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Curtis "Curt" Dickson '71 January 14, 2020 9:32 AM updated: January 14, 2020 9:37 AM

Piersall Funeral Directors obituary
733 Butternut
Abilene, Texas 79602
Phone: (325) 677-3783
Fax: 325-677-3784

Curtis Allen Dickson
April 23, 1937 - January 06, 2020

Dr. Curtis Allen Dickson, longtime professor, researcher, mentor and coach, died Jan. 6, 2020, after an extended illness. He was 82. A memorial service honoring his life is planned for 11 a.m., Monday, Jan. 13, in the Family Room at University Church of Christ.

Dickson was born April 23, 1937, in Ponca City, Oklahoma, to Carl Curtis Dickson and Ruby Helen Keller Dickson. Ruby and her second husband, Byrd O’Dell, raised Curt in Texas, Oklahoma and many midwestern states, surrounded by an extended family of aunts, uncles and grandparents. Curt’s brother Richard O’Dell was born in 1953 and preceded him in death in 2018. The devotion Curt received from the family he grew up with was reflected in his boundless commitment to his own family.

Dickson graduated in 1955 from Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School in Fort Worth and that year married Bobbie June McCullough, his wife of 64 years. He took classes at Arlington State and TCU while working jobs at service stations, an oilfield equipment warehouse, and as a metal lathe machinist making experimental aircraft parts. The Dicksons added two daughters to their family, Sherri Lynn and Trissa Gail, before their move to Abilene in 1963.

At then Abilene Christian College, Dickson took his first of many jobs on the campus, serving as dorm supervisor for the men’s barracks while completing a bachelor’s degree in physical education and mathematics in 1966 and a master’s degree in guidance services in 1967. Meanwhile, he also served as Intramural Sports director, an instructor in Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) Department, taught swimming at the Christian Youth Center and ACU, and was a deacon at Minter Lane Church of Christ, a church plant of the Graham Street congregation where the Dicksons began their time in Abilene.

In 1969 the family moved to College Station where he completed a PhD in health and physical education at Texas A&M. Twin sons Kyle Curtis and Carl Allen were born during Dickson’s doctoral studies there. The family returned to ACU in 1971 and Dickson became aquatics director in the new Gibson Center. He was instrumental in creating the Human Performance Lab in 1974, which became a center for research in the department, and in organizing the first beginning ski class in 1975, an annual course that became a lasting part of the university and Dickson family culture.

While leading the department and pursuing his research agenda, he continued teaching activity classes including long-distance running, swimming and badminton, in addition to exercise physiology courses for HPER majors. He served as Camp Wildcat director, a social club sponsor and city league softball coach. He coached his own children and others in Little League, softball and basketball leagues, regularly picking up the kids who didn’t have a ride to practice or games in the Ford pick-up truck he dubbed “Ol’ Yellar.”

From 1982-90 he served as HPER department chair and in various roles with the national organization TAHPERD from 1972-90. His interests in fitness and health inspired ongoing involvement in the Performance Lab where he led testing of world-class athletes in the lab and mentored students preparing for futures in teaching, health clubs and emerging fields like physical therapy. In 1986, he studied the science of strength training at the National Center for Sport in Moscow. ACU’s College of Professional Studies honored him as faculty member of the year for 1992-93.

Ever the consummate ACU Wildcats fan, Curt regularly attended basketball and football games with his family, always preferring to sit on the student side.

Until a few years ago Curt and Bobbie were involved at University Church of Christ where he served as deacon, elder, and on the missions committee, often driving the vans on summer mission trips. The Dicksons spent summers in Angel Fire, New Mexico, where Curt often taught adult Bible classes at Moreno Valley Church of Christ. During his last several years of declining health and mobility they attended Hillcrest Church of Christ.

Curt’s commitment to health research is fulfilled by his donation of his body to University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. He is survived by Bobbie and their four children: Sherri and Lynn Luttrell of Abilene, Trissa and Curly Cox of York, Neb., Carl and Cami Dickson of Los Alamos, N.M., and Kyle Dickson of Abilene. He is also survived by nine grandchildren and their spouses and nine great grandchildren. Other survivors include a sister Lucy Dickson and her husband J.C. Crouch of Kauai, Hawaii, and a brother Bowen Dickson of the Seattle area.

Those wishing to honor Curt’s life with a memorial gift may send them to: Christian Service Center, 3185 N. 10th St., Abilene, TX 79603. Condolences may be offered to the family online at

Memorial Service
Monday, January 13, 2020
11:00 AM

University Church of Christ
733 E.N. 16th Street
Abilene, Texas 79601

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