Dale Howard

dale howard
Dale Howard, 95, passed away on Monday, December, 26, 2016 in Hospice with the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Fargo, North Dakota. Dale George Howard was born on January 14, 1921 in Seneca Kansas to Adrian and Flossie (Richardson) Howard. He studied Engineering for 2 years at Peru State College in Tecumseh, Nebraska before enrolling at the Naval School of Music in Washington, DC in 1942 to support the war effort. After graduation, he was deployed as a member of an ensemble to serve aboard the USS North Carolina in the South Pacific until conclusion of the war. Dale continued his education at the University of Nebraska earning a Bachelor of Science in both Business Administration and Economics. On August 31, 1946 he married the love of his life, Frances "Bobbie" Cleary. They worked side by side for more than 60 years raising kids and renovating family homes in the Fargo area and West McDonald Lake, Minnesota. He worked as Drapery Manager at Coleman's Furniture in Fargo for almost 10 years before joining the Fargo Post Office for more than 20 years to retirement. But, it was his musical career which allowed Dale to live his dream for more than 83 years as a performing musician. He played with Tex Beneke and the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Tommy Dorsey, and Artie Shaw as well as performances with fellow sailors in the Navy Band in Hawaii, Philippines, and the China Sea. During Fargo years he was active in performing with George Schoen Orchestra, Mel Eidsmoe Dance Orchestra, and his own Wally Howard Band. Dale's participation as a saxophone and clarinet musician continued throughout his life and until earlier this year he continued with local favorites. Bands during his Fargo years included: The Red River Valley Veterans Concert Band, El Zagal Imperials Big Dance Band, El Zagal Shriner's Circus Band, The Fargo Elks Band, The FM Kicks Big Band, Bucks Bandits,The Pelican Rapids Community Band, Lake Agassiz Concert Band, The German Band, The Band of Faith, and the Fargo Theatre All Star Band. He considered all band members as extended family with the common goal of making GREAT music. He is preceded in death by wife Bobbie, son Larry, daughter Mary, parents Adrian and Flossie, and brothers Dean and Derald. Dale is survived by children Chere Howard of Bloomington, Indiana, John Howard (Joyce) of Fargo, Beth Funk (Brian) of Moorhead, Shayne Jacobson (Brian) of Fergus Falls, and Daughter-in-law Sally Howard of Charleston, South Carolina; grandchildren Chris Swanson (Kelsey Riggan), Ben Swanson (Sarah Wyatt Swanson), Damien Howard, Jesse Howard, Nicole Splichal (Matt Splichal), Katie Howard, Alex Howard, Jonathan Funk, Lauren Funk, and great grandchildren Karmella Splichal, Matthew Splichal, Ellen Swanson, and Virgil Swanson, as well as many friends. Visitation Services will be held from 5-7 PM with a prayer service at 7 PM on Friday, December 30, 2016 at Boulger Funeral Home in Fargo with Funeral on Saturday at 2:00 PM, December 31, 2016, also at Boulger Funeral Home. Military Honors will be provided by the American Legion. Dale will be interred with his wife Bobbie at a later date at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Little Falls, Minnesota. Special thanks to Dr Eunah Fischer, nurses, Hospice staff, and health care providers of the VA Medical Center in Fargo for their tender loving care in treating Dale with dignity and compassion.

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  1. Dale was my friend–he will be dearly missed. Man, would love to do one more bus trip together. He was a true pal, not to mention a role model for playing that horn. I cherish our conversations.


  3. Howard Family – we are deeply sorry for the loss of your father and grandfather, we will always remember him as ‘Grandpa’ Howard and never forget the special memories our children had with him while attending Joyce’s Daycare. Prayers to you all.

  4. Dear Howard cousins,
    With Uncle Dale’s passing we bid farewell to the last spouse of the grand John and Catherine Cleary family. He kept us connected with his faithful presence at family events and celebrations like weddings and funerals. His kindly smile and gentle drawl were always there–95 years! What an incredible life we celebrate today with cherished memories of a dear father and uncle!! He can rest now feeling confident in his passing that he nobly represented his generation to the end. Uncle Dale, please say hello for us to Aunt Bobbie and everyone else in heaven! Have a grand 1940’s style jamboree with your sax and clarinet and all our loved ones:-)!!

    Your niece and goddaughter, Regina Cleary Mandy

  5. I played with Dale in Pelican Rapids, and he definitely made me feel like part of”his” family. He gave me a great big hug every time he saw me, which was sometimes not very often! He made me feel so special! I just loved and admired him for not only that, but for his wonderful knowledge and ability to play his music! I will miss him. ❤❤

  6. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dale’s family.

    What a very special man, and an amazing couple! Our family was blessed to know them both. I have such fond memories of lake time with them for over 25 years. Dale would surprise me with hand made garden decorations. My husband would contribute to the “button wall” in their cabin. Dale would bring me apples and I’d make them pies. They were such a joy to spend time with! He will be missed by the lake community, especially by us.

    Chris Balch & Tom Sierzega

  7. Dale was a wonderful man; a gifted musician, always a warm greeting, and a man living/loving life to its fullest. He brought us all laughter, great music, and most/best of all, friendship. He was a gentleman, respectful and kind, but had a spunk to him as well. We’d all laugh when after he’d gotten himself settled in for a concert, and someone decided chairs had to be moved around, he’d pipe right up….’if I move one more time, I’m leaving!’. We’d laugh, he’d smile. And he never stayed sitting for the service corp songs when the Navy song was played; he’d stand right up like a beacon of pride! His music was simply golden to the ear.

    His dedication to play in the band in these past several years was so admirable too. Rarely he missed a concert, even the road trips which would get quite late at night on the return. But then there always seemed to be somewhat of a competition as to who would get to sit with him on the bus…wonder if that was some special motivation for Dale! :))))

    Lord knows how much he’ll be missed; he was our icon of excellence! Rest in peace Dale; your journey home is now done.

  8. I met Dale 4 1/2 yrs ago at the frying pan. Over the yrs we became veey close. Everytime he walked through those doors i would great him with a smile and a big hug, which in return i got the hugest smile and a kiss on the cheek . we will miss you dale till we meet again at the gates of heaven! Love you!!😊

  9. Dear Chere, Beth, John, and Shayne; I am so sorry your Dad has passed away. I remember well Uncle Dale’s kindness and big smile. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Cousin Marcello (Molly) Dubourt

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