The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

July 6, 2013

A Don McCormack column: Opportunity to know a hero lost

I didn’t know Dale Cheney, though I had heard of him, both for his accomplishments as a golfer and also in weightlifting.

Turns out, as is usually the case for pretty much everyone each of us has heard of but not really known, I wish I had known Mr. Cheney.

For upon reading about him in our Wednesday edition, I realized just how much I missed out on for not knowing him.

Born about a month after the Indians won their last World Series title, on Nov. 14, 1948, Dale excelled as an athlete at a very young age.

Particularly with a golf club in his hands. After graduating from Harbor High School in 1967, he went on to Kent State University, where he became a member of the Golden Flashes golf squad.

His talents on the links at Kent State earned him a listing in the Who’s Who of American Collegiate Golfers. He possessed the unusual combination of dexterity and strength as Dale also earned state recognition for his accomplishments lifting weights.

The Cheney family name was known for the service of its men for their country.

He was the descendent of a Union soldier in the Civil War, his father served in World War II and when the opportunity came, Dale didn’t hesitate, volunteering for duty in the United States Marine Corp.

Following the proud legacy of his family members, Dale served his country in Vietnam. A sergeant, he was honorably discharged in March 1972.

He married Lenora Morse, whom he had known since birth and produced a story that is straight out of a storybook. Dale and Lenora were born — 35 minutes apart — in the same hospital room!

The couple, who grew up and graduated together from Harbor in 1967, married March 3, 1974 and spent 39 years together, raising two sons, Robert and Kyle.

Dale worked most of his life in supply management, for Praxair and then relocated to Dover, working at Amoco, a subsidiary of Praxair.

He worked until disability forced him into early retirement.

Dale never ceased to show and display his love for his country. He was a member of the Tuscarawas County Civil War Roundtable, The Civil War Trust, The U.S. Grant Monument Association and the Grant Cottage Association. And he reveled in sharing knowledge as he was a member of Friends of the Dover Public Library. Dale was also a member of VFW Post 1445 at New Philadelphia.

He never lost his love of golf, the game he grew up playing and did so at the collegiate level at Kent State.

Dale also followed the Indians. Perhaps his interest was boosted by the fact he was born the same year Bill Veeck’s Tribe defeated the Boston Braves to win the World Series in six games.

The last time he watched the Tribe play from his home, he saw them complete a four-game sweep in Chicago on Sunday — the Indians’ first four-game sweep in the Windy City since, appropriately... 1948.

Following a lengthy illness, a malady attributed to being exposed to agent orange during his service to his country in the Vietnam War, Dale Thomas Cheney died early Tuesday morning in his home, while in the care of Community Hospice House at New Philadelphia.

He was 64.

I wish I had known him...

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at donmac@suite224.net.

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