Dale Rickabaugh, 92, passed away on May 4, 2019, in Globe, Ariz., from natural causes. He was born on June 29, 1926 to Claude and Hazel Rickabaugh in Le Mars, Iowa, the second to youngest of 10 children. Growing up in the Great Depression meant he and his siblings were joined in work and play to keep the household running.
His father was an ace mechanic from whom Dale learned about engines inside and out, as well as developing a love of working on gadgets, such as old clocks.
Both his father and maternal grandfather were crack shots, competing in shooting contests.
His father would not allow carrying a loaded shotgun when bird hunting — if you couldn’t flush, load, and bring down your bird, you shouldn’t be out there with a gun.
In 1943, Dale was old enough to follow four of his brothers into military service, joining the U. S. Navy in 1944.
His ship, the Nehenta Bay (CVE-74), an aircraft carrier, saw service in the Pacific.
Refrigeration was Dale’s specialty, important in the tropics to keep the pilot’s ready room cool and the food lockers running.
After an honorable discharge in 1947, Dale returned home to work and attend the local college, Westmar.
There he attained a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and met Mary Lou Roberts. They married in 1950. Dale worked as a roustabout on oil rigs in Kansas run by his father-in-law, Jesse Roberts.
Called back into active service in 1951 in the Korean conflict, Dale was assigned to the USS Zelima due to his refrigeration experience, despite his now having a wife and baby son.
He was honorably discharged in 1952, returning to work for the Cities Service Oil Company. A daughter was born a year later and the family moved to New Jersey in 1957.
Dale was still with Cities Service, now as personnel manager at a refinery. The company moved the family to Oklahoma eight years later.
In 1970 came another move, this time to Arizona, where the company had bought into a copper mine. Dale gamely drove from Oklahoma to Arizona with wife and daughter, hauling the daughters’ two horses she refused to leave behind.
His son was away at college. As a labor relations negotiator for the mine, Dale continued in the position even as the mine changed owners.
When he retired, he and Mary Lou helped start the hospital auxiliary as well as Dale joined the hospital board of directors.
Following retirement, Dale and Mary Lou bought a motor home and each year visited all around the U.S., including Alaska, Canada and Mexico.
They also traveled with Elderhostel on trips to Europe, Egypt, Africa and the Holy Land.
Both he and Mary Lou became baptized members of the Central Heights Baptist Church in Globe.
They were very involved in youth group activities and enjoyed their church family. This was especially important when Mary Lou passed away in 2010.
Volunteering in the Eastern Arizona Alcoholics Recovery Center kept Dale involved in helping people, in addition to his position on the board of the Miami School District, and giving support to the High Desert Humane Society.
Dale is survived by son Warren; daughter-in-law Bertha; grandchildren Ramsey and Selene; great-grandsons Wyatt, Blake and Clarke; and daughter Cathryn Tilly; son-in-law Fred Tilly; and grand-dog Tazzy.
Dale’s life was defined by devotion to family, God, duty to country and community, and with a grand sense of curiosity about the world and finally, to having fun.
Memorial services are pending for October at the Central Heights Baptist Church with a service and internment at the VA National Cemetery in Phoenix. Date to be announced.
Memorial donations can be made to the High Desert Humane Society, P.O. Box 383, Claypool, AZ, 85532.
For more information, especially about his military service, please refer to the article in the June 8, 2011 Copper Country News by Ed Kuehneman.
The family was assisted by Bulman Miles Funeral Services Globe. Guestbook can be signed at www.BulmanMiles.com.