Funeral services for Graham Dickerson, 98, of Thorndale will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 30, 2016, at Phillips & Luckey Funeral Home in Rockdale. Burial will be at Salty Cemetery in the Salty community. Rev. Ray Prince of Pleasant Retreat United Methodist Church will officiate.

Visitation is set for 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 29, at Phillips & Luckey Funeral Home in Rockdale.

Mr. Dickerson died Sunday, June 26, at his home in Thorndale.

He was born Feb. 1, 1918, at the Conoley community in Milam County to Gus Lewis and Bessie Elizabeth (Smith) Dickerson.

Mr. Dickerson at tended Conoley school through eighth grade and was a 1935 graduate of Thorndale High School.

He attended two years at Southwestern University in Georgetown. In May 1943, he served in the 1923rd Ordinance Ammunition Company Aviation of the Army Air Corp during World War II. He was stationed in England, France, Germany, Belgium and Holland. He was discharged as a sergeant in December 1945.

On April 7, 1939, he married Elkanah Brunson in Cameron. Mr. Dickerson lived most of his life in Thorndale, but had also lived in Cameron, Port Arthur, Bellville, Brenham and Rockdale.

After being discharged from the Army, he worked at Perry Hardware in Rockdale and the State Department of Public Welfare. While working for the state, he lived in Brenham and Bellville. While there he attended Blinn College.

In 1954, Mr. Dickerson began working for Industrial Generating Co. in Rockdale. During his 26-year employment, he worked most of the job positions in his department, retiring in 1980 as a shift supervisor.

Mr. Dickerson, with his bass voice and love of quartet music, sang in a quartet known as The Free Lance Gospel Quartet of Austin. They sang together for about a year.

In 1932, he became a member of Pleasant Retreat United Methodist Church.

He was a member of Thorndale Masonic Lodge No. 978 and had served as District Deputy Grand Master of 104th Masonic District in 1993 and 1985.

Mr. Dickerson was also a member of the National Rifle Association.

He loved his family, friends and telling stories. He also enjoyed organic gardening, woodworking, making furniture, rocking horses, valet stands, cedar chests, gun cabinets, a doll cradle, raising cattle, dove and quail hunting, and fishing.

Mr. Dickerson built the home he lived in south of Thorndale, along with several others. After all that construction was finally over, he played 42 as much as possible.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Elkanah Dickerson, on Sept. 11, 1979, and daughter, Mada Beth Luker on April 18, 2010.

Survivors are a son, Gordon Lewis Dickerson and wife Harvene Sorenson Dickerson of Thorndale; a son-in-law, Wayne Luker and wife Melba of Thorndale; a sister, Olive D. Olive of Shiloh; four grandchildren, Jana Heine and husband Ricky, Wesley Luker, Traci Dickerson Grimm and husband Johnny, Bradley Wayne Dickerson and wife Jenny; eight great-grandchildren, Jared Heine and wife Leslie, Ryan Heine and wife Rachel, Jordan Schneider and husband Cody, Chloe and Nathan Grimm, Devin, Abby, Bryce and the expected Graham Dickerson in October 2016; two great-great-grandchildren, Alayna and Harper Heine; and special family friends, Tim Kasner and wife Ginger of San Antonio.

Pallbearers will be Wesley Luker, Bradley Dickerson, Ricky Heine, Johnny Grimm, Jared Heine and Ryan Heine.

Honorary pallbearers are Barton Felton, Tim Kasner, Jim Richter, Keith Fisher, Lloyd Anders, Bobby Yount, Newton Butts and Bruce Kennedy.

Memorials may be made to Pleasant Retreat United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 207, Thorndale, TX 76577 or to a charity or church of one’s choice.

Milam County Historical Commission - Milam County, TX
Statue of Ben Milam at Milam County, TX Courthouse
Old Junior High School Building, Rockdale, TX
Milam County Courthouse - Cameron, TX
Preserve America
Milam County Historical Commission
Milam County, Texas
                       He played basketball upstairs at City Hall
                    Dickerson, 98, was a Bulldog in the early 1930s
                            Spoilin' the Broth by Bill Cooke
                            Rockdale Reporter - 2016-06-02

Graham Dickerson, 98, of Thorndale got a kick out of my column a couple of weeks back
about the fact that high school basketball games were once played on the top floor of
the old City Hall, now the police station.

He played in some of those games while he was a Thorndale High School Bulldog, back in
the early 1930s.

What prompted my column was a note from Iola Avrett of Rockdale who is 95 and recalled
attending a game upstairs at City Hall.

“Iola is three years younger than me but we’ve known each other for a long time,”
Graham said.

Both Iola and Graham still live alone, Iola on Hogan Street in Rockdale and Graham 3
miles south of Thorndale off FM 486, on the Dickerson home place that dates back over
100 years to his grandfather.

Back to early 1930s basketball at the old City Hall: “Yeah, we had uniforms back then,
shorts and undershirt-style sleeveless jerseys,” Graham said. “But those shorts were
not the great big, long ones like today.”

He said in the early 1930s rules called for a jump ball after every basket made.

“That made for some pretty low-scoring games,” he said. “I remember one time we beat
Caldwell 14-12, a real thriller.” Luckily, he noted, that jump-ball rule after every
basket was rescinded a few years later.

Also in his playing days, coaches could not talk to their teams during timeouts. “They
could coach us at halftime only,” he said.

He said he and his Bulldog mates played their home games in a vacant building on West
Salty Street.

“It was pretty cramped,” he said. “The walls were out of bounds and, with a 14-foot
ceiling, you didn’t put much arch on your shot.”

Graham said his teammates included Bob Clark, Alex Conoley, Clarence Stelzer, James
Terry, Hollis Fields and Harry Wayne Clark. Coach was Johnny Latham. Virtually all
later served in their country in World War II.

“I’m the only one left,” he said.

Graham graduated Thorndale High in 1935. He said Thorndale built its first high school
gym (now the juniorhigh gym) in 1934 and Rockdale built its first gym (now the
elementary campus gym) in 1936.

Graham attended Thorndale sports events loyally over the years but had to concede to
immobility recently. “I get around on a battery-operated cart now.”

He is proud that his grandson Bradley Dickerson coaches the Lady Bulldog basketball
team. Not only that, but Bradley and wife Jennifer are expecting their third child and
plan to name him Graham.

“One of my coffee buddies heard about this and said, ‘Oh my God, there’s going to be a
Graham Dickerson around here forever’!”

Graham has lived alone for 37 years, since wife Elkanah died in 1979 at age 57. They
married in 1939 and raised a son and daughter.

The son, Gordon, lives a half mile from him. The daughter, Beth, who was married to
Wayne Luker, died of cancer six years ago.

When I remarked about his keen memory, Graham replied, “Well, I’ve always said if my
mind goes, I want my body to have gone the day before.”

Sounds like a real good plan to me.

All credit for this article goes to
Bill Cooke and 
The Rockdale Reporter
‘We jumped center after every basket back then.’
— Graham Dickerson
Graham Dickerson