Allison Dickson was a lifelong resident of Temple. Born at Scott & White, where her father, Joe Dickson, was the hospital administrator for 20 years, she calls Bell County home. Dickson grew up in a loving home with her parents, Joe and Johnnie, and her older siblings, Ashley Dickson Smith and Brad Dickson.
At the age of 15 months, Allison was diagnosed with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy called Werdnig-Hoffman Disease. The doctors told her parents she might live to 3. Not only did she defy the odds and survive, but she thrived!
Allison excelled academically during her years in the Temple Independent School District graduating third in her class. She also was involved and held leadership roles throughout her time in the TISD system. It was a national presidential election year when she was in third grade, and her class learned about our election system by holding a mock election. When Allison came home and announced she’d been elected President, her Mom said, “I knew we better get ready!” Allison didn’t slow down. In high school, she served as an officer in numerous extracurricular clubs such as Student Council, Keywanettes, and honor societies. She was a part of Teen Involvement, mentoring elementary and middle school students, and was involved in children’s theater arts productions put on by the Temple High School drama department. An avid sports fan, she was named Wildcat Football Sweetheart her senior year, and she served as her Class Treasurer her sophomore through senior years. Allison was the permanent Class Treasurer and continued to keep the books and help organize reunions. She was also a Homecoming Queen and Class Favorite finalist. Her proudest high school accomplishment though was ensuring a ramp was built in the front entrance of the high school. For four years, Allison entered the building through a back entrance because the front was not handicap accessible. With the help of her parents’ advocacy and friends, the Dicksons made sure people of all abilities were welcome and able to enter the high school through the front doors.
Following graduation, Allison was accepted and received a scholarship to attend Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. A small, liberal arts college, it was the perfect fit for Allison, Johnnie, and Joe. That’s right! The family moved into a two-bedroom on-campus apartment and were quickly welcomed into campus life. As her siblings were 12 and 14 years older than Allison, they had both married and started their families, and Joe had retired from Scott & White and was able to commute daily from Temple to Georgetown while working part time as a consultant. Allison again excelled academically graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a double major in English and Psychology. Darn that one A- that kept her from earning a 4.0! While enjoying diverse and challenging academic offerings, Allison also had the full college experience through joining and serving as a leader in campus activities. She served as one of four student representatives in the University’s Strategic Planning Committee, was Vice Chair of Student Foundation, Vice President of Finance and Philanthropy, co-chair of Delta Delta Delta sorority, Officer in honor and service organizations, and was named Outstanding Student her senior year in both of her majors. She loved cheering on the athletic teams and socializing at parties or small get-togethers. Allison continued to be active with her alma mater serving as a volunteer class agent for her graduating class and as a friend and mentor to her sorority chapter.
Allison next took on her dream of becoming a lawyer by attending Baylor Law School. Again, Allison and her parents were welcomed by faculty, staff, and students alike at Baylor. To say law school was an eye opener academically would be quite the understatement! In fact, after a mock class before officially starting, Allison came home crying saying she couldn’t do it. However, she did do it, and she did it well. Despite the academic, physical, and emotional challenge, Allison graduated summa cum laude and first in her class. She was a member of Baylor Law Review, was elected to numerous terms on the Student Bar Association, and was an officer in the honor society. She and her parents enjoyed campus life - especially supporting the Baylor athletic teams.
After graduation, Allison and her parents moved home to Temple. Joe was undergoing treatment for cancer, which he ultimately lost his battle with in June 2008. Before his death, Joe saw Allison pass the Bar and be sworn into the State Bar of Texas as a licensed attorney. He also saw her begin working as a Research Assistant for the professors at Baylor Law School. This major life change for Allison and her mom, Johnnie, bonded them even closer, and in true Dickson form, they carried on and kept his memory alive despite missing him deeply.
As she settled back in to life in Temple, Allison soon became active in numerous community volunteer organizations such as Temple Bible Church, Junior League of Bell County, the Temple/Belton Tri Delta Alumnae Chapter and the Rotary Club of Temple. She served as President of her sorority alumnae chapter since 2010, and she served on the Board of Directors in multiple capacities for Junior League, earning recognition as the New Member of the Year and being elected to serve as President. She maintained her Sustainer status.
In 2014, another major life change occurred for Dickson. On February 4, she was admitted to the hospital through the ER and went into respiratory failure and septic shock. She was placed on life support three times and eventually had to receive a permanent trach. Doctors told her she may never breathe on her own again, may never return home, and may never eat or drink by mouth. After five months of getting stronger with the support of family and friends, weaning off the ventilator, and adjusting while learning a new normal, Allison went home in July! Despite numerous and ongoing hospital stays for respiratory issues, Allison’s spirit was not broken. The beautiful thing about life is we learn to adjust. The reality of facing life-threatening illness is that it brings into focus what truly matters. At the end of 2021, Allison spent two months in the hospital after contracting covid, #AlliBeatsCovid was born and once again, she returned home.
For Allison, her changing health circumstances inspired her to use the time she was given to work on philanthropic efforts. She began by creating and fundraising to endow a scholarship for her sorority chapter, The Allison Dickson Delta Delta Delta Scholarship at Southwestern. Created in 2015, it has provided assistance to several deserving recipients and has doubled in size from its original minimum endowment. Next, she set her sights on an Endowed Scholarship at Baylor Law School. Given five years to raise the endowment minimum, with the help of many, it reached its goal in just nine months. The Allison Dickson Baylor Law School Scholarship has assisted several students since forming in the summer of 2016. Finally, to complete her educational history, Dickson began working on fundraising to endow the Allison Dickson Temple Proud Scholarship through the Temple Education Foundation in August of 2017. It will be awarded annually to a graduating Temple High School Senior who will be attending Temple College. As Allison said at a press conference when she was honored by State Representative Hugh Shine with a Proclamation in her honor, “I hope the recipients of these scholarships are encouraged and empowered to keep going to achieve their dreams. I hope they feel inspired and know that it might not be easy but anything is possible - I’m proof of that.” These scholarships belong to everyone who supported me along the way. They never gave up on me, and I want the scholarship recipients to understand we’ll never give up on them.” The Temple Proud Scholarship reached endowment in 13 months and has already assisted several students.
Allison continued her fundraising and awareness on the impact of education through the numerous scholarships. She also joined the Board of Directors of Variety Peaceable Kingdom in the Fall of 2017 (an international non-profit which seeks to empower children with disabilities), and she was named the 2017 Baylor Young Lawyer of the Year and 2018 Distinguished Baylor Woman by the Central Texas Baylor Club. In 2022, she was honored as one of Tri Delta's Women of Achievement and Baylor Law honored Allison in 2023 with the W.R. White Meritorious Service Award, which recognizes outstanding service and continued loyalty to the University. She was recognized as a Distinguished Alumna for her service to Southwestern University as well as a Distinguished Alumna of Temple Independent School District.
Find more about Allison’s causes, fundraisers and philanthropy efforts at JustNeedPossible.com .
In addition to being an Of Counsel member of the Patterson Law Group, Allison continued to serve her beloved Baylor Law School in a legal research role she held since getting her law degree.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to one of her scholarships, Allison Dickson Temple Proud, Allison Dickson Tri Delta at Southwestern, or Allison Dickson Baylor Law.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 2:00pm, Saturday, October 28, 2023, at the Temple High School Auditorium.