Dixie Lee Arata

Dixie L. Arata (Simmons) died Aug. 29, 2020. She was born Jan. 7, 1925 in South Bend, Wahington to Gretchen K. Simmons and James “Gordon” Simmons. She attended grade school in Brooklyn and Raymond, Washington, completing her last two years of high school in Shelton, Washington.

Dixie attended business college in Salem, Oregon, then received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Puget Sound (The University of Puget Sound) in Occupational Therapy. She completed her fieldwork in tuberculosis, general medical and surgical, and cerebral palsy in Honolulu, Oahu, HI; orthopedics and pediatrics at LA County General; and psychology at the Brentwood VA Hospital in California. Later she completed her Master of Science in Special Education Administration at Portland State University.

She worked in the VA hospital in Livermore, California, where she became a charter member of the American Association of University Women. She met Sil L. Arata in the TB unit, they married in 1954 in Vancouver, Washington. They moved to Corvallis, Oregon, while Sil attended Oregon State College (Oregon State University) where son Sil Jr. and daughter Susan were born.

Dixie was head of the O.T. Department at Morningside Hospital in Portland, and then worked for the Vancouver School District for 24 years. She was divorced in 1973.

She served on too many boards, assemblies and committees to name here. She is preceded in death by her father, mother and brother, Jim Simmons. She is survived by her son, Sil L. Arata, Jr, daughter-in-law Candy Arata, grandson Nick and wife Erin Arata; her daughter Sue Svendsen and son-in-law Bill Svendsen; grandchildren Carl, Erik and wife Michelle, Brandis Svendsen, and Lacy and Jason Stoker. She had seven great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her ex-husband, Sil L. Arata of Philomath, Oregon.

This woman was an inspiration. Always a smile. Always a joke and a song.

For those who knew her, “That’s what he said” and “Mom’s on the roof.”

No formal gathering will be held.

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