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Dayton Johnson

Oct. 26, 1920-July 15, 2009

Former Detroit Lakes resident Dayton Johnson, 88, of Battle Lake, passed away at his home on Wednesday, July 15th, 2009, surrounded by his family.

Dayton was born Oct. 26, 1920. He grew up on a farm in Buffalo, N.D. He served during World War II with the Army Air Force, as a ball turret gunner flying in B17s. After the war he returned to Buffalo and began farming. He married a young schoolteacher, Edna (Robin) Kjelland, in 1950.

At various times during Dayton's farming career, he took supporting jobs, as a station attendant/manager and truck driver. He was also a custodian at the Detroit Lakes Vocational School, the job from which he retired in 1990. During retirement, he began another career in woodworking; he loved building furniture and cabinets for family and friends. He also enjoyed building a few items for Nidaros Church.

Dayton's favorite pastime was connecting with family and friends. No drive was too far if a visit waited at the road's end. Dayton loved having people come to their home as well. Fishing also brought a smile.

During the last seven months, Dayton grew fond of the Lakeland Hospice staff, who supported him and his family with Dayton's care at home.

Surviving Dayton are his wife, Edna/Robin Kjelland Johnson; children, Brenda (Tom) Schiltgen of Redondo Beach, Calif., Barry (Dee) Johnson of Underwood and Lorna (Ed) Ruskin of St. Paul; eight grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and a brother, Jack Johnson of Valley City, N.D.

Preceding Dayton in death were his parents, Clarence & Evelyn (Harrington) Johnson of Buffalo, N.D.; and his sister, Calley Grondahl of Lake Park.

A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, at the Nidaros Lutheran Church in rural Clitherall, Minn. In lieu of flowers, please consider memorials to Lakeland Hospice or Nidaros Church.

Assistance was provided to the family by Olson Funeral Home of Fergus Falls. Condolences may be sent online at