Family hopes minister's work in Haiti lives on

The Rev. Sam Dixon died in Haiti Saturday. He and two colleagues were trapped in the rubble when a massive earthquake struck the country

Posted Updated
Switch to classic wral.com

RALEIGH, N.C. — To those who knew and loved Rev. Sam Dixon, the news of his death in Haiti Saturday came as a shock.

The Roanoke Rapids minister and two others in leadership roles with the United Methodist Committee on Relief were at the Montana Hotel in Port-au-Prince Tuesday when a 7.0-magnitude earthquake rocked the city Tuesday.

The men were trapped for more than 50 hours.

“The first night was really hard. They were in a lot of pain,” Dixon’s daughter, Christy Dixon said.

“The second night, the numbness set in and they began to tell stories to one another.”

Dixon’s family and friends rode a roller coaster of emotions as reports leaked out that he had been found in the rubble, had been freed or had been injured. Reports that Dixon had been freed from the rubble safely Friday were incorrect, said Bill Norton, communications director of NCCUMC.

The Rev. Clinton Rabb, head of the United Methodist office of mission volunteers, and the Rev. James Gulley, a former missionary, along with other mission and relief specialists were evacuated from Haiti Friday, Norton said.

Rabb was in critical condition Saturday in a Florida hospital.

Dixon’s family is trying to face the finality of his death while hoping his work will continue.

“He was very selfless,” Christy Dixon said of her father. “He is very inspirational, I think, for a lot of people.”

Bishop Janice Huie of Texas, president of UMCOR, said that Dixon “was an extremely gifted minister of the Gospel. He lived his life following the commandments of Jesus to feed the hungry, care for the sick, and love the least of these – all over the world."

Dixon, a North Carolina native, was educated at the University of North Carolina and the Chicago Theological Seminary. He had been head of UMCOR since 2007.

He is survived by a wife, four children, two grandchildren, his mother and three sisters.

The State Department Operations Center has set up the following number for Americans seeking information about family members in Haiti: 1-888-407-4747. Also, the International Red Cross has created a database for people to locate friends and relatives in Haiti.