The death of an East St. Louis businessman Thursday has rocked the community where many considered him a lifeline who was always there to offer help to those who needed it.
Bill Mixon, 69, suffered a heart attack and died while driving home Thursday evening. A St. Louis County police report confirmed he was driving westbound on Interstate 70 to his St. Charles home when he suffered a medical condition and drove a 2018 Ford F150 pickup into a median at Lindbergh Boulevard around 6:40 p.m.
Mixon was taken by ambulance to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
He was owner and operator of the Mixon Insurance Agency in East St. Louis. His death has come as a shock to many who did business with him, served on boards with him or worked with him in various organizations.
Mixon is known in the East St. Louis community for helping countless people with insurance-related issues and he serviced many more local residents with their insurance needs.
As a white man in a predominately black community, Mixon was known for being a great cook who would show up to events with a smoker in the back of his big white truck. He cooked everything from bratwursts, to prime rib, hamburgers and hot dogs.
His wife, Linda Mixon, said she and her husband never felt the need to leave East St. Louis.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of. He was an entrepreneur and he tried to uplift people. We try to uplift people in all walks of life, not just here,” she said.
Joe Redmond, a local business man and a longtime customer and friend to Mixon said, he was stunned and in total disbelief when he learned Friday morning that Mixon had passed.
“I came Friday morning, the day after he died,” Redmond said. “The door, which is usually open was locked and Rev. (Johnnie) Scott let me in. I asked how Bill was and Mr. Scott said he’s fine. I followed him up the stairs to his office. He then told me Bill was dead.”
Redmond said he was shocked when he heard the news.
“He was my insurance man and he and his wife have always been nice. The community will miss him a lot. He was always there to help anyone who needed help from getting insurance to help filling out various kinds of paperwork,” Redmond said.
Mixon’s father owned Mixon Buick in East St. Louis in the 1960s and was the first dealership in the city to employ a black salesman.
“He started as a porter and was promoted to salesman,” Linda Mixon said of the employee.
The Mixon family also owned a Studebaker, Plymouth, dealership and a Firestone/Goodyear building.
Mixon was known for being very active in the East St. Louis community. He was on many boards, including the East St. Louis planning board, the Union Bank board, the Columbia Bank board and others.
He and his wife started the East St. Louis Festival in 2008, which is held annually on the Fourth of July.
“He didn’t want any recognition. He just wanted to uplift,” Linda Mixon said of her husband.
Mixon was the secretary for American Legion Post 2505 and was instrumental in rebuilding the World War I memorial that was built in 1942 for American Legion Post 2505.
“Mixon was a drag racer in the 1960s,” Redmond recalled. “He raced an Opal.”
Mixon is survived by his wife, son and a sister. He donated his body to help cancer patients.