Obituary of Margaret Elizabeth Dayton
Margaret Elizabeth Dayton, our Maggie, left this life July 9, three days after her 56th birthday. Born to Alfred and Joan Dayton in Oakland CA on July 6, 1961, she was the third of four children. Maggie came into this world with Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic condition occurring in less than one in 10,000 births. Williams people have distinctive facial characters, are extreme sensitivity to some sounds, often have perfect pitch, are considered to have mild to moderate developmental disability, cardiac problems, and a warm inquisitive personality. Like many others who share her syndrome, Maggie had a highly developed sense of the social niceties and remembered just about everyone she met throughout her life. Maggie really started her education at Tall Pines Nursery School where she attended with her younger brother. To this day, former students and parents at the time still remember her. After her family moved to the Bay Area, Maggie enrolled in a special program at Concord High School where she graduated in 1981. Maggie learned to read well but simple math was a struggle. With her siblings moving off to universities, it was time for her to move on. Maggie became a resident of Clausen House, a wonderful home and education facility for adults with intellectual challenges. There she prospered. She was popular with staff and residents. She attended a day program always eager to learn new things and was first in line for trips, whether it be to a ball game, museum, concert, or one of her favorites, Reno.
Maggie had many often odd ball interests. Early on she was interested in many types of utility vehicles such as street sweepers which she gave names. She was also very interested in cars and RVs. She could spot a 2007 Honda, a Wayne street sweeper, or a vintage Gestener brand ditto machine. She had a prodigious memory for all types of music, from Bach (a tape request for Christmas one year) to the Beatles. She could identify individual instruments playing in classical music and was a great fan of rock guitarists.
Every month she would come home for a few days to get a little TLC from Mom and Dad. She loved to watch TV. Her wide range of interests included medical programs (often a bit more detailed than Mom and Dad would like), the Science Channel and rock music. And then there were the hours spent bent over Dad’s laptop computer with her earphones plugged in to spare those around her. She would surf the internet and YOUTUBE and indulge her quirky interests. These sessions were often punctuated with singing along to the music or an occasion ‘wow’ at what she had found. Maggie was a happy and contented soul.
Eighteen years ago following series of heart attacks Maggie received a new heart valve. Subsequent years were happy and healthy ones. But in early June that valve began to fail. Valiant efforts by world class doctors were unable to repair the valve before it failed and she passed away in July at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.
Maggie is survived by her parents, Alfred and Joan Dayton, siblings Jonathan and his wife Valerie, Peter and his wife Caitlin, Jennifer and her husband Jeff, and nieces Alexandra, Augusta, and Nell, and nephews James, Everett, and Alfie.
Neptune Society handled funeral arrangements.
Memorial contributions may be made to Clausen House. 88 Vernon St, Oakland, CA 94610 or to the charity of your Choice.
She was special, she was “uniquable” (one of Maggie’s favorite invented words).
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