Dale L. Donnelly passed away peacefully at his home in Boise on Sept. 18 at the age of 86.
Dale was born April 17, 1928, in Portland, Ore., to Harry and Helen Donnelly and spent his childhood in nearby Lake Grove. He served in the Navy for two years, and then attended University of Oregon for one year. Seeking an adventure, he left Portland on a motorcycle and rode to Mexico City where he lived for several years, finishing his degree in economics. He then joined the Merchant Marines and worked as a purser aboard the cruise ship S.S. Lurline, which sailed between California and Hawaii. It was on this ship that he met his future wife, Valerie Valente of San Francisco. They were married in Sonoma, Calif. in 1955 and lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, where Dale began a new career in business, becoming a stockbroker for Dean Witter.
In 1973, desiring a change of lifestyle, Dale, Valerie and their four daughters moved to Hailey, Idaho. In the 30 years of living in the Wood River Valley, Dale developed properties including the Double D Ranch, Canal Ranch and River Grove Ranch, where he raised llamas. He also renovated the Fox Building and the Hailey Armory, where Valerie founded her pre-school/kindergarten, The Learning Tree. Dale and Valerie built The Donnelly School in 1990 on Galena Street in Hailey; they eventually moved to Boise to be near their granddaughter, Emma Donnelly. An avid tennis player, Dale also enjoyed hiking and traveling.
Dale and Valerie’s journeys took them to Hawaii, Asia, Australia, Mexico, Roatan and on several hiking trips to Switzerland, in addition to their travels throughout Europe. Dale and Valerie loved living in the Wood River Valley and were involved in community events, such as the Sun Valley Ice Shows, the Hailey Fourth of July Parade and local nonprofit activities. Dale enjoyed meeting people and had a kind, warm heart—he was always ready to help those in need. His concern and compassion for animals was also evident in his gentle demeanor. He loved spending time with his girls, teaching them to play ball and ski, going camping and instilling in them a love of travel. Walking or hiking with Dale always included a good conversation about the state of the economy or his latest projects. Dale loved his wife and daughters and granddaughter very much—they were his life’s focus.
Dale is survived by his wife, Valerie, of 59 years. He is also survived by his four daughters, Lindy, Julie, Nancy and Joan and granddaughter, Emma; his sister Joanne McRae of Oregon; and many nieces and nephews.
Dale passed away from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. His warm smile and great sense of humor remained a constant throughout his life. The family would like to extend a special thank you to Dr. Tenley and Dale’s caregivers: Mario, Travis and Seth.