Born: 11 Sep 1921
Died: 31 May 2013
At the age of: 91
Spouse: Jean Ludwig Pierce
Children: Dennis Dale Pierce
BURLEY • Dale Oscar Pierce (age 91) died at home in Burley, Idaho, on Friday, May 31, 2013.
He was a U.S. postmaster, cattle rancher, public official and community volunteer throughout his long life. He was dedicated to his family and community and was always available to help a neighbor or to share the joys of ranching life with younger family members.
Dale was the son of Jesse and Lois (Parke) Pierce of Malta, Idaho. Born Sept. 11, 1921, in Malta, Idaho, he was the second of six children. In 1939 prior to graduating from high school, Dale went to California to work for Lockheed Aircraft and was soon promoted to company representative, being sent to P-38 crash sites to supervise repair work. He was drafted by the United States Army during World War II, joining his two older brothers and his sister who were already serving. He trained at Fort Fannen, Texas, then served in Germany, Belgium and France, seeing action in the Battle of the Bulge.
After VE day in May 1945, he returned to California, working at Lockheed and in a pharmacy. While living in California, he met Jean Ludwig and brought her back to Malta, Idaho, where she became his wife. They were married on Christmas Day 1947 at the Willis Sears house in Albion, Idaho, and made Malta their home for the next 60 years. Dale worked at the Malta Cheese Factory, drove the school bus and helped his father on the ranch. Their son, Dennis Dale Pierce, was born in 1951. He continued his work as a rancher, building both his knowledge and his herd. In 1962, Dale was appointed postmaster of Malta by President John F. Kennedy. He was one of the last postmasters appointed by a president.
Dale had good ideas and an understanding of both ranchers and ranching. This led him to participate in a variety of organizations that were important to the Raft River Valley area. In addition to serving as the postmaster for 38 years, he was a Mason, a Century Farmer, active in the Lions Club (30 years) and a 28-year member of the Raft River Fire District Board. He was on the Bureau of Land Management Grazing Advisory Council for 14 years and district director of the Idaho Cattleman’s Association for four years. He also served on the Public Lands Commission for eight years and was the Idaho State delegate to the national convention. The BLM honored him with an allotment dedicated in his name for successfully fighting to keep the large Point Springs parcel available for all grazers for emergency use, rather than allowing it to be divided and parceled out. Mr. Pierce was inducted into the Southern Idaho Cattleman’s Hall of Fame in 1990.
In 2000, Mr. Pierce retired from the post office and moved to Burley with his wife, Jean. He continued his dedication and service to his community volunteering at Parke View Rehabilitation and Care Center and at the Cassia Regional Medical Center for several years. He was a familiar figure to his friends and neighbors as he took his daily walk of at least two miles each morning. Dale will be remembered and missed for his calm approach to life and its tribulations, his dry humor, his good nature and long service to family, friends and community. He was a favorite uncle and great-uncle to many nieces and nephews and could always be counted on to saddle a horse, let you tag along to check cattle or look the other way when you wanted to climb the haystack.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Jessie Marguerite Pierce; his brothers, William Monroe Pierce and Charles Henry Pierce; his son, Dennis Dale Pierce; and wife, Jean L. Pierce, who died on May 20, 2012. He is survived by one brother, James Martin Pierce (living in Virginia); a sister, Mary Lou Pierce Peak (living in Boise); one brother-in-law, Junior “J.R.” Ludwig (living in Arizona); a sister-in-law, Elisabeth Puddephatt (living in Oregon); and many nieces and nephews who dearly loved their uncle.
The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, June 6, at the Malta LDS Church. Burial will follow at the Valley Vu Cemetery with military rites provided by the Mini-Cassia Veterans Organization. A viewing for family and friends will be held from 6 until 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 5, at the Rasmussen Funeral Home, 1350 E. 16th St. in Burley, and from 10 until 10:45 a.m. Thursday at the church.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be directed to the Shriner’s Hospital for Children, The Idaho Youth Ranch or the Malta Cemetery Fund.