Gerry Leon Dixon

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His final chapter was to be spent with his family who loved and missed him.

Gerry Leon Dixon, born Aug. 24, 1939, entered into eternal rest in heaven on March 22, 2008.

Born in Benton Harbor, Mich., he lived his childhood in various places in the United States before joining the military. He served five terms in Vietnam, serving as a Green Beret most of those years. After returning to civilian life, his life changed dramatically and circumstances known only to him forced him to disappear for nearly 22 years before contacting his family again. Continual searches over those years found no trace of him, but he was never out of our minds or our hearts. He finally contacted his family in Oregon, where he had lived for the prior five years. His illness had progressed and he felt it was time to let everyone know where he was. In his compassion, he asked nothing from anyone, just wanted to say goodbye. His sister and brother-in-law, Patricia and Joseph Gruden, had him move in with them to give him the best final days possible by living in beautiful Payson and pouring 22 years of love on him.

He kept saying Payson was the most beautiful and peaceful place he had ever seen in his life. He loved sitting on the deck watching the squirrels, chipmunks, birds and elk, which are plentiful in the backyard.

He leaves behind his loving mother, Lois Koonse and her husband Howard of Sun City, Ariz.; sister and brother-in-law, Patricia and Joseph Gruden of Payson, Ariz.; brother and sister-in-law, Michael and Wendy Dixon of Tacoma, Wash.; two daughters, Suzanne Dixon of Washington and Andrea Dixon of Oregon; and two grandchildren, Austin and Jordan.

God has you in His keeping; we have you in our hearts.

Memorial services will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, March 29, 2008 at Messinger Payson Funeral Home, 302 W. Aero Dr., Payson, Ariz.

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