Kilgore friends and customers are catching their breath upon hearing the click of an answering machine with a message that states, “We have made the decision to retire and are no longer bringing in new work. We will call you when your order is complete.” A sign upon the door matches the message on the machine, but once inside the shop it seems to be as busy as usual.

The voice belongs to Bill Dixon, owner of Dixon Jewelers, who has been contemplating retiring for the last couple of years and now he feels the decision has been taken out of his hands.

Bill said, “I love what I do and I love my customers. I just have no other choice as my health now dictates the remainder of my life.”

Bill was born in Huntsville. “We moved around a lot,” he said. “We lived in Mount Pleasant two or three years before moving into Kilgore. I was in the sixth grade at the time, and Kilgore offered a special education that my brother needed. It was here he learned to be a mechanic. After I got older, I moved away a few times but always returned.”

Bill was working for Vertex when he suffered a back injury that required surgery. He was fishing with a friend who had also had knee surgery and both were contemplating what to do next.

“It was my friend that told me he had always been interested in knife making and possibly jewelry,” said Bill. “The mention of making jewelry set right by me, and I started taking classes being offered at the college by Toby Witherspoon and here I am 32 years later.

“Toby and I are still good friends to this day, and I became a jeweler on a whim. It was the best thing I ever did.” Bill finished school in 1989.

His climb to success was not as easy as some may think. He worked for Jim Cunningham for 13 years when his jewelry store was located near the Charburger Stockade. He left Cunningham’s and began his own business behind the Donut Shop, where he also worked part time until he got his business “off the ground.”

“I would get up at 3 a.m. and work at the Donut Shop until 10 a.m. then go to my shop at 11:30 a.m. and work until 5 p.m. That went on for four years until I built up my own business.” In 2005, he started working with Toby Witherspoon through trade work out of his home and in 2010 began full time as Dixon Jewelers.

His jewelry and jewelry repair has brought him customers from all over East Texas, including Gilmer, Henderson, Longview, Nacogdoches and Lufkin and from Mexico, Colorado, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

“It has made me a decent living. I will miss it and miss my customers,” he said. “There have been a lot of smiling faces come through these doors over the years. I have some funny stories to tell, like the one woman who asked me if I would make her one big diamond out of a bunch of small ones. I told her, lady, if I could do that, I would be rich already! And then I had a guy with a rope chain ask me if I could iron the knots out of it. He thought I could just take it to the back and iron it and it would be good as new.”

Upon closing of the store, Bill plans on moving to Dallas, where he will live with his son Billy Jr. temporarily until he moves into an assisted living facility. Concern of falling often is just one of the health issues he faces with the diagnosis of a rare illness.

Dixon Jewelers will be open on Wednesdays through Fridays from noon to 5p.m. for sales and jewelry pick-up. His closeout sale begins on Black Friday, with his last day open being Christmas Eve. He plans on spending Christmas with his family this year. Dixon Jewelers is located at 405 N. Kilgore St. in the heart of Kilgore. He will refer his customers to Spurlocks Jewelry Repair Shop in Longview, as he believes they will “treat them fair.”

Bill Dixon and Dixon Jewelers will truly be missed in our fair city. After 32 years, he deserves a break.

WITH THE HOLIDAYS APPROACHING also come the needs of our community. Arabella Assisted Living, along with Helping Hands of Kilgore, have partnered together for a “Thanks and Food Drive.” Food donations can be made at Arabella until Nov. 18. Monetary donations can be made out to Helping Hands of Kilgore. Arabella’s is located at 2103 Chandler St., Kilgore.

THE VETERANS DAY SERVICE held quite a few surprises, according to Mayor Ronnie Spradlin. “I was surprised to see four Kilgore College Rangerettes in attendance. I had never seen them perform at a veterans service before. But, they sang God Bless America beautifully and did not do a dance routine. It was so striking with them singing in their uniforms with the flags blowing in the background. It was very impressive and so was the rest of the program.”

May His love and laughter fill your hearts and your homes throughout the week. In the meantime, we may be reached at chitchatlinda@aol.com or (903) 984-2593.

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May His love and laughter fill your hearts and your homes throughout the week. In the meantime, we may be reached at chitchatlinda@aol.com or (903) 984-2593.

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