Dixie Lou Early

October 20, 1943 - January 21, 2021
Dixie Early

Dixie Lou Early, 77, of Nixa, passed away Thursday, January 21, 2021 at Cox Hospital in Springfield.

Born October 20, 1943 in Joplin to the late Carl and Beulah (Marshall) Longenecker, Dixie graduated from Joplin High School and then attended William Jewell College on a music scholarship. Dixie went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Education from University of Missouri-St. Louis and completed 16 hours toward her Doctorate. Dixie loved teaching children and specialized in teaching reading to students with special needs before retiring in 1999. Dixie stayed involved in a number of organizations including Kappa Kappa Iota, a national teachers’ sorority, for which she served as Missouri State President in 2006-2007. She started a local ‘Reading is Fundamental’ chapter to support children’s literacy and was a member of the Missouri State Teachers Association and the Pulaski County Retired Teachers Association. She was also passionate about her service as a “Mentor Mom” for Mothers of Preschoolers at Westside Baptist Church.

Describing Dixie as “crafty” is an understatement. She enjoyed crocheting, sewing, and stamping homemade cards among many other crafts. However, it’s more accurate to describe her hobby as loving and caring for others and her crafts were just one way she expressed her love – always gifting her creations to friends, family, local homeless shelters, and nursing homes. Dixie loved the Lord and was strong in her faith. In her early years she played the piano and organ for church, sang in the choir, and taught Sunday School classes. Dixie last attended Crossway Baptist Church in Springfield where she was active in Bible studies and church-related outreach programs. Dixie loved her family with all that she was and her faith built a strong foundation for them to grow on. She was a devoted mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt and cherished the time spent with her family.

Dixie was preceded in death by her grandmother, Eupha G. Beezley; and an infant brother, David Evan Longenecker.

She is lovingly survived by her two sons, Brent Early and his wife, Christi, of Nixa, and Wade Early and his wife, Michal, of Springfield; two grandchildren, Matthew and Zoey Early; her brother, Mark Longenecker, and his wife, Julie, of Nixa; two nieces, Rebecca and Hannah Longenecker; as well as a host of extended family and friends.

Graveside funeral services will be held at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at Ozark Memorial Park Cemetery in Joplin with Pastor Tom Maples officiating. The family will receive friends for visitation from 1-2:00 p.m. Tuesday at Parker Mortuary. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Crossway Baptist Church Children’s Building Fund. Arrangements are under the direction of Parker Mortuary.

A Celebration of Life service will also be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, January 30, 2021 at Crossway Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri in the High School Student building. The entrance for the High School Student building is located on the east side of the building. Music will be provided by Mark Mathes and Jannece Sutterfield. A message will be provided by Pastor Tom Maples.