Dayton M. Titus passed away in his home surrounded by family on August 21, 2023. He lived life to the fullest, enjoying his family, lifelong friends and continued to make meaningful connections with people of all ages until his passing.

Last month, Dayton celebrated his 96th birthday with his family. Incredibly, in the last week of his life, he enjoyed visits with family and friends, went to his beloved Petrolia property, took his routine walk up Oeschger Road, and even attended the Humboldt County Fair horse races.

Dayton was born July 25, 1927 to Frank and Mabel Titus in Ferndale. He was one of four children that grew up on the Titus family dairy in Ferndale during the depression. He attended Coffee Creek School and graduated from Ferndale High School in 1945. Dayton was an outstanding athlete: excelling in football, basketball and track.

After graduation, he enlisted in the United States Navy at age 17. He was a proud WWII Veteran. In 2014, Dayton accompanied by his son, Dave, participated in the Honor Flight in Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at the memorials. It was one of the most memorable trips of his life.

After the war, Dayton returned to the family dairy, and began a highly successful amateur boxing career. He went on to compete as a Golden Gloves welterweight champion boxer. Later he turned professional, winning his only professional fight, which earned him enough money to buy a wedding ring for his soon-to-be bride, Gayle Klingler. In recent years, Dayton was one of several local Golden Gloves boxers featured in the Ferndale Museum documentary, Lords of the Ring.

Dayton married Gayle on July 22, 1950. They were married for 61 years until her passing in 2011.

Dayton and Gayle established the family dairy and ran it until 1960. During this time, they had their four children. After enduring several floods, they decided to leave the dairy business and bought their property on Centerville Road.

Dayton’s personality made him a natural as proprietor of the Ivanhoe Saloon, which he owned from 1963-1973. After selling the Ivanhoe, he spent many years working as a carpenter, a maintenance supervisor at the Humboldt County Fair and as the sexton at the Ferndale Cemetery. Dayton was a lifelong fan of thoroughbred horseracing and for a time, the owner of two racehorses. Also, he was a member of the Native Sons of the Golden West for 76 years.

Dayton loved Petrolia and the people of the Mattole Valley. He and Gayle spent years restoring the Titus homestead in Petrolia where wonderful memories were made with family. He spent many years buck hunting at Buzzard’s Peak and BAR W and picking abalone at Mussel Ranch. He loved these pastimes shared with family, extended family, and friends. Each experience provided him with great days and more stories to tell.

Along with several other local businessmen, Dayton was instrumental in establishing a youth baseball program in Ferndale and re-establishing Ferndale’s Youth Football program. He loved all sports and enjoyed playing, coaching, and later watching his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren from the sidelines. In 2014, College of the Redwoods honored the Titus Family for their support of and participation in athletics.

Not only was Dayton a fighter in the boxing ring, but he also fought cancer for the last two years of his life. He far exceeded all expectations, leaving his doctors completely perplexed at his good health. Dayton went the distance, determined to continue to share life, stories and laughter with his family and friends up until the day of his passing.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Gayle; parents, Frank and Mabel Titus; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Ethel and Clarence Landis; brothers, Everett Titus and Jim Titus; sister-in-law, Betty Titus; brother-in-law, Jerry Miller; and grandson, Nate Titus.

Dayton is survived by his children, Vonnie Titus (Jake Pauli), Dave Titus (Cindy), Stuart Titus (Caroline) and Cliff Titus (Marcie).

Grandchildren: Maren Wagner, Raleigh Bettiga (Lindsey), Brad Titus (Katherine), Alex Titus, Eric Titus, Ellie Titus (Devin Banerjee), Abigail Titus, Grady Titus, Lucas Titus (Jennie), Matt Titus (Angelica) and Nick Titus (Stephanie).

Great-grandchildren: Ella, Ava and Adam Wagner; Maddie, Charlie and Teddy Bettiga; Ruby Banerjee; Trent, Tristen, Taren, Domenic, Izabel, Wesley and Isla Titus.

He is also survived by his sister, Glenda Miller; sister-in-law, Cecilia Titus; and many nieces, nephews, and friends.

Please join us for a Celebration of Dayton’s Life on Sunday, October 1, 2023, from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. at The Barn by Fernbridge, 26 Goble Lane, Ferndale. Memorial donations can be made to the Ferndale Volunteer Fire Dept., Petrolia Volunteer Fire Dept., Ferndale Museum and Hospice of Humboldt.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Dayton Titus’ loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email