Dale Dratt

October 3, 1938 - March 9, 2015
Portage, MI



Saturday, March 14, 2015
3:00 PM EDT
Southridge Reformed Church
6726 Texas Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009

Following the service, a reception will be held at the Life Story Center (6080 Stadium Dr, Kalamazoo, MI 49009).

Feel free to wear your favorite pair of blue-jeans in honor of Dale.

Web Site


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Kalamazoo Gospel Mission
448 North Burdick Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
(269) 383-1044
Web Site

Ministry with Community
440 North Church Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
(269) 343-6073
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


A vibrant, fun-loving, and hardworking man, Dale Dratt was the heartbeat of everywhere he went. Although he was a man of deep faith, he was never overbearing or boisterous in his beliefs, rather, he just challenged others to find their own way for themselves. Although he accomplished so many things of which to be proud, Dale was a humble man who was selfless, articulate, and ever mindful of others first and foremost. A family man if ever there was one, he was deeply devoted to his wife and children, and things only got better when the family grew to include the grandchildren and great-grandchildren he treasured. A dear man to many, Dale will be forever missed.

The 1930s were some of the most trying days we have faced as a nation as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce, the unemployment rate soared, and a harsh drought added strain to an already crippled agricultural industry for nearly two years. Despite the challenges around them, Paul and Evelyn (Zuidema) Dratt were focused on an exciting time in their own lives as they were anticipating the birth of their new baby as fall began to settle on the city of Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1938. The big day finally arrived on October 3rd when the baby boy they named Dale A. was born. His father was a tire salesman while his mother was a homemaker, and he was their only child.

It comes as no surprise that Dale was a bustle of activity from his earliest years. He was a Boy Scout who loved being outdoors doing things like hunting and fishing, which he did throughout his entire life. Dale attended local schools including Portage Central High School where he played football and wrestled.

Not to be forgotten during Dale’s years in high school was his introduction to the woman with whom he would write a love story that would span more than 50 years. She was a fellow classmate named Sylvia VanDenBos, and they became high school sweethearts. After graduating, both Dale and Sylvia went on to Western Michigan University where Dale earned his associate’s degree in engineering and drafting with plans to become a draftsman. Their love continued to deepen, and with a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Dale and Sylvia became husband and wife on June 19, 1959, at Portage Reformed Church. The newlyweds took a week-long honeymoon to Virginia Beach and returned to the Portage area. Together Dale and Sylvia welcomed three children into their hearts and home including Darcy in 1960, Phillip in 1962, and Heather in 1971.

To support his family, Dale made a career at Humphrey Products. He started out as a draftsman there and later worked his way into sales. Dale loved his work as a product specialist selling pneumatic systems, and he knew all the ins about the process and product. Throughout his 45 year career, Dale traveled all over the world as a salesman. He later became sales manager and then vice president of marketing and sales before retiring as vice president of engineering and purchasing. Dale served on the board of directors at Humphrey Products, and he also stayed on as a consultant for a few years. He finally left in 2014 after being diagnosed with brain cancer.

Although he was very successful in his career, Dale’s family always came first. He was the Little League coach for Phillip’s team, and he also assisted in Rocket football and was a ski chaperone. Every summer they went somewhere as a family including Texas, Florida, the Carolinas, Mammoth Cave, and several trips in Northern Michigan. Dale’s house on Windemere Street was the party house as he and his wife loved hosting whether they were hosting their children’s parties or their own. Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day were usually cause for a party.

Dale was never one to be still. He was meticulous in caring for his yard - especially since he had an ongoing competition with the neighbors, the Watsons, of who could have the most beautiful yard. Dale was a golfer from the time his father got him started before he was even in high school. For the past five or more years he was a member of the Moors Golf Club, and he and Sylvia played on a couples league for many years. In addition to golfing with friends, Dale even did some business on the golf course at times. It was a day to remember when he got a hole in one at the Prairies in 2011! On a trip with the Moors Club, Dale even golfed in Ireland. He and Sylvia were both beach lovers who enjoyed going out on their sailboat, “Silbo,” and they also loved traveling together including a trip to Hawaii and their most recent trip to New York. A lifelong hunter, Dale always had one German Shorthair around for hunting, and he also fished all over in Lake Michigan and up in Canada as well as deep sea fishing a time or two. He was a music lover who liked good Johnnie Walker with family or his buddies, and Sundays usually meant a steak dinner with a fine bottle of wine.

Throughout his life Dale was the sort of person everyone seemed to know. With an appreciation for the arts, he was on the board of KIA for a time where he put his organizational and leadership skills to good use. Dale was also on the board and involved in the operations at Goodwill, and he was a deacon and elder at several different churches including Southridge Reformed Church most recently. His faith was always a cornerstone in his life, and he started his day in his meditation chair with devotions to get things grounded from the right perspective. Dale’s books and Bible were always next to his chair.

In everything he did, Dale’s focus was on how he could better the lives of those around him. He was successful yet down to earth and would be found wearing blue jeans whenever he could, however, he sure looked sharp in his suit! Dale took great pride in working hard to provide for his family, and he had a certain reverence about him that was such an inspiration. He was a role model for others and created an unwavering spiritual foundation for his family. Strong, courageous, and willing to fight until the end, Dale will never be forgotten.

Dale A. Dratt died on March 9, 2015. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Darcy Dolby; grandson, Dalton Paul Dratt and father, Paul Dratt. Surviving are his wife of 56 years, Sylvia Dratt; 2 children: Phillip (Michelle) Dratt and Heather (Scott) Davis; 5 grandchildren: Joshua (Michelle) Dolby, Matthew (Lindsay) Dolby, Daryn Dratt, Dayton Dratt and Peyton Davis; 2 great-grandchildren: Caedon and Gracin Dolby and by his mother, Evelyn Dratt. Services will be held Saturday 3:00 PM at Southridge Reformed Church (6726 Texas Dr.) followed by a reception at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler-Kalamazoo, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 375-2900 (feel free to wear your favorite pair of blue-jeans in honor of Dale). Please visit Dale’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can read his life story, archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission or Ministry with Community.