Jim Dayton, who lived in Putnam and had a Ticonderoga mailing address, died Sept. 19, 2011, of pancreatic cancer. He loved ice cream, especially when sharing it with his granddaughter Janessa Boswell, his grandson Christopher Dayton and his Goddaughter Elena Watts Warters.
Never under estimate the power of ice cream.
Jim Dayton loved dessert. Now, in his memory, his family has formed “Team Ice Cream.”
Lynne Dayton, his daughter, and his niece Kristi Watts Warters will participate in his honor at the 2012 Walk for Pancreatic Cancer Research on Sunday, May 6, in New York City. They are asking people to support their walk by donating the cost of Jim’s favorite dessert. Checks made out to the Lustgarten Foundation can be mailed to Lynne Dayton at 250 East 40th Street, #3C, New York, NY 10016 or people can donate online at CUREPC.org or call 1-866-789-1000. Donations are tax deductible and every dollar raised goes directly to pancreatic cancer research.
Dayton, who lived in Putnam and had a Ticonderoga mailing address, died Sept. 19, 2011, of pancreatic cancer. He loved Ti and Putnam, according to his daughter.
“I not only mourn the loss of my father, but also the loss of a man that truly believed in the importance of small town values,” Lynne Dayton said. “I may live in the hustle and bustle of Manhattan now, but I hope I never forget to just slow down, let somebody else go first, hold open that door and when times get tough, have a dish of ice cream, because my dad believed it was impossible to be unhappy while eating ice cream.”
Jim Dayton was born and raised in a small town in Michigan and after being stationed at the Air Force base in Plattsburgh, he met and married Colleen Grimes. They lived in Ticonderoga and Putnam Station early in their marriage and after Jim retired as an electrician.
“Living in a small town meant long time neighbors became family, adopting titles like ‘Aunt’ and ‘Uncle’ and that you would lend a helping hand to others, without being asked, whenever it was needed,” Lynne Dayton said. “It also meant working with the barter system. I am convinced that my dad planted home improvement projects in my ‘Aunt’ Belva Blood’s head just so he could get paid in her famous homemade pies and doughnuts!”
Ticonderoga and Putnam were important to Jim Dayton, according to his daughter.
“Small town values to my dad, meant supporting Ticonderoga’s small business community and looking for the ‘Made in the USA’ labels,” she said. “On Memorial Day, it meant quietly visiting the grave sites of family and friends in town, that had long since departed and especially acknowledging the sacrifice of veterans, because it was the right thing to do.”
Jim Dayton became ill unexpectedly.
“My father passed away on Monday, Sept 19, 2011,” Lynne Dayton recalled. “He was diagnosed with end stage pancreatic cancer the first week of August 2011 with no prior symptoms or health issues. He never drank, never smoked, (had) perfect weight, leading a physically active lifestyle working for Bill Blood Construction. He had just had his annual physical that spring where his doctor complimented him on his excellent health.
“We learned that pancreatic cancer usually is symptom free until it is so far advanced that the patient does not have a fighting chance,” she continued. “That is what happened with my dad. The tumor silently grew until it blocked his bile duct causing mild nausea and later yellowing of the whites of the eyes due to jaundice.
“The doctors we met with at Fletcher Allen Hospital said it is the cancer they fear the most of getting themselves because it is so hard to detect,” she said. “That is why it is so important to raise money for research. Scientists are hoping to develop a screening test much like a the PSA test to detect early stage prostate cancer to give those who develop pancreatic cancer a fighting chance.”
After he became ill, Jim Dayton appreciated his community even more.
“All of the small town kindnesses he had shown others in the past came back to him during those weeks,” Lynne Dayton said. “The lawn was mowed, food magically appeared, and when my dad was too sick to stay home, those friends who became family, made countless trips to Burlington by ferry to visit my dad in his hospice room.”