Dixie Grey McEwen Tuton, 87, of Clarkton N.C. passed peacefully on Sunday, September 26, 2021, at her home, surrounded by her family. She was born on January 17, 1934, in Bladen County, the daughter of the late Alphonso McEwen and Eliza Cashwell McEwen. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ronald Tuton, her parents and a brother, Larry McEwen.
She is survived by her three sons, Gray Tuton and wife, Christina of Autryville, N.C., Clay Tuton of Oak Island, N.C., and Christopher Tuton of Surfside Beach, S.C; grandchildren Cory Kimmerly (Tyler), Elizabeth Grey Tuton, Ellis Tuton, Emma Dixie Tuton, Isaac Tuton, and Patrick Tuton.
Dixie Tuton was a very loving and giving person. She was always the first to want to help with any problem and she gave of herself tirelessly. A friend recently said to her, “You are such a remarkable person.” Dixie said, “I am surrounded by remarkable people.” Dixie was always humble and always deflected praise. One friend said of Dixie that she was a quiet Christian. She was not demonstrative or loud in her Christian work but was a quiet Christian leading by example. She never wanted nor took credit for her work.
Dixie was very talented in sports. In her high school years, she became a local legend with her athletic ability. She was interviewed on the radio and in newspapers. Her record for 76 points scored in a basketball game stood for decades. She led her team to the North Carolina State Championship and was a member of the All-State Dream Team. She was offered a professional contract from Johnny Moon and the Atlanta Tomboys. She also played basketball for Peace College. Her ability in sports was rare. On the other hand, she was equally talented in music. She was an accomplished pianist who performed some of the most difficult classical music. She also played popular music of her era and, for many years, played for the men’s Sunday school class at the Clarkton Presbyterian Church. She loved music very much.
A friend recently was reflecting upon these accomplishments. She said, “As wonderful as those accomplishments are, I think her biggest accomplishment was the way she touched the lives of so many children. She was exceptional.” Dixie taught school for 35 years. She taught at Roland Norment Elementary School in Lumberton, Bladenboro Primary School, her own private kindergarten in Clarkton, and second grade at Waccamaw Academy for many years. Upon her retirement, she was the last original faculty member.
Dixie loved her family, and she loved her friends. She was a wonderful cook and shared her cooking skills with her loved ones. Her cooking was her way of showing people how much she loved them. Her children have fond memories of her legendary midnight pots of fudge, fried shrimp dinners, and her delicious ice cold sweet tea, cakes, and pies. She was famous for her early summer morning cookie sheets stacked with pancakes and hot homemade biscuits. Her holiday meals were beautifully served and always abundantly overflowing with the most delicious foods. Holiday food would be placed in baskets for people she knew who were less fortunate. Her everyday meals were just as special and delicious.
Dixie was a storyteller who could charm and entertain listeners. She had great sense of humor which was often reflected in her stories. Dixie loved to reminisce about Christmases during World War ll. Her fondest memory was of Christmas 1941. She loved telling stories of growing up in the country. Her recall of details of these idyllic days was incredible. She told of springtime walks through the woods and gathering Easter lilies that had a carpet of bluebells underneath. She remembered trips on passenger trains, pulled by steam engines, to Wilmington, Atlanta, Hamlet, and Clemson, S.C. Her memories were detailed and rich.
Dixie loved nature. She loved birds, and she loved rainy days. Dixie knew every flower and loved being outside. Her favorite month was June when the gardenias were blooming. She loved collecting shells from the North and South Carolina beaches. Dixie enjoyed cruising on her grandfather’s yacht, the Ida Belle, and crabbing on the New River with her cousin, Nancy, who was like a sister to her.
Dixie loved her home with a passion. She named it Sleepy Hollow in 1963. She was asked once what connection the naming of her home had to the famous story of Sleepy Hollow. She answered, “None. I just thought my home looked like it was in a sleepy little hollow in the woods, so I named it Sleepy Hollow.” She spent a lifetime collecting interesting architectural features to add to her home. She was always painting, wallpapering, refinishing, reupholstering, and sewing. She was an expert seamstress.
She loved her family history and local history and knew connections between all the families. When her children were growing up, they made trips to historical places and Dixie would make sure they were exposed to and understood the significance of these places.
The Bible that was used in her service was a very precious possession of Dixie’s. She received this Bible in 1953 as part of an accomplishment. She was taking a Bible class under Miss Lucy Steele at Peace College. Miss Steele offered her students a choice of assignments. The hardest one was to memorize and recite The Westminster Shorter Catechism. She worked diligently. She memorized and recited the Catechism perfectly. She received a Bible for her accomplishment. For her hard work, she was also invited to attend a picnic at Pullen Park. It was there that she received the special Bible that was used in her service.
Dixie’s faith was unwavering. Her love for her family and friends was unending. She is now in heaven. Her legacy and work will be continued by her family. She has impacted so many lives and was instrumental in making many people who they are today. She has been a blessing to her family, her friends, her students, and society in general. Her work is complete. She has been laid to rest. She has been welcomed home by God. Dixie has heard the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
The family held private services honoring the life of Dixie in the McKinnon Cemetery, Clarkton, NC.
Online condolences may be made at peacockfuneralhome.net.
Services entrusted to Peacock Funeral Home.
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