March 20, 1930 – July 23, 2016
Don Winfred Dickinson peacefully passed away on July 23, 2016 in Carlsbad, California, while receiving hospice care. His loving wife Jayne France Dickinson was beside him, along with both of his children. Don was born to Mary Thelma (nee Hovermill) and Don Deems Dickinson on March 20, 1930, in Altoona, Pennsylvania. His parents, brother Walter Benton, and sister Mary Ann Strain predeceased him. Don is survived by his brother Luren Deems (Marge), first wife Nancy Schaller and their children: Debbie Hunt (Roy), Don Deems Dickinson II (Betsy); his grandchildren: Ashleigh Fall (Brian), Kelli Bortolin (Robert), Kellen Hunt (Manija), Lauren Thoeny (Preston), Daniel Deems Dickinson; great-grandchildren: Rumi, Jaxson, Wyatt; and numerous nieces and nephews. In addition, his extended family includes his wife Jayne’s mother Christiane Dickinson, sister Beatrice Perry (Garland), and Jayne’s children and grandchildren. Those around him admired his charm, positive nature, gentlemanly manner, kind heart, generosity and zest for life. He liked to tell jokes, trying to always leave them with a smile.
Raised in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, Don tended homing pigeons and played football (#23, halfback) at Swarthmore High School. He attended Pennsylvania Military College on an athletic scholarship, and studied Economics at Lafayette College where he was in the ROTC program. Don became a fixed-wing Naval Aviator, notably making the 100,000 landing on USS Monterey aircraft carrier, before joining the Marines to fly helicopters. A member of the Marine Presidential Helicopter Squadron, Don contributed to designing the original “HMX-1” patch. Active in the Marine Reserves in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, he attained rank of Captain. We salute his love of flying, which he always said is safer than driving.
Don was a natural salesman. He sold Christmas trees, helicopters (Boeing-Vertol), life insurance, homes and land. He formed his first real estate company in Media, Pennsylvania, followed by Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, where he worked with corporations such as Scott Paper Company relocating their employees and with investors who developed Radley Run Country Club. After moving to Carefree, Arizona in 1971, he formed The Dickinson Company, Sundial Realty, and later, The Dickinson Group with his son, Deems. Don was president of Boulders Properties, Inc. for over 10 years. He would fly his planes and helicopter to show properties, often repeating Will Roger’s saying, “Buy land. They ain’t making any more of the stuff.” He was awarded the status of REALTOR Emeritus by the National Association of REALTORS for his 40-plus years of real estate service.
Don was proud of his family and fond of flying, fishing, golf, cigars, backgammon, and his dogs. He now joins his devoted West Highland terrier of 18 years, “Lady.” A private service and celebration of life is planned for September, 2016.
The family requests in-lieu of flowers donations are made to Hospice of the North Coast (Pacifica House), 4411 Park Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008.