Belfast Telegraph

Lurgan dentist who rose to top as an academic in US makes final journey home

The cremated remains of a Lurgan man who enjoyed a distinguished career as a dentist and academic in the United States will rest forever more in his Co Armagh home town.

Dr Andrew Dixon, known as Drewe, passed away peacefully at the age of 92 on September 28 in Medford, Oregon.

Born in Belfast in 1925, his passion for the academic life saw him rise to the position of dean of the school of dentistry at the University of Los Angeles.

A former pupil of the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, he studied at Queen's University, where he met his future wife Mary Elizabeth.

Married in the First Lurgan Presbyterian Church in 1948, the couple set up their own dentistry practice in Bangor.

As Dr Dixon pursued his academic career, they later moved to England, before settling in the States in the 1960s.

The couple, who were married for 68 years, had three daughters - Mindy, Alison and Jane (now deceased), four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Mindy Sweat, who lives in Georgia, told the Belfast Telegraph her father always considered Northern Ireland his home.

"He was a true academic, but also had a very creative side and was very particular," she said.

"My mum tells great stories about their dentist practice in Bangor and about how everything would have to be where it belonged."

In his retirement years Dr Dixon qualified as a master gardener, as well enjoying painting watercolours of Co Down and Co Donegal landscapes.

Despite her father's impressive credentials, she said she remembered him for his modesty.

"He had a tremendous sense of humour and was a great care-giver for my younger sister Alison, who has Down's syndrome," she explained.

"It was very hard for him when he wasn't able to see her in recent years (after she moved to live with me). He was very soft on the inside but stoic and firm looking on the outside."

A lifelong Presbyterian, Dr Dixon remained involved in the church and organisations for mental welfare.

Ms Sweat added: "I know probably all daughters feel this way, but I just have such tremendous admiration for my dad. He was and still is a role model to me."

A memorial service for Dr Dixon will be held on Thursday at 1pm at Malcomsons Funeral Home in Lurgan prior to the interment of his cremated remains.

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