The youngest of the five Dayton brothers who took over their father’s eponymous department store in downtown Minneapolis in the 1940s, Dayton got his start in the business after wartime service as a sergeant in an infantry division that won him the Purple Heart and attending college at Amherst.
In 1960, he and a like-minded Dayton’s merchandiser were charged with planning the launch of what became Target. Dayton was named Target’s president and the company invested $4 million to open the first four Targets two years later.
By the time Dayton was recalled to Dayton Hudson corporate headquarters in 1969, Target was on its way to becoming the retail force that would one day eclipse its parent. Minneapolis-based Target is now No. 36 on the Fortune 500.
Dayton spent two years as senior vice president of administration for Dayton Hudson, but found he didn’t enjoy the work like he had at Target. He retired and began a second career as a venture capitalist, small-business owner, community volunteer and philanthropist.
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 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. Gov. Mark Dayton is his nephew.