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Dr. William Wayne Dickson

Dr. William Wayne Dickson


Dr. William Wayne Dickson, age 80, died peacefully at home with his family around him on September 24, 2022 in DeLand.

Wayne was born near the shores of Biscayne Bay in Lemon City, Florida (today known as the Little Haiti neighborhood of Miami) to William and Edna Dickson. After graduating from Miami High School in 1960, Wayne moved to DeLand to attend Stetson University from which he graduated with a B.A. in May of 1964. After marrying his beloved wife Jewel in June of the same year, he began his studies at Duke University with a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship the same Fall. Wayne eventually received both an M.A. and Ph.D. in English from Duke with brief interruptions for graduate work at both the Duke Divinity School and the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

In 2009, after teaching for 41 years at Stetson University, Wayne decided that he had to retire for health reasons—not because he could not keep teaching, but because his health was affecting his stamina and he only wanted to give his students his best. Wayne would say that he had been called many things by himself and others over the years, some of them not complimentary, but he was consistently praised "a teacher's teacher." When he received Stetson's most prestigious McEniry Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1993, he was described by one student as a teacher "able to touch your heart, soul, and mind in a way that no one has before."

Wayne never stopped teaching and creating. His retirement closed one chapter of his life in which he had served as Chair of the English Department and held the Nell Carlton Chair of English; he had directed the Humanities, Honors, College Skills, Summer Opportunity, and Summer Enrichment Programs; and he had written books and manuals about using computers in the language arts, teaching music for non-music professors, short stories, and even computer programs for patients learning to navigate their life-threatening chronic disease. But in retirement Wayne continued to write and teach through his personal blog, his letters to the editor, his articles and editing of the newsletter for the Northwest Volusia Democratic Club and the Volusia County Democratic Party, and even microblogging until he was, much to his granddaughter's amazement, banned from Twitter. He also continued his lifelong love of photography and stretched his previous work with digital images for teaching into even more creative digital artworks that he published and even sold (with profits donated to non-profit institutions). Even as arthritis made typing near impossible and moving a mouse painfully difficult, he pushed voice to text software to its limits and continued to create. Wayne would say that rather than "going with the flow" he was just "going with the flush."

Wayne is survived by his wife of 58 years, Jewel Smith Dickson, his daughter, Katrina M. Dickson (Jim Lah), his granddaughter Julia M. Dickson-Lah, and his brother Ronald J. Dickson (Harriet). He will also be missed by his sister-in-law Joyce Frederick and his many nieces and nephews and their children.

A Celebration of Wayne's Life will be held at the Museum of Art, 600 N. Woodland Blvd., DeLand on November 12, 2022 from 3:00-5:00 pm. Plans are being made to have a bench placed on the Stetson Campus near Flagler Hall in Wayne's honor. More information (including possibilities for contribution) can be found online at, and we invite people to share their memories of Wayne there.


Stetson memorial info:

For those interested in contributing to the memorial bench in honor of Wayne at Stetson University—not sure how this should be included, but you will know what is best we are sure!

Gifts in honor of Wayne can be made as follows:

Online Donations:

2. Select dollar amount.

3. For designation select “other” at the bottom of the drop-down menu.

4. In the “other designation’ box type “Tribute - Wayne Dickson”

5. Fill out the rest of the form with your personal information as requested.

Mail Donations (checks):

1. check Payee: Stetson University

2. memo line must state: “Wayne Dickson (Tribute)

3. Mail checks to:

Stetson University Office of Development

421 N. Woodland Blvd.

Unit 8286

DeLand, FL 32723

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