Tribute to John Dayton

DFH Volume 1 Issue 15

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January 12, 1955 – October 20, 2018

John’s Memorial Service and graveside burial were captured on video.  To view them click Here.  To view a musical-photo tribute, Click Here

John’s Eulogy

Good Afternoon, I’m John’s brother Jim, from Byron Center Michigan.  I moved away from Corinth when John was thirteen, so my contacts with John were infrequent.  We never spent much time together, but as I reflect on John’s life, I realize that I know a lot more about him than I thought I did.

Less than three weeks before John passed away , Judy and I were in Corinth, and had the privilege of spending a full day with him and his wife Lori.  It was a happy occasion for all of us, a day I’ll always cherish.  That day, it really struck home what an intricate, complex and giving man John was.  As the day progressed, it became apparent what made John tick

  • his love for Jesus
  • his love for Lori
  • and his love for his family. 

John’s frequent mention of his love of God in the year before his death, thrilled us, his brothers and sisters.

During his last year, when he faced his own mortality head on, John recognized how soon he could be in the presence of his Heavenly Father, and it was obvious that he had made his peace and was looking forward to his eternal homecoming.  

John and Lori had a passion for teaching and working with kids.  On that inspirational day we spent with them, conversation frequently returned to children’s ministry, and the crafts that were such an important part of it.  Crafts don’t just happen.  Many loving hours were spent making each piece of each unit.  John’s last craft was an eight-piece wooden frog.  He admired those frogs as if they were his masterpieces.  Come to think of it, they were.  All 90 of them.  He invented and produced different equally creative crafts for those children year after year.

I’ve shared only one example of John’s generosity.  His was not only a generosity of time; it was also a generosity of money. Once, in this very church you were part way into a fund-raising campaign for a building maintenance project.  You were still a stretch from meeting the goal.  John told the fund raisers, “Don’t worry about covering the gap to the goal.  I’ll make up the difference.”  He told me the amount and it was impressive.  That speaks to three noble traits he possessed;

1.       His Generosity.

2.       His faith that God would help him achieve his commitment.     

3.       His love for his community of faith… this local church.

On that special day we spent together, his number one priority, by far, even if he didn’t get anything else accomplished, was to give us a tour of his church and to introduce us to his pastor.  The rest of the day was secondary.

One day, within the last four years, I received a lengthy email from John.  That was most unusual. He had never written more than one or two sentences.  Judy and I read it together and just looked at each other.  We asked, “John wrote that?”  I don’t remember the contents, but I remember that it was the most eloquent email that I had read in a long, long time.  I remember saying to Judy, “Wow, I wish I could write that well.”   I’ve come to realize over the years just how intelligent John was.  He lacked self-confidence, and that masked a lot of what he was capable of.

John was a mechanical genius.  He took wrist watches apart and put them back together just for fun.  He made a wooden clock which kept accurate time.  Rubics cubes and other 3-dimensional puzzles were no challenge at all.  The man was brilliant.

John was fanatical about his New York Mets.  He wore Mets clothing wherever he went.  Years ago, he had a chance encounter with Howard Johnson, who was 3rd baseman for the Mets in the 1980’s.  The way John carried on you’d have thought he met the pope.  He was far more impressed with his oncologist’s passion for the Mets than for his ability to save John’s life. You knew he was a true fan because he even watched the west coast games till 1:30 in the morning.

John loved puttering of any kind.  His creations were classics of clever and unusual design.  He had one of the best equipped workshops anywhere in Corinth.

Well, That’s just a small peek into what my brother was all about.

Hey John… keep the lights on up there. I’ll be visiting you again soon, and I’ll be staying quite a long-time the next time we get together.  We will bow in awe before the face of God forever.

John, it’s an honor to be your brother.

Categories: Paul

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