Dale Robert Dutcher
November 30, 2023
By Cheryl Dutcher
Dale passed away peacefully on Nov. 21. Dale and I married on April 4, 1997 and began our life as a married couple in Rosburg, WA. In addition to myself, he is also survived by his children Teri (Tom) Baker, Dr. Thomas Dutcher, step daughter Amy (Joe) Polsley, and his sister Carole (Mel) Greenberg, and several grandchildren. Dale was a member of the U.S. Air Force for 41 years in various capacities. Most of those years were with the Oregon Air National Guard in Portland. He also served as instructor of the Aviation Maintenance Technology program at Portland Community College, retiring in 1992. His final retirement date from the U.S. Air Force was December of 1996. He had many hobbies and interests, like fishing and hunting, and he was an excellent machinist and gunsmith. He was a true adventurer-highly skilled at everything to do with sailing and flying. He held an IA (Inspection Authorization) and was a certified flight instructor. He prepared for his first sailing adventure by constructing his own fiberglass 40 ft. ketch, Windborne.
He took slices of his life to do everything he wanted, so his dreams were definitely met. As his wife, he told me after his Alzheimer's diagnosis that I should not feel sorry for him as he had "a great run." He sailed from the mouth of the Columbia River to New Zealand twice. The second journey included all of the South Pacific Islands, New Zealand and Hawaii, all with just a sextant and his knowledge of celestial navigation. From Hawaii, his journey home was 83 days at sea alone on his boat.
His life led to many stories around our campfire with friends and guests. For instance, he would ferry single-engine planes for people who purchased them but were afraid to be the first to fly them. After a quick look at the planes, he took the job, with a few emergency landings from which he walked away. Fear had no home in him. He flew his planes on the edge of adventure; in deep mountain valleys, landing on sand beaches and gravel bars.
In spite of being diagnosed with Alzheimer's, he was very sweet, considerate, and loving during all of this difficult time, so it was a privilege to care for him. I could honestly tell him before he died that I loved him more now than the day I married him, for which I got a soft, sweet smile through misty eyes. Rest in peace, my love.
Plans for a memorial will be announced at a future date.
- Paid Obituary -