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Feb. 8, 1932 – April 14, 2024

Dale “Coach” Clipper was born February 8, 1932, at the home of his Uncle on Pioneer Road, Oakdale, CA. He was the youngest of the three children born to Claire and Muriel Clipper. Dale was raised on the family dairy which was located near the former town of Langworth. When Dale was 11 years of age, his older brother Warren would enter the fight in WWII. Dale would then take his place working alongside his father running the dairy, where a strong work ethic was instilled upon him early on from his father. Dale attended Oakdale schools. In High School he gained accolades in sports, such as being named MVP of the VOL for basketball his senior year. He was the class president in his Senior year and rewrote the school constitution to establish Student Legislature for the purpose of more student representation in school Government.

The summer after graduating from OHS, he worked as a rod-man moving the bench marks surveying from the Niagara Creek BLM down to the bottom of the dam site for the future Donnell Dam. They would end up finding the original 1906 survey, which was a nail driven into a dead tree at the bottom of the dam site. Knowledge learned from this job would later come in handy when Dale and fellow staff members at OHS would complete the construction at the South end turn on the track in 1957, making a complete seven lanes around the track. Dale entered the “College of the Pacific” in Stockton, then a two-year university, the Fall after graduating from Oakdale High School. There he played basketball, and as a Freshman helped to lead the Tigers to the Big Eight Conference title and the Northern Regional Tournament Championship placing fifth.

He graduated in 1954 from the “College of the Pacific” and went to work with Zeller Bach Paper Company in the Bay Area. After two years, he came to the conclusion that this wasn’t the career he would want to do for the rest of his life and would return to Oakdale to pursue his teaching and coaching career at Oakdale High School. Dale married Evelyn Fahey in 1956 and together they raised four children. Dale and Evelyn would move into the home where Dale was raised and he would spend the next 61 years on the family ranch before moving into Oakdale. In 1956 under OHS principal Don Lund, Dale signed a contract for $3,900.00 a year starting out his career teaching science. He began molding into the coaching circle piloting the JV Football, “B" Basketball and Track teams in his first three years. In 1959 Mr. Lund offered him one of two coaching positions, Varsity Football or Varsity Basketball. An early projection at the East Side Grammar school would help Dale make this decision. When he was in the first grade, he loved drawing his teams running plays in the sand at the lunch recess football games. So the choice was made, football! In his first year of head coach in 1959 the Mustangs won the league championship, and again in 1961. Between 1959-1979 Oakdale had nine winning seasons, with an overall record of 123-72-8. He would be the Mustangs head coach for 21 years. Dale stepped down from the head coaching position in 1979.

He had made so many connections during his time teaching and coaching at Oakdale High School and felt that it was his responsibility to help each student reach their full potential. Under his guidance he saw that each student brought unique things and Dale was able to recognize this. He had the gift of looking at every player and address them as individuals and also to meld them together as an effective team. Dale taught a total of 34 years at OHS, and in those 34 years his jobs were, 31 years teaching physical education, 21 years as head varsity football coach, 29 years as the assistant coach to Jack Walker in track and four years as the Athletic Director. Dale retired from OHS in 1990 but remained a loyal supporter and advocate for Oakdale High School for many years after. In retirement Dale stayed involved with helping to keep improving Oakdale schools. He was part of the committee for the 2000 Bond and helped to put together the sequence of order for how the improvements were to be started.

In 1991 Dale was inducted into the Oakdale Sports Hall of Fame and in 2009 the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce honored him with the “Lifetime Achievement Award”. He was an OHS “Mustang” supporter through and through and when he could no longer attend the games, former students would call to keep him informed of sporting events and how Oakdale was doing. These calls were cherished by him. Also in retirement Dale began the genealogy history on both the Clipper and Fahey families. There was no back then, so he and Evelyn would make trips back to Maine, New York, Missouri and Kansas visiting local cemeteries and documenting the records kept on the early pioneers. Long distance calls were made to Ireland and Germany churches, where through the records kept at the churches and help from many kind people at the museums, they pieced together the beginnings of each family. Dale worked on his genealogy project for over 30 years, and in that time he produced three remarkable detailed books with history, dates, documents and pictures to leave the future generations of both families. He was still communicating with a library in Illinois at the age of 91 on the beginnings of the Clipper family in that area, and sent his last book back to them which was placed in their library. His biggest finds on the family were that his family could be traced back to the 1600’s. Every American war was represented by a member in his family dating back to the American Revolution. Thurl Ravenscroft, the voice behind the song “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch”, and many Walt Disney movie characters was also in the family tree. Dale and Evelyn also belonged to the “Pot Luck Group”, a group of friends who met every month for over 50 years and were still celebrating their birthdays together in their 90’s. Fishing trips to Canada, Oregon and throughout California were also taken and were a big highlight of his retirement. Dale had many former students, dear friends and family visit or call him up until the time of his passing. His family would like to say thank you to all who took time out of your busy lives to reach out to Dad, and give him so much pleasure with your kindness.

Dale was preceded in death by his brother Marvin, parents Claire and Muriel, son Michael, wife Evelyn and brother Warren. Dale is survived by his children, Sharon (John) Vaughn of Escalon, Steve (Barri) and Greg Clipper of Oakdale. Grandchildren, Heather Panella, Alan and Philip Vaughn, Fallon Brown and Will Clipper. Great Grandchildren, Roslyn and Wesley Vaughn, Nolan and Ella Quaschnick, Benjamin and Sloane Brown, Lily and Jake Panella.

A “Celebration of Dale’s life” will be held on May 11, 2024 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Gene Bianchi Community Center, 110 S. Second Ave., Oakdale, CA 95361. In lieu of flowers, the family would welcome as an expression of sympathy for Dale, a contribution can be made to “OJUSD Scholarships” in care of Clipper Scholarship, at the address: OJUSD District Office, 168 S. Third Ave., Oakdale, CA 95361.

The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader

The Riverbank (Calif.) News

April 24, 2024