Martin E. Dale

August 15, 1931 ‒ June 17, 2017

Sunbury, Ohio


Martin Dale 85 of Sunbury passed away Saturday June 17, 2017 at Grady Memorial Hospital in Delaware.
Martin was the third of four sons born to Dewey and Mary (Dunn) Dale in Meana, Arkansas. It was the Great Depression and though the family faced hard times and struggled as most families did back then,they thrived on the meals their resourceful mother would make with food from her garden, the chickens, and milk from the family cow. Marty was always helpful, whether it was paring apples, churning butter or making soap to help his mother or baling hay and raising hogs or cows to help his father put food on the table.

Marty’s parents wanted their children to be well rounded and have good educations to go forward in life. Marty became an Eagle Scout. While serving in the US Army, he was inducted into the US Military Intelligence Corps. He excelled in school and was able to attend and graduate from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Forestry. Later he was able to use the GI Bill to earn his PhD in statistics from Iowa State University.

He married Gayle Carstensen and together they had 4 children: Steven, Denise, Michael and David.

The family resided in Berea Kentucky where Marty began his field research career for the US Forest Service, later moving to Ames, Iowa and eventually settling in the central Ohio area as he continued his career at the USDA Experimental Station in Delaware Ohio, eventually retiring in 1992.

Marty and Gayle enjoyed watching their children compete in the swimming meets all over the Midwest while living in Ames and in Columbus, occasionally taking the opportunity to visit and spend time with family in Spirit Lake, Iowa and Osawatomie, Kansas or taking the occasional family vacation to camp and enjoy the beauty of what nature offered in the mountains or to spend time at the ocean.

Eventually his first marriage ended and in 1985 he married Laurel Siefert Doran, a high school teacher in Pataskala, Ohio who had a daughter Annie.

They had a rich and fascinating marriage, mostly centered around the Christmas tree farm Marty started in 1982, which he had long dreamed about. Through the years, many families have come to the Dale Tree farm to choose and cut down their own Christmas tree. Though Marty cannotphysically be with us this year, the Christmas tree farm will be open with Marty’s spirit guiding his children and wife and helpers while continuing to make his dream come true.

Marty is survived by his wife; two of his children, Denise McLain (husband Bill McLain) and Dave Dale; by his stepdaughter Annie Adler; his Grandchildren Tasha Dale, Rachel Adler, Brian Dale and Brandi Dale; two brothers Jim Dale and Lewis Dale.
Marty has marked the world with his beautiful spirit; always expressing dignity, hope, kindness and tolerance for all.
An informal memorial service celebrating Martin’s life will be held at the tree farm later this summer.

In lieu of flowers memorial contribution’s may be directed towards Delaware County Humane Society 4920 OH-37, Delaware, Ohio 43015

To share a fond memory or to leave a message of condolence please visit

The Snyder-Rodman Funeral Center in Delaware is handling arrangements.

  • He was a mentor and a great friend. I wish I knew half as much about forestry as he did. I will miss him greatly.

  • So sorry Laurel…….In this tough time in your life, may my friendship, sympathy, and heartfelt condolences bring you comfort. I am here for you Laurel, as are many of our mutual friends. Contact me if you want to talk. Love you, Linda

  • Marty was a tremendous mentor to me as I joined the FS shortly before he retired. My first publication as a FS was co-authored with Marty, and this work had a tremendous influence on subsequent work at the lab even to this day. He also taught me about growing Christmas trees which I have dabbled in since that time. He was always so friendly and giving. He truly will be greatly missed!

  • I met Marty shortly after I joined the Forest Service. He was kind, funny, experienced, insightful, and generous with this time and knowledge. We worked on a few projects together over the following decades, and it was a joy to interact with him professionally and personally. His research also leaves a legacy of knowledge about hardwood forest management. I still use his research publications, as do my colleagues. So sorry to hear of his passing; so happy to have known him.

  • Marty is the reason I was able to be where I am in life now. He had always been a great grandfather – but in 2012 when I spent many a days a week for months having him help me understand my college math courses – he became a true friend. Since then whenever we would get together we would talk for hours, whether it be about politics, philosophy, nature, or really anything at all. He had a unique sense of humor that I greatly enjoyed. He always believed in me, encouraged me, and his outlook on life inspired me in ways that he may not have even known.

  • I first became aware of Martin when I was a senior at Iowa State. Tom Burk and I drew upon Martin’s research for our senior project. So it was a privilege to come to work with him in 1990. What a gentle man with tremendous knowledge of the forest and it complexities. After he retired, we enjoyed seeing him each Christmas to pick out our tree.

    May God grant peace and comfort to family and friends.