Donald Chadwick Dayton was born on Aug. 13, 1914, one of six sons of George N. Dayton and Grace Bliss Dayton.
He suffered from polio as a child, and later helped found the Sister Kenny Institute, which did pioneering work in the rehabilitation of polio victims and those with other disabling conditions.
Mr. Dayton, was a 1937 graduate of Yale University, joined Dayton's Department Stores as a stockboy shortly after graduation. He held positions as buyer, merchandising manager and general manager, and in 1950 was named president. In 1960 he was elected chief executive officer and when he retired in 1968 he was chairman of the board.
He was a member of the National Alliance of Businessmen, the Urban Coalition and the Metropolitan Council.
Donald Dayton was a founding Director of the Friends of the Wild Flower Garden in 1952 and remained on the Board until 1959. He also held the office of Vice-President, along with Dorothy Binder, from 1953 to 1959. At the time of the founding of the Friends he was working with architect Victor Gruen on the design of the nation’s first enclosed shopping mall - Southdale Center in Edina MN.
Donald’s mother, Grace Bliss Dayton was a member of the Friends of the Wild Flower Garden and when she passed away in April 1966, Friends Secretary and Newsletter editor Martha Crone wrote: “Among her many activities she was a staunch supporter of the Eloise Butler Wild Flower Garden. Her interest and enthusiasm in furthering the Garden will be greatly missed.”
Donald Dayton died of Cancer on June 22, 1989.
Reference: Minutes of The Board of Directors and other documents of the Friends of the Wild Flower Garden, Inc.; History of Dayton Company; Minneapolis Tribune. Text by Gary Bebeau.