Wilbur “Bill” Layton
Age 95, resident of Walker Place, Minneapolis peacefully passed away April 14 after several years of ill health.
After leaving the family farm in Iowa he graduated from Iowa State University. He served in WWII in both Europe and Japan. After the war, he completed his PhD in Psychology at The Ohio State University. He served as director of the Statewide Testing Program at the University of Minnesota, as well as held a faculty appointment in the Psychology Department. In 1962 he became head of the Psychology Department at Iowa State University, then served for several years as Vice President for Student Affairs. He was passionate about equal rights and civil rights and led the effort to integrate the campus at Iowa State. After his retirement from the Psychology Department, he and his wife Gloria moved to White City, Oregon, where he became very active in politics. He chaired the county Democratic Party, and when they returned from Oregon became active in the DFL Party in Edina. He treasured the many friendships he developed both academically and politically.
Bill found joy in flying his own small plane, as well as gliding and being the tow pilot for other gliders. He spent many happy hours on the Rogue River fishing with family members. He made it his mission to replant their property with hundreds of trees. He was famous within the family for his sourdough bread and pancakes and for starting the charcoal grill with a flamethrower designed to kill weeds. Bill loved the 1969 GMC truck that he inherited from his father, and drove it with an antenna made of barbed wire so he could "pick up country music." An avid reader, he was often found with a book in his hands.
He is survived by his wife of 72 years, Gloria, his son Gregory, daughter Patricia (Brad Engdahl), and son Charles. Also survived by grandchildren: Jon, James and Jesse Layton, Katharine and Kristin Engdahl, Alexander, Emily and Ian Layton; and by great-grandchildren Carys, Cooper and Olivia Layton and many nieces and nephews; and beloved brother-in-law and sister-in-law Alan and Pat Madsen. Preceded in death by parents Charles and Helen Layton of Atlantic, Iowa, sisters Beverly Rossmann Thompson and Helen Bryson.
An open house celebrating his life will be held April 29, 2:30 to 4 pm at the chapel at Walker Place, 3701 Bryant Ave. So., Minneapolis. Memorials preferred to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Southern Poverty Law Center, or the charity of donor's choice. We are grateful to the wonderful staff at Walker Place and Walker Health Center for their devoted and loving care.
Wilbur “Bill” Layton