Douglas James Dayton
{ "" }
Share Douglas's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
Dayton, Douglas James Was born in Minneapolis on Dec. 2,1924 and died at the age of 88 on July 5, 2013. Doug was the youngest son of deceased Grace Bliss Dayton and George Nelson Dayton. Doug was also predeceased by brothers, Donald (Lucy), Wallace, and Kenneth. Doug graduated from Blake School in 1942 where he was voted most gentlemanly, best dressed and most likely to succeed. His college education at Amherst was interrupted by his entrance to the Army in 1943. He arrived to join Patton's army 30 days after D-Day at Omaha Beach. He was a mortar sergeant, 5th Infantry Division, ETO. He was injured during the war and received the Purple Heart and French Legion of Honor. Doug began his career with his four brothers at Dayton's in 1948. He held many positions in the department store beginning in the receiving room before moving to Rochester to run the first remote location in 1954. In 1960 Doug became the Founder and First President of Target. Doug executed and shepherded the growth of Target until 1968 when he was needed back at the Corporate Headquarters to become SR. VP. Of Administration of Dayton-Hudson Corp. Eventually Dayton's and other acquisitions were consolidated and sold and the new corporate name became Target. Missing the day-to- day hands on experience of Target Doug left the company to start Dade Development Capital in 1974 where he remained until his retirement in 1994. Doug's life was filled with remarkable service to his community. He served on the board of the YMCA for 50 years and was its chair in 1969 leading it through various fundraising campaigns. He also served on the boards of The Urban League, Summit Academy OIC, The Raptor Center of the University of MN, The Police Athletic League, The Minneapolis Urban Coalition, and the Nature Conservancy. The passion of his philanthropy reached across social services, education, and nature preservation. All organizations benefitted from his leadership and fundraising skills. And generosity. He was deeply committed to social justice and improving the lives of all through stronger communities. In 1972 Doug also served the State of MN as Chair of LEAP (Loaned Executive Action Program) for then Gov. Wendell Anderson. Doug and 100 other executives studied state government to improve its ' financial efficiencies recommending $75 million in savings. Doug was an avid outdoorsman; a hunter, skier, tennis player, rider, sailor, birder, beekeeper, and fisherman. He was also a great bridge player playing as recently as last Wed. with his friends. In his retirement Doug spent most of his time doing what he loved most; nurturing his 40 acres of restored prairie. On any given spring, summer or fall day one might see him in his straw hat on his 1946 Ford tractor or utility cart tending to his prairie grasses or wildflowers. He was also very committed to assisting the Raptor Center with its osprey banding/GPS/tracking program. He had an osprey pole for many years at his home and he looked forward to the birth of 2-3 fledglings every year. Doug enjoyed travel throughout his life and there were no countries left on his list of those he had wanted to see. He loved spending time the last 9 winters at his Savannah home. He was a Club member there at the Ford Plantation Club and Chatham Club. He was a lifelong member of The Minneapolis Club, Woodhill Country Club and also enjoyed the Mill Reef Club in Antigua for many years. Doug's greatest legacy is his love of nature and how to best protect it. He also embodied the characteristics of the consummate gentleman, effective leader, creative entrepreneur, and a loving and nurturing father and husband, Doug is survived by his wife, Wendy; children, David, Steve (Joyce), Bruce (Lynn), and Elizabeth; grandchildren, Isaac, Caleb, Dorothy, Adele (Roberto), Alex and Connor. Doug is also survived by his only remaining brother, Bruce (Ruth) and sisters-in- law, Judy and Mary Lee. The family wishes to thank Becky Fredrick's nursing caregivers, Deanna, Anna, Kerry, Jenny, Jessie, & Jacqui, the Park Nicollet doctors, Mark Wilkowski and Bill Conroy, hospice nurses and Fay. Memorials preferred to the YMCA or The Raptor Center. A memorial service is pending as the minister of Westminster Church is on sabbatical for the summer. A note will follow at a later time.
This obituary was originally published in the Star Tribune.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Star Tribune from Jul. 7 to Jul. 8, 2013.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
14 entries
July 25, 2013
As a member of the Dayton family via Doug's cousin Ward, it warms my heart to read about Doug's long and dedicated service to his country, to his work, and to his community. The values of the Dayton family have been passed down through the years and will continue to nurture future generations.

My heartfelt sympathies,
Carol McGrath (granddaughter of Ward Winchell Dayton)
Carol McGrath
July 14, 2013
My mother was a housekeeper and I took care of the boys after school in the 50's and early 60's. Douglas was always very kind to us as was his Mother, Mrs. G.N. Dayton. My thoughts and prayers are with David, Steven and Bruce and their families.
Pat (Brown) Hill
July 13, 2013
My mother worked for and retired from the Dayton Company. She was a dedicated employee and enjoyed her position there for many years. I remember reading the company news letter and how she praised all of your brothers and you as being wonderful people.
Lorraine Caouette
July 11, 2013
Doug offered me a trainee job in the spring of '59 when I'd paid my way up on the bus from college. I will forever be indebted to him and his brothers for the values they imparted.
Jim Hamblin
July 11, 2013
Thank you for your beautiful daughter, Elizabeth.
Her role in changing lives will be held forever dearly in my heart.
--former member of The Bible Speaks
Robin Whelan
July 10, 2013
Mr. Dayton,

Thank You For Your Service!

A Viet Nam Vet
July 9, 2013
Mr: Dayton,
Sir, I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country when you served with the U.S. Army in Europe during WW II fighting the Germans as a member of the 5th Infantry Division-the "Red Diamond" Division which saw heavy action from July of 1944 through to VE Day in May of 1945. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.
Mike Casey
July 9, 2013
a very kind and generous soul. and an incredible sense of humor. i feel extremely blessed to have known doug. the world is a better place because of doug's presence.
Dan S
July 9, 2013
Lamentations 3:22-26; 31-32   For the Lord does not abandon anyone forever. Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion according to the greatness of his unfailing love.
cynthia,clyde penny
July 9, 2013
I have worked in a Target store in Chesapeake, VA for ten years. He built stores with very high standards and a special place to work. May God put His comforting and loving arms around your family always.
Valrie Crouch
July 8, 2013
My thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time.
Susan Schmitz
July 8, 2013
Peace to the family and friends of Douglas James Dayton.
Glen Hausfeld
July 8, 2013
My Grandmother Evelyn worked in the downtown drapery department and sometimes babysat for the "Dayton Boys" We heard alot of fun stories.
July 7, 2013
I was Bruce's secretary during Douglas's
time with the company. He was always very nice to me and I always admired him. Being a 4 time cancer survivor,
I know what you have been through. I
always say the mate usually suffers more than the patient. My thoughts and
prayers are with you and your family.
LaVonne Duerr
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences