Joseph Elwood Dickinson
November 8, 1926 – August 5, 2020
Joseph E. Dickinson passed away August 5, 2020 due to complications of Covid-19 coronavirus in Bradenton, Florida. He reached the age of 93.
Joe was born to Eva (Caryl) Dickinson and Harold Dickinson on November 8, 1926 in Davison, Michigan. He was the youngest of two, having an older sister, Barbara. Born during the Great Depression, he was thankful for growing up on a farm surrounded by many cousins and friends. At the beginning of his senior year in high school, at the height of World War II, Joe enlisted in the Naval Air Corps. He received training in Communications and Aerial Gunnery schools. Joe earned his high school diploma while in the Naval Air Corps.
Following the war, Joe returned to Davison and worked at Flint GM before attending Michigan State University for his Bachelor’s Degree. He went on to receive a Masters Degree in Community Organization and completed coursework for a PhD.
Joe married Grace Griffin in 1946 and together they raised three children, Cathy, Judy, and Jeff. Grace died in 1983. In 1985, Joe married Mary Margaret Senger. This marriage blended extended families consisting of 7 adult children, 18 grandchildren, and 26 great grandchildren. Joe used his woodworking skills that he learned as a youth in 4H to make wooden rocking horses for his great grandchildren.
Joe began his professional career as Executive Director of Washtenaw County Council of Social Agencies in Ann Arbor. Several similar jobs followed across southern Michigan. Using his skills and successes as a fundraiser, Joe’s career was further highlighted by becoming Vice President of the American Fund for Dental Education in Chicago, Director of Major Gift Programs at the University of Michigan, Vice President for University Development at Michigan State University, and President of the Michigan State University Foundation. He was very proud of his career of over forty years in fundraising.
Joe and Mary Margaret retired from Michigan State University in 1990. They divided their time between the Dickinson cottage on Lake Charlevoix, Michigan and the home Joe designed and had built on Anna Maria Island, Florida. Most recently they wintered in a town home on Perico Island, Florida. Joe and Mary Margaret cruised much of the Florida peninsula on their boat the “Fun Raiser”. They enjoyed frequent travels to countries around the world.
Joe was preceded in death by his parents, Eva and Harold Dickinson, his wife, Grace, his sister, Barbara Hellebust, his son, Jeff, his daughter, Cathy Squillace, and his stepson, Frank Senger. He is survived and will be greatly missed by his wife, Mary Margaret, his daughter, Judy (Chris) Boughton, son-in-law Vince Squillace, stepchildren, Michael Senger (Nancy Walker), Rosemary Senger (LJ Schenck),and Mary Senger (Paul Brendtro) and many grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He will be particularly missed by his dear cousin Marian Magyar and her husband Jim.
A graveside service and interment of ashes will be held at 1:00 PM on June 12, 2021 in Richfield Union Cemetery in Davison, MI with Rev. Tom Wachterhauser officiating. Due to Covid restrictions the service will be live streamed. Memorials can be directed to Michigan State University College of Social Sciences.