Kenneth C. Dixson JD '76

Kenneth C. Dixson JD ’76


Kenneth Cyral Dixson Sr. JD ’76 died on April 20, 2020. He was 73.

Kenneth was born in Los Angeles on August 12, 1946, to Alice LynAudrey Rose Bryant and Herman Ashe. He was active in the civil rights movement in Los Angeles and was one of five African American students who integrated the city’s South Gate Senior High School in the early 1960s. An outstanding and lettered high school athlete, Kenneth attended Pacific University on football and track and field scholarships.

In 1967, Kenneth married Lillian M. Nakamura, whom he described as the love of his life and with whom he raised three daughters: Adrienne, Alyss, and Alana. After graduating from Officers Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps and served in Da Nang, Vietnam. Upon completion of his tour of duty, Kenneth was honorably discharged as a 1st Lieutenant.

Kenneth practiced law in Portland and was the only attorney who had a law office in the city’s Albina neighborhood. As one of a few African American attorneys in Portland who were in private practice, he was quoted as saying, “There are three types of people: white collar, blue collar, and no collar. I serve the no-collar people.”

Kenneth had a sharp legal mind, a quick wit, vast vocabulary, love of languages, and the ability (and willingness) to debate anyone, on nearly any topic, at any time. He valued education and learning, was a voracious reader, and took great pride in the academic, scholarly, and artistic accomplishments of his progeny. He cherished his children and grandchildren and took every opportunity to shower them with love and affection. Kenneth had a passion for music and movies and shared both with his family and friends. He was also an early adopter of technologies who built his own computers and was fascinated with the changing technological landscape. He also adored being near the water and preferred the serenity and solitude of the ocean over the bustle of the city. Kenneth lived the last years of his life on his treasured boats in Long Beach, California.

Kenneth is survived by daughters Adrienne D. Dixson, PhD; Alyss D. Dixson, MFA; Alana D. Dixson, MD, PhD; and Lazonia Sargent; son Kenneth C. Dixson Jr.; seven grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; sisters Martha Dawson and Marva Smith; and a host of nieces, nephews, loving cousins, extended family, and lifelong friends.