Mary Eleanor Seaton Dix

December 16, 1929 ~ March 22, 2024 (age 94) 94 Years Old



Mary Dix, historian, teacher, and documentary editor, went home to be with the Lord peacefully on March 22, 2024.  She was born in Minneapolis to William Chalmers Seaton and Mary Elizabeth Wyatt Seaton on December 16, 1929.  In her youth the family moved to Winchester, Mass. She attended public schools and there met and maintained a lifelong special friendship with Libbie Moses Merrow.  In 1947 Mary graduated from Winchester High School, where she played field hockey.  She worked picking potatoes in Maine during the summers.

She graduated from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, with a bachelor of fine arts degree in 1951 and received a master’s degree in history from Boston University in 1952. She taught at Northfield School for Girls in Mass. and during summer vacations returned to Maine to work at the front desk of the Ontio Hotel in Ogunquit.  There she met the love of her life, Robert Heller Dix, who taught tennis and was a bellhop at the hotel.  They married on May 5, 1956, in Winchester.

Mary worked for Harcourt, Brace & Co., in Boston before moving in 1957 to Bogotá, Colombia, for Bob’s State Department service. She taught in Bogotá and became fluent in Spanish, volunteering many hours throughout her life teaching English to Spanish-speakers. In 1960 the Dixes moved back to Boston.  Bob obtained his Ph.D. at Harvard and Mary worked as an editorial assistant in the International Affairs program. From 1962 to 1966 they lived in New Haven, where Bob taught political science at Yale.

In 1966 they moved to Santiago, Chile, and Mary taught at the Centro-Chileno-Americano school. Returning to the States, she worked as an editor for Houghton-Mifflin in Boston.  In 1968 Bob accepted a faculty position at Rice University and Mary began her long career with the Jefferson Davis Project, retiring as co-editor in 1995.  Her history and publishing background were essential ingredients in the project’s success and she received two prestigious national awards for her work: the Philip M. Hamer from the Society of American Archivists and the Founders Award from the Confederate Memorial Literary Society.

Mary cared heroically for Bob during his long battle with multiple sclerosis and still found time to volunteer with the League of Women Voters and many church- and Rice-related groups. A member of St. Paul's United Methodist Church for decades, she was a lay reader and key researcher and writer of the church history.  A gracious hostess, she was also a lifelong learner and reader, engaged in book discussion groups, was a keen swimmer, loved animals, and was an opera and ballet devotee and an inveterate world traveler.

Mary was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, her sister and brother-in-law, Katherine and William Platzoeder, and her nephews William and Robert Platzoeder. She is survived by her brother-in-law Willard Dix (Charlotte), nieces Sally Reed (Robert) of Va. and Inge Turner (Brett) of Ill., and nephews Will Dix (Dale Asis) of Ill., Drew Dix (Thea Clark) of N.C. and Robert Dix (Jenna) of Ind., and their families, also her Canadian cousins Paul Seaton, David Seaton, and Elizabeth Trolio, and a host of friends.

The family sincerely thanks Ana Penape and the staffs of Lamar Tower, Belmont Village, and AccentCare Hospice for their support and many kindnesses.

A Celebration of Life will be held at Bradshaw-Carter Funeral Home, 1734 W. Alabama, Houston, on May 5 at 1 p.m.  A reception will follow.  All who knew and loved her are welcome. The service will be live streamed at .

All memorial gifts will be appreciated. Please consider: Friends of Fondren Library, Rice University; Shepherd School of Music, Rice University; St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, Houston; Houston Humane Society.





Memorial Service and Reception
May 5, 2024

1:00 PM
Bradshaw-Carter Memorial & Funeral Services
1734 W. Alabama St
Houston, Texas 77098


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