Campus mourns the loss of Edith Dixon

Jan. 18, 2014

by Käri Knutson

Update:  A celebration of Edie Dixon's life will be held at the AT&T Lounge of the Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St., from 2-4 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 23. For online condolences, visit here.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Dane County Humane Society, Madison Public Library or the UW Memorial Library. 

Edith “Edie” Dixon often entered the workday singing.

“It was so at odds with her generally quiet demeanor,” says Mitch Lundquist, manager of computer operations for the UW-Madison libraries. “We would all smile.”

Edith "Edie" Dixon

Edith "Edie" Dixon

Yes, Dixon may have normally been quiet, but her colleagues are remembering the huge impact she has made after more than 25 years in library services.

Dixon, 62, a senior academic librarian at Memorial Library, died Jan. 16 after an incident on Lake Street near Mendota Court. She was apparently walking behind a Wisconsin Union delivery truck when the vehicle struck her, according to the Madison Police Department who are investigating.

“She was an invaluable resource to us during numerous library system implementations and her loss will be felt not only by libraries on this campus but also all of the UW System libraries who relied on her expertise and advice,” says Ed Van Gemert, vice provost for Libraries and University Librarian.

Dixon was a library systems and data expert who translated the source data of millions of university assets, such as books and digital data, into coherent, discoverable, tangible objects for students and researchers.

“Edie worked quietly to make everyone around her and our institution better,” Lundquist says. “Her loss is our loss, and she won’t be forgotten.”

While private in many ways, Dixon was also gregarious and spirited with close friends, says Lundquist who served as her supervisor.

“She had the laugh of an extrovert – full, heartfelt, infectious,” Lundquist says. “Edie was engaging and approachable, a wonderful confidant, lending a thoughtful caring ear when needed.”

“Edie worked quietly to make everyone around her and our institution better. Her loss is our loss, and she won’t be forgotten.”

Mitch Lundquist

The Wisconsin Union also offered its sympathies.

“At the Wisconsin Union we are deeply saddened by this loss and offer our most heartfelt condolences to Edie Dixon’s family, friends and co-workers,” said Wisconsin Union Director Mark Guthier.

The Union reaffirmed its commitment to operating at the highest level of safety at all times as staff deliver goods across campus daily.  All drivers undergo comprehensive safety training, including campus driver authorization and supervised vehicle operation and delivery.

The Union awaits the results of the Madison Police investigation. The Union is independently initiating a review of all safety policies and practices.

The news of Dixon’s death comes as a shock and a painful reminder of the loss of Maureen Grant in June 2011. Grant was a staff member in the Acquisitions Department at Memorial Library and died after being struck by a Madison Metro bus.

“It is especially difficult for UW-Madison library staff to deal with another tragic loss of a staff member,” Van Gemert says. “Library staff are again coming together to help and support each other in every way we can. We will remember Edie Dixon for her contributions and her friendship, and she will always be a treasured member of our Library family.”

The Employee Assistance Office has been in contact with the Dixon’s colleagues in order to provide counseling and support.

If you are a faculty or staff member and would like to talk to someone in response to this or any other incident, the Employee Assistance Office can be reached at (608) 263-2987.

If you are a student in need of counseling or crisis support as a result of this incident or any other situation, call University Health Services Counseling and Consultation Services at (608) 265-5600 or drop-in between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

If you need immediate assistance after hours or on weekends, please call the UHS Crisis Line at (608) 265-5600, option 9.