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John Douglas Dixon

John Douglas “Doug” Dixon passed away peacefully on May 2, 2024 at his home in Bremerton, Washington, surrounded by his loving family. He was 72 years old. 

If you were among the thousands of people Doug Dixon provided with smoked salmon and cod every year at events around the Nordic Community, at Ballard Seafood Fest or at the Pacific Fishermen Shipyard, you had some idea of how hard-working and generous he was, how much he relished being a host and how much he loved his community. If you worked with Doug, you saw he was a brilliant engineer and naval architect who always got the job done. If you were his friend or lucky enough to be in his family, then you never doubted you had someone uncommonly loyal and dependable in your corner.

Doug was born on August 18, 1951 near the shores of Lake Erie. He grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where his father George Scott Dixon was a manager at a Chevy plant and his mother Margaret Ann Reeves was a schoolteacher. Like his older brothers Scott and Dana, Doug studied engineering in college, earning his degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from the University of Michigan. Doug worked on drill ships and platforms in Los Angeles, and when king crab fishing became more profitable, moved to Seattle. At Marco Marine Construction and Design, he worked his way up to Shipyard Sales Manager, built 140 king crabbers, oil skimmers, tugs, and other fishing vessels and worked with the Norwegian-American fishing pioneers of the day, including highliners and their vessels like the F/V Northwestern, made famous by the Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch series. 

After stints at Det Norske Veritas (DNV) certifying all types of vessels and Lunde Electric and Guido Perla Naval Architects, Doug was hired as General Manager at Pacific Fishermen Shipyard in 2001 to improve the company’s financial footing. With Doug at the helm, shipyard sales went from under $3 million in 2001 to $14 million in 2015 while preserving the shipyard’s reputation for quality craftsmanship. One of Doug’s many highlights was King Harald V of Norway’s May 2015 visit to Pacific Fishermen Shipyard. Doug was proud to raise awareness of the company's place in Seattle's history, and together with Fred F. Poyer IV, Doug authored a book about the place he loved so much, Pacific Fishermen, Inc.150 Years of Norwegian Heritage Shipbuilding. Doug also provided independent consulting to the USCG, USN, NOAA, EPA, DOJ, and vessel owners on shipboard design, operational, and tort matters. 

Doug assisted in the passage of the 1987 Commercial Fishing Industry US Vessel Anti-Reflagging and Foreign Reconstruction Act and the US Commercial Fishing Industry Vessel Safety Act of 1988. His training in Norway as a Ship Surveyor by Classification Society DNV included conducting compliance surveys on many commercial vessels for the US Fishing Vessel Safety Act, OSHA, and International Conventions on Load Lines, Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), and Marine Pollution (MARPOL). 

If ever there was an honorary Norwegian, it was Doug. Doug was involved in the Ballard High School Maritime Program, helping continue the Norwegian maritime tradition in Seattle. He also served as President of the Norwegian Commercial Club and was a member of its Fisheries Committee in addition to driving the shipyard's "Deadliest Sweeper" in the Norwegian 17th of May parade. Doug was named Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce Person of the Year in 2014, recognizing outstanding service to the Norwegian-American community. To recognize his life-long contribution to the North Pacific Fishing Industry and his countless hours of community service, the Norwegian Commercial Club (NCC) presented John Douglas Dixon, Pacific Fishermen Shipyard, with its highest honor, the King Neptune Award, during the 70th Annual Fishermen’s Night in 2022. Doug was also awarded the Propeller Club Maritime Achievement Award for significant contributions to the maritime community. He was also honored to be The Society of Port Engineers of Puget Sound’s “Man of the Year” in 2006.

Doug married Maryanne Jacobson in 1978 on the Virginia V, a historic steamer vessel now docked in South Lake Union. Together they raised their three children, Jake, Rosie, and Chloe, in Ballard and retired to Enetai Beach on the Kitsap Peninsula. Doug enjoyed watching the ferries and tugs go by, many that he worked on throughout his career, as well as submarines and other US Navy ships. He was an avid beachcomber, especially for sea glass. He thoroughly enjoyed playing on the beach, kayaking, kite flying, crabbing, and fishing with his grandchildren, grand nephews and grand nieces. 

Doug leaves behind his wife Maryanne, his son Jake and daughter-in-law Ashley Dixon and granddaughters Julia and Claire, his daughter Rosie Dixon and son-in-law Steven Pate and his grandson Jonah, and his daughter Chloe Dixon. Doug also leaves behind his brother Dana and sister-in-law Kathy Dixon, and brother Scott Dixon and many nieces, nephews, grand nieces, and grand nephews. 

Doug was fortunate enough to spend many of his final days with his many friends and to be under the care of his daughter Rosie, a nurse, along with his devoted family. Doug will be greatly missed. 

Doug requested no public memorial service. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the following organizations: 

Global Ocean Health: 

SNAME Scholarships: 

Ballard Maritime Academy:

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