DIXON, ROBERT MELTON (1903 ~ 1988). Robert Melton Dixon, who headed Texas' principal water resources regulatory agency during turbulent early days of statewide water planning and development, was born in Denton, Texas on August 11, 1903, to W. M. and Pearl Weave Dixon. He received chemical engineering and professional engineering degrees from A&M in 1928 and 1939. He became district sanitary engineer for the Texas State Department of Health in 1933, and in 1937 was senior design engineer for the City of Dallas and water and sewage projects.
During his World War II military service, Dixon, a Major in the Corps of Engineers, was in charge of water and sewage facilities at military installations in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and New Mexico.
He was a professor in the Civil Engineering Department at A&M 1946 - 1948, however he resigned his teaching post in 1948 to become engineering manager of the Texas Heavy, Municipal and Utilities Branch of the Associated General Contractors of America.
An early advocate of long range water planning, Dixon, in 1958, served as a consultant to the President of the United States in the development of long-term drought program plans. When the Interstate Conference on Water Problems was created in 1958, Dixon was made a member of the executive committee, and in 1960 was elected a vice president of the national organization.
While he championed water resource planning, Dixon, in 1969, opposed the governor and a group of former governors to help defeat a comprehensive Texas water plan, which he considered faulty.
From 1975 until 1980, he was executive director of the Texas Right to Work Committee, and was a leader in the 1974 campaign to include provisions of the Texas right to work law in the state constitution, a sticking point of the constitutional revision effort that year.
For more than 20 years, Dixon was a staunch Travis County Republican Party worker. He served as GOP precinct chairman of Precinct 247 and a local election official there.
Former Governor Preston Smith, a long time friend, said "the people of our state and nation shall forever owe a debt of gratitude for the many unselfish contributions and services Mr. Dixon rendered. During the time that he served with the people of Texas on the Texas Water Board, he could be depended upon always to represent the people of Texas to their very best interest. His services to the people from every standpoint could well be determined as those over and beyond the call of duty."
Dixon was a member of the Texas and National Societies of Professional Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Tau Beta Pi engineering fraternity. He had served as president of the Dallas chapter of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers, and as a state director and executive board member of the professional organization. He was honored by the Dallas TSPE chapter as Engineer of the Year in 1955.
Dixon passed away on Thursday, August 25, 1988, and was buried in the Texas State Cemetery two days later.
Information taken from: obituary, Austin American-Statesman, Saturday, August 27, 1988.