Layne Garrett Dixon
Mr. Layne Garrett Dixon, 15 of Blackshear, passed away Tuesday evening (November 9, 2010) from injuries he received in an automobile accident in Pierce County.
Born in Brunswick, GA on October 23, 1995, he had lived in Pierce County all of his life. Layne was a freshman and honor roll student at Pierce County High School. He was a member of the PCHS football and baseball teams but was also an avid outdoorsman. He loved to hunt and especially enjoyed fishing with his grandfather Dixon. Layne was a member of First Baptist Church where he was very active with his youth group. He loved spending time with his friends and family.
He was preceded in death by his maternal grandfather, Jackson Allen Gunter, and by a special uncle, Charles “Randy” Morris.
Survivors include his parents, Randy & Teresa Gunter Dixon of Blackshear; a sister, Emmaline Dixon of Blackshear; a brother, Clark Dixon of Blackshear; his maternal grandmother, Lois Meeks Gunter of Blackshear; his paternal grandparents, Walker & Ann Morris Dixon of Blackshear; three aunts, Lee-Anne & Kemp Riggan of Fernandina Beach, FL, Jackie Gunter of Palatka, FL and Vickie & Darrell Staley of Waycross; three uncles, Ray & Jennifer Dixon of Blackshear, Glenn & Brenda Gunter of Waycross and Keith Gunter of Blackshear; five cousins, Rayna Dixon, Walker Dixon, III, Bailey Riggan, Gracie Riggan and Lander Dixon. There are several other relatives and numerous friends.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers please make contributions in memory of Layne to the Layne Dixon Scholarship Fund at Prime South Bank.
For each of you, I hope you may find comfort and pride as I do in the Christ-Like "Foundation" that we have here in Pierce County. My heart is saddened and hurts for this tragic loss, but I find peace in knowing that this "Foundation" has and will continue to comfort each and everyone of us. GOD Bless Us All. I offer this Prayer:
"LORD, we don't know the future. But I want to declare that whatever it holds, YOU will be the focus of it all. Every dream, hope, accident, tragedy, disappointment, challenge, and desire......LORD, we pray that you will be right there in the center of our everythingness. We confess our inadequacy to do this thing called life on our own. May your grace carry us through terrible sorrows and unimaginable joys. We cling to each other as we cling to you, JESUS."
Head Football Coach
Pierce County High School
(912) 449-2055 ext. 144
Winning the Final Victory by Coach Keith Mobley
On the Sunday before the accident, Dixon sat with his parents at First Baptist Church of Blackshear. This was not normally the case as he usually sat with his friends in the youth group. The church was having a communion service and Layne told his father he wanted to take communion with the family. The freshman football and baseball player at Pierce County High School spent his last Sunday sharing the Lord's supper with the people he loved most. This atypical act was typical of Dixon.
Four days after the accident, Pierce County's baseball team had a meeting at the field. The players were joined by parents, coaches and players from other counties and former players. The ensemble included Bob Wiedemann from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Wesleyan School head baseball coach Mike Shaheen who brught his family and several players. Others in attendance included Brent Slade who coached Rowland's mission trip team to the Dominican Republic as well as Joe Padgett and his son Cole, all of whom came from Atlanta to pour their love upon the Pierce County community. These relationship's were fostered when former Pierce County head coach Greg Gay and several Bear players including Rowland teamed with players from Wesleyan and several other schools for a mission trip to the Dominican Republic through FCA baseball.
Players gathered in the home dugout but because of the number of people in attendance, everyone moved to the infield. Coaches sat on buckets as this was the custom for their "bucket talks," the weekly Bible studies conducted during the season and produced by FCA. The players told stories concerning their favorite memories of Dixon and Rowland. Some were funny, some were sad, but all demonstrated the Christian nature of their two fallen teammates.
Coach Gay introduced the Atlanta guests. Weidemann spoke to the group and presented the Rowland family with a plaque that represents a scholorship established to help other players attend an FCA mission trip to the Dominican Republic and the "HR10" patch that will be worn by every FCA player who goes on a similar mission trip.
As worship music played in the background, everyone mingled with tear filled eyes and shared their love for Rowland and Dixon. The amazing thing was the worshipful tone of the gathering - this was not a sorrowful event but a celebration praising the God that saved both young men.
Wiedemann wrote of the experiance that day: "I found myself sitting on a bucket on the infield of the Pierce County High School baseball diamond surrounded by high school aged young men with looks of shock, bewilderment and sorrow on their faces. I was there, four hours from home, to be part of a baseball community that touched me and impacted me greatly just four months prior but was now reeling with pain. I was there to lend comfort to those who were hurting, to pray with those and for those who needed comfort and to deliver a message of hope to those who may have felt that hope had abandoned them.
In this time of brokenness for so many, it was my prayer that God would shine His light though the storm clouds and reveal Himself to many that either did not know Him or who had drifted away from their dependance on Him. As is so often the case, it was I - the one who went to minister to others - was abundantly blessed. I witnessed the unwavering faith of a grieving mother and father - Kim and Dave Rowland. They praised God for who He was and what He had done 2000 years ago by sending His Son, Jesus Christ to open up the gates of Heaven and create an eternal home for their son Holt. I witnessed that kind of faith that I personally pray for.
The greatest victory in Pierce County baseball history was celebrated on the field that day, not with a victory over an opponent but with two Bears rounding third and going home to win the victory over death. When you round third and are headed home, who is going to be waiting on you? Will it be Jesus and victory or will your soul spend eternity seperated from God? It's your choice.
Remembering Holt and Layne: One man’s recollection
Football season is finally back and in full stride, and without really even looking for them, I am seeing constant reminders of my two young friends Holt Rowland and Layne Dixon. It’s been nearly a year now since Holt and Layne went to be with Jesus, but their memory lives on through a game that they both loved dearly. As I watch my favorite teams tee it up on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons, I will smile and think of them, and recall some of my favorite memories of two of Pierce County’s finest young men.
Being a few years younger than Jordan, Layne had not yet started driving on his own and he could often be seen in the passenger’s seat of Jordan’s truck following practice or a game. Jordan recently told me the he missed “hauling Layne’s tail around after football practice.” Having two High School kids in our family, I can attest that Layne is very often on both of their minds, especially now that football season has returned. That being said, I know he is missed by all of his teammates and classmates as well. It really did my heart good and brought a tear to my eye when I saw Layne still listed as an active player on the Bears roster. Although only in print, there was #53 and #54 once again, side by side.
Layne’s love of football was apparent through his never ending quest to get bigger, stronger and faster. He always worked hard at becoming a better player. Although I never witnessed it personally, Layne’s uncle, Ray Dixon told me how Layne would routinely mix up some type of disgusting, high protein, weight gaining concoction that he would drink daily. Upon finishing his secret mixture of ingredients, he would immediately run to the nearest scale to see how much weight he had gained. You have got to love that kind of enthusiasm and dedication. Usually after any of his JV football games, he would come up to me and say “Mr. Jeff, did you see me hit that guy?” I would always like to respond differently every time, telling him “Yep, sure did Layne, you really laid the wood to that guy” or “Layne, you really cleaned his plow.” Layne would then just smile and then swell up a little bit, knowing he had gotten the confirmation he was looking for.
My own personal favorite memory of Layne was about this time last year when Pierce visited Brantley County in another JV matchup. I remember sitting next to proud mama and daddy Teresa and Randy. We all were yelling and shouting words of encouragement to the defense as Pierce was making a stand against the Herons at midfield. After one particular play, Layne got up from the pile with a noticeable limp. As Layne looked towards the stands, I remember Randy yelling down to him, telling him, “play through the pain son, play through the pain!” And Layne did play through the pain because on next play or so, he made a big hit on the ball carrier, causing him to fumble AND then recovered the ball as well! As Layne held the ball aloft, showing off his prize, I don’t know who was more proud, Layne or his mama and daddy. I’ll never forget that day.
After Friday nights’ win against visiting Windsor Forest, I was still thinking about Layne and how proud he would have been following Pierce’s 15-0 shutout. I was still excited myself and anticipating the Georgia game that was to be played later that night. I turned on the TV to watch the beginning of the much anticipated college season and the very first game I came across was the Alabama game. Immediately, a vision of Holt Rowland’s smiling, curly headed face popped into my mind. There was Holt’s beloved Crimson Tide right there in living color. Although not a huge Tide man myself, I stopped and watched Alabama roll to victory in their home opener, knowing Holt would have been glued to the TV until the final seconds ticked off the clock.
As I watched Alabama easily cruise to victory, I recalled my all time favorite Holt memory. It began a few years ago as I accompanied the Emmanuel Baptist youth to a UGA football game which was sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. UGA was playing Ole Miss in Sanford Stadium. Holt and I sat right next to each other, there in the upper deck. I was dressed in my UGA Red and Black and there was Holt, head to toe in Crimson Tide garb. Georgia played a tough team and eventually won the hard fought contest, but during the entire four quarters, there was Holt, cheering for Ole Miss and doing the one man wave every time Georgia messed up or Ole Miss scored. “Dadgum you Holt” I would say. “Sit down and shut up before I get mad”…knowing I really loved every second of it. That’s part one of this story…
Following the game, as we walked down the railroad tracks back to our parking spot, Holt said, “You know Mr. Jeff, Georgia will never beat Alabama in a few weeks” and I stupidly replied to him, “you wanna bet?” And so begins the second part of this story.
Holt and I wagered that whoever’s team lost, the other guy would have to wear the opponents jersey all day the following Sunday. I was so confident that my Dawgs would win, that I had already gone out and bought a red #7 Matthew Stafford jersey that Holt would be wearing. I intentionally bought a men’s Medium. Those of you who knew Holt can already see the humor in this. Well, as things usually go whenever I make I bet, the Dawgs blew it and Alabama easily defeated Georgia on that dreadful Saturday. I say dreadful, because I knew I would be wearing a Crimson #14 John Parker Wilson jersey the next day. Sunday morning arrived and I dreaded having to go to church and see Holt.
As luck would have it, I was assigned to “golf cart duty” on Sunday morning, so I was confident that I would be able to see the Rowland’s arrive before they saw me, and then hide from Holt to avoid his wrath. Well, once again, luck was against me and by the time I saw Holt, he and the entire Rowland clan were already headed my direction; with Holt in the lead and wearing a huge smile. I decided I needed to go ahead and take my medicine like a man, so off I went to greet him. When we met there in the parking lot, I noticed something amiss. No Alabama jersey. The first thing Holt said to me was, “Mr. Jeff, I tried to tell you ‘Bama was gonna win.” I told him, “Yes, you did Holt, now give me the stupid jersey and let’s get this over with.” Holt responded by giving me a big Holt sized hug as he said, “Mr. Jeff, you know I wouldn’t ever make you wear an Alabama shirt”, “I reckon its punishment enough knowing your team got beat on TV.” That was classic Holt Rowland for you, and looking back, I sure wish he would have made me wear that jersey.
This Friday night, The Bears travel across the river to Ware County, to do battle with the Gators. That alone reminds me of another Holt story, but we’ll save that one for another time. I’m sure if those guys were still with us, Layne would be at least 20 pounds heavier and Holt would be throwing little rubber alligators at Ware County fans. Time has moved on, but Holt and Layne surely have not been forgotten. I know through our common belief of Jesus as our Savior, I will definitely see both of those guys again in the future. Until then, we’ll all continue to “play through the pain”; knowing Holt and Layne both are seated at the feet of Jesus. And when that time comes, and knowing God has a sense of humor, I’m pretty sure the next time I see them, Layne will be drinking a protein shake and Holt will be dressed in Crimson and Hounds tooth. I miss you guys, but until we meet again, let me just say… “Roll Tide!” and “Go Bears!”