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Adrian "A.J." Joel Dickson Jr.

February 17, 1920 November 9, 2019
Adrian "A.J." Joel  Dickson Jr.
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Obituary for Adrian "A.J." Joel Dickson Jr.

Adrian Joel Dickson Jr was born in Greybull, Wyoming on February 17, 1920, to Adrian Joel and Verna (Fenton) Dickson Sr. He moved with his parents and two sisters (his two brothers were born later in Oregon) to Portland, Oregon, around 1924. They eventually moved to Oregon City a few years later when Adrian was in elementary school. He graduated from Oregon City High School. He sang and played drums in various venues when he was in high school and college. People used to call him “Bing” for his smooth vocals and melancholy melodies.

When his son was in junior high school, Adrian taught him how to “stir the soup” with brushes on the snare, and later gave him pointers on how to “kick” the accents with big band jazz. Not many people know that Adrian played multiple sports for Pacific University, and football for the Oregon College of Education, which is now Western Oregon University. He was offered a chance to go to OSU to play, but instead decided to stay and finish his Masters degree, and later met his future wife Marjorie as a result.

When World War II broke out, he was drafted into the Army and left his first high school teaching and coaching position at South Albany High School to go to the South Pacific. During his four years of honorable service, he had a few close calls, such as the invasion of Hollandia, where he and hundreds of troops found themselves trapped on the beach for hours surrounded by thousands of gallons of gasoline. If the Japanese planes had discovered they were there and bombed them, it would have been disastrous. Luckily for his family, the enemy was defending the other side of the island, and the allies caught them by surprise.

Returning home after the war, he married Marjorie, and moved to Junction City. There he taught English and coached football and other sports. Adrian coached with some of the legends of Oregon athletics, such as Ken Hayes (University of Oregon, Junction City), Roger Dash, (Stayton, West Albany), Don Ruecker Sr (Junction City), and others. When the superintendent position opened in Stayton, Oregon, in 1954, he moved the family there to begin a new chapter. Adrian grew up on a ranch in Oregon City, so he also wanted to do that same thing when he bought a farm between Scio and Stayton in 1956. Thoroughbred racing had been a long history in the family for decades, as was raising cattle. He also had a second farm on what people in the Santiam Valley call “house mountain” close to the North Fork river.

He worked both ranches for years, while being an administrator, racing horses, and later raising cattle. In the summer, he did all of the above, plus working at Girod’s grocery in Stayton, which used to be located across from the Star Theatre in Stayton. He claimed to be “one of the last great watermelon experts”. Adrian definitely wore lots of hats. In 1971, he started working for the Linn-Benton Education Service District (ESD) as the curriculum supervisor in Albany, Oregon. He was employed there until he and Marjorie retired from education in 1983.

Many who worked with Adrian said he was one of the finest administrators they ever had as a principal and superintendent, as did many of his former students. As an adult, his son Rich worked with some of those teachers later in the North Santiam School District, and they still mention his excellent work to that day. He was an amazing man, and he never looked his age.

Adrian passed away at the family farm in Scio on November 9, 2019, at the age of 99. He was preceded in death by his parents and his beloved wife Marjorie. He is survived by his son Richard (Tammy) Dickson, daughter Nancy Campbell, and three grandchildren. 

Services will be held on Wednesday, November 20, at 12 p.m. at Weddle Funeral Service in Stayton followed by a 2:30 p.m. graveside at City View Cemetery in Salem.

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Previous Events





12:00 PM 11/20/2019 12:00:00 PM
Weddle Funeral Service - Stayton

1777 N. Third Avenue
Stayton, OR 97383

Weddle Funeral Service - Stayton
1777 N. Third Avenue Stayton 97383 OR
United States





2:30 PM 11/20/2019 2:30:00 PM
City View Cemetery

390 Hoyt Street S
Salem, OR 97302

City View Cemetery
390 Hoyt Street S Salem 97302 OR
United States

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