Dale Leonard Thelen

Dale Leonard ThelenDale 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.

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8 Messages to “Dale Leonard Thelen

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Margaret Fowler
February 9, 2016 at 6:17 am

I have many wonderful memories of Dale and his family. We had many wonderful weekends at Higgins Lake, and I will never forget the Friday night mixed bowling league. What a great time we had bowling and playing cards. We never failed to go to Schafers at 1 in the morning to get hamburgers and French fries! Then there were the trips to Las Vegas…. Great times. May he rest in peace.

Bill Bengel
February 9, 2016 at 9:36 am

Our prayers and condolences are extended to Dale’s family. Dale was an excellent employee and an outstanding performer in the GM Lansing operations. We also appreciate his service to our Country.

Bill Bengel, Lansing Operations Material Director

Carolle Gross
February 9, 2016 at 11:24 am

Sending our Love and Prayers to the Thelen Family. RIP fellow “Pirate”, you will be very much missed.

Lyle Leatherbery
February 9, 2016 at 4:22 pm

Deepest Condolences to Dale’s family & friends …. Worked with Dale in the Tri-level Shipping Area and he wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty even if he was helping the loading process or helping cleaning rail switches in the Winter for the Railroad … He worked hard and played hard … General Motors was very lucky to have him as a leader… Dale was a great Marine and we will miss him … God Speed ‘ol Buddy ——“OOH-RAH” …..

Bill & Marilyn Dellar
February 9, 2016 at 7:49 pm

So sorry to hear about the loss of a friend and classmate from 1965. I have some fond memories of Dale. Our sincere thoughts go to the family during this great time of loss.

Carole Wilson-Barker
February 10, 2016 at 10:08 am

So sorry for your loss. I knew Dale from working with him at GM. He was a great guy. My husband died in 2012 also from agent orange he got while serving in the Marines. I know what you are going through.
My thoughts and prayers are with your family. RIP Dale.

Kenn Thelen
February 10, 2016 at 12:54 pm

RIP to my cousin, classmate, & fellow Vietnam vet.
I’m glad that Betsy & I were able to attend our 50th class reunion, and we were able to visit & reminisce.

Long Beach, California is probably still recovering from our weekend in in ’68!! Who says sailors & marines can’t get along!

I’ll see you when I get there!

JC Stoll
February 10, 2016 at 10:41 pm

Sorry for your loss. I knew Dale from Upper Evans lake. What a great guy that I always enjoyed talking with. I will miss seeing him at the lake. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family.


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