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After passing the Missouri Bar he returned to southern Missouri, establishing a law practice in Kennett, where he also served as city attorney from 1944-53. John Dalton and his wife Geraldine were the parents of two children. Dalton died July 7, 1972 in Jefferson City, Missouri and is buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Kennett.
Dalton in 1963
John Dalton first entered statewide politics in 1952, running for and winning the first of two consecutive terms as Missouri Attorney General. In November 1960 Dalton won election to be Missouri's 45th Governor, his term running from January 9, 1961 to January 11, 1965.
Gubernatorial highlights: Governor Dalton signed legislation requiring all passenger vehicles in Missouri to have seat belts, and established a drivers license points system for traffic violations. Other actions including securing funding for a new headquarters for the Missouri Highway Patrol, creation of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, and furthering desegregation of Missouri schools.
The Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center at the University of Missouri is named for the late Governor.
A portion of U.S. Highway 412 in Dunklin County bears the name "Governor John M. Dalton Memorial Highway."
Gov. Dalton was a Master Mason, serving as Grand Orator for the Grand Lodge of Missouri