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Dayton Countryman


1918 - 2011 Obituary Condolences
Dayton Countryman Obituary
Dayton W. Countryman

Nevada

Dayton Wendell Countryman, 93, of Nevada, Iowa, was born March 31, 1918, in Sioux City, Iowa, to Cleveland and Susie (Schaeffer) Countryman. He graduated from Pierson High School and worked on the home farm for a year, then majored in Forestry at Iowa State College, where he graduated in 1940. After serving as a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, and achieving the rank of Lt. Col., he attended law school at the University of Iowa on the GI Bill, and graduated in 1948. Through 1978 he served in the Air Force Reserves.

He met Ruth Elizabeth Hazen at Iowa State College, and they were married in Denmark, Iowa on Groundhog's Day 1941. She was his life partner for 60 years.

After law school, Mr. Countryman and his family settled in Nevada, Iowa. He began his legal career with Col. Herbert Hadley and practiced law in Nevada until age 90. During his long career he was enchanted with politics and followed current events with great interest. After serving as Story County Attorney (1950 - 1954), he was elected Attorney General of Iowa and served from1954 to 1957. For enforcing Iowa's laws prohibiting sales of liquor by the drink, a journalist labeled him "Cracker Dry Countryman." He sought the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate three times (1956, 1960, and 1968).

Mr. Countryman was active in numerous professional and community organizations: American, Iowa and Story County bar associations, Iowa County Attorneys Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Iowa State Alumni Association (president 1970-71), Masonic Lodge, and Lions Club. He and his family attended the First United Methodist Church of Nevada.

His interest in conservation and environmental protection stemmed from his forestry studies. He mounted a large flat stone on a hilltop near his home, visible from Highway 30, and placed rocks in Indian Creek to make the creek. He also planted fruit trees and took pride in his "no spray" policy on his home acreage. Finding arrowheads and Indian stones gave him great joy, as did sailing, canoeing, and hunting. In his later years, his interest turned to farming; he enjoyed visiting his farms and chatting with the operators.

He died September 13, 2011, in Ames, Iowa of complications arising from Alzheimer's disease, after living for three years at Green Hills Health Care Center. His brother, Ardell, predeceased him in 2000, and a year later his wife, Ruth, died. He is survived by his son James David Countryman of Davenport Iowa, and daughters Karen Countryman (Philip) Cummins of Iowa City; Joan Ellen Countryman of Washington, D.C.; and Kay Jean Countryman of Kuwait City, Kuwait, and Nevada, Iowa; plus five grandchildren, and three great- grandchildren.

The family will receive visitors on Sunday, September 18, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Chet Ryan Mortuary in Nevada. A memorial service is scheduled for Monday, September 19, at 11 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church of Nevada. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the , the First United Methodist Church of Nevada, Green Hills Health Care Center, or Israel Family Hospice House.

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Published in Des Moines Register on Sept. 16, 2011
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