‘There was nobody else like him’

Published 3:21 pm Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Ronnie Dalton, the owner of A&J Produce in the towns of Victoria and Crewe, died unexpectedly Saturday.

Dalton, who turned 64 shortly before his death, has been remembered as a generous and community-oriented store owner who cared deeply for his craft, his family and his neighbors.

An announcement from A&J Produce on social media noted that his passing, while unexpected, has caused an outpouring of community support.

“Ronnie celebrated his 64th birthday with a great day at the store,” the post noted over the weekend. “We want to thank everyone for their calls, messages, texts and comments. While we are still all in shock, we will be open this week limited hours and days.”

A graveside service will be held Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Kenbridge Heights Cemetery, the post cited.

Amanda Brooks, Dalton’s daughter, said she would describe Dalton how many in the community would describe him. “There was nobody else like him,” Brooks said. “He would give the shirt off his back. He was a perfect gentleman.”

Brooks said that Dalton was born in Gretna, a town in Pittsylvania County. “He always had a smile on his face,” Brooks said about what members of the community have told her following Dalton’s passing.

“He was always so nice and giving, and he was always there to help you. He never met a stranger.”

She said the produce stores had humble beginnings, but said Dalton had made the stores flourish.

“It all started with him raising tomatoes,” Brooks said, “and then it just kind of grew.”