WILMINGTON — Clyde Fairfax “Dixie” Wilmeth Jr., 89, peacefully passed away Monday, April 19, 2021, at home. He was born Nov. 18, 1931, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Clyde F. Wilmeth Sr. and Flora Moore Wilmeth.
Following his birth, the family moved to Elkmont in the eastern mountains of Tennessee. While there, he attended a one-room schoolhouse with one teacher for all 12 grades. After 5 years, the family moved back north to Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, where he was given the nickname “Dixie,” which remained with him his entire life.
After Lower Merion High School, he graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He captained the 1954 Soccer Team and was inducted into the UPENN Hall of Fame in 2015. He also played varsity lacrosse and was a brother of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.
Following graduation, Dixie was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in the finance corps in Seoul, Korea. He was discharged two years later and enrolled in North Carolina State University Textile College, where he earned a degree in textile engineering. He was then hired by L.P. Muller, a large textile conglomerate in Charlotte, and shortly thereafter, was made a partner in the firm. He covered a territory from Chicago to the entire East Coast.
More commonly known as “Clyde” in the industry, he was revered by his customers and competitors. Based in NYC for 25 years, he always had an outstanding reputation at a time when textile salesmen were the backbone of the industry in a hugely-thriving business before NAFTA was enacted. Dixie left the firm in 1994 and formed his own business, Wilmeth Yarns Inc., based in Wilmington, where he continued to work until his final days.
Dixie was also a proud owner of the Philadelphia Phillies Minor Class A Baseball Team, an affiliate of the South Atlantic League, called the Philadelphia Spinners, in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He enjoyed the company of the baseball players he admired and followed for years. Being a partner of the team was one of his greatest loves.
While living on Wrightsville Beach, Clyde became a proud partner of a lively restaurant formerly known as Wally’s along the Intracoastal Waterway. The partners operated the restaurant successfully for many years, and it was the most popular summertime hangout for locals and tourists alike.
His final wish was that he would not be forgotten. “Those we love do not pass away, unless we who love them forget them.” Think of him often.
Dixie is survived by his wife and best friend, Avery; sister, Elizabeth Hoover, and her children, Lisa Broderick and Joey Hoover; cousins, Jay Wilmeth and Kathy Wilmeth; father and mother-in-law, Bob and Marilyn Horning; sister and brother-in-law, Kate and Mark Spencer, and their two children, J.R. Spencer and Emma Spencer; and his beloved beagles. He is especially grateful for all his dear friends. There are too many to count.
Share online condolences with the family at Andrews Mortuary & Crematory.