Virginia Elizabeth Dixon - June 24, 2010
Virginia Elizabeth (Frasier) Dixon, the fifth child of Alma Charity (Bernard) and Claude Oliver Frasier, was born on Independence day, July 4, 1924, at the Frasier family ranch in Sleeper Hollow, Dundy County, Neb. There she resided in the valley until her death on June 5, 2010.
A descendent of Revolutionary War soldier Justus Munn and the granddaughter of Dundy County homesteaders, she experienced the harsh reality of daily life on the western prairie; in particular April 23, 1929, when she, her family and a slew of hired corn shellers were forced to take shelter in the cistern as a fierce tornado leveled the ranch buildings. Ever after she was terrified of storms. Many a summer stormy night witnessed the Dixon family being shepherded into the nearby storm cellar.
Virginia attended the Ash Grove one-room school on “the divide,” often riding to school astride a rambunctious pony, sitting behind her younger brother C.O. holding the reins. At the end of the school day, both the pony and C.O., eager to return home, would gallop at break-neck speed down the steep hills and through the draw to the barn, Virginia clinging onto C.O. for dear life. As a result of those terrifying adventures, she never developed a love for horses like her brothers C.O. and Merle, who were inseparable from their mounts.
After graduating from Benkelman High School in 1942, she briefly taught school at the same one-room school she attended as a child.
On Aug. 13, 1944, she was married to Maurice Marshall Dixon, also a grandson of homesteaders and a resident of Sleeper Hollow. Together they moved onto the nearby newly refurbished ranch three miles from her birth place.
Cooking for hired hands, plucking dozens of chickens, churning cream and fending off voracious grasshoppers intent on ravaging her large well-tended garden, her days were punctuated by precious moments indulging in her passion for embroidery and sewing.
Virginia took great delight in the regular gatherings of the Ash Grove Ladies Club, spending an afternoon with the ladies of the surrounding farms and ranches: quilting, sewing, exchanging the latest gossip and savoring the rotating hostess’ delicate afternoon repast.
Having the distinct misfortune to have been born on the 4th of July, nearly every birthday was spent cooking and transporting huge lunches to harvest crews in the wheat fields. Nevertheless, Virginia always found a spare moment to light a firecracker in celebration of “her day,” a tradition that began as a small child, continuing through her 85th birthday in 2009.
In the 1950’s she took an active interest in the Benkelman United Methodist Church, continuing as an active member until her passing.
Virginia was preceded in death by her grandparents, Elizabeth (Ayres) and Hiram Bernard, Cynthia (Ryckman) and William “Mart” Frasier; her parents, Alma and Claude; her brothers, Wilber, Kenneth, Merle and C.O. Frasier; and her sister, Ena (Phipps) Frasier.
Virginia and Maurice celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on Aug. 13, 1994.
Maurice preceded her in death, April 6, 1999.
She continued to reside on the ranch, taking an interested and active part in its daily operation in conjunction with her sons, Maurice Jr., Mark and good friend, neighbor and trusted tiller of the soil, Steve Leibbrandt.
Virginia passed away Saturday, June 5, 2010, in Loveland, Colo.
Survivors include sons, Maurice M. Dixon Jr., Mark A. Dixon and wife, Lisa; grandchildren, Tancy and husband Jeff, Jalana and husband John, Jordan and wife Amy, Cheyenne and wife Heather, Lane and wife Rebecca, and Brent; seven great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, Duanne Dixon; 18 nieces and nephews; countless friends and her troublesome but dearly beloved Molly, the cat.
Funeral services for Virginia Dixon were held Thursday morning, June 10, 2010, 10:30 a.m. at the United Methodist Church of Benkelman, with Pastor Brien Fong officiating.
Interment was at the Benkelman Cemetery, Benkelman, Neb.
Virginia will be greatly missed but not forgotten by those touched by her loving presence. A memorial has been established in Virginia’s memory.
Liewer Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.