Dale Robert Heidbrier
RAPID RIVER — Dale Robert Heidbrier – the man, the myth, the legend – of Rapid River peacefully passed away on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017, at OSF Hospital in Escanaba after a brave battle with an aggressive form of lung disease.
Dale was surrounded by family and friends as he moved on from this world and kept his positivity and humor until the very end.
Dale’s legacy will be carried on by his wife of 35 years, Gail; their sons, Kris, Jeremy, and Kelly; daughters-in-law, Robyn and Belle; four grandchildren, Hannah, Paige, Aliyah, and Jack; and life-long friends, Don and Barb Pfotenhauer, Gary Kwek, Jerry Doucette, and Tom and Marilyn Trudgeon. He is preceded in death by his parents, Eloy “Jack” and Norma, and brothers Terry and Jerry.
Dale was born on March 28, 1946, in Detroit, Mich., where he was also raised. At the age of 16, he enlisted in the Navy, where he served from 1963-1967 on the U.S.S. Chipola in Vietnam, refueling ships in the South China Sea.
After his time in the military, Dale completed a plumbing apprenticeship in Detroit and had his oldest son, Kris. He eventually moved to Delta County, where he met and married Gail, and had two more sons, Jeremy and Kelly. A true sportsman, Dale took advantage of the U.P’s great outdoors and enjoyed working in the woods, skiing, sailing, hiking, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and gardening.
Dale became a master plumber, and alongside Gail, owned and operated Bay Plumbing, Heating and A.C. for 40 years in Gladstone. He felt great pleasure working with local business people and giving back to the community through many philanthropic commitments, including: coaching Little League, Kiwanis membership, DDA chairman (14 years); and played a vital role in the Gladstone downtown development in the 90s.
We remember Dale for his strong will, compassion, work-ethic, and humor. He’s left his family and friends countless one-liners and lessons for living life to the fullest. Thank you, Dale, for leaving your mark and making life count.
A memorial service and reception will be held for friends and family at Dale and Gail’s home in Rapid River from 3 until 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 21. The Skradski Family Funeral Homes of Delta County are assisting the Heidbrier family. Please visit www.skradskifuneralhomes.com where you can leave a message of condolence to the family.