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Death of a legend: Target visionary, arts benefactor Bruce Dayton dies at 97

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Bruce Dayton, a co-founder of Target and father of Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, has died at the age of 97.

Gov. Dayton announced in a statement that his father died on Friday morning.

According to the Star Tribune, Dayton was one of five brothers who inherited the Dayton Co. Nicollet Avenue department store and used it "as the foundation to build what is now Target Corp."

The brothers took over in 1950 and expanded the Dayton's brand to Rochester and later the Twin Cities suburbs in the 1950s, the Target website says, before launching the iconic Target brand in the early 1960s. It has since grown to be one of the biggest retail chains in the country.

He was the subject of a New York Times profile in 2009 to mark his contribution to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, of which he has been a board member since 1942.

His love of art was evident in his role as the former head of the Dayton Hudson Corp., which in 2000 was renamedTarget Corp., which has become one of the nation's "more generous corporate arts supporters," the newspaper notes.

MPR describes him as "one of the most influential Minnesotans of the 20th Century," also highlighting contributions made to the development of the Walker Arts Center and other cultural institutions.

"The scope of Mr. Dayton’s philanthropy and the depth of his commitment to the MIA are without parallel," William Griswold, former Director and President of the MIA, says on the MIA website.

"His generosity goes beyond his service of sixty-five years. He always has been ... an active board member helping us to shape one of the finest art museums in the country. We are tremendously grateful for all that Mr. Dayton has given to us," Griswold said.

Forbes notes that Dayton, along with his brother Kenneth Dayton, retired from the Dayton-Hudson board of directors in 1983, ending over 80 years of Dayton involvement in the company. Forbes estimates the Dayton family's wealth at $1.6 billion.

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