Dale Herreid of Libby passed away peacefully in the loving care of his son on Feb. 9, 2020, at Cabinet Peaks Medical Center — just 17 days after the love of his life, Marlene Herreid, made her journey to heaven. Even in death their love knew no boundaries.
Dale was born in Polson to Ernest and Wilma Herreid on Dec. 27, 1937, the youngest of four children. Upon graduation from Polson High School in 1957, Dale proudly served his country by joining the U.S. Army. While stationed in New Jersey, he competed in his unit’s track team.
Dale married his true love, Marlene McAlear, on Dec. 23, 1960. They resided in Libby for a short time, later moving to Ontario, Ore., where Dale completed his plumbing apprenticeship. During their time in Oregon, they welcomed two children: Dean in 1965 and Loralee in 1967.
The family returned to Libby, where Dale worked on Libby Dam. When the dam was completed, work in the area slowed. Dale traveled wherever the union had work and would return on the weekends to spend time with his family and study to become a master journeyman plumber. Upon obtaining his master’s license, he and Marlene chose to become a larger part of their community by opening Libby Plumbing. This was a turning point in their lives. Roots were set deep in Libby.
Dale found joy in helping his customers and had a soft spot for those with small funds and large problems. It wasn’t unusual for Dale to receive a late night call for a plumbing emergency and he’d race off in his blue and yellow van. These calls were often paid for with homemade cookies or bread the next day. Locals will remember Dale for his business logo, with the likeness of his head poking out of a toilet and his motto, “A Flush Beats a Full House.”
Dale was very active in his children’s lives, attending school events, serving as a Boy Scout leader and coaching his son’s Little League Baseball team. When the kids were young, he would flood the backyard in winter to create a skating rink for local children to enjoy. Marlene would serve hot cocoa and cookies. They loved to supervise the fun. When this tradition outgrew their backyard, Dale petitioned the City of Libby and was allowed to create the ice rink at the Libby City Ball Field. With the assistance of the Libby Volunteer Fire Department, a new tradition was started.
Dale later built a house on Upper Thompson Lake for all to enjoy. He loved the challenge of teaching the young and the old how to water-ski. It was not unusual to have more than 10 children lined up on the dock waiting for their turn to ski or accept Dale’s challenge to stay on the inner tube while he danced them around the lake. Dale also loved to fish at the lake.
Dale also was active in the Libby Kiwanis and Fisher River Fire Department, where he became an EMT at the age of 67 and a devoted member of the fire department.
Dale was preceded in death by his parents, Ernest and Wilma; sister, Dorrene Darlington; sister-in-law, Gail Herreid, and brothers-in-law, Gene Rieben, Dwayne McAlear, Larry McAlear and Richard McAlear.
He is survived by his son, Dean (Vikki) Herreid of Libby; daughter, Loralee Laramie, Spokane Valley, Wash.; three grandsons, whom he was very proud of, Bridger Herreid of Richland, Wash., Tygan Herreid of Boise, Idaho and Tanner Laramie of Spokane Valley, Wash.; brother, Lionel Herreid of Polson; sister, Shirley Rieben of Redlands, Calif.; sisters-in-law, Juli McAlear of Dillon; Shirley McAlear of Nampa, Idaho; and 21 nieces and nephews.
Service and remembrance for Dale will be at 11 a.m., Feb. 22, 2020, at the United Methodist Church, 713 Main Ave. A celebration of life and interment of ashes will be in August at the Lakeview Cemetery in Polson.
Arrangements are by Schnackenberg Funeral Home in Libby. Online condolences and memories may be shared at www.schnackenbergfh.com.