I was born in Spooner Wisconsin
on May 24, 1934, and lived with
my parents in Trego WI.
throughout my youth.
Upon reflection of my life's work, hobbies, and family values, I feel that there were three things that primarily influenced my career paths, my life style, and my family's direction. Those three primary influences were my Mother, my Father, and Water.
My parents gave me direction and encouragement to be involved and actively participate in many different interests that became available to me though out my early life. They nurtured my love for music, sports, hunting and fishing, farming, and learning about nature, our environment and being a good steward of the land. They gave me a good religious foundation, and an understanding of the importance of family, friendships and country. I truly believe that this broad background and parenting skills served me well in dealing with the many challenges of my vocation, and professional and family life.
Water: seemed to interject itself in my life in many positive and challenging ways beyond the normal needs that we all rely on.
Long before my birth, my Mother fell in the Red River in
northern Minnesota, at age three, and was plucked out of
the water by a fisherman who saw her little body floating
by on the surface due to a bubble of air in her full length
dress. Needless to say no Mother, no Dale.
At age two, I saw my two older brothers run down the bank of the Namakogan river, at the old swimming hole in Trego, and of course, I did the same thing and a young man who saw me, jumped in and fished me out, pumped the water out, and handed me, crying, to my Dad.
When I was five, we lost my fifteen year old brother in a water related incident. It was a tradition for the young boys of Trego to jump off the wagon bridge into the Namakogan river on May 1 of each year to kick of f the swimming season for that year. He developed a sinus infection and passed away seven days later. A water related tragedy that I never forgot.
Water seemed to be the foundation of many of my youthful pursuits, from swimming, scuba diving, fishing, water skiing downhill skiing (snow is water you know) boating, and beer drinking (come on, beer is mostly water) to name a few.
During the second summer of my College year I met the love of my life, Mary Conley, while working at a summer resort in northern Wisconsin, yes on the WATERS of Matthews Lake. Lucky me, I had to teach her how to swim, we are still swimming through life after 52 years together. My next experience with water was 22 days on a troop ship to Korea, followed by 16 months sloshing through and around rice patties, followed by 22 days across the Pacific Ocean to home. Some good times, some not so good. It installed a new value system and a new perspective on life
Then came marriage, living a new life, and the beginning of a new carrier. Did I mention that my College focus was, a music major, with a Phy/Ed minor. That along with my youthful background, a Medic in the Army, made a perfect fit to pursue a carrier in Law Enforcement, wouldn't you think? Well that's what happened.
Newly, married and looking for a job I was lucky to find a part time job as a seasonal Conservation Warden working with Warden David Swendsen and living in Shell Lake. After that two month job I was fortunate there was an opening on the Washburn County Sheriffs Department for the job of Under Sheriff. Pretty good wouldn't you say, second in command, well there were only two of us full time. This was a great four year learning experience.
field of Law Enforcement. No minimum standard, no
mandatory training, very little equipment, and a lot of on
the job training and guidance from a great mentor.
I then took the exam for the position of a State Conservation Warden and was hired on in March of 1963. I packed my bags, took the family car, and headed for Madison, leaving my wife and three little girls in Shell Lake. The first two weeks I spent with our recruit class in a training and introductory period with the the state training officer, Harold Hettrick. The next 4 months, I worked with two field training officers in Outagamie, and Columbia counties. The next time I saw my family was in mid July, for two days, then back to another training station. Back then, probation Wardens worked seven days a week, with no time off. My next trip home was in a full body cast in the back of an ambulance after spending four weeks in the Appleton Memorial Hospital, from a car accident on August 23, 1963 at 12:35pm. It was great being reunited with my family. After six weeks in a body cast, and six weeks in a wheel chair it was hard, wondering every day, if I would walk again, have a job, and provide for my family. It all worked out great, more water under the bridge.
My first permanent field Warden assignment was the Appleton station. This was a very challenging assignment with lots of people, and a wide diversity of resources. Did I mention water? The Wolf river, the Fox river, and Lake Winnebago, thirty two miles long and twelve miles wide. The work load included two more children, one more girl and a boy. I was still the Under Sheriff. The Sheriff was Mary, who was in charge of the kids, the household, and me. In addition she handled the phone calls, the complaints and registered bow killed deer. This busy station averaged 29.6 incoming business calls per day 365 days of the year. Her wages didn't show up on the tax return.
On August 23, 1968 at 12:30 noon, we had another near water related tragedy, I was working at my home office when my 6 year old daughter Dawn rushed into the house screaming, "The Dane was dead, he drowned". I rushed out to the 18 inch deep pool in our back yard and found our 2 year old son laying on the ground outside the pool. He was not breathing and after several resuscitation attempts, started breathing on his own. Dawn was playing with him in the pool, and he fell on his back and did not come up. She fortunately, grabbed him by the arms and pull him out of the pool. I believe that action forced some of the water out of his lungs before I got there. The water forgave us. (Note the date, and time, 5 years almost to the date and time of my car accident, we don't go near the water on August 23, well maybe a beer).
After ten years in Appleton, I took the job as the State Boating Law Administrator (BLA) in the Madison office. What that means, if it had anything to do with water, or any type of a boat, I was the Goat. It was a great job that lasted for 18 years, and gave me an opportunity to be on the ground floor of the development of all aspects of the boating programs, from Education, Water Way Marker System, Law Enforcement training, to Boat Accident Investigation, at the State and National level. I was fortunate to meet, and work with may dedicated people involved in these programs from all over the world.
Upon retirement on January 3, 1990, (Yipe, over 21 years ago) I started a consulting service entitled Morey's Boat Accident and Safety Services. I worked with the U.S. Coast Guard, and Underwriters Laboratories in developing a boating accident course, which I helped to teach to every state and province. My first course was in Tallahassee, Florida, and my last one was in 2002 in Homer, Alaska. What a blast, meeting and working with dedicated men and women, with common interests from all over the world.
An off shoot of my career working for the state, has grown into the field of Boat Accident Investigation and Reconstruction, in litigation cases both civil and criminal, for both plaintiffs and defendants. I have been involved in over 250 cases from Canada, Bahamas, France and most of the States and still dip my toe in this arena.
Mary and I have retired to a beautiful location on the Wisconsin river were we enjoy the many bounties of nature that has blessed us. We have provided homes for over 18 nesting pairs of Wood ducks each year in our oak trees. We have enjoyed nature from Sand Hills to Mole Hills, from Bees to Bears, from Bats to Bobcats, from Chokecherry to Strawberries, and Indigo-buntings to Turkey hunting. The plethora of returning brilliant migratory song birds on our lawn looks like a Easter egg hunt.
We have enjoyed traveling, enjoy hosting many gathering
and work projects with our family, Children, grandchildren
and great grandchildren, and friends. Mary has a majestic
touch with the flowers and shrubs, and I enjoy gardening,
golf, and hunting and fishing.
We cannot survive without water, we must protect it, respect it, and use it with care, always being reminded of its blessing.
Life is good as water still runs through us.
Mary died in 2018. Dale passed away on March 7, 2021.