Lloyd Arlon Dalton, 78, of Meadowlakes, Texas, returned to his Heavenly Home on October 4, 2012 after a battle with cancer. He died peacefully in his home surrounded by his loving family.
He was born on February 3, 1934 to Larry and Matha Dalton. He graduated from Austin High School in El Paso in 1954 and then went to work for Mountain Bell/Southwestern Bell where he had a distinguished career of 37 years. During that career he moved to Austin in 1970 where he began making his way up into management. He continued in management including a transfer to Waco until he retired from Southwestern Bell in 1991. He met some incredible people and made many lifelong friends while working at the phone company.
Upon his retirement, he returned to Central Texas and moved to Lake LBJ in Granite Shoals where he loved to fish. In 2002 he traded in the lake life for golf life and moved to Meadowlakes Country Club in Marble Falls.
In addition to a career as a telephone man, he had a very successful career as a musician known as "Big Lloyd" and a member of the band, Texas Trailblazers. The El Paso-based band, which had its own weekly television show, had several singles that made the Top 40 in the southwest in the late 1950s and 1960s. He also performed on numerous country music stages with the likes of Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, and Mel Tillis.
In 1985, in his 40s, with encouragement from his son, he decided to enter a talent show contest in Waco held by the local radio station. He managed to beat out the much younger field and earned a trip to Nashville and a chance to perform on a nationally televised show on the Nashville Network.
In 2007, his style of music and purpose in life dramatically changed when he stared down the barrel of a gun held by Paul Devoe III, who is on Texas death row after killing six people. He was in O'Neill's Tavern in Marble Falls, filling in for another musician, when Devoe shot Michael Allred.
After that night, he committed to serving the Lord with his talents and began performing in nursing homes, churches, and prisons. "Some of the people can't even talk, but they know my songs," Dalton said in an Austin American-Statesman front-page story on his life back in May 2009. "There's been a couple of times when I come home and I shed tears of joy that I can serve folks like that."
In 2011, he made 62 appearances around Central Texas. While cancer prevented him from playing publicly in 2012, it didn't prevent him from picking and grinning in front of friends and family up until his final days.
In addition to music, he loved his sports, especially the Longhorns. In the 1970s he would take his family to Memorial Stadium to watch Earl Campbell run over opponents. He also loved the Dallas Cowboys, San Antonio Spurs and Texas Rangers.
He also was very proud to be an American. In all his latter performances, he wore the red, white and blue in his entire outfit. He often closed his shows with Lee Greenwood's "Proud to be an American."
While he loved sports and country, his greatest love was for his family. The love for his wife of 53 years, Polly was unmatchable. He often referred to her as "my angel." Even in his final days when asked who the woman was sitting bedside, he responded, "the best thing that ever happened to me."
While he and Polly had a truly blessed life together, it didn't come without some difficult times including the loss of their daughter Jennifer in 1978 in a car accident. She was just 19 years old. The two managed to get through it and raise two sons, Lloyd Jr. and Kyle. He also had a son Eddie from a previous marriage.
His trademark picking and grinning and those big blue eyes will be missed here on this earth. But we can all take great comfort in knowing that the angels just got a very talented new singer, and one who knows how to pick a mean guitar.
He was preceded in death by his daughter, Jennifer; brothers, Larry and Aaron; and parents, Larry and Matha. He is survived by Polly, his wife of 53 years; three sons, Eddie and his wife GayAnn and family of Aurora, CO; Lloyd Jr. of Austin; and Kyle and wife Anne of Cedar Park. He also was blessed by six amazing grandchildren, Danielle, Noah, Ashley; Haylee Dalton and Michael; and Jason Talley.
A memorial service celebrating his life will be held 3 PM, October 8, 2012 at Bethany United Methodist Church, 10010 Anderson Mill Rd., Austin, TX 78750.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Seton Highland Lakes Hospice, Seton Highland Lakes Friends of Hospice, Highland Lakes United Methodist Church and Bethany United Methodist Church.