As the sun rose on a beautiful spring morning, Dale’s journey ended, and he was freed from the physical limitations of this life.
Dale was born in Woodland, Calif., the younger of two sons, to Loren Sr. and Margaret (Harling) Fairlee, and grew up in northern California. Dale was a natural athlete, and at Dixon High, he was on the All-SCAC baseball and basketball teams. After high school, he attended Sacramento City College, where he played three sports. He excelled in football, where he was an All-Star running back.
In 1950, he was recruited by the then Brooklyn Dodgers and played on their class C team in the AZ-TX League. The next year he joined the Air Force, and while stationed at Mather AFB, was still able to find time to play on three baseball teams. In 1953, he won the Sacramento R.L. batting crown with a .592 average, and as a starting pitcher, had a 12 and 2 record.
Even after a shoulder injury sidelined his pro career in 1955, he continued to play baseball, and worked as a radio announcer. He came to Billings in 1959 to play for the Billings Mustangs and worked at KULR 8 TV from 1967-1974.
He was a smart and talented entrepreneur, Publisher, Bar Manager, Broadcaster, and Salesman, and was instrumental in starting the MATE Show. In 1991, he opened Nut Tree Farms, selling specialty candy and nuts, thus earning him the title of “Head Nut.” Dale never retired; he was always busy with something. He had a small candy vending route, which he donated proceeds to Legion Baseball.
Dale was preceded in death by his parents, and is survived by his two sons, Jon (Lynette) of Billings, and Jeffrey of Fort Worth, Texas; his brother Loren (Jo) of Kennewick, Wash.; nephew Steve (Verna) of Billings; niece Karen of Spokane, Wash.; niece Marsha Larsen (Tom) of Poulsbo, Wash.; and friend Priscilla Fairlee of Billings.
A gathering to celebrate Dale’s life will be held at the Palace Bar & Lanes in Laurel, on Sunday May 19, at 4 p.m. Memorial donations may be made to American Legion Baseball or the charity of choice.