Sep 26th 1931 - Oct 19th 2010
There were two things that were unmistakable when it came to Dale Welton – his honesty and his integrity. He was a man of high moral convictions who stood firm on what he believed in. Dale could weave a story like no other and could turn even the most routine experience into a teachable moment. A sharp man with great wisdom, he was highly respected and accomplished in his field, yet he was never boastful. Dale was a dedicated father who took seriously the task of shaping the next generation, and the sons he raised became his greatest source of pride and joy. A man who came to fully embrace his faith later in life, Dale leaves behind lessons in perseverance, strength, and honor that will live on in the hearts and lives of those he leaves behind.
The thirties was a decade that was cloaked in hardship due to the Great Depression that blanketed our nation even into the forties. The year 1931 saw the doubling of the unemployment rate to over 16 percent and the following few years would only get worse. However, this was a year of celebration for Lester and Vivian (Scott) Welton as they welcomed the birth of their son, Dale, on September 26th of that year. Born in Maple Rapids, Michigan, Dale was the oldest of three children in his family. His father worked for the county road commission as well as in a number of area factories while his mother was a homemaker who also cleaned houses to help make ends meet. While he was still quite young, Dale moved with his family into St. Johns, although he continued to spend a lot of time in the country visiting relatives. He loved fishing and hunting, especially with his uncles on his grandpa’s farm. Dale attended local schools and graduated from Rodney B. Wilson High School.
As a young man, life took Dale in a few different directions. He worked for two summers as a waiter and cook on the car ferries that traveled between Ludington and Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Dale then joined the Air Force and was stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, serving during the Korean War. It was there that Dale met his first wife, Louise, and where he was blessed with their first son, Larry.
After four years in the military, Dale was discharged and they moved back to St. Johns where he worked at Oldsmobile in Lansing while waiting to begin the program with the Michigan State Police Academy. Over the next few years, they were blessed with three more boys, Robert, Timothy, and Gary. Dale taught his boys how to treat people and animals and although he was busy, he always made time to spend with his boys. After graduating from the academy in 1957, Dale was assigned to various posts throughout the state before settling into the East Lansing and Lansing Posts. Dale became an amazing investigator who never lost a case. He finally retired as a detective sergeant from the Michigan State Police after 30 years.
Throughout his life, Dale enjoyed a diverse palette of interests. He was all about pheasant hunting – so much so that he was out pheasant hunting when one of his sons was born! Nearly every year, Dale took trips to South Dakota to pheasant hunt, and he also claimed to have hunted mule deer in almost all 50 states. He loved the trips he took with friends to northern Canada where he caught the record northern pike at 45 inches! Dale loved to fly model airplanes and always found great laughs watching slapstick comedy. He also was a member of the American Legion and the Central Michigan Law Enforcement Association.
Life would never be the same for Dale after he met the woman with whom he would share a deep love. Her name was Elizabeth Hultberg and they met while she worked at the Michigan State Police Headquarters, although they actually met several years earlier on an accident scene. They knew each other for about ten years before they ever began dating, but their first date certainly was memorable. On that winter evening Dale and Liz went to a dance and by the time they came out, the snow was so deep that Dale needed to carry his date to the car since she was wearing heels. They continued to date for three to four years and in August of 1989, they exchanged their vows. They enjoyed traveling together and their first road trip was all the way to Alaska. In fact, Dale and Liz traveled throughout much of the United States in the RV they purchased together. One very important thing Liz brought into Dale’s life was his faith. Although he attended Sunday school with a neighbor as a young boy, it wasn’t until he met Liz that he returned to his faith. Over time and some great discussions with Pastor Fleming, Dale joined the Lawrence Avenue Methodist Church in Charlotte.
Later in life, Dale had much to keep himself busy. After he retired, he worked as a driver for area car dealerships and also at Enterprise. When their grandson Cody came to live with them, Dale became a stay at home grandpa. With more time at home, Dale became a fan of both Michigan State and University of Michigan sports.
Dale Welton was a remarkable man who was driven and successful not only in his work, but in life. He was tenacious, even stubborn at times, and lived by the motto “never give up.” Dale was a devoted father who may not have always said what his boys needed to hear at times, but everyone knew how proud he was of them. Although he could seem intimidating, Dale deeply loved all of his family and friends, making his absence keenly felt by many. His memory will be forever cherished.
Dale L. Welton died on October 19, 2010. Dale’s family includes his wife, Elizabeth; his four sons, Lawrence Welton of Traverse City, Robert (Lori) Welton of Dewitt, Timothy (Peggy) Welton of Dansville and Gary (Karen) Welton of Mason; their mother, Louise Face; his stepson, Bryan Dotts of Port St. Lucie, FL; grandchildren, Jill (Aaron) Davis, Michael (Linda) Welton, Jessica Welton, Patrick Welton, Andrew Welton, Kristin Welton, Cody (Amber Patstone) Dotts; great-grandchildren, Alyssa Welton, Aiden Welton, Elizabeth Ringlien, Ava Davis, Landon Welton, Owen Welton, Colby Dotts; sister, Marilyn Miles; sister-in-law, Connie Welton; mother-in-law, Eunice Epley; brothers-in-law, Steve (Gloria) Hultberg, Frank (Sherry) Hultberg; and many nieces , nephews and close friends. Dale was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Eugene Welton; and father-in-law, Don Epley. Funeral Services will be 11:00 a.m., Friday, October 22, 2010, at the Lawrence Ave. United Methodist Church, 210 E. Lawrence Ave, Charlotte, with Pastor Terry Fisher officiating. Burial to follow at Mt. Rest Cemetery in St. Johns. The family will receive friends from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m., on Thursday, at the Osgood Funeral Home. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com where you can leave a memory or make a memorial contribution to the Trooper’s Assistance Fund or State Police Fallen Trooper Memorial, to be mailed to MSP Trooper’s Assoc., 1715 Abbey Rd., Suite B, East Lansing, MI, 48823.