Home Board, Cleveland Rotary Club, Hermes Board of Directors, and various other boards and committees.
Hal’s name rests on more than 50 plaques throughout Bradley County, an indication of his commitment to and involvement in the community. Yet despite his many honors, his highest priority remained his relationship with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and his greatest desire was to serve the Lord and draw others to know Him.
The Celebration of Life Service will be conducted on Saturday, Jan. 1, at 1 p.m. at the North Cleveland Church of God, Dixon Chapel with Pastor Mark Williams, Al Taylor, Pastor Mitch Maloney, Pastor Chuck Ramsey and Dr. Paul Conn officiating. Entombment will follow in the Sunset Memorial Gardens with grandsons, Brandon Ramsey, Dixon Babb, David Babb, Banks Ramsey, Stone Ramsey, Luke Ramsey and J. P. Ramsey serving as casket bearers.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Hal Bernard Dixon, Jr. scholarship fund at Lee University. Checks should be made out to Lee University with "Dixon Scholarship" in the memo line, and mailed to P.O. Box 3450 Cleveland, TN 37320. You can also give online at www.leeuniversity.edu/give.
For family and friends who are not able to attend the Celebration Service you may watch the service by live stream by going to nccog.com.
The Jim Rush Funeral and Cremation Services North Ocoee Chapel has charge of the arrangements.
You may share your condolences and your memories with the Dixon family by going to www.jimrushfuneralhomes.com.