By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Death takes downtown hardware man

Ethan Dale
Ethan Dale

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, June 1, at First Presbyterian Church in McMinnville. Private interment will be conducted at the Masonic Cemetery under the direction of Macy & Son Funeral Directors.

Dale and his wife, the late Jean Taylor Dale, owned and operated Taylor-Dale Hardware at Third and Ford streets from 1961 until the store closed in the late 1990s. Before joining her father and uncle in the McMinnville business, they owned and operated Carlton Hardware from 1951 to 1961.

The former hardware store building in McMinnville is still marked with the Taylor-Dale name. People remember it as an old-fashioned business in the best sense of the word, with Dale and his staff helping customers find just the right fit.

“You’d step in on that wooden floor and, no matter where he was in the store, Ethan would yell a big, hearty Santa Claus-like greeting at you,” recalled Chris Browne, who met him when she came to McMinnville as director of the chamber of commerce. “If they didn’t have something, he’d always say, ‘Don’t worry, we can get it for you,’” she said.

Browne recalled Dale was more laid back than most of his fellow Third Street merchants. At meetings, she said, “He would just sit back and say, ‘Oh, don’t worry about it.’ He just went with the flow.”

Dale was a mentor to John Rima, owner of John’s Mower Hospital, who started working at the hardware store when he was 17.

“I learned an awful lot from Ethan,” Rima said. “He helped shape me.”

The hardware man was very supportive when Rima started his own business, specializing in lawn mowers. And they continued to maintain a close relationship over the years.

“I have so much respect for him and for his family,” said Rima, who last visited his friend on Sunday, two days before his death.

Outside work, and after he retired, Dale loved sports. He attended his four son’s games and, later, games in which his grandchildren played.

He also was a lifelong supporter of the McMinnville Grizzlies, the Linfield Wildcats and the Oregon State University Beavers.

A native of Portland, he graduated from OSU in 1948, following a tour in the U.S. Army during World War II. He went on to earn a master’s degree in retail administration from New York University.

He loved to participate in sports himself as well, especially golf. A founding member at both the Bayou and Michelbook, he played every Thursday with a group of friends.

Dale had been a member of the McMinnville Presbyterian Church since 1954. He was involved with many community organizations, including, along with Jean, the American Cancer Society.

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