Dr. James Dawson Nixon Ph.D.
- Born: 21 Nov 1922, Jonesville, Michigan
- Marriage (1): Marian Lucille Richmond on 2 Dec 1943 in Cuyhoga Falls, Ohio
- Marriage (2): Dr. Evelyn Rose Newhouse Ph.D. on 20 Dec 1967 in Detroit, Michigan
- Died: 5 Oct 2012, Irving, Texas at age 89
- Buried: Earlham Cemetery, Richmond, Indiana
James Dawson Nixon's Birth Certificate and Baptismal Record gave two different names, James John Nixon and John James Nixon. Not sure which name was used on each. He later had his name changed to James Dawson Nixon.
James was the middle of five children born to Loyd and Pearl Nixon. The family lived in St. Joseph, Michigan from 1929-1933. Then in Battle Creek, Michigan from 1933-1938. Then the family moved to Albion where his father, a Methodist Minister, was District Superintendant.
James graduated from High School in 1940 and entered Albion College the same year. In 1941 he was appointed student pastor. The bishop protested when he was designated 1-A in the WWII draft in 1942 and he was given a 4-D Ministerial deferment. James felt he should serve so he enlisted in the Navy and left Albion College in January of 1943. Boot camp was at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center where he also went to Hospital Corps School working at the Great Lakes Naval Hospital.
During the rest of WWII James served in the Navy in the Hospital Corps (Pharmacist's Mate). In 1943, he was transferred to the Naval Air Base at Jacksonville, Florida. In 1944 he was married on leave and transferred to the CB base at Camp Perry, Virginia. Then, at James request, he was assigned to the destroyer USS Benham which went into drydock at Pearl Harbor the same year after a collision. In 1944 the destroyer went to Palau, Peleliu, Marianas. In 1945 the destroyer went to Iwo Jima, the Phillipines and Okinawa. It also was part of the occupation fleet at Tokyo bay in 1945. The ship had also survived 3 typhoons, the worst occuring in 1945. In November of 1945 the ship returned to Honolulu and James disembarked in Bremerton, Washington. From there he went to the Great Lakes Naval base where he was discharged.
James and Evelyn visited Hawaii again in January, 1999. They spent three days on Oahu followed by seven days on the SS Independence touring the other islands. This was James first return so they also spent time visiting the USS Arizona and other WWII memorials.
James spent many years as a Methodist Minister. In 1945 he was appointed to the Livingston, Michigan circuit. In 1951 he became pastor of the Munith, Michigan circuit. In 1953 he attended the University of Michigan and graduated in 1954, then moving to Chicago to attend seminary from which he graduated in 1957.
Sunday, October 7, 2012 Obituary
The Leaf Chronicle
James Dawson Nixon, who moved south to teach rather than preach and endured to dean a faculty that he respected and admired, died in Irving, Texas, on October 5, 2012, having been born on November 21, 1922, in Jonesville, Michigan, the third of five offspring to the parsonages of Lloyd and Pearl Nixon. He was preceded in death by his parents, by his brother Bill and by three sisters: Mary Mumford, Isabel Helrigel, and Beth Carruth.
Evelyn Ruby Nixon, Jim's wife of forty years, died on June 21, 2007, to close a blessed second marriage for both.
He is survived by a son, Thomas Lloyd Nixon, of Penngrove, California, and a daughter, Pamela Jo Coller (Mrs. Mark), of Irving, Texas; by three California granddaughters, Jamilah Nixon-Mathis, Bethany Axiaq (Mrs. Emanuel), and Shawn Harvey (Mrs. Glenn); by three great-grandsons, Stephen, Ryan and Eric Harvey and great granddaughters Sophia Evelyn Axiaq, Natalia Alexa Axiaq, and Lucia Gold Peyer, all in California. Surviving nieces and nephews and their spouses include Margo Gill, Susan Haynes, Gina Frazier, Gary Helrigel, Cathryn Pierce; Andy, Charles, Matthew and Bill Porritt; Gay Hanby, Paula Devlin, and Dawn Homard; cousins JoAnne Legge, Jeannette Morris, Jacque Wisman, Quentin Woomer and sister-in-law Ginny Ketelhut.
Surviving family from Evelyn's side include Dr. William and Selma Sappenfield and their children Joshua, Olivia and Lisa in Florida; and Sherry Hawley of upstate New York and her sons Jeff and Bill.
Jim graduated from high school in Albion, Michigan, in 1940 and after two years in Albion College, declined draft deferment as a student minister and enlisted and served in the U.S. Navy for three years during World War II as a Hospital Corpsman (Pharmasist's Mate First Class), with two of those years served on a destroyer (the USS Benham DD796), earning nine battle stars in enemy action in the Pacific from the Marianas Campaign to the occupation fleet in Tokyo Bay.
Following graduation from the University of Michigan and Garrett Theological Seminary, he was ordained and pastored Methodist churches in Chicago, Illinois; and in Tecumseh, Grosse Pointe, and Saginaw, Michigan. He served the Detroit Methodist Conference as president of the conference board of education, president of the conference camp commission, and as a member of the conference board of ministerial training and the board of social concerns.
With a sabbatical leave in 1967, he returned to the University of Michigan for doctoral studies in sociology and education and subsequently taught in the University of Michigan School of Education, Eastern Michigan University, and at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, where he retired in 1992 as professor of sociology and dean of arts and sciences, emeritus. He had served APSU for twenty years including three as department chairman, sixteen as dean, and a shorter stint as interim vice president for academic affairs.
Volunteer work in retirement included AARP state president and volunteer lobbyist, certified volunteer ombudsman for two local nursing homes, membership on several boards, and extensive involvement in Amnesty International.
With kin spread across the country, no local services are planned. In lieu of such, family and friends are invited to lift a glass or raise a prayer at a normal meal where they are, to celebrate a long and satisfying life. In lieu of flowers, gifts to Amnesty International, 600 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20003, or the charity of choice are suggested. His ashes will be buried next to those of Evelyn in Earlham Cemetery, Richmond, Indiana.
"I was Jim Nixon, and I approved this message!"
There are accomplishments not noted above, but worthy of mention. Jim became involved in the civil rights movement in the 1960s. He attended the rally in Washington D.C. where Martin Luther King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. He also went south to Mississippi to support equal rights where he, a minister, went to jail for 3 days because he tried to attend church with another minister who was black. He would also advertise his church in the Michigan Chronicle, a black newspaper in Detroit, in an attempt to diversify his membership. At the time his church was Grosse Pointe Methodist church. There was pushback from church membership and consequently from the Methodist church itself. Jim was transferred to a church in Saginaw. James then received his Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Michigan and became a professor and dean - Mark Coller
Noted events in his life were:
1. Residence. James and Evelyn Nixon lived at 3 Canterbury Road, Clarksville, Tennessee 37043.
James married Marian Lucille Richmond, daughter of Charles Sylvester Richmond and Sylvia Rhea Bryan, on 2 Dec 1943 in Cuyhoga Falls, Ohio. The marriage ended in divorce in Nov 1967. (Marian Lucille Richmond was born on 26 Nov 1920 in Akron, Ohio and died on 5 Sep 2016 in Ashland, Ashland County, Ohio.)
Noted events in their marriage were:
1. Divorce: Ann Arbor, Michigan.
James next married Dr. Evelyn Rose Newhouse Ph.D., daughter of Edwin Newhouse and Bertha Ruby, on 20 Dec 1967 in Detroit, Michigan. (Dr. Evelyn Rose Newhouse Ph.D. was born on 22 Sep 1923 in Indianapolis, Indiana, died on 21 Jun 2007 in Clarksville, Tennessee and was buried in Earlham Cemetery, Richmond, Indiana.)