Dixie Bass Garner 79, of Wrightsville Beach, N.C. passed to her eternal life with Jesus early Sunday morning October 1, 2017. She is in all likelihood cooking collards, peas, fried chicken, biscuits and a banana pudding for a crowd. She was the loving mother of two daughters, Kim and Tami, the devoted wife of Jerry and so much more.
Dixie was born in Newton Grove, N.C. on June 25, 1938. She moved to Wilmington, N.C. at age 7 with her mother Mary Hobbs Bass, a courageous and spiritual woman. They lived in Maffitt Village where life-long friendships would begin. Dixie learned her love of the Lord attending church as a child and the love of a mother from example. Dixie split her time between Wilmington and “the country” in Newton Grove with family, including siblings and lots of aunts, uncles and cousins as she grew up. She loved going to the country and to the family farm where she learned to barn tobacco, feed chickens, dance with children of a different skin color, drink Pepsi Colas with peanuts in the bottle, and the importance of the love of family. She continued that love throughout her life.
Dixie attended Wilmington College (UNC-Wilmington), where she majored in Business. She married her husband Jerry Garner on September 14, 1958 and the girls were born the next two years. She instilled in her children the importance of curiosity and learning through reading and life experience. She also taught her daughters the importance of acceptance and had little tolerance for bigotry or prejudice. She didn’t believe in building walls. Dixie made sure that all were welcome in the family home. She was a loyal and giving friend, and in return was blessed with many friends along the way.
Dixie was always happiest when surrounded by family and friends. She was known for her hospitality and Southern cooking skills, many learned from her Mother. One of her best-known dishes was banana pudding – a favorite of her husband – and a recipe that annually raised funds for church missionary work (it was actually the recipe on the back of the Nilla Wafers box – but she added love). She was a member of Long Leaf Baptist Church for many years, and later Wrightsville Beach Baptist Church.
In addition to having a welcoming nature, Dixie also had good business sense. She worked as a bank teller, a secretary for McLean Trucking Company, and eventually took on the roll as partner of Delta Maintenance Company, a family-run business.
Dixie was also known for her honesty and candor, especially in the second half of her life. She battled respiratory illness for many years and would preach these words of wisdom – we should all take care of the body that God gave us. As a Christian she kept her faith in the Lord until the very end. She was a strong woman.
Dixie and Jerry celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary on September 14, 2017. They lived by the simple marriage vows: “to have and to hold…for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part”.
She is survived by her husband Jerry J. Garner of Wrightsville Beach, NC, daughters Tamara L. Garner of Wilmington, NC, and Kimberly G. Iverson of Mt. Pleasant, SC – and many loving cousins, friends and neighbors she touched in a special way.
We miss you Mama. Thank you.
A Celebration of Dixie’s Life will be held Saturday October 14, 2017 at Island Drive Park on South Harbor Island, Wrightsville Beach beginning at 4:00 p.m. Dress is casual. Dinner will be served at the park. All family, friends, and neighbors are invited. Please park at Wrightsville Beach Baptist Church and a shuttle will be provided.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Lower Caper Fear Hospice foundation 1406 Physicians Drive Wilmington, NC 28401, in honor Dixie Garner.
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Wilmington Funeral & Cremation 1535 S. 41st Street Wilmington NC 28403 910.791.9099.