John N. Dalton

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.

John Dalton
63rd Governor of Virginia
In office
January 14, 1978  January 16, 1982
LieutenantChuck Robb
Preceded byMills Godwin
Succeeded byChuck Robb
32nd Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
In office
January 12, 1974  January 14, 1978
GovernorMills Godwin
Preceded byHenry Howell
Succeeded byChuck Robb
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 37th district
In office
January 10, 1973  December 4, 1973
Preceded byJames Turk
Succeeded byMadison Marye
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 6th district
In office
January 12, 1966  January 10, 1973
Preceded byKenneth Devore
Succeeded byWard Teel
Personal details
John Clay Nichols

(1931-07-11)July 11, 1931
Emporia, Virginia, U.S.
DiedJuly 30, 1986(1986-07-30) (aged 55)
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
SpouseEddy Panzer
Military service
AllegianceUnited States
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
Years of service1954–1956
RankFirst lieutenant


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 as lieutenant governor.

Dalton was the adopted son of Theodore Roosevelt Dalton, his uncle, who was the Republican candidate for governor in 1953 and 1957. 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. 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's son-in-law, Steve Baril, sought the 2005 Republican nomination for attorney general 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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