"He was exceptional," Houston remembers Willie Dixon

HOUSTON,Texas (KTRK) -- Willie Dixon wasn't just a photojournalist. He wasn't just someone who laced every tweet, text message and email with emojis. He was a presence.

And in doing his job, he left indelible impressions not only on us who worked with him, day in and day out, but also on the two worlds of sports and politics which he most covered.

During his 13 years at ABC13, Dixon was there for the big moment--on the field, in the arena, along the campaign trail. He was always behind the lens but in clear view of those he covered.

Since his unexpected death on April 25, we have heard from so many of them.

Astros shortstop, Carlos Correa, tweeted and called him one of the good ones.

Former Texans football player, Chester Pitts, called him a great man, a consummate professional. The Texans sent their prayers and said his smile and passion for his work impacted everyone he encountered.

SEE ALSO: Remembering beloved ABC13 Photojournalist Willie Dixon

In politics, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo began her press conference today by honoring his memory.

"And so, I want to say to his wife and his daughters and to the entire ABC13 team," Hidalgo said. "On behalf of Harris County, thank you for you. You know that you are loved, that you are appreciated, that your work changes lives, and that Willie will be deeply missed. "

READ MORE: Houston leaders share memories of ABC13 photojournalist Willie Dixon

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

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

And Kim Dillon, a producer at WABC in New York who worked alongside Willie at big political events and here in Houston, sent us her memories of a man she considered unforgettable.

"Willie's big and wonderful personality were very comforting after I came to Houston to help out after Hurricane Harvey," Dillon said from her newsroom in New York. "He immediately made me feel like one of the KTRK Family. And I've never forgotten it."

You may have seen our posts on social media which featured his smile, his energy, his love of people.

Dixon was a photographer who worked with reporters and assignment editors to bring you the day's stories. His eye was the lens through which you saw the news. And his heart is what made it worth watching, worth sharing.

Some of his colleagues shared their thoughts about Dixon:

"A very rare person," said photographer, Wes Sewell. "Somebody you know you have to cherish in the moment because people like him just don't come along very often."

Reporter, Ted Oberg, offered, "Willie Dixon worked incredibly hard at his job every day. But he worked even harder to make us feel good about the job we'd done. And there aren't too many people like that."

Reporter, Miya Shay, who worked with Dixon since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic added, "Willie Dixon was exceptional. Willie Dixon was the best of what we could ever expect out of all of us. Every day he loved better. He laughed better. Was more kind and more generous than we could ever hope to be."

"Willie, I already miss your huge smile and that crazy laugh that cracked me up every day," said sports anchor, Bob Slovak. "Your can-do attitude made our sports coverage the best it could be."

"Willie was a world class photographer but, he was a far better husband and father," added sports anchor, Greg Bailey.

Dixon was married to Dr. Dorothy Brown Dixon, and together, they have two children. Dominique is a third year medical student at Meharry Medical School in Nashville. Sydney is an honors business student at Indiana University in Bloomington.

He was 52 years old.

"I know that God has a special angel," said photographer and friend, Darnell Walker. "And I'm going to miss my buddy so much."
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