When Florence Dayton blows out the candles on her birthday cake today, the numbers will reflect an age reached by only a small population.
Dayton, who was born on Sept. 11 in 1913, has lived through two World Wars, the Great Depression, the Civil Rights movement and a number of technological advances that revolutionized the world we live in today.
“There was no telephone. When my dad took us to school we would ride in the buggy,” said Dayton. “We went from riding behind a buggy to eventually owning a car. I was in all the wars. I still remember sitting on all my loved ones’ lap before they took off. Then there was World War II, where my brother was killed when he traveled oversees to Okinawa to fight the war. I’ve lived through it all.”
Even though Dayton has lived through a centennial, she resides independently in Turlock and goes about her day-to-day life with little assistance and completes many tasks without any help.
Dayton has lived in Turlock for nearly eight decades.
“I was teaching in Nebraska and got a call from my mother telling me she was desperately ill,” said Dayton. “I packed my things and headed to California at the age of 20. I certainly didn’t plan to live in California, but God had a different plan for me.”
The move to California placed her in the path of the man she would fall deeply in love with and spend 73 years of her life with.
“I met my husband on a blind date,” said Dayton. “It was love at first site from both our ends. He even proposed to me that same day. The idea was crazy, but I didn’t want to lose him. We waited three months to tie the knot and through our years together we had four beautiful children, 12 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, and five great-great grandchildren.”
After her husband’s passing a year ago, Dayton decided to continue residing in the home he designed and built for her.
“We had a beautiful marriage and built a beautiful home for our children,” said Dayton. “He was my other half. We both shared the same values and placed the Lord in our life before anything else.”
Dayton remains an active member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and continues to be involved in everyday matters.
“It amazes me how involved she is in everything,” said daughter Cheryl Dayton. “She loves the outdoors; she enjoys politics, and loves her family.”
Dayton says she has no secret to living a long life. She says she feels blessed for everyday she is on this earth and will continue to preach the word of the Lord until her last breath.
“I don’t really think of dying,” said Dayton. “There’s still so much to do, so much to see, and so much to live by.”