VIDALIA, Ga. (WTOC) - Black ribbons on the doors of Vidalia City Hall represent the sadness and sorrow from the death of Ronnie Dixon. Staff at city hall say this feels more like the loss of a father figure more than a boss.
Flags flew at half-staff as the sad news spread. Dixon first won the mayor’s seat and took office in January 1994. Over more than a quarter-century, he oversaw the city’s growth from downtown revitalization and the highway realignment to the growth of the annual Vidalia Onion Festival into one of the Southeast’s biggest festivals.
Lifelong friends and coworkers say he poured his life into the city and making it better.
“He dedicated his life to the city, following in his dad's footsteps who did the same. He had a job and he had to do it. I think it will be an awakening for those who come after him when they realize how much time, effort, and energy he put into this,” Bill said.
Dixon's father served as mayor in the 60's and 70's.
Black ribbons on doors and flags at half staff reflect the sadness of the community in the death of the long time councilman and mayor. Former City Manager Bill Torrence worked with Dixon for decades. He can only imagine the remembrance the community would hold if they could.
“I don’t know of any place that could house the service. I don’t know of anybody that didn’t care for Ronnie.”
Covid-19 restrictions in Georgia and other states limit the number of people at a gathering, including a funeral. Torrence understands the rules, but that doesn’t help them hurt any less.
“It’s just so sad that you can’t explain it. And then, you can’t share your support for family members because of the restrictions that we have right now.”
He believes the family, city leaders, and the community will gather to remember once the virus ends.
Ronald Hall, the funeral director here, says any service will be heartbreaking during this pandemic, but especially one in which everybody in town would want to attend.
Mayor Ronnie A. Dixon died Wednesday at age 77.