Robert Alderson was born and raised in Jackson. He graduated from Jackson High School, received his undergraduate degree from Union University, and earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee Law School. Robert was also a decorated soldier in the U.S. Army, receiving several medals for his service during the Vietnam War.
Robert practiced law for thirteen years with the firm of Menzies, Rainey, Kizer, and Alderson where he was a senior partner engaged in civil trial, corporate banking, bankruptcy and insurance defense practice. In 1986, he joined the Kirkland’s, Inc. retail organization as Senior Vice President of Administration and Development until 1997. He then became President and Chief Operating Officer until 2001, and was subsequently named President and Chief Executive Officer. He was the driving force behind the company’s expansion from a small regional retailer of 16 stores to a national chain with over 320 stores in 34 states. He successfully led the company through an initial public offering in 2002. In December 2004, he also began serving on the Board of Directors and continued in this role until his death in November 2016.
Robert served in a variety of leadership roles on boards at both the local and state level. Some of those organization included Episcopal Day School, University School of Jackson, Union University, Rhodes College Parents Council, West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation, Jackson Chamber of Commerce, West Tennessee Chapter of the American Red Cross, Jackson Exchange Club, Bank of Trenton and Trust Company, Bank of Henderson County, Girl Scouts of Tennessee, Jackson Country Club, Jackson-Madison County Airport Authority, Miss Tennessee Scholarship Foundation, International Shopping Centers, and Bojangle’s Inc. In June, the Miss Tennessee Pageant named the Quality of Life Excellence in Community Service Award in Robert’s honor.
Robert was married to Jane Matthews Alderson, and together they had two children, Amy and Allison, and three grandchildren, Ava, Madeline, and Dylan.