Dale was born January 9, 1939 in Paris, IL to Buell D. and Mary Ellen Wells Millis. Most of his growing up years were split between the family farm near Martinsville, IL during the summers and in Palestine, IL during the school year. He graduated from Palestine High School in 1956, enlisted in the Illinois National Guard and attended the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana studying agronomy. While attending college, he married his long-time love Rita Green also of Palestine. She, at one time, had vowed never to have anything to do with him owing to his own funny brand of mischief. Nevertheless, he was described by the those who knew him as a kind, loving, wonderful human being.
Dale and Rita moved to the family farm and worked with his dad there until Dale took a job with the University of Illinois Extension Service in Jacksonville, IL. After a few years, both returned to the University of Illinois to earn master's degrees, Dale's in agronomy, Rita's in music education. While there, missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints knocked on their door to tell them about a wonderful book - the Book of Mormon. Rita, remembering they had picked up a copy at Nauvoo some time earlier pulled it off the shelf and a discussion ensued. In time they were baptized and their marriage was solemnized in the Salt Lake City Temple a few years later.
In addition to the Extension Service, Dale worked for the University of Illinois' agricultural research stations in Carbondale and Brownstown. He then hired on with Pioneer Seed which took them to locations in Illinois and Kansas and ending up in Des Moines, IA where he retired in 2000. Worried about not having enough to do in retirement, he spent many hours as a volunteer making furniture for a school for disabled children, walking miles a day to check on bluebird nests in a nature preserve, delivering blood for the LifeServe Blood Center, and assisting with an Iowa Extension Service demonstration orchard where he was dubbed Mr. Apple. He was proud to have completed the master gardener course, which was a capstone on his passion for gardening. He loved canoeing and hiking. He earned his pilot's license after being instructed by two old brothers on a grass runway. He was also a great woodworker. He served in many church callings including patriarch in the Des Moines Iowa Stake, a counselor in the Winter Quarters Temple presidency, bishop, branch president and counselor in a stake presidency. He always loved to explore and travel and volunteered to help with many scout expeditions just for a new adventure.
Dale is survived by his wife of 61 years, two children: Eric (Lynn) and Matt (Lisa), nine grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and nieces Cendy (Frank) Luto and Cathy (Joel) Dragelin. He is preceded in death by his parents, sister Donna and daughter Becky.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, December 18, 2021 at Russon Mortuary, 295 North Main, Bountiful where a viewing will be held from 12:45 - 1:45 p.m. prior to services. Funeral services will be live-streamed on Russon Mortuary & Crematory Facebook page and Dale’s obituary page at www.russonmortuary.com.
Interment will be held at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, January 6, 2022 at the Wesley Chapel Cemetery in Orange Township, rural Martinsville, IL. Greenwell Funeral Home is assisting the family with local arrangements, www.markwellfuneralhome.com
Thank you to all who knew Dale and blessed his life with your friendship. A special thanks to his doctors and the staff and friends at the Touchmark Meadow Lake Village in Meridian, ID and Creekside Senior Living in Bountiful, UT.
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