Alvin Richard Dickens

Born: Wed., Feb. 12, 1947
Died: Tue., Jul. 3, 2007

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Alvin Richard “Al” Dickens died suddenly on Tuesday, July 3, 2007. Al was born February 12, 1947 in Detroit, Michigan to Ruth Marjorie (Brown) Dickens and Henry Johnson Dickens – both of whom preceded him in death. Al was active with Boy Scouts for 52 years achieving his Eagle award at the age of 13. Al graduated from Sandusky High School, Sandusky, MI in 1965. During school, Al was an avid athlete and lettered in several sports. He was also active in drama and enjoyed acting in a number of plays and musicals. Al attended Michigan State University where he played football and baseball and was a member of the ROTC. His first Bachelor’s Degree from MSU was in Hotel and Restaurant Management. He later earned his Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and Master’s in Environmental Education. Al married Linda Sue Wank in South Haven, Michigan on August 19, 1967. They settled in St. Johns, Michigan and started a family which includes the following surviving children: daughter, Allison Butler and husband Scott of Woodinville, WA; sons Bart Dickens of Athens, GA, Zachary Dickens and wife Marcy of Watkinsville, GA, Patrick Dickens of Athens, GA. Al was a member of St. Johns Lutheran Church where he was a youth leader, sang in the choir and played on the church softball team. Al taught at North Elementary School in Ovid, Michigan until moving the family to Georgia in 1980. He taught 7th grade at Davis Middle School in Milledgeville, Georgia and was a Baldwin County JV Football Coach for two years. He was a member of Hope Lutheran Church and First United Methodist Church in Milledgeville. In 1983, the family returned to Michigan to be closer to family after Linda was diagnosed with cancer. During this time, Al was a tireless caregiver and partner in Linda’s fight for life until she passed on August 4, 1986. In 1990, Al relocated to Union Point, Georgia where he taught at Union Point Elementary School for 14 years. After retiring from teaching, Al resumed his career as a financial planner with Primerica Financial Services. Al was blessed to have met his beloved wife, Constance Rettew Bryant Dickens in January, 2002. They exchanged vows in a commitment ceremony in Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico on December 24, 2003 and wed on April 30, 2004 in Greensboro, Georgia. Al recently described his marriage to Connie as “as wonderful as can possibly be” and he liked to refer to himself and Connie as “Mr. and Mrs. Wonderful.” Though their years together were too few, their union brought two more sons whom he dearly loved: Ura Bryant and wife Allison of Senoia, GA and Billy Bryant of McDonough, GA. Throughout his life, Al was a teacher, mentor, friend and father figure to many children. He was an Eagle Mentor with Boy Scouts, a foster father, a step father, a camp counselor, a beloved uncle and a teacher of bible school as well as math, science and social studies. He used to refer to himself as “Uncle Al the kiddies pal” and was probably best known to many as “Mr. D.” Above all else it was likely his role as “Grandpa Al” that he most cherished in life. Al’s sense of wonder, spirit of adventure and corny jokes will live on in his treasured grandchildren, Morgan Elizabeth Dickens and Samuel Elliot Butler. Sam and Morgan were recently conspirators along with the rest of the family in throwing a surprise 60th birthday party for their grandpa in February. Al had a wonderful voice and was a member of the Athens Choral Society and the Athens Lyric League. His hobbies included fishing, golf, bowling, playing cards, traveling, bird watching, restoring old houses, real estate development, financial planning and sharing conversation. Al had visited 49 of the 50 states as well as Canada and Mexico. Al was a fantastic dancer and loved to cut a rug. In June, he danced with his wife, kids and granddaughter at son Ura’s wedding. The family is comforted with hundreds of these wonderful memories. Also surviving Al are sisters, Karen Carroll and husband Jimmie of Laingsburg, MI and Ann Jiles and husband Dan of Bend, OR; a brother, Bill Dickens of West Des Moines, IA and several aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, in-laws and out-laws. Al touched the lives of hundreds of friends and former students and will be fondly remembered by countless others. The Dickens family will receive friends on Saturday, July 7 at the McCommons funeral home in Greensboro from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Al’s life will be celebrated with music and memories at a service to be held Sunday, July 8, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. at the First Methodist Church in Greensboro, GA with Rev. Ralph Danson officiating. Internment services are currently being planned for Saturday, August 4th at Lakeview Cemetery in South Haven, Michigan. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Al Dickens Memorial Scholarship Fund. Checks payable to the fund can be sent to the Dickens residence or funeral home. McCommons Funeral Home, 109 W. Broad St., Greensboro, GA, (706) 453-2626, is in charge of arrangements. Please visit to sign the online guest register.

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Condolence Booklet

Calvin Lee Tate
   Posted Fri July 06, 2007
Connie, Our most sincere sympathies and feelings of regret are extended to you and family during this time of grief. Calvin

Lowell Jackson
   Posted Fri July 06, 2007
I loved him !

Hank and Mary Ellen Hood
   Posted Fri July 06, 2007
7-6-07 Al, even though I was 7 years older than you, we had many fun times as kids growing up in the 50's in Livonia, Michigan. You were always an inspiration to me and all who knew you because you were bright, ambitious and always ready to take on a new challenge. Your character was impeccable. You displayed sincere devotion to family, and love to your students. Enjoy your heavenly family now and we will see you again some day. Your friend and cousin, Hank Hood

Don and Heather Kamer
   Posted Fri July 06, 2007
We are thinking of all of you at this difficult time. It was a pleasure to know Al for the brief time that we did. We are grateful for the love and attention he showed our children and appreciate his gentle nature. All our love to your family!

Sean Dush
   Posted Fri July 06, 2007
I am very sorry to hear that Al has passed away. My prayers will be with the family and I wish everyone the best in this difficult time. Sincerely, Sean Dush

Jady Lindsey-Long
   Posted Sat July 07, 2007
Zach & Patrick I am so sorry for your loss. My heart & prayers goes out to your whole family. Love, Jady

Chad and Laura Carroll
   Posted Sat July 07, 2007
Rest in Peace Al, you will be missed by us all.

Jen and Kenton Towner
   Posted Sat July 07, 2007
We are so very saddened by the sudden loss of Uncle Al. Our thoughts and prayers are with all.

   Posted Sat July 07, 2007
Our sincere sympathy. Rick and Tommi Ward

Kathleen Voodre
   Posted Sat July 07, 2007
Alvin was a great cousin. He always cared for others and was there for them in their time of need. The summer before I entered high school, I babysat for Alvin, Karen and Bill. It was the longest summer of my life. Alvin's chore for the summer was to pull weeds and water the garden. One day as I was washing dishes, I was hit by a stream of water. Alvin comes into the kitchen and says, I didn't know that I would get this much water in the kitchen. He turned off the hose and him and I spent the next couple of hours wiping up all the water off the floor, cupboards etc. I knew better not to tell on him or we both would have been in real trouble. That same summer Bill did his best to add a few gray hairs to me, but that's another story. Alvin will be greatly missed by all who loved him. Your cousins Kathleen and Thomas Voodre and family

Jimmie and Karen Carroll
   Posted Sat July 07, 2007
God Bless you. Much Love K

Amy Henrick
   Posted Sat July 07, 2007
My heart goes out to the entire Dicken's family in your time of loss. The world will also suffer a tremendous loss as an amazing teacher and mentor has left us all. Though my time with Al was short compared to most who knew him, I treasure all the moments. I will miss my "planning partner" and friend. My tribute to this wonderful man can only be to continue his mission to bring financial independence to the families who need it most. May you all find peace in the happy memories of great moments and endless stories from Al. Amy Henrick

John and Mabel Federline
   Posted Sat July 07, 2007
Connie, we have wonderful memories of singing with Al. Our prayers go with you. John and Mabel

JoEllyn Owens
   Posted Sat July 07, 2007
My heart is with the entire Dickens family during this time. Al was a magnificent man and I had the privilege to spend time with him as part of his Primerica family. I will miss him very much as we continue his mission of bringing financial hope to those in need as well as being a great friend and mentor.

David & Jody Smith, Darien & Daisy
   Posted Sat July 07, 2007
To Al Dicken's Family & Friends ... These are some memories we will never forget .... We first met Al when his dog ran off and ended up in our yard ....we got to know the rest of this wonderful family, and spent many weekends, children's birthdays, christenings, and holidays together. They introduced us to Marriage Encounter. He introduced me to A.L. Williams, and never stopped believing in that dream. He was constantly remodeling any house he ever lived in. He could look out upon a roomful of shouting, out-of-control children in absolute mayhem, and his response would be "Who wants some pop?" Actually, Al and Linda acted as if every child that walked through their door was their child. He always believed that their family had something to give to others, and that Christian spirit has touched so many lives. We will never forget him, and our heart aches for his family. David and Jody Smith, Darien & Daisy St. Johns, MI

Rondalyn Pinckney
   Posted Sat July 07, 2007
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My prayers are with you. Please let me know if there is anything I can do. Rondalyn

Ralph Danson
   Posted Sat July 07, 2007
Al was a friend, but even more, he was a Christian brother. I rejoice in the fact that he is free from like's bondage, but I wish to express my sympathy with his family and friends. He will be greatly missed.

Brenda Lindsey
   Posted Sun July 08, 2007
We are thinking about you Brenda,Jay,Shay,and Wayne Lindsey

Justine Foster
   Posted Sun July 08, 2007
My thoughts and prayers go out to the family at this difficult time. Al was my dad's cousin (therefore my first cousin once-removed). I remember visiting his family as a child, the great family reunion we had at his place in 1998, and the fun time we had when he and Connie visited my parents last year, but the most special memory I have of Cousin Al is a card he sent me after my husband passed away four years ago. He wrote such a heartfelt and encouraging letter. I knew he had been in my shoes and had come through the grief and struggle I was facing as a newly widowed parent of young children. I will always cherish his thoughtfulness. He was a wonderful man, and I look forward to seeing him again in heaven. Love, Justine

Emily Allen
   Posted Sun July 08, 2007
Connie you have my deepest heartfelt sympathy for your loss...I am no longer at Delta , now working as a concierge at Colony Square in Midtown...may the Lord bless you..Emily

Dr. David, Robin, Kim, Molly & Betsy Peters
   Posted Sun July 08, 2007
Pat and family, we send our love and condolences to you all. I was touched by reading about your dad's influence in this world. This little quote from the McGuffey's Second Reader reminded me of the love and care we are called upon to share with others. "Beautiful faces are they that wear The light of a pleasant spirit there; Beautiful hands are they that do Deeds that are noble, good and true; Beautiful feet are they that go Swiftly to lighten anothers's woe." (P.S. the story about the hose in the kitchen is precious) May God hold you close in His care. Blessings, Robin

Anne & Alana
   Posted Sun July 08, 2007
Zach, we know there are simply no words that can describe your loss. Our sympathies to you and your family.

Roger Weyersberg
   Posted Sun July 08, 2007
Dear Allison, Bart, Zach, Pat and Family, I am so sorry to hear about your dad's passing. Please know that you are in our prayers. Thinking of Al just makes me smile. From our times teaching together, our long time and long distance friendship and how often we were asked if we were brothers. We will be in touch. Love, Roger and Nadine

Kevin & Barb Race
   Posted Sun July 08, 2007
We are sorry to know that our friend Al has left us. We have been thinking of him and the kids recently and are so sorry to hear the news of his passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and the family. May your journey be glorious and your loved ones gain peace. With love--Kev & Barb

Kim Worden-Monahan
   Posted Mon July 09, 2007
I remember Mr. Dickens from Ovid's North elementary School, 4th Grade Science. Do you know that he was the very first person in my life that introduced me to ecology? We held a glass drive that year, which was my first exposure to the idea of recycling. Bear in mind that this was some pretty radical thinking in Ovid, Michigan, circa 1973! I never forgot those lessons. I will also never forget Mr. Dickens's pride in his children, Allison and Bart. In fact I remember clearly how excited he was at Bart's impending arrival. He brought in pictures for us after Bart came home. I can still see little blonde Allison and little Bart with that schock of dark hair. My sympathies are with all of you at this time of loss. I hope it helps to know that Mr. Dickens's memory lives on in so many. Thank you for sharing him with us. God's blessings to all of you.

Tony, Lori, Ivy & Zach Smith
   Posted Mon July 09, 2007
We were so sadden and shocked to hear of Mr. Dickens passing. You are all be in our thoughts and prayers.

Donna Heath
   Posted Wed July 11, 2007
My farther Melville Sidney Hood Jr use to talk about Al. I never really new him for as I was a young child. I know he will be greatly missed as my farther is. I will say prayers for the family and I want you to know I deeply feel sorry for your loss. Take care of yourselves. Love Donna Heath (Hood).

Kellean Kamer
   Posted Wed July 11, 2007
Ali, I wish I could give you and your family a hug and make it better but we both know that can't happen. I lost my mom suddenly and know the feeling of disbelief that comes upon you when you try to make sense of the void in your life and the hole that has so unexpectedly appeared in your heart. I believe I know you well enough to say that you and your family will fill it with all the good things you good times you remember and will experience in the future, and the piece of your dads spirit that will always remain with you in all you do. Kellean

Lauren Rogers
   Posted Wed July 11, 2007
Connie, Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. Lauren Rogers

Lynda Schenck
   Posted Wed July 11, 2007
Connie, I was so saddened to hear of your sudden loss. My heart goes out to you and your family during this difficult time. I am sorry I could not be there, but please know that I am thinking of you and your family. Lynda

Josh Holliday
   Posted Thu July 12, 2007
To The Dickens Family, I am so sorry to hear of the sudden death of Mr. Dickens. He was my 3rd grade Math teacher at UPE. This was my first year at UPE and he made me feel welcome. I remember him as a fun teacher and really enjoyed teaching kids. He always spoke to me when I would see him outside school and ask how I was doing. I still have the card he gave me at the end of my 3rd grade year. He will be greatly missed. Such a good person taken way to soon. we will miss you Mr."D". Josh Holliday, former student

Jan & David Hallman
   Posted Thu July 12, 2007
The Dickens Family, What a shock to see Mr. "D"'s death notice in the paper. He was such a great teacher and always had kind words for both of my boys. God has got one special angel with him now. He will be greatly missed in Greene County. Our prayers are with the family at this time. Jan and David Hallman, Robert Holliday

Sandra Kay and Michael Lord
   Posted Thu July 12, 2007
We were shocked to see Al's announcement in the paper. We didn't know until today and just wanted to send our heart felt sympathy at this time. Al was indeed a special soul and will be greatly missed by many.

Angie McNulty
   Posted Mon July 16, 2007
7/16 Alli-Just saw this today, I am so sorry!! My prayers are with you and your family at this time. You are probably the strongest person I know, and you are surrounded by so many wonderful people. Still, your heart is aching and mine as well for you. LYLAS!!!!!!!

Carolyn and Jack Hamby
   Posted Wed July 18, 2007
Dear Alli, What a wonderful obituary you have written about your father's very interesting, loving, and accomplished life. He was such a vital, giving human being! He definitely lived his life to the fullest and used his many talents to enhance the lives of others. How blessed your family was to have him, and how fortunate we were to meet him and his wonderful wife, Connie, when they were in town. I know the shock of losing your dad too soon and so unexpectedly is very difficult to bear, but I hope there is some comfort in knowing he lived his 60 years on earth so beautifully. From experience, I know what a privilege it is to be able to remember your father with love and pride and to realize how truly fortunate it is in life to be adored by a devoted parent. Special thoughts to you, Scott, and Sam, With love, Carolyn and Jack Hamby

Gypsy Murphy
   Posted Thu July 19, 2007
I am so sorry for your loss. Your dad was a great guy.

Gregory Avrett
   Posted Tue July 24, 2007
I am going to miss Al so much, but I know he is happy in Heaven.

Barbara Moland
   Posted Mon July 30, 2007
Alli, My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Your father lived a very rich life and was a great blessings to so many people - as I read about him. Barbara Moland, KCS 2nd soprano

Chuck & Virginia Rogers
   Posted Fri August 03, 2007
Dear Connie & Family, Virginia & I would like to send our condolences in your loss. I enjoyed seeing you and Al at the reception for Bob & Mary Lib. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and family today and forever. May God shed the power of His healing grace upon you. With love, Chuck & Virginia Rogers

Donald & Laura Moody
   Posted Tue August 07, 2007
We were so sorry to hear about Mr. "D". He taught both of our sons, Ryan and Jonathan and they both enjoyed having him as a teacher. He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.