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Biography: Carl Dean Dixon, Devlin Beauchamp's business partner

Carl Dean Dixon was born May 17, 1954 to Lila "Lily" Cavanaugh Dixon and George "Buddy" Dixon in Jackson, Mississippi. Buddy Dixon was injured while serving in the Army during the end of the Second World War. He was awarded The Purple Heart for wounds suffered during a reconnaissance mission when a land mine exploded, sending shrapnel tearing through his left arm and shoulder and leaving him permanently disabled. Though he went home a war hero, Buddy became bitter about his disability once stateside, and soon took to alcohol and wife-beating. When Carl was two years old, his mother, Lily, packed what few belongings they possessed and bought a bus ticket for as far away as they could get on $15.45. Their destination, and ultimately their home, turned out to be Oxford, Mississippi.

Though Lily had worked in a factory during the war, she had no real skills. Out of sympathy for her situation, John "Bubba" King offered her a job as a waitress in his Oxford diner, The Red Robin. Carl spent so many afternoons after school helping his mother tend to customers, pour coffee and bus tables, that soon the diner felt like home to him. He often did his homework in the "slow times" at the diner. Because of his aptitude in math, Lily found Carl was better than she was at counting out the drawer at the end of the day. Over the years, Lily learned about the food business, was promoted to manager, and eventually became Bubba King's partner in The Red Robin. Carl made extra money for himself at times by working as a waiter, cashier and bookkeeper at the diner.

It was this early training ground that exposed Carl to people of all walks of life and all types of dispositions and where he developed his "gift of gab," as his mother liked to put it. Carl was a natural salesman; if Lily sold someone coffee and a sandwich, Carl would be right behind her talking that customer into pie a la mode for dessert - even before they had taken a bite of their sandwich.

Though Carl excelled in math, he struggled greatly in most other subjects. While he was friendly and conscientious at school, he was a below average student and never had any delusions of college. After he graduated high school in 1972, he went straight to work. Having no particular career in mind, he took a job as a cashier at the Oxford Chevrolet dealership. He was always first to notice a new customer and flag down a salesman. If a salesman forgot a particular feature on a car, Carl would not hesitate to remind the him so the customer would be completely informed. It wasn't long before Carl was promoted to salesman. By 1974, he was the star salesman and was promoted to assistant manager. Carl was able to buy into a partnership in 1979, when he was just 25 years old. By 1984 Carl owned the dealership outright. Not bad for a boy who barely graduated high school and was raised by a single mother. "Local boy made good" was pretty much how most folks thought of him.

In 1985, while on a business trip to New Orleans, Carl met and fell in love with Valentine Delacroix. Carl's friends and neighbors, including his mother Lily, were shocked when he returned home just three weeks later with his young bride. There were rumors that Valentine had a somewhat sordid career in New Orleans but no one ever presented any proof.

In the early years of his marriage, Carl had a difficult time trying to keep the peace between Valentine and his mother. Truth be told, the women never did get on, but did eventually learn to tolerate one another. Though Valentine was an emotionally volatile and vibrant woman, she frequently suffered poor health. She and Carl tried for several years to have children, which they both desperately wanted. After three years of trying, they had Katherine "Kat" Jacqueline Dixon on March 17,1988. Though a month premature, with a birth weight just under 5 pounds, Kat grew into a healthy precocious child who was the apple of her daddy's eye.

Though with each day that Kat grew stronger and healthier, Valentine grew weaker and her health suffered. In 1992, Valentine was found dead on her bedroom floor, apparently having taken an overdose of pain medication. It was later revealed that Valentine had cancer and had fought the disease for many years before finally giving in to it.

Upon the death of his wife, Carl knew he would never marry again and that his life was his daughter and his business. He became an even more devoted father than he had been, which Kat found somewhat stifling especially as she began to mature and attract young men.

There was a story that once, when Kat was approximately five years old, a man attempted to abduct her by offering her candy and telling her he had a puppy in his car that he wanted to show her. Carl attacked the man and broke his arm in the process of wrestling his daughter away from him. There are also rumors that many times, while "interviewing" prospective suitors for his daughter, Carl would calmly clean his shotgun in the young men's presence.

In 2002, Carl "discovered" Devlin Beauchamp's BBQ Shack and was wild about the food. He immediately began to suggest that he and Devlin go into business and open a real restaurant. He felt that with his ability to sell and manage and Dev's ability to cook, it would be a winning combination. By football season that year, Home Plate opened. As Carl predicted, they took Oxford by storm and have remained one of the most popular restaurants in the city. In fact, there has been a lot of talk and rumor about the possibility of franchising Home Plate nationwide. Until Devlin Beauchamp's untimely demise, the future looked bright. Now, only time will tell what the future of Home Plate and its owners/employees will be.