Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 15, 1957

Edward Dale


My friend is dead. Across the miles the message came to me, out of the darkness, over the wires, "I have some bad news for you: Pep Dale died of a heart attack yesterday afternoon." There was little else my wife could tell me, only that there was to be a funeral in Denver the next day, and then the long, long trip back to Shadyside, Ohio, for burial two days later.

And who was Edward Dale? Outside of Denver he was scarcely known. Readers of this journal for the most part never heard of him. He was not a preacher; nor an elder. He was not a professor in some of our schools; neither was he a rich man who made a name for himself by giving thousands of dollars, to some project. He wrote no books, composed no songs, edited no papers, left none of the monuments by which men are so often remembered.

Yet he will be remembered by those who knew him long after most of us are forgotten. For his life, gentle and unselfish, was lived with a singleness of purpose, a total dedication to duty that in retrospect shines even more brightly than when he walked among us. He was simply a Christian, nothing more. But he walked that pathway so beautifully that I believe there would not be a single dissenting voice were I to say that during his lifetime he probably did more to advance the cause of Christ in Denver, and perhaps even in all Colorado, than any other single individual who lived there. Actually, his influence stemmed more from what he was than from what he did. Not that he did not do a great deal; but his utter unselfishness, his supreme faith in God, and his example of service inspired others to do far more than they would have undertaken otherwise.

How well I remember my first meeting with him. I had come to Denver to talk with the elders of Sherman Street Church about starting a new congregation in Denver. Eating dinner my first day there in the home of Daddy Rhodes (A. J. Rhodes, the beloved preacher of Sherman Street) I was being "briefed" by the Rhodes family as to the members of Sherman Street, and how various men and families had worked so hard and so loyally to bring Sherman Street to the place that she was ready to "swarm" and start a new work. And no name figured more prominently in that review than the name of "Pep" Dale. As the months and years went by, and I came to know this man, I realized why.

When we started Park Hill Church, it was Pep Dale who more than any other said, "We can do it if we have faith enough in God." I soon learned that his nick-mane was not without significance. He had been given it in high school back in Shadyside. Ohio, when his enthusiasm, his boundless energy, his contagious confidence had sparked the team in many a hard fought battle. Illness and suffering had not dimmed that spirit; he brought to his work, and supremely to the church, the same unflagging zeal, confidence, and courage.

On the very Sunday he died (June 23), he had talked with others about the new congregation Park Hill hopes to start in east Denver. When I spent the night with him last fall, he took me on a special drive to point out the lots that had been purchased for the new work — and then drove me several miles to show me still other lots that he had in mind for still another church several years in the future.

Somehow, when a man like this dies, it makes death seem less to be dreaded. Now that he has crossed over, this earth will be a lonelier and drearier world, but heaven will be closer and more worth striving for. Because I knew him and loved him, I weep at his going; yet they are tears without bitterness. And when I shall visit the beautiful Ohio Valley in years ahead and stand beside the hallowed spot where his body rests, I shall remember the words of Fitz-Greene Halleck wrote on the death of his friend, Joseph Drake:

"Green be the turf above thee,

Friend of my better days!

None knew thee but to love thee,

Nor named thee but to praise."

In the presence of death, our petty problems and earthly anxieties seem trivial and childish. One thing only is important — to so walk before God that when we come to the end of the way we meet out death as becometh children of God. The fleeting years of life are soon over and the issues and questions of today are but matters of idle curiosity tomorrow. The eternal things of God are the only things that matter. Edward Dale lived his fifty-two years with an eye single to the service of God. He made mistakes, of course, and no doubt more than once went to his knees before God in humble confession of sin and wrong doing. But through it all, in sunshine and in shadow, he walked among us as one whose life was radiant with the blessed assurance of the eternal hope. Because of him I will walk a little bit closer to God; my life will be richer and happier here on earth, and I confidently expect to meet him over there. All of us who loved him may well thank God for his life, and be grateful that our paths crossed with his on earth. Our lament is that of the sorrowing David of old when he said, "Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?" But unlike David, we know that if the earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands. By the gift of Christ we have hope — the blessed hope.

— F. Y. T.