A Tribute To Dixie Ayers
By: Lynn McAllum, with special thanks to Elaine Beck
(Originally published in the Georgia Daylily magazine, Spring 2009 Edition)
Dixie Ayers was a quiet lady with a perpetual smile. Every time I think about Dixie, I envision her with a smile on her face. She was one of the first people who spoke to me at the first North Georgia Daylily Society meeting that my husband and I attended in 1997. Later on, as I became more involved in areas of the club, she was usually the one I ended up calling with my questions. I remember calling Dixie on several mornings and interrupting her morning cup of coffee. I would always tell her that I would call her back later but she would insist that it was a good time to talk. Sometimes I would pepper her with questions about daylilies, the annual daylily show, or later, when I was appointed secretary, questions about the secretary’s duties or the way something in the club needed to be handled. Whether I had one question or ten, she always answered every question with patience and knowledge.
Dixie was a very important part of the local and regional club. She, along with her husband Joe, attended almost every meeting and function that the North Georgia Daylily Society had. Wherever Dixie was, Joe was quietly there too. Over the years, Dixie served as President, Vice President, and Secretary in our club, as well as daylily show classification co-chairperson and head of show clerks. She also donated her daylilies and time at club sales. She was both an AHS exhibition judge and garden judge. She would usually judge five or six shows around the southeast each spring. She was also the secretary for Region 5 and rarely missed a regional meeting.
Dixie loved daylilies. She and Joe owned and operated Dixie’s Land Daylilies at their home in Bowman. At our annual club daylily auctions, Dixie always bid on and won various cultivars to add to her garden. We attended a club picnic at her house several years ago. My toddler-age son had a small plastic shovel and was digging in her flowers but Dixie didn’t mind.
In 2007, Dixie was fittingly named the recipient of the Tom Wise award. The North Georgia Daylily Society members unanimously agreed that Dixie should be nominated for this award and signed a petition as such. Longtime fellow club member, Elaine Beck, wrote a moving submission to the Tom Wise Award Chairman, recommending Dixie. In her letter, Elaine wrote: “ Dixie Ayers is not only willing to step up and do whatever is needed of her as a leader in the organization, she is also the rare kind of individual who supports others quietly while they go about the business of the club. She’s the one who is there for others when they are serving as president, entering a flower in the flower show, or when they are looking for an exhibition judge in a faraway place. Others have been president, show chairman, etc., but Dixie has done all that and given her time, energy, and care to anyone else who is trying to make the club better.”
Just as it would be for anyone, nothing written or spoken can ever convey an individual’s true persona. You just had to know Dixie. If you were one of the lucky ones, you did.
We will all miss Dixie very much.
Dixie Maxwell Ayers d-1/31/09