Thomas Francis Dixon

Date of Birth

December 27, 1946

Date of Death

May 19, 2019

City of Death

Isla Vista

Tom Dixon passed peacefully at home in the loving presence of his wife Sue, son Shannon and daughters Sienna and Amy after years of struggling with Alzheimer’s Disease.

The second oldest of eight siblings born into a career Air Force family, Tom felt comfortable in many environments and embraced many cultures. He was born in Pasadena, and growing up he lived in Long Beach; Edgemont, CA; Arlington, VA; Tripoli, Libya; Mount Holly, NJ; and Scott Air Force Base in southern Illinois, where he graduated from Mascoutah High School in 1964. He graduated from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in 1968 with a major in physical anthropology. Tom then served for 2 years in the Peace Corps in what is now Eritrea.

Tom had developed a sense of adventure and a commitment to helping people which led him to choose a career in medicine. In 1972, he attended the University of California, Santa Barbara in order to complete the pre-med classes he needed, which is where he met Sue Giles. After completing their studies, they married and immediately set off for Guadalajara, Mexico, where Tom began his medical studies. They enjoyed seeing the amazing archaeological sites and experiencing the Mexican culture. After two years, he transferred to the University of Southern California medical school in Los Angeles, where he received his MD in 1978. He went on to complete a Family Practice residency in San Pedro, CA.
After residency, Tom accepted the position of Medical Director of the Isla Vista Medical Clinic. He was also hired as a staff physician at the UCSB Student Health Center, which eventually became his primary employer until he retired in 2013. His many patients and colleagues remember him for his skill and his kind and gentle manner.

Tom shared his love of nature and backpacking with Sue. Their most memorable backpacking trips included climbing Mt. Whitney (which was partially snow-covered at the time), and hiking the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim (and back again!). Tom and Sue also shared a passion for live music, and regularly enjoyed attending Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Grateful Dead concerts, and other music festivals.

Tom always took his responsibilities as a citizen both locally and globally very seriously. He served on the board of Let Isla Vista Eat, and on the predecessor of the Isla Vista Redevelopment Agency, as well as participating in countless community and political meetings for the betterment of the quality of life in Isla Vista.

Tom and Sue loved to travel. They adopted children from Peru and China. With their children, they did road trips all over the US and even a trip to China. Tom and Sue traveled to Ireland, Scotland, England, Paris, Italy, Mexico, Guatemala, Alaska, Canada, Southeast Asia, Tahiti, Tibet, and Nepal in addition to the countless trips in American southwest. Telluride, Colorado was a special favorite.

He was a humble, egalitarian man who quietly walked the earth with a dry sense of humor, kindness, and a powerful intellectual curiosity. He sought nothing more than to be of service to others and to live in harmony with the earth.

Tom’s life will be celebrated on August 10 at 2:00 pm at the Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 820 N Fairview, Goleta. Colorful attire encouraged. Donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or Doctors Without Borders.


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