Dale Van Dreel, 78, of rural Pulaski, loving husband of Sandy (Majeski) Van Dreel, beloved father of Cheryl, Chad and Jana, and cherished grandpa of Alayna & Mariah, passed away at home with his family at his side on January 12, 2021. He was not finished with all of his projects and ambitions as glioblastoma took his life much too soon.
Dale was born February 13, 1942, in Green Bay to Frank and Edna (Johnsen) Van Dreel. Dale and Sandy met as students at Pulaski High School. They were married on August 11, 1962, at St. Casimir Church in Krakow and recently celebrated 58 years of marriage. Together they had three children; Cheryl (Ron) Charon of Peshtigo and twin granddaughters, Alayna, a brunette who loves cars like her grandpa and Mariah, a blonde who runs cross-country like her grandpa ran track in high school; Chad Van Dreel (Dave Wuest), Pulaski, and Jana Van Dreel (Scott Acheson), Minocqua. Dale was extremely proud of his family and their accomplishments. It was always important to him to show the family a good time, whether camping, boating or vacationing. He wanted nothing more than his family to succeed and always found himself helping with their projects or ideas in any way he could.
Dale always had a passion for cars and anything that had an engine. At a young age he started buying older cars and repairing them, driving them, and of course they always had to have a new “paint job.” At the young age of 19 Harry Slezewski, for whom he worked at the time, took Dale to Detroit Diesel School in Detroit, MI. Dale worked at several businesses, always spreading his wings to learn more. In 1982 he started his own repair business located next to his home in Pulaski with the encouragement of his father-in-law, where he repaired and sold parts for construction equipment for over 30 years. He had faithful customers who stretched from the Fox Valley to Upper Michigan. He often had to turn down work because he was too busy. He was very thorough with his repairs and the engines always left with a fresh coat of paint. He not only wanted them to work but also to look good when they left his shop and, most of all, to have satisfied customers.
In between his busy work schedule Dale and Sandy found time to travel to Hawaii five times over the years, twice with the whole family. In later years, the couple spent time during the winter in Arizona with their 5th wheel and motorcycle. He bought a boat for the family to water ski, truck campers, and spent many weekends in Silver Cliff with friends snowmobiling, camping, fishing, boating and tubing on the Peshtigo River and the Bay of Green Bay. When he turned 50 and most of the family was just about on their own, he and son Chad took flying lessons, and, together, bought their first airplane. Flying was his true passion. He and Sandy flew many places with their fold-up bikes in the back seat to tour wherever they landed, on many islands on Lake Michigan and Green Bay, to as far as Durango, CO and airports in between. At the same time, they got back into motorcycling and when they wintered in Arizona, toured with friends just about every road and mountain possible.
Dale was currently in the process of restoring the 1967 GTO that was their family car for many years, and was also restoring his 1976 Ford pickup. He also has a 1936 JD tractor, which he restored a few years prior. Dale was a person who never left a stone unturned. He was very creative and, if Snap-on didn’t have a tool he needed for a particular job, he made one. He also was not afraid of technology. He used his iPad nightly, always looking up parts or googling for new ideas, or classic cars. Dale was a member of EAA, AOPA, 651 Airplane Club, HOG chapter, and Smoke Signals Pontiac club. He and Sandy enjoyed many Tomahawk motorcycle rallies. They also hiked the Grand Canyon while vacationing in Las Vegas and took road trips to California to the Redwoods, Yellowstone Park, and Niagara Falls with family.
In addition to his wife, Sandy, Dale is survived by two daughters: Cheryl (Ron) Charon and their twin daughters, Alayna and Mariah of Peshtigo and Jana (Scott Acheson) Minocqua; a son: Chad (Dave Wuest) Pulaski; a brother: Dean (Linda) Van Dreel of Pulaski: a sister: Diane (Neil) Ditzman of Dykesville; a sister-in-law: Mary Van Dreel, Pulaski; Sandy’s family, sisters: Sharon Zuleger, Green Bay, Debbie (Sam) Wesolowski, Pulaski, Terri (Bobby) Geenan of Seymour; brothers: Bob (Kathy) Majeski of Oconomowoc and Brad (Sue) Majeski of Seymour; many nieces & nephews, other relatives and friends.
Dale was preceded in death by his parents: Frank and Edna Van Dreel; brother: Frank Van Dreel Jr.; sister: Donna (Tom) Woosencraft; infant brother: Jerry: and nephew: Jeff Van Dreel. He was further preceded in death by his in-laws: Elmer and Dolores Majeski, and his grandparents.
The family would like to extend a very special thank you to Debbie Wesolowski, Sandy’s sister, who has been with them throughout this past year and always on call and Sandy’s sister Terri, who was there to look after us at Dale’s bedside. Thank you to Bellin Hospital Green Bay and Dale’s nurse Emily, the University of Madison Hospital, the Bellin Cancer Center Team in Green Bay including Dr. Liss, Dr. de Villa, Kasi, Cassie and everyone at the center who was there for us during this very trying time. Thank you to Dr. Scott and Jessica at Bellin Health of Peshtigo; your compassion will never be forgotten. We are also grateful to Unity Hospice, especially Cheryl and Tina.
We love and will miss you Husband, Dad and Grandpa. Keep your wings level on 6101A and watch your altimeter. We won’t be able to hear you on your radio upon your arrival, but know that the runway will be clear and that you will have a safe landing. CAVU
HUGS till we meet again, your loving family.
Friends are invited to gather with the family at SS. Edward and Isidore Church, 3667 Flintville Rd., Green Bay, from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, January 19. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m., Fr. Dave Hoffman presiding with burial to follow in the parish cemetery. Guests will be required to properly wear a mask and respect social distancing guidelines. The Funeral Mass will be livestreamed on the parish Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/Ss-Edward-Isidore-Church-562136803967841
Since it might not be possible to be with the family in person, you are welcome to send any cards of condolence to the funeral home (make sure you put the family’s name on the outside envelope and your return address) and we will forward your cards and messages to the Van Dreel family.
Marnocha Funeral Home P.O. Box 356 Pulaski, WI 54162