Donald Alonza Dayton, 88, of Salisbury, and formerly of Cambridge and Ocean City, died peacefully in his home on April 14, 2017. He was a retired restaurant owner having run three restaurants for more than a total of 50 years, and he was a Veteran of both the Army and Navy having served 21 years total.
Born in Cambridge on July 18, 1928, the first son of Raymond Clarence Dayton and Ruby Louise Warfield Dayton Hayward, he was preceded in death by his son, Rick Dayton, half-sister, Raye Ellen Moore, and brother, Bobby Dayton all in 2009, and his youngest brother Jimmy Dayton in February 2017. Donald's father died in 1984 and his mother in 1985.
On April 6, 1957, he married Annemarie "Annie" Moll of Kempten, Germany. Donald and Annie met when he was stationed in Kaufbeuren, Germany serving in the Army. They first met at a soda shop and later became engaged. Donald often told the story of getting "married three times," first in a civil service in Kempten, then in the Catholic Church, then again on the Army base in Germany. They celebrated 60 years of marriage just this month. Donald was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather.
Survivors with fond memories include his wife, Annie, son, Donnie Dayton and his wife, Missy, and daughter, Tina Dayton-Ludwick and her husband Kurt; grandchildren, Crystal Baker who is currently in Ramstein, Germany with her husband Justin, Cortney Dayton of Delmar, Dominick Kurtz, and Ruby Ludwick both of Salisbury; four great-grandchildren, Taylor and Chandler Baker, and Devin and Amiyah Fontaine.
Donald retired from the U.S. Army in 1966, and in 1968, at the age of 40, he opened Dayton's Chicken House between N. Division and First Streets on the boardwalk in Ocean City with his father; he later obtained sole ownership. He maintained the restaurant in Ocean City for nearly 20 years, opening a second restaurant in Salisbury in the Waverly Shopping Center for several years. In 1987, Donald built Dayton's Family Restaurant at 909 Snow Hill Road in Salisbury. There he ran a thriving business for 20 years, was actively involved in the community donating to many local charities, and even appeared on the news a few times during the extremely popular muskrat season. He retired in 2004 selling the beloved restaurant.
Donald was a member of the Freemasons and Boumi Shriner groups including the Camel Wheels and Jesters. His membership in these organizations was an important part of his life, and he established many friendships through them. Donald's favorite pastimes included watching the Orioles play, attending Shorebirds games, and collecting baseball memorabilia. Donald was an avid boater for a number of years and fished in the local waterways. He was always an animal lover, and owned a number of pets over the years including dogs, cats, birds, and even a monkey.
(Note: Donald was also survived by a half-brother, Fred Dayton, whose name was not included in the obituary. We regret the oversight.)
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