Even after Dixie Slaughenhaupt lost the ability to control her balance in the 1980s and depended on an electric wheelchair to get around, she acted as an advocate for fellow patients at Amherst Manor nursing home, coached young nurses and volunteered as a reading tutor for elementary school students.
Dixie, who died June 15, 2010, at age 68, had mobility issues for most of her life.
As a child in the 1940s, she had surgeries to correct scoliosis or curvature of the spine, which doctors believed was caused by undiagnosed polio during infancy.
Years later, the results of tests performed at the Cleveland Clinic identified Chiari malformation, a structural defect in the part of the brain that controls balance, as the culprit.
"She overcame so many physical obstacles in her life," said her neighbor Muriel Koepp. "She never let it get in the way of her doing the things that she wanted to do."
Mainly, Dixie wanted to help others.
"She was an incredible person, so insightful to problems and situations, always focusing on the positive, interested in everything," Koepp said. "I just know she was put here on Earth by God to be a shining example of courage and faith to each one of us."
Click here to read more about the "Dash Between" January 8, 1942, when the Elyria Township, Ohio, resident was born Dixie Cole in Galion, Ohio, and June 15, 2010, when Jim Slaughenhaupt's wife died at Aristocrat Berea, in the July 25, 2010, edition of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram.