A humble man

Published 10:12 am Wednesday, August 9, 2017

This community is a better place because of the hard work, drive, support and determination of Gene B. Dixon Jr.

Dixon, who served as president of Kyanite Mining Corp. and chairman of The Disthene Group Inc., the parent company of Kyanite, died recently after battling prostate cancer.

Dixon spent the majority of his life working to build Kyanite Mining Corp. — Buckingham County’s largest private employer — by treating others with respect, using innovation and ingenuity in his work and supporting his community.

Raised in the Cullen community, Dixon graduated from Randolph-Henry High School.

In his later years, he embarked on a 44-year relationship with The Bank of Charlotte County, serving as director and chairman of the board, according to his obituary.

Dexter Gilliam, who serves as the president and chief executive officer of The Bank of Charlotte County, said Dixon served as chairman of the board and a member of the board of directors of the bank from 1974-2016.

“He was obviously well-thought of and well-respected by all of the employees during that time,” Gilliam said.

He called Dixon a “valued director and chairman of the bank for a lot of years,” terming him a “dynamic individual.”

We value Dixon’s commitment to this county, notably his devotion to preserving Virginia landmarks as diverse from area slave cemeteries to the storied home of Patrick Henry at Red Hill.

There are several lessons we could learn from the 74 years Dixon lived on this earth, but two stand out to us as being most important — determination and humbleness.

Gene’s son, Guy, remembers his father teaching him and his siblings strong moral character, and never giving up.

“When I was real young, he instilled … giving it 100 percent, and maybe more than that. Never quitting was a big, big thing,” said Guy, who serves as the current president of Kyanite Mining.

Guy said his father taught him the people who prevailed in the end “were the people who just kind of don’t give up and who get up every morning and put on their boots and try again no matter what … failures the previous day had brought.”