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DIXON, The Honourable Russell (Russ) Armitage, Q.C.

November 14, 1924 – Medicine Hat, Alberta
December 9, 2018 – Calgary, Alberta

Peacefully, on Sunday morning, December 9th, 2018, Russell Dixon passed away at the Alberta South Health Campus Hospital. He is survived by his beloved wife, Sheila (nee Sinton); children, Howard (Toni), Christine (Clive) and Doug (Kelly); grandchildren, Michael, Bill, Bob (Emily), Shaun, Ben, Teja, Rachel, Jen and Will, and his great-granddaughter, Brinley.

Russ was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta on November 14, 1924, youngest child of Dr. Howard and Beatrice Dixon, and brother to Peggy, John and Charlie. After graduating from high school in 1943, he enlisted with the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion of the 6th British Airborne Division, serving in England, Belgium, Holland and Germany, participating in the Battle of the Bulge and the airborne drop over the Rhine River in March, 1945.

After discharge from the Army, Russ enrolled at the University of Alberta, receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1948 and a Law Degree in 1951. He was admitted to the Alberta Bar in 1952 and practiced for twenty-nine years in Calgary with the firm Howard, Dixon, Mackie & Forsyth. Russ was elected a Bencher of The Law Society of Alberta in 1971 and served as Chairman of the Ethics Committee, Vice Chairman of the Discipline Committee and Vice President of the Law Society. He was named a Queen’s Counsel in 1973. In 1979 Russ was elected President of the Law Society of Alberta.

On October 24, 1980, Russ was appointed to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench. He served in every capacity as a trial and chambers Judge and on the Civil Practice and Procedure Committee for many years. Russ retired from the Court on November 14, 1999, but continued to stay active in the legal community, conducting mediations and serving on arbitration panels until he was in his mid-80s.

Russ and Sheila were married in Calgary in 1951. They celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary on September 1, 2018. In addition to providing their children with a wonderful upbringing that included countless ski and camping trips, they surrounded themselves with a great group of friends with whom they shared many happy times.

Russ loved the outdoors where he skied, golfed, fly fished, hunted upland birds, played tennis and just enjoyed a good sunset or the sighting of a deer in his backyard. He loved his family, his many relatives, his friends, his province and his country. His 94 years were filled with laughter and a great joy for life. He will be dearly missed.

A Celebration of Russ’s Life will be held at the Calgary Golf and Country Club (one block west of the intersection of Elbow Drive and 50th Avenue S.W.) on Friday, January 18, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. (The club’s dress code will be in effect; please, no denim.) In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Canadian Wildlife Federation or to the charity of your choice. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com.

In living memory of Russell Dixon, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Fish Creek, 14441 Bannister Road S.E., Calgary, AB, T2X 3J3, Telephone: 403-256-9575.

Offer Condolence for the family of DIXON, The Honourable Russell (Russ) Armitage, Q.C.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Please let me express condolences on behalf of the Cunningham family. Our mother, Betty Lou McKillop, while no longer with us, treasured the friendship she and our father, Hugh, shared with Russ and Sheila. We know you will miss him deeply.

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  2. As a first or second year lawyer, my first jury trial was in front of Mr. Justice Dixon. After a week or so of trial, the jury was in deliberation late into the evening and Justice Dixon invited the Crown Prosecutor and me to the Justices’ lounge at the former Court of Queen’s Bench building. He was a gracious and friendly host, providing a shot of Scotch for counsel and welcoming us to watch the Calgary Flames game with him on the lounge television. I have never had a similar experience despite a dozen more jury trials. I will never forget his kind gesture, that of a bygone era of congenial relations between the Bench and counsel. As a judge he was patient, courteous and fair.

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  3. Russ was a wonderful man and mentor. A true gentleman. He never lost the common touch. In an age where disengenuous seems to be the norm, he was completely real. It is an honour to remember him as a colleague and a friend.

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  4. George and Donna Sanderson

    Dear Sheila and family,
    Our heartfelt sympathy go out to you on Russ’s passing. He was a great gentleman and a good friend. He’ll be sadly missed.
    George and Donna Sanderson

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  5. Christine I am sorry to hear about your Dad’s passing. I have very fond memories of him while growing up on Stanley Drive. It is difficult to lose a parent of any age!

    Best wishes to you and your Family
    Shauna (Fleming) Shaw

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  6. Susan and Greg Nash

    Our sincerest condolences to the Dixon Family. While we never had the pleasure of meeting Russ, we certainly heard many wonderful stories about his life and his career in the law. Our thoughts are with you Doug, Kelly & Ben and the entire Dixon Family…. Greg & Susan

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  7. Tim O'Hara/Louise Campbell

    Especially those who appeared regularly before Justice Dixon, the lawyers at Campbell O’Hara offer our sincere condolences engendered by the deep and continuing respect we had for the Learned Justice. It was a pleasure to deal with so learned and compassionate a man.

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  8. William J Anhorn QC

    My sincerest condolences to the Family of Mr. Justice Russell Armitage Dixon. As a young lawyer in Medicine Hat, I came to know Justice Dixon well as he came to Medicine Hat frequently as a Southern Duty Judge. We “connected” immediately when he became aware that we shared a common bond. We both were born and raised in Medicine Hat. It was a heritage for which he was deeply proud. He gave me a copy of his memoir, “The Hat, the Creek and the Hills” and I was fascinated to learn on reading it that one of his childhood friends was my father-in-law, Norman Medlicott. When I told him of this further “Hat” connection our friendship was “cemented”for good, which friendship continued over the years. He was a caring and compassionate jurist and a kind and gentle man. He was well respected by everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him and his family can be justly proud of his contribution to society as a soldier, lawyer and jurist but most importunely as a husband and father.

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  9. Major (Ret'd) Claude VILLENEUVE

    It is with great sadness that I learn of the passing of Justice Dixon. I had several discussions with him about his years as a paratrooper during the Second World War. He was a real gentleman soldier with a great sense of humor. We will miss him. My wife and I offer you our most humble sympathies.

    Claude VILLENEUVE, Major (Ret’d) CD, A de C
    Citizenship Judge

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  10. Howie,
    My sympathies to you and yours on the loss of your father. Circle the wagons my friend and hope to see you soon when you’d like the company of some old buds.
    With respect,
    Ted

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  11. My sincere condolences to the Dixon family. I had the great pleasure of working with Justice Dixon from 1984 until his retirement in 1999. He was a great teacher and gave his time generously to ensure I understood the trial issues and his decisions. Justice Dixon was a great listener, a fair man who worked hard and cared deeply. He was one of the best people I have ever had the honour of working with.

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  12. Allan Sattin, Q.C.

    It was always a pleasure to appear before Justice Dixon. He was kind, mild mannered and dealt with counsel with the utmost courtesy. A true gentleman. We had the honour of meeting with him early in 2016 at my former law firm when he gave us an account of his wartime experiences. Condolences to the Dixon family.

    May he rest in peace.

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  13. Dear Dixon family. We are so sorry to hear about your Dad. Growing up on Stanley Drive was a wonderful experience as we all got to know so many families well. Thinking of you all, the Cherry kids (Sue, Pat, Mike and Jane)

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  14. Dolorese Carruthers

    I had the honor of working alongside The Honourable Mr. Justice Dixon for many years. Justice Dixon was blessed with a great sense of humour, he was kind and treated everyone with respect in and out of Court. A fine gentlemen from a bygone era, and a life well lived. We will miss him. John and I wish to express our deepest condolences to the family.

    John and Dolorese Carruthers

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  15. I was Russ’s step grandson and was constantly at awe in regards to the life he led. I had the pleasure of reading his WWI memoir as well. Returning home from such an event to become a successful lawyer and then judge was an amazing feat. On a more personal note he was a kind, intelligent, and loving man, as all of his relatives knew too well. He led an amazing life and will be missed.

    Teja Johnson

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  16. Knowing Russ is very special to me from being a Medicine Hat guy as well, a Phi Kap brother, a client of Howard Dixon, and an Akiskinook part time resident- I always looked forward to a visit with him. He was a great all around guy who will be missed.

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  17. Frank and Pam Stack

    Howie, Christine and Doug,

    Growing up alongside the Dixon’s on Stanley Drive was a memorable part of my life. Many hours were spent at the Dixon household and I remember your father as a true gentleman in every sense of the word. His life was well lived and he set an example we can all look up to. He will be missed.

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  18. My sincere condolences to the family. Justice Dixon, as I knew him, was a great Judge, most sympathetic and never lost his sense of humor in dealing with counsel in or out of the courtroom. I enjoyed every case in which he presided. I know he will be missed.

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  19. Miles and Rosemary and Atkinson

    Our Dear Sheila and family. January 17, 2019

    It is with deep sadness and sympathy that we write this note to you. We have cherished our friendships over the years and enjoyed so many wonderful times together including fun holidays. After enjoying years of you going to Hawaii with friends and family, we managed to persuade you to join us in Palm Desert and then Victoria. There were no grapefruit trees in Victoria ………. ! but we have fond memories of good times and good meals and theatre in Chemaines with the Hutchinsons and ourselves.

    Miles and Flo had many good times with you both too and Miles has very fond memories of those times.
    Our memories of trips to celebrate D Day with Russ and you and our overnight stays at Saskatchewan River Crossing!! Very proud.

    We have such good memories of our day in Nanton – only sorry that you could not join us that day. Miles and Russ were thrilled to spend time in the Museum there and see the planes that were quite familiar to Russ.
    Miles remembers Russ buying us all huge ice cream cones and we sat outside enjoying them in the sunshine. We decided to take the Chain Lakes drive back home – beautiful views of undulating rolling hills in agricultural land until we reached Longview on Hwy 22 when we ran into rain, freezing rain, hail and eventually snow. A day enjoyed by us all.

    We left our last visit with you and Russ with Russ’s goodbye being – “See you on the tennis courts Miles”. Positive and good humour always.
    I loved how he always left us with his own words – “must go and see how my bride is doing”

    Thank you for your friendships and being such a wonderful example of taking care of one another with love and respect. Miles and he had such a strong bond. Russ will be dearly missed by many
    We will keep in touch always dear Sheila.
    With much love.
    Rosemary and Miles.

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  20. Mary Thompson Boksteyn

    Dear family of Russ Dixon’s! Being born in 1935, growing up on FIRST Street, SE….. the Dr. Dixon family were well loved neighbours/friends. My mind is a whirl with memories!
    I am just so sorry to learn of your dear ones passing as both of
    us really wanted to get together and reminisce about other neighbours, Winter fun at “their” rink, Summer bucking barrel competitions and River activities……. however, due to my health situations that desired get together didn’t materialize. Memories!
    Look after each other with much patience. Sincere condolences….. Mary (Rayment) Thompson, Boksteyn

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  21. Sheila, Howard , Toni & Families,

    Please accept our most sincere condolences on the loss of Russ.
    He was such a wonderful gentleman and we will miss our visits with him.
    May all the memories you have guide you through the difficult days.

    Anna & Rosie
    Anna’s Alterations

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  22. Honourable Nick Taylor

    He will be missed. Known and chatted with him since we were both U of A students rooming at St Joes in 1946 He was an outstanding example of .whats the best in Alberta. He will be missed
    May God Bless

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