Dale Lee Blackburn | Passages

Dale Lee Blackburn was born October 3rd, 1942 in Salt Lake City, Utah, the second child and second son of Anthony Allen and Evelyn Blanche Blackburn.

Dale died February 3, 2023 at his home in Friday Harbor, Washington.

Dale is survived by his children Anthony Lee and Theresa Mary, four grandchildren, siblings Steven, Patricia and Richard and nearly countless nieces and nephews. To all of his nieces and nephews, he was a, if not THE, favorite uncle. He was predeceased by his sister Suzanne.

Dale’s childhood was spent mischievously, with his siblings, with stories being told resembling scenes from “The Little Rascals”. Later, the family moved from Salt Lake City, UT to Gooding, ID and then on to Boise, ID.

Dale graduated from Boise High School, Boise, ID,

Dale married Kathleen Greer April 25, 1964. Dale and Kathe moved their family to California in 1968. Dale was a Volkswagen/Porsche/Audi mechanic for Gus Mozart Porsche-Audi in Palo Alto, CA for many years.

Dale had a passion for auto racing and in his late teens and early 20s, he raced his Volkswagen Beetle at courses set up in Ann Morrison Park, Boise. Later, after moving to California, he continued club racing at the old Ford Motor factory in Milpitas, CA. He took great pride in doing all of his own work to soup up his car. He ultimately won several trophies for his racing class.

After divorcing in 1974, Dale moved to Seattle, Washington. After a weekend trip to Friday Harbor, he moved there in 1977.

Dale purchased 5 acres of land on the South end of the island, in Portland Fair, and built an octagon-shaped house, with the structure built of logs pulled up off the beaches of Eagle Cove and South Beach. Dale had never built a home before but taught himself how to do it from a collection of many books and from the advice of friends, long before the time of YouTube.

Dale was a part owner in a restaurant in Friday Harbor for a few years, called Winstons. It was in the large yellow building across the street from Sunken Park that later became the Mosquito Fleet Mercantile.

Dale worked as a mechanic, where the current Shell Station is, at the corner of Spring Street and Argyle Ave. Later, he worked at Orcas Power & Light Cooperative as a “Staking Technician”, helping to bring power to rural homesites on San Juan Island. Dale retired from OPALCO and became a local fixture for Islanders, with his company, Island Maintenance. Dale was always there to help friends and future friends with their homes, cars or anything that needed fixing. Dale always said, “If I can’t fix it, it ain’t broke.” Dale’s spirit of friendliness and desire to help others gained him many friends, on and off the island.

Dale never turned his back on adventure, working several seasons in Alaska on salmon seiners around Kodiak Island and on a crab boat in the Bering Sea, some of the most dangerous work in the world. Dale also “wintered over” two years in Antarctica at Palmer Station, supporting science efforts as a mechanic, keeping small and heavy equipment in working order. Dale went from Argentina to Palmer Station on the Research Vessel, Hero. One of his proudest “Treasures” was the medal he received for his service. “Courage-Sacrifice-Devotion” are inscribed on the medal.

For several years, Dale owned a 36’ steel trawler named the “Pelican”. He took it several times up the inside passage with friends, going as far as Ketchikan, AK. A favorite thing for Dale was to take friends and cruise the Pelican over to the West side of Lopez Island and drop his shrimp pots. Conversations later, the pots would be pulled in, full of bounty to be consumed back at his home.

The dining table in his house and the table on the front deck were always a gathering place for meals, laughter, wine and conversation with friends, future friends and family. Later, these gatherings would take place in the “Pelican Room”, located in the loft of his barn. The Pelican Room was, and is, a welcoming place with a large wooden bar that he hand-crafted.

Dale made many friends in his 80 years, in many places. He cherished his relationships in the San Juan Island community and elsewhere. He will truly be missed. Dale’s family is deeply grateful for the support, friendship and reachouts of the many people whose lives he touched.

A celebration of his life will be held at his home on May 27, 2023.