John was born in Modesto to Charles and Florence Dayton. He was raised on a 10-acre ranch in the Hughson area along with his sister and brothers, Cheryl, Lonn and Paul.
He attended grammar school and high school in Hughson. At Hughson High School, John enjoyed track, basketball, football and playing the trombone in the band. He was well known for his kindness, humor and intelligence. He was elected class president and chosen as the wittiest during his junior year and as the biggest cut-up in his senior year.
After high school, he attended Oregon State University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in the School of Pharmacy in 1966. While at Oregon State, he married Beverly Jean (Wyatt) Tack of Portland, Ore. Together they raised two children, Kristin and Mike.
After college, Mr. Dayton moved his family back to California and worked as a pharmacist in Modesto area. In 1971, he and his business partner Harold Copp, opened Oakdale Village Pharmacy in Oakdale’s first shopping center. The independently owned and operated drug store thrived and competed with the bigger retail chains. Eventually the pair opened pharmacies in Escalon and Modesto. Throughout the more than four decades of doing business in the Oakdale area, he earned a reputation as a knowledgeable, personable, easy-going, dependable, helpful and trustworthy pharmacist. He enjoyed every aspect of business and working with people. During those years he gave many Oakdale High students their first job. He also served as president of the Rotary Club and president of the board at Oak Valley Hospital.
In November of 2012, he was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer. At the time, he was in the midst of starting a new compounding pharmacy in Sonora and building a new home on Horseshoe Road outside of Oakdale. He told his family that the new compounding pharmacy would provide him with the means to eventually re-open a pharmacy in downtown Oakdale, where he would once again enjoy the camaraderie of long-time patrons and employees. In reflecting on the new home he was having built, he told family members that all he wanted was to build a place where the family could come together and enjoy each other’s company.
Despite the grim prognosis, he remained optimistic, kind-hearted, and faithful. In sickness, his family rallied around him. John passed away peacefully with his children by his side. His grace, courage and faith left an indelible mark on his loving family and friends.
He is survived by his mother, Mrs. Charles Dayton; daughter, Kristin (Debra Brigham) Dayton; son, Mike (Alanna) Dayton; sister, Cheryl (Jim) Harlan; brothers, Lonn (Pam) Dayton, Paul Dayton; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his father, Charles Dayton.
A memorial service will be held at 11a.m. on Saturday, March 8 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 640 Minaret Ave., Turlock.