Younger Blanton “Dick” Dickerson passed away in peace at his home in Darlington on March 14, 2021, concluding a full and fulfilling life – marked by his love for his family, friends, the game of golf, and the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Dick was born on July 24, 1935 in Oxford, North Carolina of the late James C. and Elsie M. Dickerson. He attended Oxford High School where he was the quarterback of the football team and also played baseball and basketball. He was offered five college scholarships for football – Duke, Florida State, and his fated University of North Carolina all included. He joined UNC Chapel Hill as their quarterback, which was the catalyst for what would be a lifelong devotion to Carolina Blue.
Dick served in the US Army, stationed in Germany, in the latter part of the 1950’s and told a harrowing tale of that time and most especially of the snow that permeated his experience there – we’re certain his allegiance to a warm climate, and beach most of all, was born right there in those mountains. He went on to work for RJ Reynold’s Tobacco Company and in 1959 he was assigned Darlington as his first market. He met his wife of 60 years there and he and Betty built their family as deeply entrenched members of the Darlington community.
Dick ultimately retired from RJ Reynolds in 1994, having cultivated relationships as a buyer across South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky. He and his partners then purchased Milling Tobacco Warehouse in Darlington and Growers Tobacco Warehouse in Timmonsville until the markets ceased to exist, serving countless farmers in the counties surrounding his home. The friendships developed in those years enriched his life in the most fundamental ways.
He was a member of the First Baptist Church Vance Harden Sunday School Class where he served on many church committees. He also retained membership in the UNC Rams Club and the Black Creek Seniors Golf Club. In 1991, Dick won the Senior Golf Club Championship and the Super Senior Golf Championship, the same year his son Bob won the Club Championship.
Beyond his career with Reynolds, his daily golf practice, and his steadfast support of the Tar Heels, Dick was most known for his boundless and absolute love for his family and friends. The very first thing he did was ask after someone else. He was dedicated with his time, unabashed in his declarations, soft with his girls, and shared his passion for sports alongside all of his boys. He never missed a game, never missed a chance to say or show he loved you, always carried a smile, a laugh and had a special knack for making jokes – which you could trust was the truest sign of his admiration. That quickness to love and to laugh is how we will remember Dick, and how he hoped anyone who met him would too.
He is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Betty Goodson Dickerson, and his three children Robert Blanton “Bob” Dickerson, Angela Dickerson Spell (Ricky), and Elizabeth Dickerson Gardner; his six grandchildren Bryant Pickens Gardner (Mary Beth), Robert Blanton “Blan” Dickerson Jr. (Allison), Richard Chettam “Chett” Huntley (Kassie), Elizabeth Peden Gardner Gray (Quinton), Matthew Dylan Dickerson, and Thornwell Lee Huntley; and his two great grandchildren Robert Briar Huntley and Ella Camille Gardner. He is also survived by his brother, James C. Dickerson of Myrtle Beach, and his sister, Doris Dickerson Blackwell of Oxford, NC, and his best friends Marvin and Linda Slaughter of Florence and Alton Clayton of Henderson, SC.
Dick is preceded in death by his parents and parents-in-law Mr. and Mrs. Robert Edward Goodson, Sr. as well as his son-in-law John P. Gardner, Jr. and grandson Younger John Huntington Gardner.
We welcome all to join us in celebration of Dick’s life. The service will be held at First Baptist Church in Darlington on Wednesday, March 17th, at 2:00 PM, directed by Belk Funeral Home, followed by a reception at the South of Pearl at 3:00 PM. Donations can be made to Joy Missions at the First Baptist Church in Darlington, 216 S. Main St. Darlington, SC 29532; or to McLeod Hospice in Florence, PO Box 100551 Darlington, SC 29502.
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