Dale Stevens, Age 91 passed away Thursday 28 February, 2013 at a Watertown hospital.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, March 7, 2013 from 5-7 PM at the Furness Funeral Home at Clark and after 9 AM in the funeral home chapel on Friday.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, March 8, 2013 at 10:30 AM in the Furness Funeral Home Chapel at Clark with The Reverend Roger Shepherd officiating. Music will be presented by Dorothy Fuller as pianist with special music by Darci, Emma and Grace Adams singing "There is a Coming Day". The flag will be presented by the South Dakota Army National Guard Honors Detail Team following the chapel services. Full military honors will be provided by the Cagley-Smith American Legion Post #60 of Clark at Rose Hill Cemetery in the spring. Casketbearers in the spring will be all of his grandchildren.
Cyril Dale Stevens (Dale) was born on January 21, 1922 in Day Township, the only son of Henry Cyril (Tuffy) and Mary Stevens. Dale and three sisters, Marbeth, Darlene and Beverly all attended school in Mt. Pleasant Township as the family had moved to another farm with a larger house. Dale learned to drive at an early age, chauffeuring his paternal grandparents in their Model T Ford. Herding a neighbor’s cattle and earning 25 cents a day was an early job. Growing older and stronger, he picked potatoes and sheared sheep while planning a future career of owning his own trucking business. Those plans were put on hold as Uncle Sam called and he was inducted into the army at Ft. Snelling in September 1944.
Now married (Wilma Fischer on December 1, 1941 in Beadle County, SD) with a small boy (Sheldy) and an infant girl (Karen), Dale spent 16 weeks of training at Camp Hood, TX. PFC Rifleman, Stevens was then transferred to Ford Ord. California and subsequently shipped to the Japanese island of Okinawa as part of the “Deadeye” Infantry Division. Our soldiers paid a heavy toll in taking Okinawa with nearly 49,000 killed or wounded. Dale was hit by sniper fire as he went for water while his squad was pinned down. He lay critically wounded, paralyzed and with no medical attention until the following day.
After surgery, he was flown to Letterman Hospital in San Francisco and later moved to DeWitt General Hospital in Auburn, CA where he received care until his honorable discharge in December 1945. He was awarded a Purple Heart, a Combat Infantry Badge, and an Asian Pacific Ribbon with Bronze Star. At 23 years of age, partially paralyzed and told that he would not walk again, he returned to Clark.
Within a few months however, he was walking with a cane, purchased a used Dodge truck and began a life’s work that he was so aptly suited for and loved. Having been born with an innate understanding of all things mechanical, he drove truck, serviced and repaired much of the equipment himself. His trucking business grew, to include multiple semi and straight-trucks as did his family (Randy and Scott). He was known for his promptness and industrious persona and wry humor. While driving, he was fond of listening to country music, especially Marty Robbins and the pleasure of a cigar, most often unlit.
For entertainment, Dale enjoyed playing cards, particularly poker and was quite adept with the harmonica. He was also fond of hunting and fishing during his younger years. He always enjoyed working with horses; breaking, training, sketching.
In 1975, after enduring decades of severe, chronic pain from his war injury, Dale sold the trucking business, keeping only a gooseneck stock trailer to ease into retirement. Retirement was hard for him as he missed driving and contact with the many farmers/ranchers that he had hauled livestock and grain for over the years.
With age and health failing, Dale moved into the Fay Wookey Assisted Living Center in February of 2009 and Golden Living Center in March of 2011.
Preceding him in death were his parents, a sister, Darlene (Alvin) Wika and a brother-in-law, Normal Wika.
Proud to have shared in his life is his wife of some 72 years, Wilma of Clark, children, Sheldy (Jean) Stevens of Clark, Karen (Russell) Eliason of Winston-Salem, NC, Randy Stevens of Clark and Gary Stevens of Jordan, MN, 10 grandchildren, Brad, Darci, Inga, Heidi, Eric, John, Jeff, Lee, Dan and Joe and 13 great grandchildren. He also leaves sisters, Marbeth Wika and Beverly (Don) Kluess all of Clark.
Funeral arrangements are announced by the Furness Funeral Home at Clark where there is an on-line registry at www.furnessfuneralhome.com
Born: January 21, 1922
Place of Birth: Clark, SD
Death: February 28, 2013
Place of Death: Watertown, SD USA
Hobbies: playing cards
This memorial provided by:
Furness Funeral Home