David Lee Roy Dighton, 85, of Coggon, Iowa, entered God's heavenly kingdom on Jan. 30, 2021. He was at his home on the family farm, surrounded by his loving family, as he took his last earthly breath. Family will be present at a visitation from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, at United Parish Church in Coggon. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 5, at the church officiated by Pastor Sheri Andersen with military rites provided by Coggon American Legion No. 36. A luncheon will follow at the Coggon American Legion Hall. Pallbearers: Doran Williams, Jacob Holub, Kellie Goos, Madison Sackett, Ethan Rauch and Mclane Rauch. Honorary bearers: Dylan Williams, David Williams, Harrison Goodell, Caleb Goos, Mark Lauterwasser and Ron Johnson. All guests are respectfully requested to wear a face mask and practice social distancing. A livestream of the funeral service may be accessed on the funeral home website tribute page for Dave, under "photos and videos or media," starting at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 5. Murdoch Funeral Home & Cremation Service in Marion is assisting the family.
Dave was born Sept. 14, 1935, on the four generation family farm northwest of Coggon, the second son of Duane Roy and Rosanna Irene Kirkpatrick Dighton. He attended country school near his home and graduated from Coggon High School. On Jan. 18, 1953, he married Marilyn Jeanne Price, whom he asked, "Can I Have This Dance, for the rest of my life ..." He entered the United States Army in 1953 and was honorably discharged in 1955.
As a youngster, Dave always had an interest in music, horses and drawing pictures. He would draw on anything he could find, including wallpaper scraps and walls in the outbuildings. Dave spent most of his days riding horses including to and from school. He began playing trumpet at an early age and the neighbors, most of whom are gone now, fondly remembered him practicing out on the front step or at the end of the driveway while waiting for the school bus.
Dave hauled canned milk for the Coggon Creamery for many years, having two routes per day. He soon began playing with country bands as he became quite the trumpet player. In 1964, Dave began his own band, appropriately named "The Dave Dighton Band." The band played western swing music all over the Midwest and was recognized with many awards for their accomplishments. They entertained the dancing fans, playing more than 300 nights a year, with seldom a day off. He retired from the band in 2000. On May 25, 2008, Dave was inducted into the Country Music Showcase International Inc's. Iowa/Midwest Country Music Heritage "Virtual" Museum-Library and Hall of Fame. Even though officially retired, he enjoyed playing with his son, Kirk Dighton, as often as he could. Between him and his son, they donated their time and music to many events. They annually played the Christmas Party at the Abbe Center in Marion, Iowa, for 30 years. His music stayed with him until the very end.
Dave and Marilyn bought the family farm in 1970, and moved their family to the "Big House" to take over the farming operation from his parents, who moved into a mobile home in the back yard. His mother named it "Brookdale Farm Annex." This move gave him the opportunity to pursue his dream of farming with horses again, which he loved while growing up on the farm. Before long he was able to buy his own team of beloved Percherons to work the farm and, of course, have a lot of fun. He would own several teams in the future, in addition to the many riding horses, which were enjoyed by the entire family and visitors for many years. Horses were his passion and he enjoyed every day he spent playing with them.
While still farming, he took a job selling advertising with WMT Radio. His many customers and fellow employees provided many opportunities to tell a favorite joke and have a lot of fun together. He always enjoyed making his own commercials and sitting in for Leo Greco on his Sunday morning show. He retired from WMT after 13 years to slow down and enjoy life a little more.
In 2005, Dave and Marilyn sold the farm to their youngest daughter and her husband, Lynne and Mark Rauch, making them the fourth generation on the farm. They then moved into a new mobile home at "Brookdale Annex," where he enjoyed the rest of his days. It was at this time they undertook the job of refurbishing the
now-infamous round barn, built by his Grandfather, Robert Kirkpatrick. Thanks to the Iowa Barn Foundation and many others, thousands of visitors have enjoyed tours of the barn during the Iowa Barn Tour held every year in September.
He soon took a job selling advertising with the Linn News-Letter in Central City, for his daughter, Rae Ann Holub, where he once again loved visiting with his customers and enjoying a good joke and a laugh or two. He enjoyed his last job for 12 years.
During this time he avidly took up another of his favorites, drawing and painting his favorite western scenes from memory. He made one for everyone in the family and also sold many to others that will be forever cherished. His last drawing is still sitting on his easel.
Probably the saddest day on the farm was when Dave decided to sell his beloved Percherons and equipment, as he wasn't able to harness them anymore. He said this was the first time in more than 100 years there wasn't a horse on the farm. But it wasn't the last time he would drive a team of horses. A couple weeks before he passed, he was able to enjoy hitching up a team of horses, owned by his son. They enjoyed an afternoon of riding together "Happy Trails" to you, Dad, until we meet again.
Dave loved life and made the most of every day. Whomever he met wasn't a stranger for long. He made friends from all over the world who enjoyed dancing to his music, enjoyed his unique and friendly way of selling advertising and anyone who would sit long enough for a hearty laugh after a great joke. There wasn't a person he met who didn't influence him in some way.
Dave's first and greatest love was for his family. He was so proud of each and every one of them. There's nothing he and Marilyn enjoyed more than spending a day with his kids, grandchildren and great-grandchildren on the farm. Each little granddaughter and great-granddaughter was "Granddaddy's Girl"; each grandson and great-grandson was "Granddaddy's Boy." They were all precious to him. He was the first to teach them some of his favorite poems that they will never forget: "Carnation Milk, best in the land ..." and "Little Robin Red Breast."
Dave was a member of United Parish Church in Coggon and a proud member of the Coggon American Legion Post No. 36 in Coggon. He played "Taps" at many veterans' funerals and always played it at the Coggon Memorial Day celebration at the Coggon Cemetery. The last two years there were four generations providing the playing of "Taps" at the celebration: his son, two grandsons and two great-grandsons. These were such proud moments for him.
The family would like to thank Hospice of Mercy, especially Jess and Amanda, who enabled them to lovingly care for him at home, and help him throughout his journey "home." With his music playing and loving prayers by his family, he joined his family and many friends in Heaven. We were able to get snowed in one last time at home with him while he made his last journey. We will be forever grateful. We also thank you all for the many prayers that gave us the strength to keep him comfortable and safe at home, where he always wanted to be.
Left behind to cherish his memories and legacy he gave us are his wife of 68 years, Marilyn Dighton; his five children, Debbie (Dan) Williams of Walker, Rae Ann (Daniel) Holub of Prairieburg, Kirk (Kim) Dighton of Troy Mills, Kaylene (Jeff) Squires of Center Point and Lynne (Mark) Rauch of Coggon; his grandchildren, Daryl Williams, Denton Williams, Doran (Michelle) Williams, Jessie (David) Goodell, Jacob (Kendall) Holub, Kellie (Court) Goos, Hayley (Jeremy) Dighton, Gelian (Billy) Curtis, Morgan (Grant) Kocer, Madison (Matt) Sackett, Jeremy Squires, Andy (Brittany) Squires, Ethan (Katie) Rauch and Mclane Rauch; 24 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren. Also surviving are his siblings, Robert (Mabel) Dighton of Missouri, Arlene (Gary) Williams of Oregon, Lyndon (Sherryl) Dighton of Boone, Iowa, and Kevin (Donna) Dighton of Davenport, Iowa; two sisters-in-law, Sandra Christensen of Iowa City, Iowa, and Denise Short of Hiawatha, Iowa; one brother-in-law, Doug (Barb) Price of Minnesota; and many nieces and nephews and their children, cousins and other extended family members.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his mother- and father-in-law, Florine and Harrison Price; a son-in-law, Monty Sackett; brothers-in-law, Keith Price, Jim Christensen and Ron Short; and a sister-in-law, Lila Price. His cherished band members and longtime friends, Jerry Pasker and Jack Sexton, also preceded him in death to prepare a stage for him in Heaven. What great music they will make together once again!
We will forever cherish each and every memory with our husband, father and Granddaddy. His favorite saying, ""Ain't This Livin'" will forever remind us to cherish every day with our loved ones, as you never know when your last day on earth will be. Be kind to your neighbors and you will have a cherished friendship that will follow down through the generations and be kind to everyone you meet as they may need your friendship. Our love to you until we meet again.
Memorials may be directed to the family at 3344 120th St., Coggon, IA 52218. Donations to organizations are yet to be determined.
You may leave a memory of Dave or a message for the family at www.murdochfuneralhome.com under obituaries.