Wolf, Dale Duane

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Dale Duane Wolf, age 89, passed away in his sleep, on April 22, 2022. Born on June 26, 1932 at the Wolf Family Farm in Harlan County Nebraska, Dale was preceded in death by his parents, Leo and Alberta (Burton) Wolf.

Dale married Evelyn Lucile Zysset in Orafino, Nebraska on November 28, 1952. After sixty-nine years of marriage, Dale is survived by Evelyn, their four children, and eleven grandchildren: son, David & wife Pat Wolf (children Adam Wolf and Isaac Wolf) of Roanoke VA; daughter Laurie Wolf (child Will Hunter) of Roanoke, VA; son, Eric Wolf & wife Tammie Sarver (children Sarah Wolf, Emily Grace Sarver-Wolf, Elias Sarver-Wolf, Jeremiah Sarver-Wolf and Eva Rose Sarver-Wolf) of Floyd VA; and son Allan Wolf & wife Ginger West (children Simon Wolf, Ethan Wolf, and Jameson Wolf) of Asheville NC.

Dale is survived by brothers Marlyn Wolf of Gothenburg, NE, and Wayne Wolf of Bryan, TX, and sisters Rita King of Lakewood, CO, and Letha Perks of Stockville, NE.

Dale’s education included a BS and MS in Agronomy (University of Nebraska,1954 and1959), and a PhD in Agronomy, with a specialization in Forage and Pasture Management (University of Wisconsin, 1962). Early teaching included Vocational Agriculture in Red Cloud and Arapaho, NE. After graduate studies in Wisconsin, Dale became assistant professor of Agronomy at University of Connecticut in Storrs.

In January 1967 he joined the faculty of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (now Virginia Tech). As full professor his responsibilities included supervision of undergraduate and graduate students. His research and extension work emphasized forage crop management and physiology, biofuels production, as well as methods and instrumentation for measuring basic growth factors such as photosynthesis of intact plants and individual leaves attached to the plant (using small portable chambers). Dale was a member of several scientific societies and contributed numerous research extension publications. He was advisor and committee member for one hundred and fifty-four Doctoral and Masters graduate students. He finally retired as a Professor Emeritus on December 31, 1995.

Dale was a longtime active member of the Blacksburg Presbyterian Church, was a Deacon/Elder, and taught Sunday School at several levels including all grades PreK through Fifth as well as pre-catechism class. He was Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader and on the board of directors for both Cub and Boy scouts. He loved gospel and country music, and played in several local bands at retirement homes and other local events. He played guitar, dobro, six-string banjo, bass guitar, Qchord, and harmonica. During retirement, Dale and Evelyn spent twenty-one summers in Frontier County Nebraska where he managed their family farm, along with a small herd of cattle.

Dale found joy in refurbishing several classic tractors. He contributed to a Guinness World Record by driving his 1937 F-20 Farmall in a parade with more than one thousand other antique tractors. To many, Dale was synonymous with the smiley faces and the lollypops he would distribute to students, friends, family and neighbors. He is now offering a song, a smiley face sticker, and a lollypop to all those who have gone on before.

A Celebration of the Life of Dale Wolf is scheduled for what would have been Dale’s 90th birthday, Sunday, June 26th (2:00PM), at the Blacksburg Presbyterian Church, in Blacksburg, VA.

In lieu of flowers or monetary donations Evelyn asks that you honor Dale’s memory by performing an act of kindness for someone, either loved-one or stranger.