A reception honoring Ron and Jane Dykes will be held Sunday afternoon, March 26 at the Scottsboro Public Library, sponsored by the library and the Jackson County Historical Association. A social hour with refreshments at 2:00 will be followed by a short presentation at 3:00.
Dr. and Mrs Dykes are relocating from Scottsboro, their home for over 40 years, to Tuscaloosa to be nearer their son Toby and their three grandchildren.
At the event, the library and the JCHA will recognize the value of their long association with the Dykeses and the numerous contributions the couple made to Jackson County during their tenure as residents.
Ron and Jane Dykes lent their talent and enthusiasm to the fledgling Jackson County Historical Association starting in 1980 when Jane was named to the newly formed Jackson County Museum Commission. In 1982, she served on the first Heritage Center Board when the group was raising funds and coordinating activities that led to the 1985 opening of the Scottsboro Jackson Heritage Center.
After retiring from his practice in family medicine and pathology in 1999, Ron turned his attention to civic and literary pursuits, serving as chairman of the library board. In 2006, Ron was part of a volunteer group focused on preserving the Scottsboro Freight Depot and turning it into a museum. He was among the local residents who in 2001 suggested that a Scottsboro Boys Historical marker be erected on the courthouse square. When Ron, along with John Graham and Archie Stewart, unveiled the marker in January 2004, the event drew national attention.
Shortly after retirement, Ron published his first book: a biographical piece about a Birmingham judge titled James O. Haley: Lawyer, Judge, Teacher, Advocate.
Next, Ron began researching his first Jackson County book, Growing Up Hard: Memories of Jackson County, Alabama in the Early Twentieth Century. The book focused on the early lives of eight elderly county residents who were reared and spent the majority their lives in Jackson County, frequently marginalized by poverty and cultural isolation. The book was featured in the Alabama Review and quickly sold out of its first printing.
In 2005, Ron published his second book focusing on Jackson Countians, Fighting the Just War: Military Experiences of Jackson County, Alabama, Residents in World War II which was based on interviews with the county veterans.
In 2010, Ron completed his third book, Building Bridges and Roads in the Korean Conflict: History of Company B. From Scottsboro, Alabama During the “Forgotten War,” a book that told the stories of the men of the 151st Combat Engineers Battalion, a national guard unit made up of over 100 local men, mostly teenagers, all of whom returned to the county without suffering casualties despite their position being overrun by enemy troops.
In October 2012, Ron published his final book of interviews with Jackson Countians with, “They Wouldn’t Let Us Win: Jackson County, Alabama Veterans Relive the Vietnam War,” applying his incisive questioning style to interviews with 15 of the county’s Vietnam veterans. He dedicated the book to “every soldier who served in the Vietnam War.” The stories of those veterans would have gone untold without Ron’s interview skills and publishing expertise.
Ron and Jane Dykes leave Jackson County with a rich legacy born of their time and talent. They were part of every significant preservation effort in the county for the last 40 years. Through his compassionate interview style, Ron captured the words and stories of the veterans of three wars and the hardships of residents who “grew up hard” during the Depression. The time they willingly devoted to the codification of Jackson County history deserves recognition from those who value local history and from library patrons who benefit from their work.
Friends, associates, and others wishing to pay tribute to this remarkable couple are invited to attend the event.
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