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Dale Metcalf

1924 - 2014 Obituary Condolences

Dale Robert (Bob) Metcalf of Charlottesville, Virginia, 89, passed away peacefully Friday, January 31, 2014, in Everett, Washington.

He was born June 22, 1924, to Jesse Earl Metcalf (1895-1954) and Alice Lucinda (Freeman) (1897-1981) in the family farmhouse south of Ucon, Idaho. He was the fifth of seven children. He grew up in Ucon, and in 1939, he and his family moved to the Lost River Valley in Leslie, Idaho.

He loved to hunt and especially fish. He was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at age 15 after becoming involved in the Boy Scout program. Dale remained a faithful member throughout his whole life. His faith and testimony of the gospel were a light and example to all who knew him.

He graduated from Mackay High School on May 14, 1942. He was drafted February 15, 1943, at just 18 years of age. He served in the Army during WWII.

On Mother's Day, May 10, 1943, he set sail on the USS Thurston with the 442nd Anti-Aircraft Battalion to Mers El Kebir, Algeria. He was transferred to North Africa, to Italy, then to Turkey. He built up so much trust with the generals, they asked him to be their driver. In addition, he quickly learned enough of the French language that those in charge used him to help translate.

During his time in the service, he read the Book of Mormon and attributed his reading it to keeping him safe both physically and spiritually. On December 1, 1944, he was on the front lines in Western France. In 1945, he was honorably discharged and awarded a Bronze Star.

He attended Utah State Agricultural College. On a trip home to Idaho, he met and later married the love of his life, Melva Eliza Snarr, on January 25, 1946, in the Idaho Falls LDS Temple. They took a field experience opportunity with the forest service lookout on Pinyon Peak in southern Idaho to watch for and report forest fires that happened mostly during lightning storms. He later attended and graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in mathematics. He worked on the family farm and taught high school math for a short time in Mackay, Idaho.

From 1956 to 1964, Dale worked for the Phillips Petroleum Co. (National Reactor Testing Station) in Idaho. During this time, he also attended college classes in Idaho Falls, where he earned a master's degree in physics. It took 10 years to earn this degree while raising a family and with Melva helping run the farm. He received a National Nuclear Science and Engineering Fellowship from the University of Michigan to further his education.

In the summer of 1964, they moved their family of eight children to Michigan, and in 1967 he obtained his Ph.D. in nuclear science from the University of Michigan. In 1967, he moved his family of nine children to Charlottesville, Virginia, after accepting a position as an Acting Associate Professor of Nuclear Engineering at the University of Virginia. His tenth child was born in 1969. He was a respected and well-loved professor at the University of Virginia for 26 years.

He retired from teaching in 1993. Even after retiring, he became an enrolled agent with the IRS to serve as a volunteer tax preparer for seniors. He provided valuable assistance to those in need, and he also continued his love of learning.

He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Melva (Snarr) Metcalf, 85, of Charlottesville, Virginia; and their 10 children: Lorrinda (Douglas) Horning of Michigan, Corinne (Reginald) Wight of Washington, Brian (Rhonda) Metcalf of Texas, Rodney (Terry) Metcalf of Alaska, Anna (Kelly) Stecker of Washington, Robert (Sundi) Metcalf of Washington, Laurie (Johnny) Oliva of Virginia, David (Rauna) Metcalf of Washington, Tanya (Paul) Jensen of Arizona and Shawn (Kelley) Metcalf of Virginia. He was grandfather to 59 grandchildren and 111 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother and best friend, Lynn Jay Metcalf, 91, of Leslie, Idaho.

He was preceded in death by his siblings, Marvin Earl Metcalf (1916-1984), Verna Mary Moyer Knowlton (1917-1992), William Harold Metcalf (1920-1920), Alice Charmaine Anderson (1929-2007) and Gay Nelda Owens Young Stott (1935-2013).

The family is especially grateful for the loving care his daughter, Corrine Wight, gave him during the last few months of his declining health.

He was remembered in a funeral service at 11 a.m. Tuesday, February 18. Viewing was at 10 a.m. Tuesday at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1275 Timberwood Blvd. in Charlottesville. His final resting place is Holly Memorial Gardens, 3251 Seminole Trail in Charlottesville.

Family Tribute

Published in Post Register on Feb. 21, 2014
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