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1931 Larry 2024

Larry Fife Dahle

May 16, 1931 — May 3, 2024

St. George, Utah

Lieutenant Colonel USAF Larry Fife Dahle (Ret) Passed away in his home in St. George Utah,  surrounded by his loving family on the morning of May 3rd, 2024.  He was born on May 16th, 1931 in Weston Idaho to Joseph Merland Dahle and Maurine Fife Dahle. 


It would be a difficult task to find a harder working man than Larry Dahle.  To know him was to respect him.  At the age of 8 years old, Larry began honing his legendary work ethic in the cold cow milking barn of his father’s Idaho farm.  That work ethic grew, along with his honesty and moral compass to turn him into a man of great success and integrity that was admired by everyone he knew. Discipline was one of the great loves of Larry’s life, and he extended that to all that he did.  Larry rarely missed a day at the gym even at 92.  Though his educational start was less than ideal, he managed to instill in himself a love of reading that lasted his lifetime, and could often be found with a book in his hand.  He also had a great passion for music even if his taste  was questionable to those in the passenger seat. He loved cars and drives, investing and real estate. Larry loved Utah and he loved his family.  He often said “if you don’t have family, you don’t have anything”.  There was nothing more important to Larry than providing for his family, and he worked very hard to leave an amazing legacy for his children and grandchildren.  Larry loved to laugh and tease, making his quick wit a favorite at most family gatherings. His frank honesty left no doubt as to where you stood, and his opinions were firm and abundant.  He was, and will always be known for his no-nonsense advice and his incredible generosity. 

  

At the young age of 18, Larry was called into the United States Air Force, and in a fortunate twist of fate, was accepted to attend pilot training from a large pool of enlisted candidates. Though he didn’t have any college classes under his belt, he often credited his Eagle Scout Award with giving him an edge in being selected for pilot training.  Over the course of his distinguished military career he accumulated over 6000 hours of flight time in the F-86 Sabre, F-105 “THUD” and his favorite, the F-4 Phantom.  He flew 300 combat missions during his two tours to Vietnam.  His awards included the Air Force Commendation medal, Air Medal with 5 oak leaf clusters, and the Distinguished Flying Cross. Serving his country was the honor and privilege of a lifetime. 


Larry began his habit of making good decisions when he married Joan Alder on March 22nd 1957.  They got to work starting a family while he worked two jobs and finished his Bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Utah. Never one to rest on his laurels, Larry was ready for a new adventure, so armed with his farmer’s work ethic and military discipline, he set out to open his own store, a Redwing Shoes in San Francisco, California.  It was the hardest time in their lives with two babies (and one on the way) in a one room apartment and Larry working 7 days a week as the only employee.  After two years without a day off, he left the San Francisco store in the hands of a manager to once again be a pilot for the Air Force during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He stayed and did a second tour in Vietnam.  His first daughter Jan was born during this time.  He returned to Salt Lake City in 1968 and used the $10,000 he had saved to open a Dahle’s Thorogood shoe store with a small section in the back for large and tall clothing.  At that time there were very few large and tall clothing stores out there and he saw a great opportunity to provide a much needed product.  He set out to open more stores and expand the business. Larry had a great intuition for the retail market and where the next store should be opened.  To save money he would do almost all the build outs by himself, and this would become a trademark of the company. The 1970’s saw the business expand from 3 stores to 15 stores.  His three sons Mike, Allan and Rob joined their father and began learning the ins and outs of the family business. Larry’s second daughter Lisa was born in the middle of the chaos and their family was complete.  Larry continued to buy property where he would build and open stores until he left the business to his boys and went into semi-retirement.  At its peak, Dahle’s big and tall had grown to 42 stores in 11 different states.  It was bought out by Edison Brothers in 1993.  Retirement was another job to Larry and he took it seriously.  He continued to help build out stores in his free time, while building and selling homes and riding his horses in endurance races.  He loved to fish with his brother Brent in Alaska and go on riding trips to the Wind Rivers.


During his incredible life journey, Larry also became a very savvy real estate investor.  His Sunday “dirt drives” with his brother Cline, and later his sons, were one of his favorite things to do.

 

As his children we feel that his example was his legacy and could be summed up as follows:  Get a good education, work hard, conduct yourself with integrity and be financially responsible.  When you become successful, give back to others.


Aside from his family, Larry was most proud of the West Side High School Endowment that he established with his brother Cline.  As of today, the West Side High School  Endowment has paid for thousands of college credits for students and teachers.  The endowment is available to any student or teacher who is interested in furthering their own education.  Many students have completed associates degrees and many teachers have pursued Master’s degrees with funds provided by the endowment.


Larry is survived by his loving wife Joan Alder Dahle who resides in St George, UT, and his 5 children, Mike (Teresa), Allan (Wendy), Rob (Joni), Jan (Bill) and Lisa (Gregg).  Joan and Larry have 22 grand and step grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren. Larry  is also survived by his siblings Ellen Nyman, Sheila Willey and Brent Dahle.


He is preceded in death by his sister Joy Goodsell and his brother Cline Dahle.


In lieu of flowers, consider contributing to an educational charity of your choosing. 


Two celebrations of life for this American Legend will be held at the following times:


An Open House will be held on May 18th  from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at 8 S. Arroyo Drive, St. George, UT 84790


And


June 7th from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Cottonwood Country Club 1780 Lakewood Drive, Holladay UT

To send flowers to the family in memory of Larry Fife Dahle, please visit our flower store.

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