Robert I. Dalton, Jr.

February 28, 2019

CHARLOTTE – Robert I. Dalton Jr., a native and longtime resident of Charlotte, died on February 28, 2019, one month before his 98th birthday.

Mr. Dalton was born on April 2, 1921, to Robert I. Dalton and Edith Gossett Dalton.  He attended Charlotte public schools and McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, before going on to North Carolina State College, where he obtained his B.S. degree in Textile Manufacturing.  Upon graduation from N. C. State, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and later received his commission as a Second Lieutenant from the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia.  Thereafter, he served in Europe during World War II with the Eighth Infantry Division, and was wounded in the assault on Brest, France, receiving a Purple Heart and Bronze Star.  Following recuperation in England, he was sent back to France, where he was assigned to the 29th Infantry Regiment.  At war’s end, he was serving as Captain Adjutant of the regiment.  More recently, he was awarded the French Legion of Honor, the most prestigious decoration awarded by the government of France. 

Following the war, he went to work with the R&D Department of Whitin Machine Works, where he worked with a team developing a new, cost-saving system for the spinning of worsted yarns.  The system became popularly known as the “American System,” which replaced the outmoded and costly French system of spinning.  He later was transferred to the sales department and rose to become Vice-President of Domestic and Canadian Sales, a position he held from 1958 to 1967.  This promotion resulted in moving his family to Southborough, Massachusetts, for 4 years. 

After Whitin was sold to Whitin Consolidated of Cleveland, Ohio, he was named President and CEO of Cocker Machine & Foundry Co. of Gastonia, where he served from 1967 to 1970.  When Cocker was sold to Barber-Coleman Co. of Rockford, Illinois, he organized his own firm, Tech-Tex Inc in June 1967, a firm engaged in market consulting and mergers in the textile industry, both domestic and international.  During his business career, he served as a Director of Carlton Yarn Mills, Globe Mills Co., Platt Saco Lowell, Pyramid Life Insurance Co., Cadmus Communications and American Truetzschler, a German-owned textile machine company with headquarters in Charlotte.  He also served as Director of the American Textile Manufacturing Association, and for 32 years, he served as a Director of the Charlotte Board of NCNB, predecessor of Bank of America.

His long life was a reflection of the development and expansion of Charlotte.  He was born in Fourth Ward, grew up in Myers Park, raised his family on Sardis Road, then Charlotte farm land, before retiring to a home in Eastover. This broad familiarity and sense of place fostered a life-long dedication to supporting and improving his community.  He was past president of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, the Charlotte Textile Club, the Charlotte City Club, Friends of UNC-C and the Piedmont Club.  He was a past director of the Arts & Science Council, Spirit Square, Mecklenburg Chapter of the American Red Cross, Communities-in-Schools and the Good Fellows Club.  In 1957-58 he served as a member of the Charlotte/Mecklenburg Board of Education when the school system began taking its first steps toward integration.  He was also a member of the Charlotte Country Club.  While his civic involvement was public, he was also sensitive to the disadvantaged, providing private support to those in need.  A forward thinker and engaged citizen, he devoted his life to improving the cultural and economic well-being of the city he loved. 

A member of Myers Park United Methodist Church, a church his parents helped to establish in 1925, he had served as Chairman of the Finance Committee, Chairman of the Administrative Board, Lay Leader, a Stephen Minister and a Teacher of the Luther Snyder Bible Class for 25 years.

Beyond Charlotte, he served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Brevard College and subsequently of the Brevard Music Center, an acclaimed summer institute dedicated to instructing gifted young students in various disciplines of classical music. 

He was a member of the Board of Overseers at Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Museum of Textile American History of Lowell, Mass.

For all of his success, Bob Dalton understood that life’s greatest riches came from family and friends.  Fun-loving and adventurous, he was his grandchildren’s best friend, always at the ready to fly a kite, teach them how to waterski, or tell a thrilling story.  He cherished the trips he took with his beloved wife, Gwin, and other loved ones.  Curious about the world, he traveled to over 70 countries.  Fascinated by boats and planes, he loved to charter a sailboat or travel by the Concorde or even a Piper Cub.  Wishing to share his love of travel, he and Gwin took each grandchild, individually, to Disney World when they turned 5, to New York at age 10 and on a foreign trip of their choice at age 16.  They loved family vacations at their home in North Litchfield Beach, South Carolina, where loved ones from near and far gathered to be together.  They were proud of the home they built off Wendover Road and were always eager to welcome guests.  Having survived cancer, he appreciated the importance of staying fit – swimming laps, playing tennis and walking their dog, Duke.  With a warm word for everyone and a shock of hair that looked so dignified when it finally turned white, Bob Dalton cut a dashing figure across Charlotte.  He was an energetic and exciting man whose presence and impact moved us to smile. 

He is survived by his wife, Gwin Barnwell Dalton; daughters Millie Cox and her husband Tom of Charlotte and Dede Caughman and her husband Jimmy of Washington DC;  five grandchildren – Liza Cox of Charlotte, Miles Cox (Rebecca) of London, England, and Dr. Dalton Cox (Ashley) of Charlotte, Lauren Caughman Rohrer (Ivon III) of Charlotte and Betsy Caughman (Greg) of Charlotte; great-grandchildren James Dalton Blinn, Gwin Harper Blinn, Bode Baker Blinn, Thomas Wilder Cox, Catherine Wyatt Cox – all of Charlotte and by Sienna Gwin Charlotte Cox and Xanthe Rose Elizabeth Cox of London.  He is also survived by three brothers – James Dalton of Atlanta, Rufus Dalton of Charlotte and Harry Dalton (Kathy) of Rock Hill SC. – and sister Sally Robinson (Russell) of Charlotte. 

A memorial service will be held at Myers Park United Methodist Church, at 2:00 PM Tuesday March 5, 2019, preceded by graveside services for the family at Forest Lawn West Cemetery. The family will receive friends in Jubilee Hall at the Church following the memorial service.

Memorials may be sent to Myers Park United Methodist Church, 1501 Queens Road, Charlotte NC, 28207

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at



Share your memories & condolences


  • Lee Blumenthal

    Dear Millie,
    I was so sorry to hear of your father's death. I have been thinking of you a lot since and remembering our friendship all those years ago when Liza and Jill were babies. I hope you find solace in your father's life so well-lived and in your wonderful memories of him. Condolences to you and your family...

  • Michael Shinn

    I was sorry to read of Mr. Dalton's passing. I knew his nephew Rufus (Bo) in school many years ago, and all his classmates thought highly of the family.
    May our Lord be with the Daltons during this time of grief. That so many others share your loss may be of some comfort.

  • Chuck Francis

    To Rufus Dalton: I read about your brother’s death today. It saddened me very much to hear of your loss. My sympathies, thoughts and prayers go out to you. You were one of the most admired friends I ever had the privilege of knowing. Hope you are well.

  • Charles G. Buie, Jr.

    Bob Dalton was without a doubt one of the great men of my lifetime and I am 91 years old. He exemplified everything good and positive about business executives. I was so pleased to see this article in today's Charlotte Observer about Bob. I knew him well and his lovely wife, Gwin.
    Charles G. Buie, Jr.
    Laurinburg, NC

  • Catharine Penson

    Millie - You knew me at Hollins as Cathy Hoar and later as Cathy Hardin.
    It is with sympathy that I write you this note about your father's passing, but also with recognition of his remarkable life as written in the Observer. What a great man he was!

  • Jim Copses

    Pleas accept my deepest sympathy on the passing of Mr.Dalton..A wonderful part of my Park Place Pharmacy family for many years..A wonderful man...God Bless.

  • Gene & Ali Kavadlo

    We met Bob Dalton many years ago when he was a member of the board of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. We were negotiating a new contract between the musicians and the CSO, and, although we were sitting on the opposite sides of the table, Bob was always good humored and respectful in what otherwise was a contentious situation. After the dust settled and we saw him at symphony concerts and other events, he always greeted us with a big smile and kind words. His 98 years were well lived, and we extend our heartfelt condolences to the family of a man who always treated others with grace and a twinkle in his eye.

  • Brevard College

    We are so thankful for your time, your dedication, your leadership, and your service to Brevard College.

  • Pamela Dalton

    Mrs. Dalton
    I just want to send my condolences to you and your family. I am Teresa Gitomer’s sister from Oregon and have met you and your husband several times. It was always such a pleasure to go to church with Teresa and see your friendly faces. Teresa has spoke highly of you and Mr. Dalton and what good friends and neighbors you are.
    Your husband certainly made the most of the days that God gave to him, I hope the wonderful memories that you have made together will see you through those times when you will miss him.
    Prayers to you and your family
    Pam Dalton

  • Claire Palmer

    Dear Gwin and family,
    I am so sadden of the passing of Bob he was such a wonderful man and such a big part of my famlies life.I always remember him saying Son when talking to to Dad.My thoughts and prayers are to all of you during this sad time.Bob will be greatly missed!

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