July 11, 2017

Charles E. "Dick Dickinson, Died July 6, 2017

Charles E. Dickinson
1931 ~ 2017

Charles Edwin “Dick” Dickinson, 85, of Suttons Bay, formerly of Harbor Springs, passed away Thursday, July 6, 2017 at his home surrounded by his loving family.
Dick was born Dec. 13, 1931 in North Tonawanda, New York the son of Charles Frederick Dickinson and Doris Marie (Stockwell) Dickinson.  On July 2nd, 1955 at Rensselaer, Indiana he married Marilyn Russa (Hadley) Dickinson who survives.
Dick served his country in the U.S. Army.  He graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1957.  Dick continued his education earning a Master’s Degree from MSU and  Purdue/Indiana University in 1972.
For thirty years he was a high school teacher and guidance counselor for the students of Harbor Springs Public Schools.  Dick was the first tennis coach for the Harbor Springs Rams.  He was also a tennis pro at Wequetonsing, MI.
Dick is survived by his wife, Marilyn; his children, Charles David Dickinson (Beth) of Port St. Joe, FL, Richard Douglas (Kim) Dickinson of Harbor Springs, Amy L. Dickinson of Holland, Hadley (Marko) Vukasovich of Suttons Bay, a sister, Janice Pendleton of Tonawanda, NY; sisters-in-law,  Madilyn Grigsby, Carilyn Padgett; his grandchildren, Nick Dickinson, Jake Dickinson, Kjeil Dickinson, Kobe Dickinson, Sophie Vukasovich, Corinne Vukasovich, Sam Vukasovich, Mikayla Dickinson, Aaron Ellis, Taylor Dickinson, Luke Dickinson and many loving nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Affectionately known as "Mr. D", he approached life with passion, enthusiasm and humor; and shared his optimism with those around him. He loved his wife Marilyn and family dearly and he and Marilyn were virtually inseparable. He was extremely devoted to his children and grandchildren and they carry with them his gently offered wisdom, guidance and love of life.
He left his friendly mark wherever he went and influenced the lives of many students, coworkers and friends; particularly during his long career as educator and coach in Harbor Springs and Wequetonsing, and during 25 wonderful years of retirement in Suttons Bay.
Among his many accomplishments, he was very proud of his time serving with the US military in Germany; his dual master’s degrees from MSU and Purdue; as head tennis coach of St Joseph’s College; as tennis coach and debate team coach in Illinois; of his tenure as English teacher, guidance counselor and tennis coach at Harbor Springs High School; and his more than 30 years as tennis professional for the Wequetonsing Association. He was also the founder, along with wife Marilyn, of the Paul Revere Run on the 4th of July in Harbor Springs.
If he wasn’t known as Mr. D, he might be known as Mr. Spartan; for his unwavering support of his alma mater, Michigan State University. He also loved the game of tennis and his teaching and coaching career has influenced generations of players to play the game with both competitive energy and joy.
Mr. D will be missed greatly but his family and those who knew him will carry his “Spartan” spirit forward with pride.
Services will be held Saturday, July 15 at the Suttons Bay Congregational Church at 1 pm. A Celebration of Life gathering will be held in mid-August in Harbor Springs. Rev. Dr. Robin Carden will officiate.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Charles Dickinson Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Chemical Bank, PO Box 245, Suttons Bay, MI 49682.  A memorial fund which is being established to support tennis facilities in Suttons Bay and Harbor Springs, and a scholarship at Harbor Springs High School.
Please share memories and condolences below:


  1. Anonymous10:29 AM

    I just heard of his passing last night and want to extend condolences to all the family. I write through tears of sadness, but also of joy and appreciation for what he meant to me. He was the best boss I ever had, kind, humorous, smart, as fine a role model as one could ever wish for. The last time I spoke to him was over the phone almost 10 years ago, though it doesn't seem that long. He cheerfully agreed to write me a reference for a new teaching job I was after. He said he'd open it with "I knew him all through his delinquency." All has worked out the best for me. I only wish I had better expressed my thanks for his influence on me over the years. I have faith that in ways we can't fully understand he knows my gratitude. Sincerely, Chuck Semple

  2. Anonymous8:39 PM

    So sad to hear that Mr. D - the best guidance counselor any teen could ask for - passed away, and even sadder to learn that he retired to Suttons Bay, just a few miles from where I live now and I never knew he was so close by.

    As a high school student in Harbor Springs I remember especially his sense of humor, for example he had spent a good part of a school day calling students out of class one at a time to his office because they had scored poorly on the American College Test and needed to retake it. He pulled me out of class as well, much to my embarrassment. He said, "Mr. Wallace, do you have any idea what you scored on the ACT?" "No, Mr. D", I replied, expecting the worst. He stuck out his hand, smiled a big grin and said, "Congratulations! You got the highest score in the state for four years running!" (or six years, whatever it was...I did very well.)

    I was so relieved, then irritated because everyone in the classroom thought I needed to retake it and wouldn't believe me if I said otherwise. Classic Mr. D move. I wish I had taken the time to thank him for making a big difference in my life. Sincere condolences to the Dickinson family.

    Mike Wallace