Alyce Dixon, the oldest female Veteran, passes away

She was one-of-a-kind; a strong-willed, funny, wise, giving and feisty WWII Veteran.


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The oldest female Veteran, the high-spirted, fun-loving, amazing local celebrity, Alyce Dixon, died peacefully in her sleep at the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center’s Community Living Center. She was 108 years old.

She is well-known in the community for her elegant sense of style, her long repertoire of eyebrow-raising jokes and very strong opinions. She credits her long life to sharing and caring.

“I always shared what little I have, that’s why He let me live so long. I just believe in sharing and giving. If you have a little bit of something and someone else needs it, share,” she said.

Alyce Dixon

VA Sec. Bob McDonald meets with Alyce Dixon in January 2015. Dixon, one of the nation’s oldest living female Veterans, passed away this week at the age of 108 years old.

Dixon was born in 1907, when an American’s average life expectancy was only 47 years. She was born Alice Ellis in Boston. At the age of 16, she changed the spelling of her name to Alyce after seeing a picture show starring actress Alyce Mills. She lived life on her own terms from that day forward.

She was married for a time, but divorced her husband over an $18 grocery bill. He found out she was sending money home to her family and put her on a strict allowance. This didn’t sit well for the independent young woman.

“I found myself a job, an apartment and a roommate. I didn’t need him or his money,” she said.

She later joined the military in 1943. She was among one of the first African-American women in the Army. As a member of the Women’s Army Corps, she was stationed in England and France where she played an important role in the postal service as part of the 6888th Battalion.

After leaving the Army, she served the government for many years at the Census Bureau and for the Pentagon where she served as a purchasing agent, buying everything from pencils to airplanes. She retired from government service in 1973.

At the medical center, she was affectionately called the “Queen Bee” and was known for impeccable dress. She never left her room without fixing her makeup and hair. She always wore stylish clothes and jewelry and sported well-manicured nails. She loved to sit in the medical center Atrium and watch the people. She was disappointed in how young women dress today. “I tell everyone to dress nice for yourself and you’ll feel better, even if you don’t feel good,” she said. “Wear your jewelry, fix your hair. No one has to tell you that you look good…do it for yourself.”

She led a long and full life. She has met presidents, the first lady, members of Congress, high-ranking military officers, celebrities and musicians. She also held media interviews with many local and national outlets.

According to medical center director, Brian A. Hawkins, MHA, she will be missed, “…especially the caregivers and Veterans of our Community Living Center. She was one-of-a-kind; a strong-willed, funny, wise, giving and feisty WWII Veteran. Her message touched a lot of people.”


 

This story was originally published on the Washington DC VAMC’s website. Photo credit: Rachel Larue

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Comments

  1. karen f ohta    

    I would have loved to have known her one to one. It’s thanks to individuals such as Alyce and other women of like minds that made the road less traveled a kinder, gentler one. I have a question for you, Alyce. Did you wear brown boots?

    1. Jacqueline Hollins Franklin    

      Sure wish I had met her, but I didn’t have to, because she sounds like me and most female soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen just loved serving our country and giving back, I salute her.
      SFC Franklin
      US Army, Retired

    2. James Hancock    

      If only young people would learn and listen to some one like this wonderful woman, maybe the growth of our young would understand that life is what you make of it with hard work and understanding of others. If we all would stop and help one another, what a wonderful world this could be

    3. Louis Diaz    

      God Speed Alyce Heaven Doors awaits your ongoing service now. OOOOrah to the medical corps. Gracias SSG Diaz retired

  2. Christine Denney    

    What a wonderful, successful life she lived. More women of all races and ages should follow her ‘classy’ example.
    My mom was a WAVE based out of Lambert Field in St. Louis and is still around at 93. Proud of her and she also has an independent streak that my sisters and I try to emulate.

  3. Steve Barusso    

    What a terrific story from an honored veteran. Certainly was a one of a kind person. Today it is hard to find people like Alyce , who cares about everyone. Rest in peace Beautiful Lady, you have full filled your duty here on earth.

  4. James Edward Gardner, Jr.    

    I wish I could have met this wonderful lady. She is by all means LEGENDARY!!!!! I now want to know all about her.

  5. Jennifer Crawford    

    Loved reading Alyce’s story…. would have been great to have known a woman like her!!! She paved the way for us who came behind her!!! I’m an Army Vet myself, and I’m inspired by Alyce!!

  6. N.Markham    

    I enjoyed reading about Alyce’s amazing life…I wish I could’ve met her. I too am a female veteran and am proud to have been in Alyce’s ranks. Rest In Peace beautiful lady!

  7. PA Bennett    

    The Legendary #6888 most people don’t know about this battalion I worked for the US Postal Service and I don’t remember a stamp or stamp pins to honor these women for the job they did under the conditions they had to face ….I give honor to the 6888 Postal Battalion who paved a way for me, thank you.✉️✉️

    1. J. Marie Green    

      PA Bennett, there is no stamp or stamp pin honoring these WWII African American female soldiers who of all things handle the mail! You would think after all this time they would be one honoring them, after all the post office does have Black Heritage stamps. What about a petition to the Postal Service in Washington, DC for one be commissioned for them.as well. What a great honor this would be for Ms. Alyce’s family.

  8. Elmer Hans    

    Great reading & informative.

  9. K Mazur    

    My 94 grandmother is beyond beautiful and full of WWII stories from the Army Nursing Corp. She is a strong independent person who never asked or felt entitled to anything. My all of our veterans find peace and strength while on duty and after. Great story and Thank you for sharing.

    1. Dawn Lovejoy    

      Please send an email to DawnLovejoyAuthor@gmail.com. I would Love to talk with your grandmother and share her stories! I believe these stories need to be written down and shared! Thank you!!!

  10. Saundra King    

    I am saddened to hear about Alyce Dixon. I had several opportunities to chat and visit with her at the VA. I loved her sassy comments, brutal honesty as she dealt with a challenges, and “take no prisoners” attitude. She was trailblazer and I am so grateful for our conversations.

  11. David Murray    

    Unfortunately, my father also a vet, was mis-diagnosed by a careless emergency room doctor. Four hours after he was pronounced in fine shape my father returned in an ambulance with a massive stroke. The hospital assigned doctor supervised his sedated starvation which took 12 days to end his life. That doctor was well paid for murdering this loving man whose whole life was devoted to serving others.

  12. Jennifer Johnson    

    21 Gun Salute to you Ms. Alyce!!!!

  13. John Kairis    

    My mother-in-law Mary was a Navy WAVE who served in a hospital taking care of the wounded sailors and marines coming back from the Pacific Theatre. She is 93 and still quite active. She still fits in her uniform! I’m going to share this article with her.

  14. anita nana    

    Alice Dixon’s story is a great an inspiring one. I wish I had met her myself. I joined the military in 1975, which was also doing the time we were still trained and worked under (WAC) Women Army Corps. During my 17 years, I was known as “Queen Bee” also, for my out spoken demeanor amongst the other female soldiers. I pray to live as long as she did, and also be able able to help others. What was her birthday? May God rest her Soul….

  15. DannyG    

    R.I.P. Sister Alyce……

  16. Larry Goldman    

    I knew Alyce when she was President of the Resident Council. She ran her meetings extremely well. She was the smartest person in the whole place… including the staff.

  17. Scott    

    Seems we would all live in utopia if there were many more people like Aylce. Thank you for telling her story to us, may she forever rest in peace.

  18. Tracie Miller-Rivera    

    I, Tracie Miller- Rivera, vow to keep sharing & giving the little I have, after reading Alyce’s amazing & beautiful story, no matter how much others tell me that I’m stupid for it, that I should stop & how I need to be a little more selfish. I now know that I will be blessed by God for it in some way. Thank you, Beautiful Alyce. Great story.

  19. C. Jackson    

    God Has Truly Blessed This Beautiful Lady and May Her Spirit Lives On and Her Light Shines Down On Us From Heaven… She Did Live A Blessed Life…108 years young…Wow, That is so Awesome…

  20. Agnes Marie Powers    

    All women could learn a lesson from the life that Alyce Dixon led. She was a sassy woman with an awesome sense of style. Even as a very old woman, she wore makeup & looked much younger than her years. She was loving & giving & lived a wonderful life. RIP to an amazing woman.

  21. Sharon Kemp    

    This is something good and decent to post on Facebook. She sounded like someone that I would like to know.

  22. Dawn Lovejoy    

    So sorry I didn’t have the Honor of meeting this fabulous Hero!!! RIL – RIP
    Rest in Love – Rest in Peace!!

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