Obituary: Franklin Roy Dunton
Franklin Roy Dunton passed away on Sept. 4, 2016. He was 95 years old.
Franklin Roy Dunton was born to Franklin Jay Dunton and Frieda Utes Dunton on Aug. 3, 1921, in North Port, Wash., by the Canadian border. His family moved to Spokane when he was 3 years old with his brother Cline and his sister Laverne. He went all through school in Spokane. He began working at age 5 with two paper routes. He worked as a dishwasher, busboy and bartender from seven to 15 years old. He managed the Desert Hotel Bar at 17.
At age 17, his uncle NR Dunton moved him from Spokane to Goldroad, Ariz. He worked there at NR’s Goldroad Garage and Cool Springs until World War II. He joined the Navy and was on the USS Harrison, the USS Seid, then to the USS 66 Mine Sweep.
During the war he went to Sonar Anti-Sub School. He was on the Harrison DD573, a destroyer, for three months in the North Atlantic. He went to Boston and transferred to DE256 USS Seid, a smaller destroyer, and was a sonar man in the South Pacific for two years. They convoyed to Australia and swept for subs in Guadalcanal.
He transferred to a mine sweeper, USS 66, traveling to the Yellow China Sea. The end of the war was spent clearing mines out of Shanghai, then sweeping the river of mines a hundred miles upriver for the balance of four years. On the sweep he served as acting chief 1st class petty officer.
After four years in the Pacific and fighting in the war, he came back to Goldroad.
He worked for NR in Goldroad a couple of years. In 1946, he and NR came to Kingman and bought Owens Ford, a Ford-Mercury-Lincoln dealership and started NR Dunton Motors in 1946.
Roy went to California on dealership business. He saw his future wife, Peggy Josephine, through a window. He almost turned down a date because he thought she had a crooked nose. When he saw her in person he changed his mind. Six dates and three months later they were married.
In 1949, Herb Biddulph and Roy bought out NR and started Biddulph and Dunton Motors. They opened Ford dealerships in Yuma and Boulder City which they later sold. Biddulph then moved to Las Vegas and opened a Rambler dealership and Roy bought Kingman and opened Roy Dunton Motors.
In 1972, Scott Dunton came back from college and went into business with Roy at Dunton Motors. They built a new dealership on Stockton Hill Road in 1980. In 1985, Scott Dunton and Jerry Slonsky bought out Roy and Peggy and changed it to Sun Country Motors. Scott and Jerry sold out to Findlay Nolte in 1996. The Duntons sold over 30,000 vehicles.
Roy Dunton started Dunton & Dunton, Dunton Motors Dream Machines, Dunton Motors in Bullhead City (operated by Shane Dunton), with his son Scott Dunton. They built and leased Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner and Root Beer. He started Walnut Creek Development and Walnut Creek Water Company with Scott and Dennis and Doris Sim.
Roy Dunton has been Mr. Republican for the last 60 years. He has been state and county chairman and assistant treasurer multiple times. He was chairman, fundraiser and chief cook for 50 years of Republican picnics. His walls are covered with pictures of him, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush Sr. and Jr., Bob Dole, Gerald Ford, Barry Goldwater, Bob Stump, Sam Steiger, Trent Franks, John McCain, Jon Kyl, Steve Forbes, Joe Arpaio, Jan Brewer and on and on. A true conservative his whole life.
Organizations he belonged to include: Arizona Auto Dealers – president, vice-president, trustee, along with being the first Time Magazine Quality Dealer ever picked from Arizona; Elks Exalted Ruler – oldest living; a lifetime member of the Masonic Lodge; the county chairman of the Republican Party many times; state chairman of the Republican Party; Mr. Republican Awards; a Rotary member; chairman and co-chairman of the Republican Picnic for numerous years; assistant treasurer of the Republican Party; vice chairman of the state Republican Party; economic planning and development; and the Mohave County Economic Development Association.
He had a life well-lived with great friends, great employees, great customers and a great family.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Peggy Josephine Dunton. They were married for 66 years and lived in the same home for 61 years. Her life was a life well-lived and his is the second life well-lived. He survived her death for 19 months without her. During that time he spread her ashes at the Lady of the Rockies. He went to Spokane and stayed at the Davenport Hotel and visited the bar where he worked as a 12-17-year-old. He saw his old house where he walked two miles every night after work and found his grandparents’ home. He visited his old friends in Phoenix and went fishing in Utah and numerous times for fishing days at Dunton Ranch.
Even after he was on hospice and had cancer, he still made it to the fishing days, the Republican picnic, Mr. D’z and his 95th birthday party.
You can’t keep a good man down. Cathy Hodges, Scott’s girlfriend, Darlene Murphy and Bonnie Sanders took wonderful care of Roy. He was treated like a king and loved every day. His masseuse, Jane McArthur, and his acupuncturist Barbara Dorf kept him going. KRMC Hospice ladies Sara, Linda, Patricia and Helen were gifts from God. Azan Khan, Harris Salim and their staff kept him alive and were wonderful.
He is survived by his son, Scott Roy Dunton and his girlfriend Cathy Hodges, his beloved daughter Debra Jo Dunton, his beloved granddaughter Toni Jo Blake, grandson Scotty Dunton and his girlfriend Dawn Schmitt, great grandsons Alek Dunton, Aden Dunton, grandson Shane Dunton, great grandsons Colton Dunton, Chase Dunton, Kyle Dunton, granddaughter Shelby Coston and husband Gary Coston, great granddaughter McKenna Coston and great grandson Bryce Coston, granddaughter Shauna Campbell and husband Matt Campbell, great grandsons Jack Campbell, Cruz Campbell, Callan Campbell and great granddaughter Caia on the way.
Roy Dunton led a wonderful life with a wonderful wife and leaves an amazing legacy with his family and all the friends and people that knew him. He was on Route 66 for 79 years. He loved Kingman and could have gone to Vegas, Phoenix or California and had huge dealerships and made a lot more money. It was never important; he loved Kingman and its people.
We will celebrate his life with lots of food and pictures at 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, at the Old Elks building. It will be a potluck; BYOB. Anyone who knew Roy is welcome. We are making lots of meat, potatoes and coleslaw, so bring your favorite dish. No flowers please; donations may be made to our local Route 66 Association of Kingman.