DFH Volume 1 IIssue 13
During the 1998 reunion, we photographed the offspring of each of the children of Wilber and Jessie Belle Dayton who attended the reunion. The following is the Dr. Wilber T “Wib” Dayton, Jr. family.
Dr, Wilber Thomas Dayton, Jr. was the fourth child born to Wilber and Jessie Belle Dayton on Hadley Hill in 1916. His sibling pal, Chester, was gone from the Dayton home when Wilber was 13 years old. His new “pal” Paul was born when Wilber was seven years old. So Wilber never had a sibling close to his age as he was growing up. Paul, seven years his junior, looked up to his big brother as hero and role model. Wib took the role seriously and was always very kind and loving to his baby brother.
I had a chance to witness this love and affection for each other in the final chapter of Wib’s life. Two weeks before Wib passed away [Nov10, 1999], I took Paul and his 2nd wife to visit Wilber at his nursing home in Macon, GA. By then, Wib’s dementia was quite advanced, and he and Paul had a great deal of difficulty communicating. Then it happened. They started talking about Wilber’s Columbia bicycle, which he used for his newspaper route. His trademark smile returned for what was probably the final time and a twinkle returned in what were moments before, dead, lifeless eyes. Dad had inherited Wib’s newspaper route and bicycle, and that common bond was with them till the end. For all that they had accomplished in their lives, they were still young boys in spirit. The handing of the paper route from accomplished to novice had cemented a lifelong admiration for each other.
One of the highlights of the Paul Dayton family was a Christmas journey to Wilber’s home in Wilmore KY about 1958. Our two families spent about two or three days together…brother with brother…cousins with cousins…wife/aunt/mother with the same. It was a vacation we never forgot and talked about every Christmas. On our Kentucky Christmas morning, we woke up to a Christmas stocking for each of us hung on the mantle. We kept those stockings, and my mom, Ruth, hung them on our mantle every Christmas afterwards. The stockings weren’t the gaudy style which you buy at a department store. They were lovingly hand-made by Aunt Donna… she was family…Dayton family. Good memories of a loving, caring family.
Wilber excelled academically for his entire academic life (1st grade to post graduate studies). At his high school graduation, not only was he valedictorian of his class, but he accomplished it in three years. College was no different. Other educational, academic pursuits and professional assignments were the same. EXCEL, EXCEL, EXCEL. A person could be very generous with superlatives and kudos when describing Dr. Wilber Thomas Dayton. I will let the following three-page resume speak for itself. NOTE: Notice the spelling of College in the very last word of the resume. I ALWAYS thought my uncle was academically perfect, but he did make an academic error at least once in his life. He spelled college Collette on his resume.