Jenkins-Soffe Funeral Home & Cremation Center, Mid Valley
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Murray, UT 84107
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Susan T. Dayton 1951 ~ 2010 The remarkable life of Susan Thompson Dayton ended at age 59 on December 30, 2010 due to complications of breast cancer. She left this life like she lived it, peacefully, and surrounded by loved ones.Born on June 27, 1951 to Jimmie and Beverly Thompson, she spent her early years attending Draper Grade and Middle Schools. Her interest in dance was ignited at the age of three when she began dancing with her brother James. When she wasn't dancing, she was teaching young girls how to move with her same elegance and grace. She graduated from Jordan High School in 1969 where she was elected Homecoming Queen and served as a cheerleader for three years. In college she was selected a member of the BYU Young Ambassadors performing group which took her around the world: Touring through the United States and Canada, and also with the USO throughout Europe. Dancing also brought her to the love of her life Merril Dayton, a singer in the Young Ambassadors. They would marry for eternity in the Salt Lake Temple on June 8, 1973. Together they built a family of five sons. While her accomplishments were many, she considered her family her first priority and greatest calling. While she only bore sons, she found surrogate daughters wherever she went. From daughters-in-law, nieces, to guests at her home, she always had a house full and considered the most important talent of a good host was to make people feel welcome. Her ability to host large groups with seeming ease was legendary. Her life was defined by grace: in dress, in movement and in action. Susan always dressed with style, even through chemotherapy wearing beautiful outfits with colorful scarves. But for Susan, grace and style was about more than just clothing. Susan got her teaching certificate and bachelor's degree in Physical Education with a Dance emphasis in 1973 from BYU. She dedicated her life to teaching children and advocating on their behalf. Wherever she lived, she taught young girls to dance and was always involved in the PTA. Her husband's career as a surgeon took them from Los Angeles, California, to Iowa City, Iowa, to Holladay, Utah. When selected as Utah State PTA president from 2002-2003, she advocated for children, for education, and for families. She was designated a "Point of Light" by Governor Mike Leavitt in recognition for her work. She ran a campaign for Utah State Senate and also worked with the Granite Education Foundation. When her husband's career took them to Buffalo, New York where he was recruited to be the Chairman of the Department of Surgery at SUNY Buffalo, Susan immediately began hosting large groups of surgery residents, medical students and faculty, winning the love and respect of all of them. In Buffalo Susan was asked to be President of the Worldwide Organization for Women (WOW) representing women and children at the UN, and sponsoring development projects around the world. She also worked with the Network of Religious Communities in Buffalo New York, where she was asked to serve as president shortly before her latest recurrence of cancer. Wherever she went, she built coalitions of talented women who wanted to make the world better. She never walked alone, and when she walked with friends, they talked about how to make the world better. She built dozens of small clubs, committees and teams of women: Book clubs, young mother's groups, empty nesters, spouses of doctors. A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Susan constantly sought to serve her Father in Heaven and His children. She served wherever she was called, from road shows to family history, but often found herself in Young Women's and Relief Society, her most recent calling was as the Stake Relief Society President of the Buffalo New York Stake. She loved serving there but loved more traveling across the stake in that calling with her sweetheart. She brought flair and grace everywhere she went. Shortly before her passing she was honored by the National Rotary club and also received the Presidents Volunteer Service Award from President Barack Obama. Susan accomplished more in her short life than most of us will if we live twice as long. She is survived by her husband, Dr. Merril Dayton; her five exceedingly handsome sons, Cameron (Erin), Damian, Brandon (Annie), Adrian (Natalie) and Ethan; five grandchildren; her parents, Jimmie and Beverly Thompson; her siblings, James, Cynthia (Eric Giles) and Kerry (Cynthia). Susan loved dancing, cinnamon bears, Necco wafers, strawberry shortcake and the color red. She loved family trips to Lake Powell where she wore the nickname "Queen of the Sea". She taught us all that the quickest route to joy was a life full of work, service, and love. There are not words sufficient to describe her. She was the heart of our family, and our world will not be the same without her. Funeral Services will be Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 at 12:00 Noon at the Cottonwood Stake Center located at 1816 East 6400 South in Salt Lake City. Viewings will be at the Cottonwood Stake Center Monday, January 3rd, 2011 from 6-9 p.m. and Tuesday morning from 10-11:30 a.m. Interment: Larkin Sunset Gardens. Flowers can be sent to the Jenkins-Soffe Mortuary at 4760 S. State Street or you can donate to the World Wide Organization of Women. Online condolences may be shared at

Published in Deseret News from Jan. 1 to Jan. 3, 2011
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