1897 – 1952 (March 31)
Edwin Alfred Dickenson, son of Alfred Dickenson and Margaret Lenertz, was born on June 25, 1897, in Buffalo, New York, and baptized in Saint Nicholas Church on July 4, 1897. After his family moved to Chicago, Illinois, Edwin attended Saint Columbanus Parish School for one year, followed by four years at Saint Rita High School. After graduation he spent one year working as a printer and, in September, 1916, entered Villanova College, Villanova, Pennsylvania. On June 14, 1917, he was received into the novitiate at Saint Rita Hall, Villanova, professed first vows on July 23, 1918, and solemn vows on July 23, 1921. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Villanova in June 1920. On September 22, 1923, Edwin was ordained to the priesthood by Michael J. Crane, Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia, in the church of Saint Thomas of Villanova, Villanova.
In 1924, having received an M.A. degree from the Catholic University in Washington, D.C., Father Dickenson was assigned to Saint Augustine High School, San Diego, California. There, in addition to being a member of the faculty, he served as treasurer, sacristan, and discreet from San Diego to the Provincial Chapter of 1932. On July 8, 1932, he was transferred to the Fox Valley High School in Aurora, Illinois, and the following year he taught at Saint Thomas High School, Rockford, Illinois. In all three schools he served as football coach, and, in 1937, he was named president of the National Catholic High School Athletic Association. In 1937, he was appointed pastor and sub-prior of Saint Thomas Church, Ojai, California.
On July 10, 1943, he completed a four week course in U.S. Chaplain School at Harvard, Cambridge, Mass., and was appointed First Lieutenant. From June 6, 1943, to June 12, 1946, he was assigned to active service in the European African Middle Eastern Theatre, and to hospitals in France and Belgium. In 1946, having reached the rank of Captain, he received an honorable discharge from the United States Army. The following year, he volunteered to be civilian chaplain in the Veterans' Hospital, San Francisco, Calif., a position he held until illness forced his retirement, about 1951. The monthly reports he submitted indicate the hundreds of critically or seriously ill patients he visited each month and the assistance he offered to family members of hospitalized military personnel. In addition to administering the sacraments, Father Dickenson was constantly on the speaking circuit. He addressed the Serra Club, nurses, the Board of Management, American Legion, volunteer workers, etc. His military awards and decorations included the American Campaign Medal, the European African Middle Eastern Service Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.
Father Dickenson retired to Saint Thomas of Villanova Monastery, Villanova, as his health declined. He died in Fitzgerald-Mercy Hospital, Darby, Pa., on Monday, March 31, 1952, where he had been a patient for several weeks. He was 55. Father Joseph M. Dougherty, O.S.A., Prior Provincial, was celebrant of the solemn Mass of Requiem, celebrated at Saint Thomas of Villanova Church. Interment followed at the Community Cemetery at Villanova.