WILFORD - When 17-year-old Carol Thompson spied Max Dayton at a St. Anthony roller-skating rink, she had no idea that he would become her husband for nearly 70 years.
At the urging of her friends, Carol asked Max to South Fremont High School’s Harvest Dance. Thompson didn’t know Dayton well, but Dayton knew her. He quickly answered “yes.”
“I knew she was a cute little girl,” he recalled.
That Harvest Dance led to a courtship that continued as Max joined the Navy to serve during the Korean War. The couple corresponded during that time, and in 1952, while Max was home on leave following six months at sea, he and Carol tied the knot.
That marriage resulted in decades of happiness, says the couple who credits their happiness to the kindness extended by one another.
“He helps me so much,” Carol said.
Their oldest daughter, Patti Crapo, said that Max has always been protective of his wife.
“He’s very kind and loving,” Crapo said.
Carol credits the couple’s faith for their long loving marriage. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the couple said it helps to start each day with prayer and to do things together. They once ran a St. Anthony Laundromat and a Teton service station. They also served a church mission to Texas. They’ve traveled together to Hawaii and to the church's famed Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York.
Following Max's military service, the Daytons settled in Wilford where their first home came minus indoor plumbing. That meant their first restroom was an outhouse.
“We didn’t have any water. I hauled water from my parents’ house a half mile away in 10 gallon milk cans,” Max said.
For six years, Max farmed 200 acres with his brothers. Following a brutal frost, and, after renting two farms became cost prohibitive, Max quit farming. He instead went to work as a mail carrier for the post office and did so for 20 years.
On June 4, 1976, Max was delivering the mail when the Teton Dam broke.
The Daytons placed items on top of their beds thinking the water wouldn’t get very high. They also gathered up various possessions, and, with their children, sped off to St. Anthony that experienced no flooding.
The disaster devastated Wilford and washed away the Dayton’s home - and everything in it.
When the government offered to compensate the family, it wanted to know about every item they had lost to the disaster.
“They asked ‘How many socks does your husband have?’ ‘How much silverware do you have? How many pans, dishcloths and clothes do you have?” Carol recalled. “After we handed them our list, there were a lot of other things we thought of.”
The flood was devastating, and Carol recalled hearing someone saying it would have been great to be a flood victim because of all the government compensation.
“I said ‘Lady, if you had to go through this, you would not wish that on anybody. It’s the most traumatic thing to go through in your life,” she said. “Some people felt sorry for us; others envied us, I guess.”
While it was traumatic, the Daytons are thankful that all they lost was their home.
“At least we didn’t lose any family,” Carol said.
In addition to their five children, today the Daytons have 19 grandkids, 40 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. While Max is honored to be a great-great-grandfather, he admits that ‘It makes you feel old.”
After decades of marriage, Carol says she's still glad she asked Max to the Harvest Dance.
“He was cute. That’s why I had to grab him,” she said. “We’ve had a good life. We’ve had good experience.”
The couple’s marriage has also been a good experience for their ever expanding family, Crapo said.
“I can’t think of anybody who loves each other more than mom and dad,” she said.