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Former Harris Teeter Owner Dead at 94

R. Stuart Dickson also owned textile firm, chaired health care system
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In 2012, R. Stuart Dickson sold textile firm American & Efird for $180 million to concentrate on Harris Teeter.

R. Stuart Dickson, former owner of grocery store chain Harris Teeter and textile manufacturer American & Efird (A&E), died Saturday, May 11 at 94, according to a published report in The Charlotte Observer. The cause of death was not disclosed. 

Dickson and his brother, Alan, took over their father’s firm, R. S. Dickson & Co., in 1968, growing it into a multibillion-dollar conglomerate known as Ruddick Corp. Ruddick acquired Matthews, N.C.-based Harris Teeter Inc. in 1969. Dickson was chairman of the board at Harris Teeter until 1994. He also followed in his father’s footsteps as chairman of the Carolinas Healthcare System (now Atrium) for 25 years.

[RELATED: How Harris Teeter Creates a Winning Company Culture]

In 2002, the Dickson brothers retired from Ruddick, appointing Stuart Dickson’s son Thomas “Tad” W. Dickson as chairman. Six years later, Stuart Dickson retired from the board. 

In 2012, Ruddick sold A&E for $180 million to concentrate on Harris Teeter. That same year, Ruddick Corp. officially changed its name Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc. In 2014, Harris Teeter became a wholly owned subsidiary of Kroger following a $2.4 billion sale. 

Dickson was additionally chairman and president of the family’s The Dickson Foundation, which aids education, health care, religious and charitable organizations, mainly through grants. 

Rush Stuart Dickson grew up in Charlotte, N.C., and graduated from Davidson College in 1951. He worked at the financial investment firm of Goldman Sachs in New York City before returning to Charlotte with his wife, Joanne, who died in 2020. Dickson is survived by his wife, Kathy, whom he married last year, four children, their spouses, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A funeral service is scheduled to take place at 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, at Myers Park Baptist Church, 1900 Queens Road in Charlotte.

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