Deward Wayne Dalton, the Captain of our ship, drifted off, on his final boat ride, on November 27, 2022, surrounded by his loving crew mates.
Wayne cherished his family above all else. He was a beloved husband, father, papa, uncle, brother, and companion.
He was born on, May 11, 1937, in Missouri. His family moved shortly to Phoenix, Arizona and they eventually ended up in Longview. He started his career as a bowling pin setter. Once in Longview, he managed Miller’s Market, eventually buying the Hemlock Store. He ran a backhoe and was part of the Operating Engineers Local 701. He was so talented with the backhoe, he could bring the bucket and rest it on your shoulder. In fact, when he was on a job people would stop and admire him.
He met his wife, Patty May Jay, in 1954 at RA Long High School. He always said, “your mother had a cute butt, it’s what caught my eye.” So it started with love in the air. Their first born daughter, Debbie, was born in May of 1955, a little graduation gift for them. Their second daughter, Shellie Jean, was born five years later, in 1959. A very quick eleven months later, they had their baby boy, Michael Wayne.
Wayne taught his children valuable life skills, and was proud of their accomplishments. But his happiest times were when his eight grandchildren were born followed by his nine great-grandchildren. He was known to them as M & M papa because he always had a bag of M & M’s in his shirt pocket for them when they came to visit.
He taught us to dance the night away, cast a lure, hold our liquor, and play poker till the sun rises.
He had a lifetime love of Patsy Cline, Bud Light Lime, any food our mom cooked, and don’t forget Gunsmoke, and the Gold show. And his love of jokes, clean or dirty, brought him so much fun and laughter.
He was good at fixing almost anything, trying to outsmart the deer and the rabbits that ate his garden, and we can’t forget his bright orange Challenger. I am sure you saw him driving about 100 miles per hour. Thank God there were no accidents. But his lifetime goal was to beat our mother at cribbage. They started every morning with a game. I am pretty sure the score is 5 to a 1,000, poor dad.
For the past fifteen years his life companion was Donna Dubke. Their love lasted right up until the end, with Donna passing two days after dad.
His passion was always hunting and fishing. So, he followed his dream and bought a couple of fishing boats. One for the Columbia River and one for Larson Bay, Alaska. He would tell stories about the fish running and he and his crew eating crackers and peanut butter. “Because, you know Debbie, if the fish are running you keep going.” He was successful and continued fishing the Columbia until he retired. Some of the best times of his life was being part of the “River Gang.” He talked so fondly of all the guys and treasured those friendships until he died. He never lost his love for the Columbia and all the great times. He lived on the river and watching the big ships gave him great pleasure. He asked us if he would be able to stay at home on the river during his last days and we unanimously said yes. We were able to keep him home. It was a lot of hard work, but Team Dalton, made it happen, and we are proud that we could give him the dignity, love, and peace of mind he so deserved.
Wayne is survived by his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, his two sisters, Darlene and Gail, and all of their spouses. Plus, there are numerous nieces and nephews, who loved him always. The love of his life, his wife Patty, preceded him in passing.
I am sure he is already playing cribbage and having a family picnic for all the souls he loved. Plus, he and our mother are kicking up their heels, and dancing the night away.
He will be remembered as a man of great integrity, a handshake which was always his bond, the laughter until we cried, and always loving and providing for his family. Captain, we will always love you, and we will always remember.
There will be a Celebration of Life, on Saturday, the 21st of January, at the Kelso Elks from one o’clock till four o’clock. In lieu of donations, just do what Wayne would do, buy someone a drink and sit and laugh.
PER THE FAMILY'S REQUEST, DO NOT USE THE "PLANT A TREE" FEATURE