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Milwaukee entrepreneur George Dalton passed away Friday at age 83.
Milwaukee entrepreneur George Dalton passed away Friday at age 83.

George Dalton was an American "swashbuckler"

It is with terrible sadness that I report today about the death of George Dalton, an irrepressible American entrepreneur who was always willing to share his kindness, his wealth and his wisdom.

George had been sick for the past seven months after he developed complications from his latest open heart surgery. He passed away Friday at age 83.

At his core, George was an optimist. He was perpetually looking for the next great venture. He often told me he could never retire.

I can't count how many times George and I met for coffee in Milwaukee's Third Ward. I always tried to glean as much as I could from such an accomplished man, but very often, he would turn the conversation and wanted instead to ask questions about my life, my career and our company.

He always had a way of turning most conversations back at you. Inevitably, he would talk about his love of animals, especially his dogs. Then he'd twist your arm and get a donation out of you for the Humane Society.

George was the consummate American entrepreneur. He had an inherent, insatiable curiosity. He had that proverbial twinkle in his eye.

In my final conversation with George, he expressed concerns about American companies as they tried to recover from the Great Recession. He said American entrepreneurs must continue to be "swashbucklers." He said they must never stop pushing forward. They must be bold, he said.

Entrepreneurial journey

George's professional obituary chronicles his entrepreneurial journey.

He grew up in Chicago and attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. He served in the U.S. Army in the Panama Canal zone.

He eventually found his way to Milwaukee when he was hired to oversee Marine Bank's tabulating department. In 1964, George left Marine Bank and helped form Midland Bank in downtown Milwaukee. At Midland Bank, he created and ran Midland Data Processing, which supported the bank and provided data processing services to other banks.

Midland Bank was acquired by First Bank System…