Although Dr. John Aldous Dixon, a world renowned laser surgeon and a remarkable and respected human being, died last week at the relatively young age of 68, he leaves a visible and enduring legacy larger than his own impressive life. For he was a moving force behind construction of the University Hospital at the University of Utah campus.
Born in Provo and reared in Ogden, Dixon went on to receive his bachelor's and medical degrees from the University of Utah, where he was later dean of the College of Medicine, executive vice president and vice president for health sciences.He was widely known as an effective administrator, as well as a brilliant researcher and a sensitive care-giver and teacher. He shared great responsibility for the widely acclaimed University Hospital - acting as principal promoter and fund-raiser in the giant project.
Dixon also will be remembered as a medical pioneer, who built on his successful medical practice in Ogden to become the area's first board-certified gastrointestinal surgeon, then did pioneering work in laser surgery.
He published a number of articles in professional journals about the topic, and his respected book, "Surgical Applications of Lasers," published in 1983, left an indelible impression in the field.
In an entirely appropriate way of marking his legacy, the U. Medical Center's Endoscopic Laser Surgery Unit was renamed the John A. Dixon Laser Surgery Unit.
But Dixon was a much more diverse and interesting man than even these impressive medical accomplishments indicate. He dabbled in politics as a member of Ogden's City Council, made notable Christian contributions as a dedicated church leader, gentle counselor and humanitarian, and expended remarkable energy and enthusiasm for whatever cause he embraced.
His engaging and pleasant personality will be remembered just as long as his definitive, scholarly contribution to the medical community. Utah and the world are richer for his productive and meaningful life, yet also poorer for the loss of his association, optimistic personality and wit.