02-17-1929 – 02-12-2023
Theodora Dixon died February 12, 2023 in Lawrence, KS, just shy of 94. She lived a life surrounded by love and she gave as good as she got. Theodora (called Thede or Theo by friends) was known for her ready smile that squeezed her eyes shut and lit up her face, her quick wit, and friendly warmth. She was great fun to be around.
Theodora was born February 17, 1929, in Mt. Carmel, IL, daughter of Sherwood and Bernice Brines Risley.
Theodora met the love of her life in Mt. Carmel High School. She and Richard (Dick) Dixon were married right out of high school, in 1948. Their adventure together lasted nearly 50 years, until Dick’s death in 1996. They had two daughters, April and Toni.
As newlyweds, Dick and Thede rode a Harley Davidson Knucklehead from Illinois to California, camping in Yellowstone and exploring the Southwest. Her whole life, Theodora loved to travel. When Dick got his pilot’s license, they bought Bonanzas and flew from the Bermuda Triangle to Montana and everywhere in between. Later they exchanged the plane for an RV and kept traveling.
They moved to Tulsa, OK in 1957 where Dick and Thede started their own oil well servicing company. In 1971 they moved to the Cheyenne Creek Ranch, near Caney, KS. They rode Quarter horses, raised cattle, and enjoyed wonderful times with friends from Oklahoma, Kansas, and Illinois.
After Dick’s death, Theodora remained on the ranch until 2003, then moved to Lawrence, KS. There she added “practically-another-daughter”, Janet Lukehart, and Janet’s mother, Jean, to her loving family. Theodora joined the First Christian Church, Welcome Club, a Tai Chi group, and volunteered for the Lied Center, the Christmas Shoebox project and the Red Cross. She never missed a City Band Concert or the Old Fashioned Christmas Parade. She was an avid Jayhawk fan, gathering the family for “Lucky Soup” to cheer the Hawks.
Throughout her life, Theodora made new friends and stayed in touch with the longtime ones. She wrote letters, sent cards, and never missed a birthday or anniversary. She would surprise you with the most thoughtful things. Friends she met in kindergarten and high school, through her neighborhoods, churches, kids, volunteering, Quarter horses, and the oil patch were with her for a lifetime.
Theodora’s family meant everything. Hers was a life of giving and receiving love, a life with laughter. She was a homemaker and a gardener extraordinaire, transforming every home with beautiful flower gardens and trees. She loved all kinds of music, from Patti Page to Rock ‘n’ Roll and beyond. To the end, she knew the lyrics of any hymn. Theodora loved animals and always had dogs, cats, horses, and even a parrot in her life.
She was preceded in death by husband, Dick; sister, Barbara Seibert; and brother-in-law, George Dixon. Missing her cheerful company are daughters, April Dixon and Toni Dixon, dear friend, Janet Lukehart; brother, Bingham Risley; sister-in-law, Dixy Dixon; niece and nephews, Karen Miller, Brent Seibert, Morris Seibert, and their families.
Theodora also leaves behind many wonderful friends who enriched her life from childhood to old age. Her loving spirit will be celebrated at a later date in her hometown, Mt. Carmel, IL, where she will be buried next to her soul mate, Dick.
Her family thanks the caregivers of Lawrence Presbyterian Manor and Visiting Nurses for their unfailing care and compassion.
Please consider donations in Theodora’s name to the Lawrence Humane Society or an animal rescue near you. Condolences and donations may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Funeral Home, 120 W. 13th St., Lawrence, KS, 66044.
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