John Lovell Middleton, 84, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., died Thurs. April 7, 2016, after several weeks of hospitalization following open heart surgery.
Mr. Middleton was the owner and founder of Carolina Material Handling, Inc., a material handling corporation, headquartered in Greensboro, NC. He started the business in 1971 and it continues successfully today under the leadership of his eldest son, John "Mid" Middleton, IV. His son, Cary D. Middleton, manages the warehouse and shipping departments. The company, in its forty-fifth year, employs a sales force that covers North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina.
Having graduated from Charleston High School, Charleston, where he was All-State in basketball and football, Mr. Middleton attended Greenbrier Military School, Lewisburg, WV and after a year was offered a basketball scholarship to the University of Virginia in 1950. At UVA, he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, Eli Banana Society and ROTC. He played in the first ACC Basketball Tournament in 1954. Forced to take his deferred commission early, he entered the military as an Army Second Lieutenant in 1954 and later completed his graduation degree in Education under the Bootstrap Program, graduating from Kansas State University in 1961.
During his nine years of military service, he became a helicopter pilot and had various tours in the states, Germany, Okinawa, and Thailand eventually entering the Vietnam War with the Utility Tactical Transport Helicopter Company, the first armed helicopter company. Mr. Middleton made the decision to leave the military and return to civilian life in 1962. In Charleston, WV, he joined Jefferds, a material handling company, as Parts and Service Manager and eventually as a salesman. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to Greensboro, N.C. where he began his own company, Carolina Material Handling, Inc., in 1971.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Susan; son, Mid Middleton (Doreen) and four granddaughters; son, Cary; brother, George Middleton (Eva); sister, Josephine Lorant (Connard); sister-in-law, Andy Bennington (Richard); aunt, Charlotte Mullins; and a host of other relatives and friends.
A memorial service will be held in Greensboro, N.C. at Community in Christ, Presbyterian on Sunday May 1, 2016, at 2 p.m. followed by a reception hosted by the family at Forest Oaks Country Club. The Middleton family wishes to express their gratitude for the care given by Baptist Medical Center, Life Touch and Northeast Florida Community Hospice. Memorial contributions may be made to the Virginia Athletics Foundation, P.O. Box 400833, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4833 or to a US veteran's organization of your choice. Arrangements are under the direction of HARDAGE-GIDDENS FUNERAL HOME, 1701 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville Beach, FL.
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