SAN ANGELO Dayton knocked on the Pearly Gates many times the last five years, each time being told there were too many musicians per capita up there and to keep making music where he was. That he did until this week when he received his invitation and accepted. William Dayton Alexander, 94, died June Thursday, 19, 2014. He was born in Childress, Texas, on May 20, 1920, to William Ralph and Bessie (Hancock) Alexander. He lived in San Angelo, Texas, since 1925. Dayton is survived by his wife of 48 years, Eleanor; and their son, Steve (Tonda), and their children, Chandra and Lindsey. He is also survived by his son, David (Lynne); grandchildren Richard and Bill and their mother, Judy; and great-grandchildren Rachel, Renae, Georgia and Carli. He is also survived by the family he joined upon his marriage to Eleanor including Mike Richardson, Shane Flanagan, Brian Richardson, Maureen Long and Paula Keith and their respective families. Nieces Patsy Albro Taylor and Beverly Albro Cormier and their families also survive him. Dayton was preceded in death by his son, Richard; Richard's mother Sibyle Hurd Alexander; his parents; and his sister, Delma Alexander Albro. Dayton distinguished himself in a number of areas. He joined the Navy after Pearl Harbor and served in Hawaii on Ford Island as a carpenter's mate while also playing fiddle in the Ford Island band entertaining military and civilians across the islands. He was a sought-after house painter and paper-hanger, later forming a small paint contracting company. He felt very honored by his loyal customers who would be on his waiting list for three or more years. Dayton was also an accomplished musician, a sought-after fiddler beginning at age 14, turning to guitar in the late 40's. He played in a dance band almost every Saturday night throughout the ballroom dancing era. In the 80's he learned to play a Guitorgan and became a one-man band, playing for many dances and weddings. He was an active golfer and baseball coach. During the 1950's he was a coach/leader in integrating the YMCA Little League baseball program. He also taught hundreds of guitar students at the YMCA and in his home. He played fiddle for Ernest Tubb when Ernest was an unknown struggling musician in San Angelo, helping Ernest get a paying gig with the Western Mattress Traveling All-Star softball team, where Dayton served as catcher/fiddler. A written and sound record of Dayton's musicianship is available at daytonalexander.webs.com. The family would like to thank all those in the medical community that helped Dayton live a long and quality life, especially Dr. McCloy and staff at Shannon Clinic; Shannon 4-South; Shannon Home Health; Gentiva Hospice; and doctors Carsner, Ivans, Felger, Cargile, Coats, Stokes and Bender. Dustin Kendricks with Outreach Services provided invaluable assistance to Dayton. Special thanks go to the Meals For The Elderly program and those that brought a smile to Dayton's face every delivery day for many years. And thank you Medical Arts Pharmacy for over 60 years of personal service. Private service will be held Saturday followed by an open celebration at the Chicken Farm Art Center at 11:30 a.m. of Dayton's life, a party if you will, that includes music by Chicken Pickers, lunch and refreshments. Services are under the directions of Robert Massie Funeral Home. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to Meals For The Elderly 310 E. Houston Harte Expressway, San Angelo, TX 76903; Chicken Farm Music Development Fund, 2505 Martin Luther King Dr., San Angelo, TX 76903; or
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Robert Massie Funeral Home
402 Rio Concho Dr. San Angelo, TX 76903
Published in GoSanAngelo from June 20 to June 21, 2014