Gleason Owen Garrison

Sept. 9, 1931 - May 4, 2017


DIXON — Gleason Owen Garrison, 85, passed away on Thursday, May 4, 2017 at Avonlea Cottage in Dixon.

A visitation will be held at 10 a.m., on Thursday, May 11, 2017, at the First United Methodist Church of Dixon, followed by a funeral service at 11 a.m. The burial will be at Paynes Point Cemetery, in Chana, where Gleason will be laid to rest beside his beloved Georgia.

Gleason was born in Dixon, on Sept. 9, 1931 to Hugh and Daisy (Friend) Garrison. He was the oldest of four children. His fondest memories were of hunting and fishing, with his dog Jiggers by his side.

Gleason’s mother died when Gleason was 16 years old, and he became a provider and protector for his brothers and sister. He left school to help run his father’s greenhouse business. At 18, Gleason began to work at the Northwestern Steel and Wire Mill in Sterling. He worked as a fork lift driver until his retirement in 1985, at the age of 54.

Gleason volunteered for the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He served in the Seventh Cavalry Regiment (the “GarryOwen”) as a combat medical corpsman in Korea. He finished his enlistment and came back to Dixon. There he met the love of his life, Georgia Ann Kruse of Chana. They were wed in her parents’ home on Nov. 13, 1954.

In the first years of their marriage, the couple lived in Chana. Gleason had returned to work at the Northwestern mill and also worked on the Kruse family’s dairy farm. Farming had become his second love. It was while the couple lived on the farm that they began their family with the birth of their first child, Glenda. After her birth, Gleason chose to give up farming full-time for the sake of his family. He moved his family to Dixon—a choice he said he never regretted. In Dixon, Georgia gave birth to son Gregory and then to daughter Gina. Later, the couple suffered the loss of an infant son, Gary.

Gleason kept, and passed on, his love of growing things. His children remember the pleasure he had in the smell of fresh-tilled earth, and the pride he took in caring for his large garden. While most parents were paying for music lessons, he invested in horses, ducks, geese and rabbits for his children. The family’s home, when Gleason bought it, had just four rooms and an outhouse. Gleason, with his own hands, rebuilt and expanded it. He fished and hunted and enjoyed taking his family camping. One of the fondest memories his children have is of extended vacations to Yellowstone and other national parks in a school bus that Dad transformed into a family camper. As a handyman, he had his family believing there was nothing he couldn’t fix if he set his mind to it. From building barns to fixing cars, he was the answer man.

Gleason is survived by daughters, Glenda (Robert) Dunbar, of Dixon and Gina (Gary) Collins, of Rockford; son, Gregory (Laura) Garrison, of Montague, Mass.; grandchildren, Joy (Kelly) Carr, Victoria (David) Haag, Alexandra Dunbar, and Ian Dunbar, Amanda (Jay) McMahan and Gabrielle Garrison, Garrett (Kayla) Collins, Gretchen Collins, Gavin Collins, and Gianna Collins; and great-grandchildren, Emma Carr, Genevieve Haag, and Gabriel Haag.

He is also survived by his sister, Doris Pitchford, and numerous well-loved nieces, nephews and great-nieces and -nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Georgia, and their infant son, Gary; and his brothers, Donald and Kenneth.

Condolences may be sent to