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Obituary for Spencer Ernest Dickson

Spencer E. Dickson passed away in his home on July 1, 2017. A memorial service will be held at 1:30 pm on September 3, 2017 at the Ames Friends Meetinghouse at 121 South Maple.
He was born in Topeka, Kansas on December 17, 1938, the son of Alexander Dickson and Marie
Schwanke Dickson. He grew up excelling in math and science and graduated with honors from
Kansas University. He went on to earn a PhD in Mathematics at New Mexico State University in
1963 and became internationally recognized for his remarkable scholarship. In 1968, he joined
the Mathematics Department at Iowa State. Although his career was sadly shortened by mental
illness, he remained passionate about mathematics throughout his life.
As a child, he filled a basement workshop with wires, tubes and discarded radios, which he used
for parts in building radios and other devices. Ever a tinkerer, he later moved to building
computers. In early adulthood he was a gifted photographer and developed and printed his work.
Drawing on a quick wit, he spread groaner puns far and wide. His profligate generosity and
compassionate spirit touched many.
Spencer is survived by daughter Laura Hawkins (Stephen); grandchildren Carrie, Johanna,
Christiana, and Benjamin Hawkins; son Jonathan Dickson; daughter Deborah Geiger;
grandchildren Andrew and Sara Beth Geiger; brothers Kenny Crites and Shawn Crites; and
cousin Don Schwanke. He is also survived by A.M. and Deborah Fink, friends and more than
friends for many years.
Memorial gifts may be made to NAMI - National Alliance on Mental Illness -Central Iowa;
http://namici.org
Online codolences may be left at adamssoderstrum.com


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Previous Events

Memorial Service

Sunday

3

Sep

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM
Ames Friends Meetinghouse

121 South Maple.
Ames, Iowa 50010

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