Farewell Friend – Arthur Willetts,
As I write this column to respectfully say goodbye to our brother Dale Comer, it occurs to me that what I’m about to write is not an obituary. Of course, I’ll recognize his achievements here. However, the tone of my words is more of an informal nature to signify that the friendship that we shared was precious; the time we spent working together on the Board was meaningful; and to admire the inspiration that his life has been to all of us.
It was only three years ago about this time of year that I met Dale at a chapter meeting luncheon. He asked if we could carpool together to the chapter picnic on Vashon Island. Strange, I thought. He lived in Burien, yet he wanted to drive south ride the southernmost ferry to the island with me. I was hesitant at first. Then it hit me. Here was a younger SBE brother who was looking up to me and the image that I portrayed while handling the Secretary chair. My participation on the Chapter Board had inspired him to want to get to know me, as well as the rest of the chapter, and he wanted to be a part of what the SBE does in helping others achieve their goals. I didn’t refuse Dale’s offer to share our commute that day, and I am glad that I didn’t.
The next year, Dale asked me again if we could carpool. My response to his request this time was met with enthusiasm. I was getting to know someone who shared an interest in what I was doing, and the feeling was mutual. I became more aware of whom Dale was as a person and discovering that the values he held about work and life were the same as mine. During this time, he offered many good ideas and involvement for our Chapter.
I decided to capitalize on Dale’s participation with the Chapter by asking him to serve as the Vice Chairman and Meeting Program Director. He gladly accepted my invitation. With his assistance, we were able to create a strong functioning Chapter 16 Board. It was his insistence that he and I should meet before every Board meeting to have dinner, along with conversation that aligned our leadership thoughts. These meetings were held right in the studio of KBTC, while he was attending his control room shift. So much positive productively was derived from those meetings.
Dale flawlessly performed his duty as the Chapter’s Vice Chairman and Meeting Program Director. Together, I was Captain Kirk and he – Spock, and we were flying the Enterprise into destinations unknown, boldly going where most broadcast engineers have never gone. The effort that Dale gave to his Board chair was filled with impeccable details and boundless energy. These things are obvious when you know what he has accomplished.
Allan Freedman has taken paid tribute to our friend on his Facebook page entry from April 15th. In it, he writes; Dale most recently worked for KBTC-TV28 Public Television as a Maintenance Engineer, an Operations Specialist & Production Technician for the past five years.
Prior to that Dale worked for TVW in Olympia as a Production Technician and Jones Radio Networks as night time Producer for a syndicated radio program.
He is also a graduate of Bates Technical College (home of KBTC-TV28). He was a Certified Broadcast Television Engineer, Society of Broadcast Engineers – February 2014 to present; a Certified Broadcast Technologist, Society of Broadcast Engineers – March 2009 to present; the Vice Chairman, Society of Broadcast Engineers, Chapter 16, September 2013 to 2014; a Member of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, Chapter 16, 2008 to present and a Member of the Society of Motion Picture Television Engineers, November 2009 to present.
Thank you Allan for your help in relaying this information, and your public display of concern for our fallen brother.
Dale had one hell of a work ethic that you don’t find every day. Even during his debilitating condition, he continued to take and earn his Certified Broadcast Television Engineer certification, as well as continuing to contribute to the Board for the obligations of his seat. That, to me, along with all that Dale had accomplished in his short career, was just supremely amazing.
As noted above, a Memorial for Dale will be held at Cheney Stadium June 27 from 11 am to 1:30pm.
In 2009-2010, Dale helped to rewire the stadium with the installation of the new scoreboard and helping with the new replay technology installation. There is probably more to this than we know, and more about his involvement with Cheney Stadium that which we will learn at the memorial. Dale loved the game of baseball. Therefore, the venue is a fitting place for this tribute.
Dale Andrew Comer age 35 went to be with his Lord in heaven on April 14, 2015 at his home in Burien, WA after an extended and courageous battle with cancer. Dale was born May 4, 1979, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, to parents Larry E. Comer and Candy J. (Beutelspacher) Comer. Dale was a graduate of Lake City High School (1997), Pacific Lutheran University (2001), and Bates Technical College (2010).
Dale was devoted to his career as a broadcast engineer for KBTC Public Television in Tacoma, WA and was an officer in the Broadcast Engineering Society. Dale was previously the producer of the national radio show “Delilah” based in Seattle.
Dale began his career in broadcasting at KVNI radio in Coeur d’Alene and continued on to KPLU in Tacoma, WA where his love for jazz and public radio/TV grew and flourished. Dale’s lifelong love for music was huge part of his life as he played many low brass instruments and had an extensive music collection that varied from jazz to bluegrass to classical. Dale’s greatest joy was playing in musical groups such as The Northwest Big Brass Bash, Tuba Christmas, Coeur d’Alene Christian Brass and the NIC Jazz band surrounded by his close friends and musical colleagues. In addition to music, Dale’s other greatest passion was his love for baseball – the Chicago Cubs in particular. Dale started his baseball career with Coeur d’Alene Parks and Rec T-ball league and grew into a fine left-handed pitcher with the CDA American Legion Lumbermen and Lake City High School Timberwolves.
Dale was a member of Burien Community Church, and is survived by parents Larry and Candy Comer of Coeur d’Alene, ID, loving sister Kathryn Comer-Tuss of Helena, MT, girlfriend Carly Waterman of Burien, WA, as well as an extended loving family.
A memorial service will be held to honor and remember Dale on Saturday, May 9, 2015, at 1 p.m. at Christ the King Lutheran Church, 1700 Pennsylvania Ave., Coeur d’Alene, ID. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to either KBTC Association in support of KBTC Public Television, P.O. Box 11024, Tacoma, WA 98411, or Camp Lutherhaven – Camper Scholarships, 3258 Lutherhaven Rd., Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814.
Thanks to Univ. of Washington Medical Center and Evergreen Hospice for being agents of God’s grace and mercy. Jesus Said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.
Yates Funeral Homes has been entrusted with the care of final arrangements. Please visit Dale’s memorial and sign his online guestbook at www.yatesfuneralhomes.com.
Please share your memories of Dale with our Waveguide readers below.
Jim Dalke, Editor