Dale C. Critz was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, on September 21, 1932, to Horace Dale Critz and Georgia May Critz. Lila Cay Williams was born on September 12, 1935, in Tallahassee, Florida to Dr. John L. Williams and Lila Cochran Williams.
Dale attended Asheville School from 1949-1951 and graduated from Duke University in 1955 with a B.A. in Political Science. While at Duke he was in the Contract Officer training program. Upon graduation he was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy and served on Destroyer Escorts in the Atlantic until July 1957.
Lila attended Leon High School and Duke University, where she graduated in 1957 with a B.A. in History. Dale and Lila met in 1953 while both attending Duke and were married in Tallahassee on March 9, 1957. They then moved to Savannah, and Dale joined his family’s automobile business, Critz Inc., in August 1957. Dale had a successful 45-year business career amassing dealerships in Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida and was honored by Time magazine as the Quality Automobile Dealer of the Year in 1998. He retired in 2002, being succeeded by the third generation, Dale Critz Jr.
During Dale’s working years, Lila was also hard at work. She was an active member of the Junior League of Savannah and served as its president in 1967. She was on the board of the Telfair Academy and was president from 1977-1981. This was the first time the Telfair received its accreditation. She has been a dedicated communicant of Christ Church Episcopal for 50 years and is also a member of its Altar Guild. Recently, she served as co-chair of the 2018 capital fundraising campaign for Senior Citizens Inc.
Dale was also active on the volunteering and fundraising front. He helped establish the endowment committee of the Telfair Academy in 1989. He served on the endowment committees at the Georgia Historical Society, the Savannah Community Foundation, and the George Washington Foundation. He was a longtime member of the United Way’s Tocqueville Society and served as chairman multiple times. He was a member of the Rotary Club of Savannah for over 60 years. In 2004 he was inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame. Dale was instrumental in creating an organizational plan for the Forsyth Farmers Market in 2010. He was Past-President of the Historic Savannah Foundation and in 2017 was awarded the Davenport Trophy, their highest preservation achievement award.
Dale & Lila have two children, Dale Jr. and Cay, and four grandchildren who are committed to making Savannah and the lowcountry a better place to live, dedicating their time and resources through their family foundation. Dale died on September 29, 2023, age 91. The family established the Critz Family Fund in 2019, ensuring that their commitment to Georgia history will continue in perpetuity.