Suzanne Robinson Dixon was born September 13, 1924 in Pierre, SD. She was the daughter of Will and Martha (Slattery) Robinson. Her grandfather, Doane Robinson, who was "The Father of Mount Rushmore" lived next door and was like a third parent to her. Suzanne was the oldest of three children and learned to become a caregiver early in life as her mother was severely injured in a car accident when she was nine years old. She had to grow up quickly to help out as her mother's healing process took more than five years.
During The Great Depression her father served in the Civilian Conservation Corps. His position required the family to move frequently which led to her attending five different high schools in Kansas, Missouri, the Black Hills and then graduating from Washington Lee High School in Arlington, VA. She had planned to go to college in Virginia, but when her father went overseas in 1942 during WWII the rest of the family returned to SD. She went to Yankton College which turned out to be a good fit. College life certainly wasn't normal then, but Suzanne graduated with a solid education and wonderful friends. She taught Spanish and English at Mitchell High School and met her future husband, Warren Dixon, on the steps of the Congregational Church parsonage where she had a sleeping room.
Suzanne and Warren were married on September 3, 1949 in Pierre. They were blessed with four children: Karen, Barbara, Jeffrey and David. Their lives couldn't have been better until November of 1965. That year five year old David had a sudden illness which left him with a severe brain injury. This changed Suzanne's plans to return to teaching Spanish to elementary students as her calling switched once again to that of a loving caregiver. This time she remained in that role for 51 more years until David's death in the spring of 2016. The Dixon family life was very full with the care of David and the many activities of the other three children. Suzanne tried teaching with Head Start part-time, but found it didn't give her the flexibility she needed to be home for David and participate in her other children's lives. As a professional career was no longer an option she began to serve as a volunteer in various capacities as time allowed. She had a boundless energy and enthusiasm for serving in any capacity needed in her churches; including teaching Sunday School and Vacation Bible School and spending many hours in church kitchens. Suzanne was a Girl Scout leader and served on boards for the United Way, First Lutheran Board of Education and the Mitchell Public Library. She also volunteered for Wesley Acres, the American Cancer Society and the First Lutheran Day Care Center in addition to being actively involved making calls and going door to door in many political campaigns. In Loveland, CO she was a reading mentor for elementary students and taught English to Vietnamese families sponsored by her church. Suzanne was presently a member of First Presbyterian Church in Sioux Falls.
Suzanne and Warren purchased one of the early motor homes in 1962 and the family took many memorable trips together. They were also able to get away for two European trips in their early retirement years. In 1979, Suzanne, Warren and David moved to Loveland, CO and enjoyed being close to Karen and their Nickoley grandsons. Warren designed a new home which they built on a small lake lot and they loved their years there in the more temperate climate. In 1992 they moved back to their SD roots to Sioux Falls, this time to be closer to Barb and Frank and the Rance grandchildren. They lived in a townhouse especially designed for David and then later moved to Avera Prince of Prince in 2011 where Warren passed away in November of 2012 and David in April of 2016. The family is so appreciative of the loving care that the staff there provided for all three of them.
A constant in Suzanne's life for 65 years was the P.E.O. Sisterhood. Her life was greatly enriched for having known so many unique women in her chapters in Mitchell, Loveland and Sioux Falls. She cherished her friendships with these women and always appreciated their love and support. Additionally, Suzanne had passion for home and family, gardening, reading, South Dakota History, volunteering, church, playing games, and friendships. She was a writer, who transcribed her great grandfather Doane's diary and most recently completed a book about her father, Will G. Robinson, a former SD State Historian. She could always see the beauty in a South Dakota sky, in the soft petals of a flower or in her many friends. Suzanne's giving heart added much to this world and her presence among us will be missed, but all who knew her are celebrating her springtime call to her new home in heaven.
Grateful for sharing the life of this strong, devoted woman are her daughters, Karen (Chip) Olson, Evergreen, CO, Barbara (Frank) Rance, Sioux Falls; son Jeffrey, Northfield, MN; grandchildren: Scott (Amanda) Nickoley, Sherman Oaks, CA, Todd (Rebecca) Nickoley, Carbondale, CO, Andrew Rance, St. Paul, MN, Molly (Nick) Ball, Seoul, South Korea, Kevin Rance, Vermillion, SD; and step-grandchildren, Gina (Derek) Paulas, Frankfort, IL, and Derek Olson, St. Paul, MN; four great-grandchildren: Damon, Donovan and Dylan Nickoley, and Berkeley Ball; and three step great-grandchildren, Paul English and Avery and Quincy Paulas. She is also survived by her sister, Barbara Nelson, Yankton, SD; sisters-in-law Betty Dixon, Mitchell, Sallie Dixon, Roanoke, VA; and several nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, Warren; her son, David; and a brother, Will D. Robinson.
In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials to Avera Prince of Peace, First Presbyterian Church,
the South Daktoa Historical Society of the P.E.O. Sisterhood Education Loan Fund.