Dale Fern

Dale Wesley Fern, age 84, of Baldwin, passed away on July 15, 2011 in Red Wing, MN. He was born the son of Harry and Leona (Olson) Fern on February 25, 1927 in Baldwin. Dale graduated from Baldwin High School in 1945. In February of his senior year of high school, he enlisted in the US Navy.  Serving as a Pharmacist Mate 3rd Class, he was honorably discharged in October of 1946.  Dale went on to attend the University of Wisconsin – River Falls from 1946-47 and graduated from the Minnesota School of Business in 1949.

In 1951, Dale was united in marriage to Pauline Sandquist. They were blessed with three children: Cyndee, Jeffrey, and Daniel. Pauline passed away in 1970 after a lengthy battle with cancer.  A few years later, Dale was fortunate to find love again when he was set up on a blind date with Gloria Nielsen. On April 27, 1974 the couple was married at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Glenwood City, WI. Her three children, Karen, Deanna, and Christian, brought further joy into Dale’s life.

Dale began his employment with First National Bank of Baldwin in 1949. Over the years, he would serve as the President and Chairman of the Board. Dale was elected to Federal Reserve Board of Minneapolis where he served two terms. He retired from the First National Bank of Baldwin 1989.  After his retirement, Dale became involved with the Village of Baldwin Industrial Development. He was very proud of the industries and businesses in the industrial park. Due to his many contributions, a street in Baldwin has been named “Fern Drive.”

Dale was an active member of and volunteer for the community. He served on the Board of Directors, including Chairman, for Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan; was a member of The Supreme Court of Wisconsin Board of Attorneys Responsibility in District 8 from 1978-1990; and, always concerned about the environment, Dale was a member of the St. Croix Land and Water Conservation Committee – earning the Water Quality Leadership Award in 2003 and the Pine Lake Conservation Partnership Achievement Award.

He has served on numerous other boards including the United Way of St. Croix County Fund Drive, Baldwin-Woodville Facility Task Force, the St. Croix County Condemnation Commission, Lutheran Fellowship Gathering, Fellowship Tours, Baldwin Boosters, the Regional Business Fund and the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.

In 2005, he was the Parade Marshall, along with wife Gloria, for Baldwin’s annual June Bug Days.

Though it would seem Dale had little personal time after his many commitments, he had several interests, most of which revolved around being outdoors. In 1978, Gloria and Dale built a lake home on Pine Lake; they loved spending time with their family there. Dale enjoyed hunting, snowshoeing, skiing, walking, biking, and sailing – on both Pine Lake and Lake Superior. He also took pleasure in gardening, reading and jazz music. Dale and Gloria enjoyed traveling throughout the US and all over the world. He always had a dog, and recently he said goodbye to his canine companion Toby.

Dale is survived by wife of 37 years, Gloria (Frederick) Fern; children: Cyndee (Steve) Washburn of Shorewood MN, and Jeffrey Fern of Waukon IA, Daniel Fern of Rochester MN; stepchildren: Karen (Brian) Nielsen of Madison WI, Deanna (Tom) Medenwaldt of Grayslake IL, and Christian (Stevie) Nielsen of Minneapolis MN; five grandchildren: Nicole & Jon Lamb, Ian & Hans Nielsen-Fox, and Leah Medenwaldt; sister; Janet Paulson of Diamond Bar CA; extended family and countless friends.

A funeral service will be held for Dale at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, July 19 at Gethsemane Lutheran Church, 1350 Florence St., Baldwin. Interment with military honors will follow in the Baldwin Cemetery. Visitations one hour prior to the service at church and on Monday, July 18 from 4:00 until 8:00pm at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home, 1010 Newton St., Baldwin, 715-684-3434. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to GLC/ELCA World Hunger or to Lutheran Social Services.


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