After 70+ years, the “Dayton Twins” reunited in the hills of eastern North Carolina at the wedding of Alexis Dayton Luckey (daughter of Jack and Camilla Dayton Lucky; granddaughter of Charles Dayton) to Ryan Carey in late October, 2019. Several members of the Dayton and Luckey clans were in attendance but it was the presence of “the twins” that was most noticeable, at least to those two. Deane Dayton (son of Wilbur & Donna Dayton) and David Hayes (son of Quentin and Isabelle Dayton Hayes; grandson of Charles Dayton) were born in Marion, Indiana, two days apart in May, 1949. David was born on May 22nd and Deane was born on May 24th. David’s father, Kent, was a student and student-pastor at Marion College in Marion, Indiana. Dean’s father, Wilbur (Uncle Wib) was on the faculty there. When the boys were born, their moms shared a hospital room as well. Both boys were robust and healthy and were welcomed into their families with great joy. David was the first child for Kent and Izzie and Deane was the 3rd child in his family with an older brother and sister already at home. Their lives would briefly intersect later in life but their initial entry into the world would be their first “sustained interaction.” [An interesting sidelight: five of the people at the table at the wedding reception were born in Marion General Hospital: Deane & wife Carol, Janet (Deane’s sister) Dayton Manley, and David & Keith Hayes.
Two years later, David’s family moved to Springfield, Mass., (by now, with brother, Keith, two years younger) where Kent pastored and help build the sanctuary of the Wesleyan Church there. After, two years, Kent and family went south to Wilmore, KY, where he attended Asbury Seminary for 3 years. Feeling called to the chaplaincy, Kent also attended Chaplain School in NY during the summer and became an Army Chaplain in the summer of 1957. That same summer, before the move to the first assignment, Fort Hood, TX, the Wilbur Dayton family also moved to Wilmore where Uncle Wib took a position on the faculty of the seminary and Aunt Donna served on the faculty of Asbury College and as a public school librarian. Deane & David played together that summer before the move once again separated them.
Fast forward 15 years, past many other relocations and experiences, Dave & Deane, now young adults, met briefly when Deane came to visit Dave’s parents in Phoenixville, PA, while he was stationed at Fort Dix, NJ. He had joined the U.S. Army Reserves in 1971 and was sent to Fort Dix for Basic Training and training as a Radio Operator. While there, Deane used a week-end pass to visit Cousin Izzie & family. One of his memories of the visit is when, arriving by train, he was told that the nearby movie theater was used as a set for “The Blob” movie. He also remembered spending a few hours in the basement working on a case for an electronics project he was building.
At the time, Dave had just graduated from Houghton College and had started his teaching career in a nearby school district while living at home with his folks. He became engaged to Kathy Harpp at Christmastime, 1972, and they were married the following July. Dave continued to teach while he and Kathy both earned Masters degrees (Dave in school counseling and Kathy in elementary education). The family grew: daughter Heather was born in 1974, son Jeremy in 1977, daughter Emily in 1982 and son Ben in 1983. In 1979, Dave switched school districts and became an elementary school counselor. Over his career in education, he taught 5th & 6th grade for 10 years and was a school counselor for 26 years, retiring in 2007. Twelve years into his counseling career, Dave was invited to be an adjunct professor in the same counseling department he had attended. He continued to teach part-time at the graduate counseling department at West Chester University for the next 16 years and then for 8 years after he retired from public school. Meanwhile, Kathy had returned to the classroom, teaching 3rd grade for almost 20 years in a small town with an urban setting, retiring in 2012.
Meanwhile, Deane’s educational and professional careers were beginning. He and Carol were married on June 2, 1969, in a roof-top chapel in Louisville in a 17-story building which now bears a huge picture of Colonel Sanders that can be seen from I-65. They both attended Marion College and then returned to Kentucky as teachers in Nicholasville, a few miles from Wilmore. While there, Carol earned a masters from Eastern Kentucky University and Deane spent his summers at Randolph-Macon Women’s College where he earned a master’s degree in Science Teaching in a National Science Foundation Summer Science Institute.
In 1973, Deane & Carol moved to Bloomington, IN, where Carol taught in a nearby school system while he worked on his PhD. Deane then served on facilities of the University of Virginia and Indiana University. Their son, Chris, was born there in Bloomington in 1975. In 1983, they moved to Charlotte, NC, where Deane worked for a company that developed Computer-Based Training. In 1985 they again moved to Huntsville where Deane worked for Intergraph Corporation (a computer graphics company) to coordinate the development of their end-user technical documentation. In 1998, they moved to Princeton where he worked for Berlitz in their language translation division which had offices in over twenty countries. During that time, Carol and Deane were able to travel to many of those offices & nearby tourist sites. From 2002 until 2004, Deane commuted to the office in Washington, DC, where he led the team that provided interpreters for the U. S. Immigration Courts. In 2005, they returned to Huntsville to work for Intergraph deploying Computer-Aided Dispatch systems for 911 Centers.
Deane retired in 2013 and have been doing volunteer work archiving local history materials. Currently, there are more than one million digital images stored on a server in my closet that is accessible to anyone at http://dkdayton.net .
As Deane and Dave were growing up, their mothers reminded them of how “the twins” had shared hospital experience. Deane had only been to Corinth a few times since his childhood while Dave had lived there for a year while in elementary school and visited when the family traveled between Army assignments. Carol & Deane passed through on their honeymoon and he and Dave both attended Charles’ funeral in Corinth—another “twin sighting”. Deane was there for the 1998 Dayton Reunion and he has particularly fond memories of these last two visits.
It would seem that Deane & Dave were destined to see each other infrequently and, due to geography, would be separated, perhaps, forever. But that didn’t happen thanks to the Dayton wedding in Hot Springs, NC, last fall. Until they arrived individually, they didn’t know of their impending reunion so the surprise was doubly pleasant. They reconnected immediately and spent much of their time reminiscing, catching up on each other’s lives and comparing family notes. They exchanged home and email addresses and phone numbers just to make sure the bonds reestablished in the Appalachians would remain strong. Along with Deane’s wife, Carol and Dave’s wife, Kathy, it was an extra treat to have Deane’s sister, Janet (and husband, Mike), and Dave’s brother, Keith (and wife, Leslie), share in the celebration along with cousin/aunt Cammie Dayton Luckey—an unexpected Dayton family reunion that will long be remembered.
So when someone separates “twins” at birth, don’t be sure that they won’t find each other in the future and reconnect in stronger, more meaningful ways. That’s just what happened to the Marion Dayton “Twins”—Deane and Dave!