Ralph E. Dale, 90, of Great Falls, died of leukemia and pneumonia Tuesday, Dec. 4, while he and his wife Betty were visiting her children and families in Longmont, Colo., over Thanksgiving.
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A private family service is planned for later this month.
Ralph was born in Climax, Minn., to Helmer and Betsy (Hanson) Dale, the second of five children. He grew up in that area until in his late teens he traveled to Los Angeles with his brother Gordon. He returned to Minnesota to say good bye to his mother before being drafted. He became a combat engineer and traveled to Scotland and England, before building air strips in France just after D-Day. He was very proud of his service to his country and had a war story for almost anyone he met. After World War II, he returned to Southern California, where he met and married Jeanette Dozier in San Bernardino. They then traveled to Polk County, Minn., to farm in the Red River Valley. Two children were born there, Steven and Melissa. In 1958, the family moved to a farm outside Dutton then to Choteau the next year. Ralph and Jan divorced in 1966. Ralph remained in Choteau working as a carpenter and heavy equipment operator. In 1973, he married the love of his life, Betty Heiman, and moved into her home in Great Falls. They lived there for the next 39 years,
Ralph was especially proud of his service in the Army. His greatest pleasures were fishing and working on his "Diggins" near the Dearborn River with his special lady. Together they caught many fine fat rainbows in Holter, Nilan and various rivers along the eastern Front. He prided himself on his mastery of trolling.
Ralph was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Gordon and Helmer; and sister Grace.
His remaining sister, Mildred, lives in Halsted, Minn. His beloved wife is presently in Colorado. Son Steve (Cheri) lives in Cascade and daughter Melissa lives in Sun Valley, Nev. Stepsons Errol (Jeanie) and Kim (Julie) reside in the Denver area. Stepdaughters Gail and Kathy live in Texas. Ralph and Betty have numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Condolences may be posted online at www.gftribune.com/obituaries.
Published in Great Falls Tribune on Dec. 12, 2012