Billy P. Mixon’s children knew if they decided to visit their father at his house, there was a good chance they could end up with a shovel in their hands before long.
“You just knew it could happen,” said one of his twin sons, Willliam P. “Bill” Mixon. “He was into anything that would grow. He had all kinds of Georgia native azaleas, and at least two dozen hybrid tea roses, which are not easy to grow.”
The flowers needed daily care, and the elder Mixon would rush home from his insurance agency so he could do what needed to be done, his son said.
“He was always doing something out there,” Bill Mixon, of Atlanta, said of his father’s gardens. “That’s what made going over there a little scary, sometimes,” he added with a laugh.
Billy Pearson Mixon, of Atlanta, died Thursday from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 84.
His body will be buried during a private ceremony Tuesday morning, the day of his 85th birthday, at Arlington Cemetery. A memorial service is planned for 1:30 p.m., the same day, at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, Atlanta. H.M. Patterson & Son, Oglethorpe Hill, is in charge of arrangements.
Mixon, and the Mixon-Baker Agency, in the late-’70s, was one of the early businesses to help the Atlanta business community, specifically Buckhead, become what it is today said Sam Massell, president of the Buckhead Coalition and a former mayor of Atlanta. One of the first members of the Coalition, Mixon was well respected in the business community, but the former mayor also has fond memories of Mixon’s gardens.
“He loved the outdoors, and I remember him bringing me over once to see a water dam he’d built to create a waterfall out there,” Massell said. “And it was quite something, because conquering water is no small feat.”
Mixon also contributed greatly to the growth of Atlanta’s business community, “in all directions,” Massell said. “Billy believed he could make a difference, and during his career, he did.”
Born in Augusta and reared in Columbus, Mixon attended The Citadel before leaving college to work, said his sister Mary Jo Sibbald, of Atlanta.
“He was very good at sales,” she said. “And he decided he needed to make money more than he wanted to be in military school,” she added with a light laugh.
Before Mixon sold insurance for National Life Insurance Company of Vermont, he sold cars, his sister said. His sales career was interrupted by his enlistment in the Army in 1950, where he eventually served in Korea, his family said.
In 1952, Mixon married the former Ida Few Bigbie, and thus began the saga of Billy P. and Ida Few, their son said.
“That is how people knew them as a couple,” he said. “That is what nearly everybody called them.”
An avid reader of history and a lover of music, Mixon had a great many interests, his sister said.
“I would also say that he was so interested in people, and wanting to help people,” she said. “He very much enjoyed being on the leading edge of helping people, as much as he did sales, which he did very well, and his flowers, which he loved.”
In addition to his wife of 61 years, son and sister, Mixon is survived by daughters, Meg Evans of Atlanta; Jenny Mixon Aiken or Dahlonega; another son, Charles M. Mixon of Atlanta; and 7 grandchildren.
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