Cover photo for Aileen "Rusty" Garda Dixson's Obituary
Aileen "Rusty" Garda Dixson Profile Photo
1954 Aileen 2023

Aileen "Rusty" Garda Dixson

May 15, 1954 — May 11, 2023

Aileen (Rusty) Garda Dixson passed away suddenly on May 11, 2023, in her hometown of Saskatoon. She would have been 69 on May 15.

Rusty was predeceased by her parents, Chester (Red) Dixson and Kathleen (Kay) Dixson, nee Paul. She also lost her older sister, Kathleen Dixson-Bergen, last year. Rusty is survived by her devoted husband Bruce Wilkinson; her daughters, Hannah Wilkinson and Dionne Wilkinson (Roland Sakowski); her sister, Geraldine Dixson; and her granddaughters, Hawklen Wilkinson and the brand-new Eleanor Sakowski.

Rusty was born in Calgary, AB. Legend has it that the nurses in the hospital where she was born, nicknamed her Rusty because of her head-full of bright red hair. That name stuck for the rest of her life. The family moved to Saskatoon a few years later and that is where she spent most of her life, except for a brief stint as a hippie on the west coast, in the 70s. Bet a lot of you didn’t know that! She returned to Saskatoon and joined her sister working at the bars and clubs in Saskatoon where she soon became infamous as “Red Lion Rusty”; the elusive, beautiful redhead that worked at Saskatoon’s Red Lion nightclub. She met Bruce in 1975, when he was playing a gig at the Red Lion. They married in 1979. Acquaintances have said to Bruce, “You married Red Lion Rusty!? Lucky man!”

After their daughters were born Rusty became a full-time homemaker and devoted herself to raising strong independent women. She definitely succeeded.

And she danced……. Rusty loved to dance. She was a member of the Saskatoon Improv Dance Collective for 25 years, and never missed a class. She liked to say; “I wouldn’t run to save my life, but I will dance ‘til my feet are bleeding.”

Rusty’s interest in health and fitness bordered on obsession (in the opinion of some!). She became a fitness instructor in 2007. The next phase was becoming certified in Nia dance fitness. She then combined her love of dance and her interest in wellness into a healthy living program she called “Live Well – Dance Well with Rusty”. She became a life coach in 2017 and added that to her repertoire. She led in-person and on-line fitness, coaching and dance classes. During COVID lock-down, her classes created an on-line community of women, a place to dance and share. There was “coffee talk” after every class. It gave everyone a chance to connect. Rusty focused on aging well, with exercise and healthy diet. She loved the research and was constantly learning. Rusty was also an avid reader and was a member of the “The Sassy Tomes” book club for over 20 years. She made many close friends there.

Rusty was devoted to her family and friends and loved and supported them unconditionally. She always knew what to do, and if she didn’t, she would research ‘til she did. We didn’t always follow her expert advice, but we appreciated it. She was our rock, and she will be deeply missed.

Please put on some good music and have a dance for Rusty. She would love that. Rusty had requested that if you wish to, a donation to Epilepsy Saskatoon would be appreciated.

There will be a potluck lunch open-house to celebrate Rusty’s life, on Monday, May 22, 2023, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. The address is 210 Garrison Crescent, Saskatoon. Bring a dish, a lawn chair, and a story or two.

Martens Warman Funeral Home is honoured to be entrusted with the care and arrangements for Aileen Dixson.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Aileen "Rusty" Garda Dixson, please visit our flower store.

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