Dale Laverne Edlund
Dale, 84 years young, surrounded by family and friends, lost a tough battle with cancer Tuesday, May 30, 2017. Born Jan. 30, 1933 in Edgerton, Minnesota, to Henry and Esther (Wilhelmson) Edlund. One of five children, brothers Harry and Leroy, and sisters Mary Lou and lone.
Dale attended school in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Dale attended Bob Wright Flight School in Williston, North Dakota, where he did his solo flight in a J-3 Cub in 1950 at the age of 17. Then Dale joined the Air Force and was known to his fellow squad members as “Shorty.” He served in the Korean War as a Jet Mechanic on F-86 Sabres for the 7th Fighter Bomber Squad, Screamin’ Demons/as” Fighter Bomber Wing. K-2 Taegu, Korea, 1952-1953. He was in Korea during the signing of the cease fire and the Mig Defect. Dale attended Northrop Aeronautical Institute 1960-1963.
In 1955, Dale married Jeanne Merrill and they had four children, Norman, Linda, Betty and Ellen. And in 1988, married Ella Thompson and raised his stepsons, Tyler and Travis. Dale also had eight grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. He loved children and he was a kid-magnet.
Dale helped many aircraft companies including working for Denny Lynch at Lynch Air Tankers and even started his own companies, Billings Aircraft and Edlund Engineering. He flew spray planes for Ernie Downs, and Gerhardt Blain before spraying for Charles Trower Aviation for 40 years. He flew until the age of 82. Dale was one of the oldest crop-dusters in the U.S.A. Dale also worked with his son Tyler to open Thompson Aircraft Repair.
Dale loved the plains and farmlands of Northeastern, which he truly called home. He loved the agriculture industry. Dale loved hunting, fishing, and the game of golf. He played in many tournaments and taught Norm and friends the gentleman’s game. He also enjoyed bowling, and all card games, most of all poker. But nothing compared to having coffee with his aircraft buddies at 6:30 a.m., at the Muzzleloader Cafe.
Dale was confirmed in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, in 1944. He attended Faith Chapel in Billings, and loved going bible study with his sons, Norm and Tyler on Wednesday nights. He was a member of the Quiet Birdman, the United Federation of Octogenarians and the VFW. And he had numerous golf memberships.
He was an innovator, in mechanics and aviation in general. His philosophy in mechanics, “if you can’t repair it better than new, don’t mess with it.” He loved aviation. A close friend wrote,” Dale was an outstanding mechanic and an incredible pilot.” We have no idea how many flight hours or how many aircraft he had put in the air, but the numbers would be amazing. To Dale though, they were just numbers. He wasn’t one to brag or seek any kind of recognition for his accomplishments. Dale was the true definition of humble and kind. Our aviation community has truly been blessed by Dale.
Dale is with many of his “old buddies” and we can bet he’s making many new friends. From his family, thank you everyone who knew and loved Dale. He will truly, always and forever be loved and missed.
Dale didn’t want a funeral, as he said, “they are too stuffy, have a party!” Dale’s celebration of life will be held Friday, June 30, starting at 6 p.m., at the Blain’s Shop, 6309 Jellison Rd. Please come join us to celebrate this wonderful man, and bring your stories, there will be many.