John F. Dixon, 100, recycler known as the 'Paper Man'

July 02, 1996|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

Neighbors say John F. Dixon was the kind of neighbor every neighborhood needs. He recycled their old newspapers, did odd jobs for free and gave rides to those who didn't have cars.

"He was a good man, an honest man who worked hard and did what he could," said Sara Belmont, a Waverly resident for more than 35 years. "He was the kind of person that you could always depend on when you needed something. He'll be missed because every neighborhood needs someone like him."

Mr. Dixon, who was 100, died Wednesday of natural causes at Good Samaritan Nursing Center in Northeast Baltimore, where he had lived since 1992.

Dozens of Waverly residents saved old newspapers for Mr. Dixon, whom they called the "Paper Man."

They'd watch as he loaded bundles of newspapers into the back of his car, so many bundles that the tail of the vehicle nearly dragged along the ground.

Daria Dixon, a granddaughter who lives in Baltimore, remembered Mr. Dixon's cars. "It was a big car and it was always black. He always seemed to have a black car," she said. "I'd say 'Look, the back of his car is on the ground.' "

For 65 years, Mr. Dixon lived in Waverly, where he also did handyman jobs for neighbors.

"And he did them free, too," said a daughter, Geraldine Garrett of Baltimore. "They might want to give him a little something, but he didn't go around charging anybody anything. He was just a good neighbor."

Mr. Dixon also gave free rides to residents who had no cars.

Born in Pitt County, N.C., Mr. Dixon moved to Baltimore in 1925, a year after he married Sadie Ann Murphy. She died in 1994.

"He talked about life in North Carolina being hard, that's why he came to Baltimore," his daughter said. "It was a hard life because he had to work the fields. He wanted a better life for his children."

In Baltimore, he worked as a laborer for United Railroad, laying track until 1930 when he began a 35-year career as a Postal Service deliverer.

Since 1927, he had been a member at Faith Baptist Church in East Baltimore, where services were held yesterday, and was ordained a deacon in 1951.

Other survivors include a son, John Dixon of Baltimore; another daughter, Mildred Martin of Hyattsville; a brother, James Cannon of Washington; three sisters, Anna Moye of New Haven, Conn., Cherry Bell Chapman of Hartford, Conn., and Pauline Mills of Wintersville, N.C.; and five other grandchildren.

Pub Date: 7/02/96

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