Houston leaders share memories of ABC13 photojournalist Willie Dixon

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As we continue to mourn the passing of Willie Dixon, a veteran photojournalist who worked for at ABC13 for 13 years, we want to tell you about Willie the husband and father.

He and his wife Dorothy have two daughters.

Dominique is a third year medical student at Meharry Medical School in Nashville. Sydney is finishing her junior year in the honors business program at Indiana University.

The Dixon family pauses for a candid photo on a recent visit to Walt Disney World.

More than anything, he loved them, and they are grieving.

Despite the pain, they shared with us how the outpouring of sympathy is helping them cope.

"We're dealing with a global pandemic, but it is really nice how much people have gone out of their way to make us feel the love," said Dominique. "This isn't a regular time, so people can't hug us or come into our house. But neighbors have been in our culdesec praying and being distant and they have a table outside of our door giving us things and writing how much my dad means."

They also shared that every Father's Day, Willie would give his children gifts because he felt he was the one who should celebrate them.

"We always knew how special our dad was," said Sydney. "The love and support that he showed us in everything that we did, we knew that his character and his personality was just so unique. But it's really nice to see that other people saw that and respected him as much as we did, didn't love him as much we did, but loved him a lot too."

Meanwhile, city and county leaders also took time to share the condolences on Monday. Judge Lina Hidalgo began her briefing on the county's COVID-19 response with a special message for Willie's family.

"I want to say to his wife and his daughters and to the entire ABC13 team, on behalf of Harris County, thank you for you. Know that you are loved and that you are appreciated. That your work changes lives and that Willie will be deeply missed."

Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted a 5-page thread with photographs of Willie at work and wrote that he will continue to remember the impact Willie made doing what he loved.

"He covered all the major sporting events and traveled the world with some of our top reporters and anchors to bring us the news," Turner said on Monday. "Willie passed away far too soon over the weekend, and I want to extend my deepest, deepest condolences to his wife, to his daughters, [and] to his colleagues at ABC13."

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, with whom Willie traveled during the 2016 presidential campaign, said he always appreciated "Willie's easy smile and joyful spirit."

Willie died unexpectedly Saturday night. He was 52.

"He was a dear friend to us all," ABC13 News Director Rehan Aslam said. "The loss we feel today is beyond measure."

Willie's face may not have been familiar to ABC13 viewers, but the video he captured was Houston's window to the world and some of the most compelling moments in recent history passed through his lens.

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