Jean Dickinson March 8, 1943- Dec 10, 2023

Jean Dickinson, a former Bay Area journalist, educator and intrepid hiker, died at age 80 on December 10, after a long illness. She was a longtime resident of Berkeley. After years as a high school teacher and then reporter in the Bay Area, Dickinson served for 16 years as a journalism faculty member and department chair at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, where she advised the student newspaper, The Inquirer. Dickinson was born March 8, 1943 in Long Beach, California to parents Jessie (Barnes) and Robert Dickinson. She graduated from Bonita High School in LaVerne in 1960, and then obtained a degree from Mt. San Antonio College before transferring to Stanford University where she earned a B.A. in English in 1964. 
She got her start in education as a sixth-grade teacher in 1964 in Ontario but moved to Berkeley in 1966 and began teaching high school English in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. In 1976, she changed course and obtained a master’s degree in journalism from UC Berkeley. She wrote for the local newspapers at the time the Richmond Independent, Berkeley Gazette, and the Concord Transcript before landing at the Contra Costa Times as an education writer. Her reporting included in-depth coverage of state legislative efforts to ban LGBT teachers and LGBT reference materials from public schools, for which she interviewed Sen. John Briggs, and stories about nationwide censorship efforts in schools, for which she won numerous awards. She wrote about the realities of domestic violence and about an effort by a local school board to limit student access to Ms. Magazine. The latter included an interview of Gloria Steinem.
After a stint as Public Information Officer for the Mt. Diablo School District following her reporting career, Dickinson merged her passions for education and journalism when she became a journalism instructor and faculty adviser for Diablo Valley College’s student newspaper, The Inquirer. Under her guidance from 1994 until retirement in 2010, both The Inquirer editorial staff and numerous individual students won excellence awards from regional and state press associations. 
Outside of her robust careers in education and journalism, Dickinson was also a skilled and passionate outdoorswoman. She climbed to the top of Mount Whitney the highest mountain in the contiguous United States twice. She regularly backpacked and camped in the Eastern Sierra and the Pacific Northwest with her family, friends and often solo. In her later years, she and her partner traversed California, the Southwest, the Northwest, and British Columbia in her Bambi Airstream trailer. 
She is survived by her partner, Kathleen Sikora, her children, Aaron Dickinson Sachowitz and Jesse Dickinson Sachs, grandchildren Roque, Octavia and Melika, siblings Carol Dickinson and Robert Dickinson, step-siblings David Turner and Mary Beth Metro, stepmother Elizabeth Brier, a large and beloved extended family, and a multitude of cherished friends and grateful students. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to any of the following charitable organizations: 1. The Range of Light Group (part of the Sierra Club’s Toiyabe Chapter) 2. F.A.I.R. (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) 3. COLAGE (Children of Lesbians & Gays Everywhere) 4. Back to Earth’s W.I.L.D. Scholarship Fund