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Sunday, July 16, 2023
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Sunday, July 16, 2023
Joyce Arden Dixon, beloved daughter, wife, aunt, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and cherished friend to thousands, died peacefully in her sleep on July 10, 2023, at Arbor Terrace Assisted Living Facility in Asheville, NC, where she had resided for the past five years.
Joyce was the daughter and only child of Myrtle and Tom Arden, and spent her formative years in Jacksonville, Florida. She attended Robert E Lee High, where she was active in a variety of schools and social clubs. After graduation, Joyce was employed by Blue Cross/Blue Shield when she met the love of her life, Thomas Dixon. They married in 1950 and had five children, all of whom survive her: Arden
Knight (Gordon) Tom Dixon (Cathe), Bill Dixon (Ann), Jim Dixon (Debbie) and Tim Dixon (Natalia). Her husband Tom, of fifty-eight years, predeceased her in 2008.
Shortly after the birth of their first two children, Joyce and Tom moved from Florida to North Carolina, eventually putting down roots in Raleigh, NC, where they raised their family and made many lifelong friends. In addition to being a wife, mother and homemaker, Joyce was an active member of White Memorial Presbyterian Church, serving as a Deacon, and participated in the Yokefellows Prison Ministry and a variety of other social, service and charitable endeavors. She was always a familiar face as a volunteer at her children’s schools and was a "second Mom" to many of her children’s friends. At one point Joyce attended night classes at NC State, hoping to get a Degree in Elementary Education. Although life circumstances intervened to thwart that effort, she maintained a 4.0 GPA in her studies and made many fast friends with professors, staff and students alike, often inviting them to the house for a home-cooked meal. For many years, she was a mainstay as an employee at The Mouse and Mushroom gift shop at North Hills Mall. She was also very active in her North Hills community and in NC tennis circles, shuttling her children to Junior tennis tournaments around the state, and became a decent player herself - although she was always vulnerable to the "drop shot". When husband Tom took the job of Manager at the Raleigh Racquet Club, Joyce operated the Pro Shop with great tact and skill and was well-loved and appreciated by both the club members and the staff.
In 1983, with all the children grown, Joyce and Tom moved to their cozy retirement home in the North Carolina mountains, where they soon became a fixture in the small community of Balsam, NC. Joyce was a faithful member of Hazelwood Presbyterian Church, where she participated in many church functions and activities. But her favorite service activity, by far, was keeping the Nursery on Sunday mornings, often recruiting her grandchildren to help with the effort. She dearly loved all the children in her life, and they loved her dearly in return. Joyce also thoroughly enjoyed the social life "up on the mountain" with her "Balsam Babe" friends, her many in-laws and relatives, and her "beach friends" and old acquaintances at the Four Winds Condo complex in St. Augustine, FL, where she spent two months every winter for many years. Tom and her children often joked that whenever there was a party, Mom was always the first to arrive and the last to leave. In addition to her other many talents, Joyce was also an incredible cook and wonderful gardener. She adorned her home with beautiful plants and flowers,
inside and out, and the house was often full of the enticing smell of delicious meals and baked goods, which she sometimes made to give away, much to her family’s chagrin. Her Chocolate Chip Cookies, in particular, were legendary, with a reputation that has likely circled the globe. As one fan of her baking prowess insisted, "Anybody who claims they don’t like fruitcake has never tasted one made by Joyce Dixon".
Everyone who had the good fortune to know Joyce over her long and memorable lifetime will testify enthusiastically to her incredible kindness and warm, gentle, caring, loving spirit. Joyce was the personification of the old adage "she never met a stranger" and never once had an unkind word to say to or about anyone. She interacted with and attracted people from every walk of life and worked tirelessly for the benefit of her community, but always managed to somehow find the time to sit and talk with a friend or family member over a cup of tea. Joyce met all of the many challenges she faced in her life with great courage, good humor, a positive attitude and an unshakeable faith in God. She was a powerful force for good in the lives of countless people and will be truly missed by everyone who knew her. The world will never be the same without Joyce Arden Dixon. In addition to her children and their spouses, Joyce is survived by seven grandchildren and their spouses:
Ashley Knight, Kelly Knight (Brian), Will Dixon (Sarah), Christina Smith (Stuart), Ali Ricke (Matt), Madison Sasser (Carson), and Carley Dixon, and her twelve great-grandchildren: Jayla, Dylan, Willow and Jasper Dixon, Tom and Arden Smith, Grady and Bodhi Knight, Lily Duncan, Gray and Walt Sasser, and Baby Ricke, along with a huge extended family, every one of whom she treated as her own.
The family would like to express our appreciation to Dr Johnson at the Memory Care Center, and to the staff and residents of Arbor Terrace Assisted Living in Asheville, who provided our mom with great care and a loving environment in the final years of her life. We also owe a debt of gratitude to the Hospice nurses who helped Mom and our family at the end with their compassion and kindness, and to all of Mom’s countless friends who have expressed their great affection and sincere condolences.
A Memorial Service to honor Joyce’s amazing life and legacy will be held on Sunday, July 16th at 2:00 PM in the sanctuary at Hazelwood Presbyterian Church, followed by a reception in the Fellowship Hall.
If you would like to make a memorial donation in Joyce’s memory, please remit to: Hazelwood Presbyterian Church, 368 Hazelwood Ave., Waynesville, NC 28786; or Haywood Christian Ministry, Inc., 150 Branner Ave., Waynesville, NC, 28786.