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Dale Poffenberger

Dale Poffenberger

May 22, 1928-July 6, 2014

Dale Larson Poffenberger, 86, of Detroit Lakes, died Sunday, July 6, 2014 at Essentia Health-Oak Crossing in Detroit


Dale was born with his twin brother Darrel on May 22, 1928, to Neil and Ida (Larson) Poffenberger in Kasson, Minn. He was baptized and confirmed at St. John's Lutheran Church. He graduated from Kasson High School in 1948 as a star athlete in football, basketball, and baseball. He enrolled in Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, where he spent just one year.

The Army was his next

venture. Dale served in the U.S. Army from 1951 to 1953. When he was honorably discharged he came back to Kasson and looked for a job that would be long term, stable, have good benefits, and chances for advancement. He found that in Peoples Natural Gas Co. He started as a serviceman and worked his way up to becoming district manager in the Pine City district. He helped pipe towns in northeast Minnesota, all along Highway 61 and as far north as Hoyt Lakes.

In 1971 he was transferred to Detroit Lakes, where he finished out his 40-year career with the company in 1993. The year before he was transferred to Sandstone, Minn., he started dating the love of his life, Kasson first grade teacher Dorothy Petersen from Fertile, Minn. In 1960 they married and moved to Hinckley.

The following year he was promoted to district manager, so they moved to Pine City. It was there that they started their family. They were blessed with four children, Terri Jo in 1962, Traci Lee in 1964, Jay Dale in 1965, and Jon Emil in 1970.

Dale was the recipient of many awards and recognitions from his employers at Peoples Natural Gas. He worked hard to reach and exceed his goals. He was an excellent company player and spokesperson. The company, as many of you know it now as; Minnesota Energy. It was truly a peoples' company.

Community-wise Dale served on several boards, including being named to a nine person Citizens Advisory Committee of a junior college to be located in the Cambridge area. He was active in all of the churches where he had lived, serving on the councils and committees. He also spearheaded a referendum to build a swimming pool in Pine City.

He was a charter member of the Pine City Lions Club and later transferred his membership to Detroit Lakes, where he received several award plaques including the coveted Melvin Jones Fellowship Award, in recognition of his commitment to serving the world community, and the Helen Keller Sight Award for sorting thousands of pairs of donated glasses to be sent to third world countries. He has held several offices within the club and has been a Lion for 47 years.

He also served several years on the Board of Directors of Emmanuel Nursing Home. In recognition of his volunteerism as vice President of that board and chairman of three other committees, he was awarded the Morton V. Bjorkquist Board Member of the Year in 1995 by the Board of Social Ministry. He had served since 1971.

In 1989 he was named Boss of the Year by his employees at Peoples Natural Gas Company. In

2003 he was given special recognition by the American Legion John Bridges Post 15 for being an American Legion member for 50 years.

Dale was a city alderman on the Detroit Lakes City Council for many years and served on nearly all of the committees associated with it. He was also nominated for Senior Citizen of the Year in 2001. Dale served on the Detroit Lakes Chamber Beautification Committee and for many years, and volunteered as a driver for Meals on Wheels.

He was also a volunteer for the American Cancer Society, setting up luminaries for Relay for Life events for 15 years.

His hobbies included bowling (on two leagues in Pine City), snowmobiling with family, a lifelong love of hunting and fishing. He was a guide for some of the governor's associates at the opening of the walleye fishing season here in Detroit Lakes in 1988.

Wood working was another one of his passions and talents. He made rocking horses, coffee tables, end tables, a round oak dining room table, a night stand, baby cribs, youth desks, children's rocking chairs, cedar chests, paper towel holders, small chairs with foot stools, toys, banana holders, knick-knack shelves, Christmas lawn displays, reindeer, Easter baskets, baseball bats, lawn benches and swings, wooden puzzle games, etc. Anything made from wood would be a new challenge for Dale to try to imitate.

Dale was always there when a need was seen. He loved planting trees both on "water tank hill" and at Dorothy's parent's farm. If the grass needed mowing, if snow needed shoveling, if a clean-up was needed following a big windstorm, if a fence needed painting, or work needed to be done at the church, Dale was there.

Dale was all this, plus being a dedicated and devoted husband, father, and grandfather. All four of his children have college degrees, three are in education and one is a computer program analyst for Medtronic. All of the kids have loving spouses and there are 13 living grandchildren, of whom Dale was so proud.

He also encouraged Dorothy to complete her four-year college degree and celebrated with her in 1990 when she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Minnesota State University Moorhead.

Dale Poffenberger, a truly amazing child of God! He is survived by his wife, Dorothy; two daughters, Terri (David) Hutchinson of Detroit Lakes and Traci (Charlie) Olson of Cottonwood, Minn.; two sons, Jay (Amber) Poffenberger of Big Lake and Jon (Karen) Poffenberger of Mission Viejo, Calif.; 13 grandchildren, Betsy, Robin, Rick, and Trisa Hutchinson, Bailee, Sidnee, Rilee, Lucee and Emree Olson and Mae, Kelli, Timothy and Erik Poffenberger; twin brother, Darrel (Lorraine) Poffenberger of Winona; sisters-in-law, Darlene Poffenberger of Kasson and Beverly Poffenberger of Syracuse, N.Y.; and several nieces and nephews.

Preceding him in death were his parents; two brothers, Clifford (Bud) and Gaylord Poffenberger; sister and brother-in-law, Norma and Vernon Bailey; infant sister, Jean; granddaughter, Emilee Olson; two nieces and four nephews.

Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Thursday, July 24 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes.

Visitation is from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, with a 7 p.m. prayer service, at West-Kjos Funeral Home in Detroit Lakes.

Interment is in Oak Grove Cemetery, Detroit Lakes.

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