JOHN M. DALTON was born in Vernon County, Missouri on November 9, 1900. His education was attained at Columbia High School, and at the University of Missouri, where he earned a law degree in 1923. He established his legal career, serving as the Kennett city attorney, a position he held from 1944 to 1953. He also served as the attorney to the Missouri Rural Electrification Cooperative Act. Dalton first entered politics in 1952, serving as the attorney general of Missouri, an office he held eight years. He next secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor on November 8, 1960. He was inaugurated on January 9, 1961. During his tenure, the Ozark national riverway was created; seat belt legislation was enacted; a new national park was lobbied for; funding was secured for a new state highway patrol headquarters; stricter driving laws were enforced; and school desegregation issues were dealt with. After completing his term, Dalton left office on January 11, 1965 and retired from political life. Governor John M. Dalton passed away on July 7, 1972, and was buried in the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Kennett, Missouri.