Albert E. Dix '51

Al Dix entered the Chapter Eternal on December 1, 2009. He was 80 and died of pancreatic cancer at his home in Frankfort, Kentucky. A highly respected member of his community, his obituary honored him with the comment, "Journalists, bankers, politicians, educators and others are paying tribute to Albert Dix as a sensitive and caring publisher who was dedicated to improving the community but kept his good works private."

Born August 18, 1929, in Ravenna, Kentucky, Al majored in political science and graduated from Denison in 1951. He served in the U.S. Army Intelligence from 1953-1955.

A fourth-generation journalist, Dix first worked at The Times-Leader in Bellaire, where his father was publisher. He moved to Frankfort in October 1962 to become publisher of The State Journal, also owned by the Dix family. The Kentucky Book Fair was founded by The State Journal in 1981. He retired in 1996 as publisher and president of Wooster Republican Printing Co., the parent company of The State Journal, and the owner of seven daily newspapers including The Alliance Review and its weeklies The News Leader and The Press-News.

G. Charles Dix II, publisher of The Review, said of his cousin, "Al Dix, as a long-time president of our company and a friend of mine, was one of the kindest individuals I have had the pleasure of knowing. As a self-effacing person, his warmth to others was always guaranteed to be purely sincere. I wish that our newspaper market would have had the pleasure of his service."

Al also was a member of the board of directors of First Capital Bank of Kentucky, the Frankfort/Franklin County Industrial Development Authority and the local Kiwanis Club; and served two terms as chairman of the American Saddlebred Museum at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. He loved fishing and making fishing rods, electric trains and saddlebred horses.

Ann Maenza, Dix's daughter and now publisher of The State Journal, said of her father, "He never cut corners. He always made sure things were done right. He was 'old school,' fair and honest."

Other survivors include his wife of 56 years, Edna Dix; a son, Troy Dix, publisher of the Ashland Times-Gazette in Ohio; a daughter, Amy Dix Rock, of Nashville, Tenn.; and four grandchildren, Evan, Stewart and Melissa Dix and Lauren Maenza.

Following are a few of the many tributes given to Al Dix at the time of his passing:

State Senator Julian Carroll, who was Kentucky's governor while Dix was publisher, said, "Al was a great community-minded leader. Although he was a Republican and I'm a Democrat, he was always very nice and cordial to me. I considered him to be one of our outstanding citizens."

Bob Roach, a retired school teacher and former city commissioner and county judge-executive, said Dix "was certainly interested in young people and education, and he believed in excellence. He was a prince of a fellow." By sponsoring an annual State Journal All-Academic Banquet, Dix encouraged students to excel in the classroom, Roach said, "and he encouraged teachers by recognizing them as well."

Attorney Bill Kirkland, a former Paul Sawyier Public Library president, said Dix was on a special gifts committee during fundraising for the new library and he came faithfully to every meeting. "He had numerous contacts in the community and personally added immeasurably to the quality of the library through the gifts he solicited. He was a person of intellect, humor, good personality and good judgment. There was never a kinder soul and more generous person in the community."

Russ McClure, a former vice president of Morehead State University, said he was "under the gun a lot of times" while serving as Finance Cabinet secretary to Carroll and assistant budget director to Bert Combs when they were Kentucky governors. "One thing I could always count on was Al being straight up and fair," McClure said. "He was always straightforward with his questions and always accurate in his reporting of my answers and the facts. That's the way he was. He was soft-spoken but when he did speak you listened."

Al Smith, who rose to prominence in Kentucky as a weekly newspaper publisher and as the longtime host of KET's Comment on Kentucky, noted how The State Journal under Dix supported a constitutional amendment that overhauled the Kentucky's judicial system and created what is today the Supreme Court. Smith also noted the newspaper's spotlight on corruption in government under Dix's leadership, and how Dix shunned personal publicity. "Once I wrote him a private note about something very generous he had done to help someone in trouble," Smith said. "I heard nary a word in reply. But I didn't expect it. I am sure he was embarrassed that I even knew."

All Honor to his name.

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