Cover photo for David Wilson Dale's Obituary
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1937 David 2020

David Wilson Dale

May 24, 1937 — July 16, 2020

David W. Dale was born on May 24, 1937 in Helena, Montana. He passed away on with his wife at his side on July 16, 2020.

He graduated from Helena High School in 1955. After graduation, he attended the University of Montana for one year. In 1956, he enlisted in the Marine Corps. While serving in the Marines, and being somewhat intelligent, David received an appointment to NAVCAD (Naval Aviation Cadet) in Pensacola, FL. He completed his pre-flight courses and finished military obligations in the Navy.

After being honorably discharged, David returned to the University of Montana, where he failed miserably for two quarters. Then a miracle, he met his future wife, Donna Smatlan, at a dance at St. Patricks’ School of Nursing. They were married February 13, 1960 and continued to dance for the next 60 years.

David continued his education at the U of M receiving a B.A. in English and Minor in in Spanish in 1962. At intervals, David would return to the U of M and earned a M.A. in the Method of Teaching English and M.A. in Creative Writing. He also continued to work toward a B.A. in Spanish as a T.A. (teaching assistant) He was certified to instruct students in Spanish from Kindergarten through high school.

After completing B.A. in English, David taught high school English and Spanish in Oregon and Washington. David and his family returned to Montana in 1969. In 1970, David continued his teaching career at Ronan High School. David was a high school teacher for 36 years, and he loved the subjects he taught. After 37 years at Ronan, David retired in 1999.

David was also a poet, having published five collections of poetry. He did many poetry readings throughout western Montana.

David is preceded in death by his father Myron Arbie Dale and his mother Dona Wilson Dale Frances Betzner.

He is survived by his wife Donna and three sons, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

At David’s request, there will be no services. Donations may be made to the Creative Writing Program at the University of Montana or to the charity of your choice.
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