Realtor James L. (Jimmy) Dixon, who qualified to have 81 candles on a birthday cake last Saturday, may be the fastest-talking, briskest-walking World War I veteran around town.
"I was with the 13th Aerial Squadron in a pursuit group in France but I wasn't a pilot - bad left eye," he recalled over the one Old-Fashioned he permits himself before lunch. "I was a non-citizen (born in Newcastle-on-Thames, England) but took care of that after being discharged. As a veteran, I was eligible for citizenship without taking an exam. My family lived in Hoquiam, Wash., at the time."
[TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] pressed years. "I was in the black and paid taxes," he said.
But when the "bell rang at Pearl Harbor," Dixon brought his wife, Jeane, to Washington, where he found a civilian job in the Pentagon. "For weeks they didn't know what to do with me and then I was told to go to Philadelphia and acquire a property for the Signal Corps."
That explains how Dixon got into real estate.
His wife, whose career as a seerees has made her a national celebrity, was the sister of Erny Pinckert, the All-American football player at USC. "Well, I was a USC fan and got to know Erny," Dixon recalled. "He introduced us. That was it."
After WWII "we flipped a coin about staying here or going back to the West Coast and flipped another about whether I'd go into automobiles or real estate. You know how that turned out. I went to work for Robert L. McKeever in the Shoreham Building. Was I successful? Oh, hell yes."
The Dixons have been active in real estate here with their own office for about 30 years. One of their veteran sales guys is George Jolsen, whose brother Al made it big in show business.
Dixon said his air crewman's mechanical experience took him into auto mechanics with a Buick dealer in Hoquiam. He went to night school for bookkeeping and accounting courses and got the attention of his boss by keeping his shoes shined.
"I'd be under a car on a creeper but my feet stuck out. And that's been a trademark ever since - shiny shoes. Appearance is important," said the man wearing a dark blue shit, blue shirt and striped tie.
In time the Dixons moved to Los Angeles and Jimmy got into auto sales with a Chevy dealer, where he did "a helluva job."
Soon he was spelling new cars; before the Depression he was a co-partner with moviemaker Hal Roach in a car agency. Later he bought out the Roach interest and even survived the and ensuing [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE]