Dale Staley passed away May 31st, 2014 in Juneau, AK. He was born May 4, 1947 to Fred and Donna Staley in Frankfort, Indiana. Dale fought a courageous battle against cancer for the past 10 months. He was a good man, loved husband and father taken far too soon from the people, activities and the job he loved.
Growing up close to Indianapolis, Dale was introduced to cars at a very young age, and his love of anything cars continued throughout his life. His first car was a Model A, but his favorite was his "baby boy", a VW bug painted as an octopus in shades of pink and purple, that he later drove to Alaska in 1974. Dale was a drag racer during his teenage and early adult years, racing at local Indiana tracks and Indianapolis Raceway Park. His trophies were an indication of his love for the sport and his success. He continued to spend his Sunday afternoons watching drag racing on TV and reminiscing about the early days of racing and its cast of characters. Dale also took NASCAR racing lessons from Buck Baker at Rockingham Speedway in North Carolina. His sense of adventure continued after moving to Alaska where he took up scuba diving and earned his pilot's license. He and his wife enjoyed flying their plane to Skagway and Gustavus.
Education defined Dale's life, earning his Bachelors and Masters Degree in Education from Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas in 1971 and 1972 respectively; and his Ph.D in Education from Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas in 1974. Dale taught automotive classes in the Unified School District in Kansas from 1971-1974, taking time to also teach Career Education at Pittsburg State University in KS in 1972 and the University of Pittsburg, PA in 1973. On his arrival in Juneau in 1974 he was the Executive Director of the Alaska State Advisory Council on Vocational and Career Education. Taking a break from education from 1976- 1979, he became an Account Executive for Switzer Creek Mobile Home Sales. He and his best friend Mike Gefroh worked hard to sell many of the mobile homes in Juneau; including many humorous early TV ads to encourage sales. The old sales office can still be seen on the right hand side of Alaway Avenue as you travel towards the JPD. From 1979 to 1993 Dale was Chief of Staff to Juneau's Representative then Senator Jim Duncan working hard as part of a team to achieve positive changes for Juneau and Alaska residents. After the 1993 legislative session Dale returned to his education roots, accepting a position with the Southeast Regional Resource Center, SERRC, as an Education Specialist with responsibilities for Alaska Close Up, the Carl Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Consortium, and school district facility educational specifications for the design and renovation of schools throughout Alaska. During 1995 and 1996 Dale was a substitute teacher in the Juneau School District while attending UAS to complete an Endorsement in Technology. The following year he was Interim Director of the School of Career Education at UAS. During 1997 and 1998 while completing his Administrators Endorsement, he was substitute principal at Riverbend, Harborview and Glacier Valley Elementary Schools and Assistant Principal at Floyd Dryden Middle School. During the 1998-1999 school year Dale moved to Hydaburg to become the K-12 Principal. In 1999 Dale was hired by the Juneau School District to become the District Technology Coordinator and the following year became the Assistant Principal at JDHS, where he remained until 2012 when he became the Assistant Principal at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School. Dale was also a two-term elected School Board member from 1989-1995.
Dale believed in "Service Above Self" and was a member of the Juneau Gastineau Rotary Club, well known for his role as Sergeant-at-Arms and the mischievous sense of humor he brought to this responsibility for his club. Dale was also an original member of the Juneau Dipsticks, enabling him to bring his love of cars and education together through the Annual Juneau Dipsticks Classic, Custom & Antique Auto and Cycle Show, offering automotive students the opportunity to volunteer at the show with a portion of the funds dedicated to scholarships supporting youth interested in pursuing automotive related careers.
Dale is survived by his wife, Julie, and sons, Matthew and Timothy. He will also be greatly missed by relatives in Indiana and Australia and many friends.
A Celebration of his Life will be held Monday, June 16, 2014 at 3pm at the Juneau Douglas High School Auditorium with a reception to follow in the Commons. Friends and family are invited to attend and bring a finger food dessert or appetizer to share. Please consider wearing blue, Dale's favorite color.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Juneau Dipsticks, Dale Staley Memorial Scholarship Fund at any branch of the Alaska USA Credit Union, or a check can be mailed to P.O. Box 210223 Auke Bay, 99821, to support the education of youth interested in pursuing careers in automotive related trades.
Published in The Juneau Empire on June 8, 2014