Dr. F. Gene Dixon died Oct. 26, according to Delta Dental of California.

Dixon, 84, helped start the California Dental Association Service, an organization that later became Delta Dental, in 1959, at a time when many believed that dental work was uninsurable, according to Delta Dental, San Francisco, a unit of Dentegra Group Inc.

By the time Dixon left, in 1977, the company was providing dental coverage for 4.7 million people. Delta Dental and other Dentegra affiliates now provide or administer dental coverage for 18 million U.S. residents.

In 1965, Dixon helped start the group now known as the Delta Dental Plans Association, Chicago. Association member organizations provide or administer dental coverage for 50 million U.S. residents.

Dixon was born in Superior, Neb., and earned a doctor of dental surgery degree from the University of Nebraska. He served as a lieutenant in the Navy in World War II and the Korean war before settling down to practice dentistry in San Mateo, Calif.