A humble man

Published 3:12 pm Tuesday, August 1, 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 last Monday 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.

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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 — Arch and Vail — 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 bought. The persistence of never giving up kind of pays off.”

There’s no doubt that Dixon, as we all do, encountered struggles in life — one of which made him, his business and his family stronger, according to Guy.

“…That really was hard on him,” Guy said, alluding to Colgate, et al. v. The Disthene Group, Incorporated, a civil lawsuit filed against Disthene by Curtis Dixon Colgate, Sharon Marie Newcomb and Marion J. Colgate Sr., seeking the dissolution of the company and the distribution of its assets on a pro-rata basis to all the shareholders.

“That hurt him a lot. It hurt me a lot,” Guy said of the verdict. “We got through that.”

The comments of E.M. Wright Jr. — a friend of Gene’s — speak volumes about the humbleness he had in supporting others, including the community.

“…Gene was a strong supporter of people and community,” Wright said. “Some of the things he did are recognized. Others he did without any need or expectation of recognition or acknowledgment. He did them because he was a good and generous person.”