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Ellen Burtner Dixon ’63

Born in California, Ellen lived in Colorado, Texas, and Oregon, and then moved to Vancouver, BC, with her first husband. Her impressive formal education included obtaining a bachelor’s in history from Reed, where she wrote a thesis on historian Walter Prescott Webb. She went on to get a master’s of library science at UC Berkeley, and a certificate in pottery from the Vancouver Art School, where she met her second husband, Reg Dixon, who shared her love of pottery, sculpture, gardening, and farming. Their daughter, Valerie, was born in 1977.

Ellen worked as a freelance potter and as a learning assistant and access advisor at University College of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, British Columbia “Learning to learn is the first step to academic involvement,” she once said. A longtime supporter of social justice, environmental and other causes, she gave generously of her time and resources to the Fronya Women’s Centre, the Mission Transition House, and the Mission for Peace.

Ellen shared many happy years cycling, hiking, and camping with her partner, Jean Baycroft, and loved good food, animals, meaningful conversations and digging in her vegetable garden wearing her favorite Tilley hat. She died in a British Columbia nursing home after struggles with Parkinson disease and spinal stenosis.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2016

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