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Friday, July 28, 2023
2:00 - 3:30pm (Central time)
Kenneth Olin Dixon, 84, of Olathe, Kansas, suffered a stroke and passed away on June 7, 2023, surrounded by his family.
Kenneth, known as K.O., was born to W.O. and Thelma Dixon on September 4, 1938, in Wichita, Kansas. He attended Wentworth Military Academy followed by Oklahoma State University. At OSU he joined the Sigma Nu fraternity and graduated in 1960 with a B.S. in Business Management. After graduating, K.O. began his career managing Honey Creek Ranch, a family Hereford cattle operation in Grove, Oklahoma.
Seven years later K.O. moved his young family to Coffeyville, KS to become plant manager of Olin Dixon Inc., his father’s aerospace subcontracting business. When that company was later sold, in 1973 K.O. founded Dixon Industries, Inc., which began manufacturing the zero-turning-radius Dixon ZTR consumer riding lawnmower line. Drawing upon his management experience, manufacturing operations knowledge and entrepreneurial drive, K.O. eventually built the novel concept into a 200-employee, multi-million-dollar business. Though he sold Dixon Industries to the Coleman Company in 1986, K.O. served as Founder and President for nearly 25 years. “We persevered through some tough early years, but the product’s unique benefits were strong enough to allow us to survive, become established, and enjoy great success.” said K.O. in 2022.
K.O. gave back to the outdoor power industry as President and member of the board of directors of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute. Among other professional activities, he served on the board of Bank of America Kansas and as President of the Coffeyville Country Club and the Country Club of the Rockies in Edwards, CO. K.O. was also President of the Oklahoma Hereford Association and in 1966 led Honey Creek Ranch to the Grand Champion bull title at the National Western Stock Show in Denver. K.O. was a 2002 inductee into the Spears School of Business’ Hall of Fame at OSU, the highest honor the Spears School can bestow.
In retirement K.O. enjoyed spending time with his wife, Carolyn, at their Olathe, KS, Scottsdale, AZ and Edwards, CO homes. They loved entertaining family and friends from all over the U.S, as well as travelling to destinations such as Scotland, Norway, Australia, South Africa and many more. K.O. 's favorite pastime was golf; his unique blend of humor, perseverance and even some frustrations were hallmarks of a round with him. To his credit he had three lifetime aces!
K.O. was a remarkable man of wisdom, fairness and consistency. His love for his family was paramount. His favorite activity was spending time with his wife (and best friend) Carolyn and his children and grandchildren. Together with Carolyn, he seamlessly combined two families into one loving and close unit that has flourished for nearly five decades; June 10, 2023 would have been their 45th wedding anniversary. Throughout his life he transferred many important lessons to his family which included such nuggets as ‘never give up’, ‘work hard and show up on time’, ‘if you love someone, tell them’, ‘be unselfish, generous, considerate and kind’ and ‘cherish real friends.’ His words and lessons will live on in all family, friends, and employees who had the privilege of knowing him.
K.O. is survived by his wife Carolyn and five children Stephen Dixon and his wife Gillian, Scott Dixon and his significant other Heather, Tim McFerrin and his wife Cynthia, Rick McFerrin and his wife Tanya and Donya Booth and her husband Jarrod; his ten grandchildren Parker, Camryn, Zach, Joey, and Alex Dixon; Ian, Andrew, Sampson, Markos and Tarn McFerrin. He is also survived by his sister Linda Dixon Watkins (Ron) and brothers Raymond and Robert Dixon (Joyce). K.O. was predeceased by his parents, W.O. and Thelma, and his daughter-in-law Nancy Hamm Dixon (Scott).
K.O.’s family will host a celebration of life on Friday, July 28th at 2pm. The service will be at Old Mission United Methodist Church, 5519 State Park Rd., Fairway, KS. In remembrance of K.O.'s life, donations may be made in support of:
*The Spears School of Business Scholarship Fund at the Oklahoma State University Foundation. Checks should be made payable to the OSU Foundation and mailed to PO Box 1749, Stillwater, OK 74076-1749 or gifts can be made online at https://secure.osugiving.com/s/giving/annual?dsgt=24-58900. Please note your donation is in memory of K.O. Dixon.
*Multiple Sclerosis Society, 2020 W. 89th St., Suite 100, Leawood, KS 66206. Checks should be made payable to the Multiple Sclerosis Society; please note on the check memo ‘In memory of K.O. Dixon.’