A Legend in the Dayton Family

DFH Volume 1 Issue 3

By Jim Dayton

We haven’t written much about Wilber Dayton Jr.  He was highly revered by everyone in the Dayton family, but he remained somewhat of a mystery since he moved away from Corinth after college, and we only knew him through letters, phone calls, news clippings and achievements.  His wife, Donna [Fisher] Dayton was also highly honored among Dayton women.  Whenever we kids thought or spoke of uncle Wilber (AKA Wib), we did so with great respect and admiration.  He had an illustrious career in academia, and Christian writing and lecturing.  Whenever he announced that he was coming to Corinth, we all counted the days until he and his family, arrived. 

Uncle Wib had an infectious smile .   It always seemed to me that his smile probably hadn’t changed much since childhood. It was an impish look with an exaggerated twinkle in his eyes.  We always had a picnic at Pagenstecher Park in Corinth, and every Dayton relative within 100 miles would attend.   The brothers would go off by themselves and laugh and talk.  I suspect they were getting caught up on news of Wilber’s latest travels and accomplishments, and reminiscing about a time long past.  Wilber was a modest, humble man, but the brothers pried every nugget of achievement  they could out of him.  It was comical and invigorating to see them  exchanging and sharing  their  affection with one another. 

Topping off a perfect day was Mom’s [Ruth Dayton] famous potato salad, and macaroni and cheese, and aunt Lib’s molasses baked beans.  We had a huge spread, complete with hot dogs, but Ruth’s and Lib’s contribution was the centerpiece of the feast.  As a kid, sometimes I had difficulty understanding what uncle Wilber was saying.  He had lived and traveled in academic circles for so long that he no longer communicated as a commoner.  In fact, perhaps his brothers strained to translate his eloquent, proper speech too.  It was always sad to see him leave, but we all knew the importance of his work and wished him well as he accomplished it.

Some time ago, I wrote a daily email of his accomplishments, and I attached his obituary which was a summary of his accomplishments.  It’s included (as follows) again.

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