Lt. Col. Dale Engstrom, US Army, Ret. who celebrated his 100th birthday on April 15, 2017, died on Monday, January 22, 2018, in Forest City, North Carolina.
Colonel Engstrom, a resident of Hamilton County since 1956, when he came to the area as senior advisor to the Army Reserve, was familiar to Tennesseans as a business entrepreneur, a state legislator, a volunteer who worked tirelessly for worthy projects in education and health care, and one whose interests in the natural sciences and the humanities sustained his long-time work as a volunteer with Earthwatch, an international research organization.
His mother having died at his birth, he grew up with his maternal grandmother, living in Maine and then Wisconsin. As a teenager in Eau Claire, WI, he became fascinated with electronics and set up his own broadcasting system for Christ Episcopal Church, where he also served as altar boy. He brie?y attended the University of Wisconsin prior to his entry into the Army, during which time he completed his college education through the University of Maryland and the University of Vienna. In 1961, he retired, concluding a 27-year Army career, including service in WWII and Korea, which began with the cavalry, where his ?rst assignment was breaking in wild mounts, and ended in Chattanooga as Senior Advisor to the Army Reserve. When he retired, he decided to make Chattanooga his permanent residence.
After graduation from Officers’ Candidate School, he was assigned to teach at Fort Benning, where he was elected to the Infantry Hall of Fame. He was selected to attend Of?cer’s Basic Course, Officer’s Advanced Course and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Psychological Warfare School, and the Air Ground Operations School at Fort Bragg. At the end of WWII, he joined United States Forces Austria in Vienna as Assistant Secretary, General Staff for the Theatre Headquarters. Included in his military duties was overseeing the reestablishment of the Salzburg Festival.
Slated to teach at West Point, he instead was sent to Korea as G3 Air with the U. S. 10th Corps. Following the armistice he was assigned to teach the Korean Army in Air Ground Operations. His next assignment was in Japan where he taught in the Air Ground School for the Japanese Defense Forces.
Mr. Engstrom pursued a second career with Massachusetts Mutual, becoming a CLU. In 1970 he was elected to the Tennessee legislature, where he co-authored legislation for special education for handicapped children. He was vice-chairman of the National Developmental Disabilities Council and chairman of the Tennessee council. His interest in education and the welfare of children led him into his volunteer work with TEAM Evaluation Center, where he served as board chairman for 10 years and oversaw the raising of funds to build its permanent housing on Holtzclaw Ave. and an additional center in Memphis. After his tenure there, the TEAM Board named one aspect of its program Engstrom Services.
As a private pilot, he donated time to flying children to/from the Shriner’s Hospital, serving one term as president of the Chattanooga Flyers Club.
Engstrom was, for 25 years, the co-owner and board chairman of Appliance Parts Warehouse in Chattanooga. He served as president of the National Appliance Parts Suppliers Association and received its highest award. He was president of the board of directors of the Chattanooga Cerebral Palsy Association for several years and received its highest national award for his work in this area. He was an active member of Civitan Club for 30 years, serving one term as president, and in I998 he was chosen to receive its top award, the Honor Key designation. He also served as president of the Metropolitan Council and a member of Chattanooga Country Club.
His love of the outdoors led him into many activities, most significant being his work with Earthwatch. He was a representative from Tennessee and was a volunteer on 12 projects on five continents. His lifelong study of wildlife is reflected in his collection of prints of the works of Ray Harm, Arizona artist and naturalist. His interest in culture and history led him to extensive travel on all continents.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Dr. Lena Mayberry Engstrom; and son, Kenneth.
Survivors include his stepdaughter, Lynn Baynard of Forest City, NC, and step-son, James Mayberry of Soddy Daisy; granddaughter, Susan Marina Engstrom of Athens, Greece and two great-grandchildren of Athens, Greece; three grandchildren of North Carolina, eight great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren, and a great-nephew, Keith Drew of Lake Lanier, Ga.
Memorial contributions may be made to The Lena Mayberry Engstrom Endowed Scholarship Fund. Please mail your gifts to The Fund for Annual Giving, Western Carolina University, 1 University Drive, 201 HF Robinson Bldg., Cullowhee, NC 28723.
Donations may also be made to Hospice of Rutherford County, 374 Hudlow Road, Forest City, NC.
Memorial services will be held on Friday, Feb. 2, at 1 p.m. in the North Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home. Interment will follow in Chattanooga National Cemetery.
Please share your thoughts and memories at www.chattanooganorthchapel.com.