John N. Dalton

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John Dalton
John Dalton 1976.jpg
63rd Governor of Virginia
In office
January 14, 1978 – January 16, 1982
Lieutenant Chuck Robb
Preceded by Mills Godwin
Succeeded by Chuck Robb
32nd Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
In office
January 12, 1974 – January 14, 1978
Governor Mills Godwin
Preceded by Henry Howell
Succeeded by Chuck Robb
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 37th district
In office
January 10, 1973 – December 4, 1973
Preceded by James Turk
Succeeded by Madison Marye
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
for the 12th district
In office
January 12, 1966 – January 10, 1973
Preceded by Kenneth Devore
Succeeded by Ward Teel
Personal details
Born John Clay Nichols
(1931-07-11)July 11, 1931
Emporia, Virginia, U.S.
Died July 30, 1986(1986-07-30) (aged 55)
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Eddy Panzer
Children 4
Education College of William and Mary (BA)
University of Virginia (LLB)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1954–1956
Rank US-O2 insignia.svg First lieutenant

John Nichols Dalton (July 11, 1931 – July 30, 1986) was an American politician who served as the 63rd governor of Virginia, from 1978 to 1982. Dalton won the office with 55.9% of the vote, defeating Democrat Henry E. Howell, Jr and Independent Alan R. Ogden. Dalton had previously served as Lieutenant Governor of Virginia.


Dalton in 1981

Born in Emporia, Virginia, Dalton graduated from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and the University of Virginia Law School. He served in both houses of the General Assembly (Virginia House of Delegates, 1966–1972, Senate of Virginia, 1973). Dalton was the 32nd Lieutenant Governor from 1974 to 1978. As governor, he pursued policies of limited government. He also settled the federal lawsuit on the desegregation of Virginia's institutions of higher education.

Dalton Intermediate School, in Radford, Virginia, is named after the former governor. Dalton Hall, a building at Radford University that houses dining facilities, and the university bookstore is named for Dalton.

Dalton was the adopted son of Theodore Roosevelt Dalton, his uncle, who was the Republican candidate for Governor in 1953 and 1957, and his son-in-law, Steve Baril, sought the 2005 Republican nomination for attorney general of Virginia. As a young man his next-door neighbor was Charlotte Giesen, first Republican woman elected to the House of Delegates.[1] Dalton died at 55 of lung cancer.[2] He is buried at Sunrise Burial Park in Radford.

His personal papers, including those from his time as governor, are held by the Special Collections Research Center at the College of William & Mary.[3] His executive papers from his time as governor are held by the Library of Virginia.


  1. ^ Frank B. Atkinson (21 July 2006). The Dynamic Dominion: Realignment and the Rise of Two-Party Competition in Virginia, 1945–1980. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 156–. ISBN 978-0-7425-7753-4. 
  2. ^ Click, Carolyn (July 30, 1986). "Former Virginia Gov. Dalton dead at 55". United Press International. Retrieved August 10, 2017. 
  3. ^ "John Dalton Papers". Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library, College of William & Mary. Retrieved 1 February 2011. 

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Political offices
Preceded by
Henry Howell
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
Succeeded by
Chuck Robb
Preceded by
Mills Godwin
Governor of Virginia
Party political offices
Preceded by
Mills Godwin
Republican nominee Governor of Virginia
Succeeded by
Marshall Coleman
Preceded by
Richard A. Snelling
Chair of the Republican Governors Association
Succeeded by
James R. Thompson