Alan Thomas Dickson Alan Thomas Dickson entered into eternal life on the morning of Thursday, May 3, after a courageous fight with small-cell lung cancer. He recently celebrated his 81st birthday. Alan was born April 3, 1931 in Charlotte, NC, son of the late Rush S. Dickson and Lake Simpson Dickson. He attended the Charlotte City Schools and Charlotte Country Day School and graduated from high school at McCallie School in Chattanooga, TN. He earned a BS degree in Textiles from North Carolina State University in 1953 and an MBA degree from Harvard University in 1955. After two years of service in the US Army, he returned to Charlotte and...
Alan Thomas Dickson
Alan Thomas Dickson entered into eternal life on the morning of Thursday, May 3, after a courageous fight with small-cell lung cancer. He recently celebrated his 81st birthday.
Alan was born April 3, 1931 in Charlotte, NC, son of the late Rush S. Dickson and Lake Simpson Dickson. He attended the Charlotte City Schools and Charlotte Country Day School and graduated from high school at McCallie School in Chattanooga, TN. He earned a BS degree in Textiles from North Carolina State University in 1953 and an MBA degree from Harvard University in 1955. After two years of service in the US Army, he returned to Charlotte and went to work for American & Efird Mills. In 1968, he and his brother Stuart founded Ruddick Corporation, which evolved into a distinguished Fortune 500 holding company owning American & Efird Mills, Harris Teeter Supermarkets, and other subsidiaries.
Alan took his business career from its beginning as summertime work in the textile mills while still in high school to the capstone recognition of its high achievement by his election to the North Carolina Business Hall of Fame in 2002. In the course of that career, he served not only as President and then as Chairman of Ruddick Corporation, but far more widely as a director and a term as President of the North Carolina Textile Foundation, as the first President of American Yarn Spinners Association, and as a director of Combed Yarn Spinners Association and of the North Carolina Textile Manufacturers Association. He also served on the boards of several public corporations outside the textile industry, including Bank of America, Lance, Bassett Furniture Industries, Sonoco Products, and Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance, as well as on the U.S. Advisory Committee for Trade Negotiations.
In community service, with his always modest and amiable way, and through his persuasive style of strong leadership, Alan endowed our community, and indeed our whole State, with manifold blessings for generations to come. The central focus of this devoted service was education and other opportunities for the full development of young people, most prominently represented by the Morehead (now Morehead-Cain) Scholarships at UNC-Chapel Hill, which through the 43 years of his guidance became the premier merit scholarship program in our country. UNC-Chapel Hill recognized this and similar contributions to education by giving Alan the William Richardson Davie Award in 2006. Similarly, for his service as trustee and in numerous other ways, North Carolina State University recognized Alan in 1993 as the College of Textiles Distinguished Alumnus; in 1996 it awarded him the Watauga Medal as its highest nonacademic award, and in 2001 it granted him an honorary degree as Doctor of Humane Letters. Likewise, in 1997 McCallie School honored Alan with its Distinguished Alumnus Award in recognition of his leadership in the formation of the McCallie Honors Scholars Program. Other similar examples are his leadership as a founding trustee of Charlotte Latin School and a trustee of Central Piedmont Community College. Also, with an expanded vision of youth development, Alan as Chairman led the establishment and funding of the U.S. National Whitewater Center on the Catawba River through exceedingly difficult early years to its present level of international success.
Remarkably, Alan established this legacy of education for future generations while fully engaged not only in his business career but also in substantial volunteer leadership for other vital parts of our community, including as examples Foundation For The Carolinas, Arts & Science Council, Mint Museum of Art, Presbyterian Hospital, and UNC Nutrition Institute, plus his faithful behind-the-scenes support of Christ Episcopal Church. Finally, for over four decades as Chairman of Linville Resorts, Alan worked throughout each year to provide strong and sound leadership in governance, finance and planning for the summer community in Linville, N.C. Even with all of that, he took time off for golf, travel, bird hunting and relaxed time with friends.
Our world is a better place because of the many gifts of talent by this kind and loving man.
Alan is survived by his devoted wife of 20 years, Mary Anne Dickson; his step-daughter Chase Avery Wood and husband Hubie and their children Catie and Hubert; his step-son Chris Avery and wife Beth and their children Meg and O'Neal; his brother Stuart Dickson and wife Joanne; his sister Barbara Scott, and sister Jane Williamson and husband Toto; and by 19 nieces and nephews, to whom he was always available as mentor, and for four of whom he served as surrogate father after the untimely death of his brother-in-law Peter Larkin, leaving as young children John Larkin, Peter Larkin, Jean Larkin Dobson, and Louise Larkin Cutler. Alan was preceded in death by his devoted wife of 36 years, Lindsay Morehead Dickson.
The family expresses heartfelt appreciation to Drs. Steven Limentani, Robert Fraser, and Stuart Burri and their staff, as well as Hospice and Palliative Care Charlotte Region, and the devoted nurses who assisted him with home health care. A memorial service to celebrate Alan's life will be held at Christ Episcopal Church, 1412 Providence Road, at 2:00 PM on Saturday, May 5, followed by a reception in All Saints Hall.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to The Linville Foundation, P.O. Box 99, Linville, N.C. 28646, or to The Leadership Scholarship Program, U.S. National Whitewater Center, 5000 Whitewater Center Parkway, Charlotte, N.C. 28214.