Dale Leonard Thelen, age 69, completed his journey here on earth on February 7, 2016. He fought so very hard and courageously during his 3-year battle with cancer due to his exposure to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam. The son of Harold and Germaine (Snitgen) Thelen, Dale was born on Groundhog Day, February 2, 1947, at the family farm in Westphalia; he lived in Westphalia his entire life. Dale graduated with the great class of 1965 from Pewamo-Westphalia High School. After graduation he was drafted into the United States Marine Corps. Dale was a corporal attached to the 1st Marine Air Wing Company MABS-36, MAG 36 serving in Vietnam from March 17, 1966 to March 15, 1968. After his tour of duty Dale returned home and married Susan Feldpausch. Their union produced 3 children.
Dale worked at General Motors as a senior supervisor in the vehicle shipping department retiring April 1, 2004, after 38 years of service. He was lovingly known as “Brisbo.” He also received, unanimously, the “If it’s free, it’s for me” award presented by the chassis materials department. Dale earned his BA from Northwood University.
Dale was a member of St. Mary Catholic Church in Westphalia, the Catholic Order of Foresters, Knights of Columbus, and the St. Joseph Society.
Dale was preceded in death by his first wife, Susan, his parents, and very special niece Kristen Bierwagen. He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Barbara (McCoy) Thelen; sons, Derrick and wife Michelle, Ryan and wife Becky, Zachary Whitinger and wife Sara; daughter, Jacqui and husband Troy Nissen; 10 grandchildren, Joshua and Makayla Thelen, Bryce, Kiera, Brock and Kambrie Thelen, Kimberly Bowman, Hunter Whitinger, Daley and Laci Nissen; sister, Doreen and husband Richard Bierwagen; brothers, Al and wife Carol Thelen, and Glenn and wife Sandy Thelen; aunt, Donna Snitgen; many wonderful cousins; and mother-in-law, Evelyn Sheary of Godfrey, IL.
Dale loved attending his grandchildren’s sporting events. After retirement he spent many wonderful hours at the cottage on Big Evans Lake, fishing for (his favorite) pike and like every fisherman describing (to anyone who would listen) about that big one that got away. He loved playing cards, Bolo Ball (ladder golf), and just hanging out with his friends and family around his never-ending campfire. A huge thank you to his card playing and Bolo Ball-playing buddies Jerry & Darlene, Bob & Carla, Sandy, Tom & Sue, and Rick (who he was known to tip a few with), our weekend neighbors from Royal Oak, Bob, Donna, Aimee and Drew, and last but not least his brother, Al, for always being there at the lake to help him out. Thank you all for making his last few years so wonderful.
The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, February 11, 2016, at St. Mary Parish, 201 N. Westphalia St., in Westphalia. Interment will follow in St. Mary Cemetery. His family will receive friends at the St. Mary Funeral Chapel from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday with a 6:00 p.m. Rosary, and 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, where the Rosary will be prayed at 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in memory of Dale Thelen. Online condolences may be left for his family at www.EstesLeadley.com.