Dale Michael Cihi of Norwalk, CT passed away unexpectedly on February 2, 2014 at the age of 60.
Born on January 11, 1954, the son of Robert Cihi and Nancy Reith, he was the second of four sons. Dale was a clever kid, full of energy and always up to something: an adventurer, an entertainer, an inventor, a camp counselor, a Boy Scout. His childhood was full of shenanigans, pyrotechnics, music, pets, and highly sophisticated practical jokes. In many ways, Dale was Peter Pan - he never grew up.
Dale graduated from Edgemont High School in Scarsdale, NY in 1972 and pursued his artistic passions at SUNY Purchase where he earned a BFA in Film in 1977. There he met the love of his life, Kathy Whitten, his 'ballerina' of Larchmont, NY. On a rainy summer afternoon in 1981, Dale and Kathy were married. In 1982, they settled in Norwalk, CT in a beautiful cobbler's house from the 1700s which became their home for over 30 years.
In 1985, Dale's son Justin Charles was born. Krysta Carroll, Dale's "Goose" followed in 1988. Dale's children were his right and left arms. He gave them stories. He gave them their sense of humor. He gave them infinite love.
Dale's creative enthusiasm drove his life, from his high school theatre days, to his independent films (including the renowned "Big Duck"), to the start his career working on IMAX films for Francis Thompson and numerous other freelance endeavors.
In 1983, Dale founded Videofilm Systems, Inc, a company ever-evolving over the course of Dale's career in the television and video production industry. Dale was a master of adapting to new technologies, embracing each new development as it came with excitement and skill. His background was diverse and extensive, encompassing hands-on experience in virtually all technical aspects of film and video production. His most recent niche was in large screen projection, monitor and LED wall installations. He was also responsible for the creation of STAGE 18, Norwalk's only film and video sound stage for over 20 years.
His projects took him all over the country and the world to collaborate with leading designers and virtually all major television networks. Dale's unique talents can be seen on some of the largest most stylized television studios in existence today, both nationally and internationally. His work can be seen at ABC World News, NBC Nightly News, CBS This Morning, The View, The Chew, The Colbert Report and CNN as well as in studios in Africa, Egypt and Canada. Dale was a creative innovator, unsurpassed in his field - he and his team made things happen when others could not. A fixture in the industry, Dale was completely devoted to his craft. He was loyal and dedicated, standing behind his work from start to finish. He was a loved and respected colleague and a mentor to many.
Dale was a thrill-seeker, a fun-lover, a grown-up kid. No challenge was too great, and there was nothing he couldn't fix with a little gaffer tape and Velcro. He loved animals, from his guinea pig Wiggles to his 'faithful hound' Kelly, who has been waiting impatiently for him in heaven. Dale was at home on the water, whether diving 100 feet under the ocean, jumping waves on his jet ski, or kayaking on the lake behind his office. Dale sang his way through life; no day was complete without his favorite Broadway show tunes. Always full of surprises and special effects, fireworks were a given for any holiday, birthday, family gathering, or even mundane day at the office.
Dale's generosity was boundless, contributing his time and talent and expertise to many local organizations. Whether it was a fundraising event, a concert or a school theatre production that sought his help (including making Peter Pan 'fly' at Greens Farms Academy where his children attended school), he never said no to helping make magic happen for others.
Dale is survived by his wife, Kathy and children Justin and Krysta; parents, Robert Cihi and Nancy Reith; brothers, Guy and wife Keiko, Kurt and wife Helen; aunt, Jill Maguire; and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews. He was preceded in death by his older brother Rob. Wherever Dale was on the globe, family was his center, his balance, his love.
Dale was a one-of-a-kind human being and crammed the energy of countless lifetimes into one extraordinary sixty-year adventure, filled with family, friends, laughter, and fun. Dale was bigger than life and his legacy and spirit will live on. He will be greatly missed.
A celebration of Dale's life will take place on Saturday, February 15 at 2:00 PM at Christ & Holy Trinity Church in Westport, CT with a reception to follow.
Donations in memory of Dale may be made to the National Symphony Orchestra (Contact 202.416.8058 or firstname.lastname@example.org.) To leave an online condolence please go to, www.magnerfuneralhome.com