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Obituary for Dr. Dale Jorgenson

by The family of Dale Jorgenson

DALE’S OBITUARY

U.S. Veteran  

Dale A. Jorgenson   Born March 20, 1926, in Buffalo County, NE, died April 28, 2021 at the Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House in Davenport, IA.

   He was preceded in death by his parents, Alfred E. Jorgenson and Laura Irene Jorgenson, as well as his sister Virginia Gramly and brother-in-law Warren Gramly, his brother-in-law Arthur Leo Hoffman, his brother-in-law Harold Strawn and his wife Virginia (“Genny”) Strawn, his sister-in-law Easter Pethtel and her husband William Leroy (“Roy”) Pethtel, his sister-in-law Elizabeth Hoy and her husband Paul Hoy, sister-in-law Helen Blazier and her husband Howard Blazier (“Howe”), his brother-in-law Edward Strawn and his wife June Strawn, brother-in-law William (“Bill”) Strawn, sister-in-law Hazel Naomi (“Nomy”) Miller and her husband Harold (“Percy”) Miller, sister-in-law Martha Mae (“Murph”) Hoffmann and her husband Dieter F. Hoffmann, brother-in-law Willard (“Willie”) Martsolf, and brother-in-law James Strawn.  He was also preceded in death by his daughter-in-law, Rebecca Ann Jorgenson.

   Dr. Jorgenson is survived by his wife of almost 74 years, Mary Lee [neé Strawn] Jorgenson, his children Dale A. Jorgenson (Jean), Rebecca Lee Stringert, Mark S. Jorgenson (Colette), Janet Jorgenson (Paul Powell), and Eric L. Jorgenson (Alica), as well as his ten grandchildren, Rachel Collett, Dana Jorgenson, Alexandra Civalleri (Michael, “Mishka”), Laura Jorgenson, M.D. (Daniel Garrett), Joshua Selser, Matthew and Brian Jorgenson, Paul J. Powell, Marek and Lucas Jorgenson, and four much cherished great-grandchildren.  Also surviving is his sister Iva Hoffman of Eugene, Oregon, his sister-in-law Joan Strawn of Sacramento, California, and his sister-in-law Colleen Martsolf of Salem, Ohio, as well as many beloved nieces and nephews.

   Dr. Jorgenson received his Bachelor of Music at Harding College, his Master of Music at the George Peabody College at Vanderbilt University, and his Doctor of Philosophy at Indiana University.

   He served as instructor in a wide variety of subjects at Southeastern Christian College in Louisville and later Winchester, Kentucky, and as a pastor of the Ebenezer Church of Christ, the Salem Church of Christ, and the Christian Church in Bryantsville, Indiana while completing his doctorate degree at IU.  He also served on the music faculty at Texas Womens University in Denton, Texas, and then as Head of the Music Department at Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia for three years.  Dr. Jorgenson then served as Director of Fine Arts at Milligan College in Johnson City, Tennessee. 

   In 1963 he moved his family to Kirksville, Missouri to serve as Chairman of the Fine Arts Department at what is now Truman State University.  During the 54 years he and his wife lived in Kirksville he spent nearly twenty years serving as the preacher to Knox City Christian Church, part of which time he served simultaneously at Edina Christian Church.  After marrying and burying many dear friends he thought he retired from preaching.

   In 1993, after his retirement from Truman State University, he was called to serve as interim at the Perry Christian Church in Perry, Missouri and he served that community for ten years.  During this time he instituted a tradition of offering an Oratorio every year on Palm Sunday, utilizing the combined musical talents of many students, faculty members and parishioners from the colleges, universities, and churches he had previously served, known area-wide as the “Perry Passion.”  His wife, children, grandchildren, and nieces and nephews were also honored to participate.

   Dr. Jorgenson served in the United States Army Air Force from 1944-46, PTO, in the 502nd Bomb Group, a part of the 315th Bomb Wing, as a Chaplain’s Assistant on Guam during WW II, and he later enjoyed reunions with the 315th Bomb Wing Squadron, a squadron noted especially for its forays into Tokyo toward the vital months at the end of the war, utilizing the newly modified B-29.  Occasionally during these reunions he would meet a fellow veteran who related that he sang in the choir the young Sergeant had put together ad hoc, singing in a homemade chapel, sometimes as their very first singing experience. Dale grew into his roles as preacher, music conductor, accompanist, and grief counselor as the need arose.

   After discharge from the USAAF in 1946 he returned to Harding College in Searcy, Arkansas and quickly met his beautiful future bride.  They married with the intention of serving as missionaries in Japan, but God had other ideas, and Brother Dale spent his whole life as a missionary-at-home, serving churches which otherwise might not have drawn a full-time pastor, including a monthly rotation at the ecumenical service held at The Fountains in Bettendorf, Iowa, where he lived for his last four years.

   Dr. Jorgenson loved cars and he loved driving, and the couple enjoyed significant travel by car throughout the United States and Europe; he even learned to drive on the left side of the road so he could drive in England.

   After his retirement from Truman State University he had time to devote to research and writing, and completed several books, among them Moritz Hauptmann of Leipzig (the definitive biography of Hauptmann, a leading musical theorist of mid-19th-century Germany), Theological and Aesthetic Roots in the Stone-Campbell Movement (a study of the significance of the arts and aesthetics and their leaders’ contributions to the Campbellite Restoration Movement in America), The Life of Karl Anton (a theologian, musician, art historian, pedagogue and J.S. Bach historian whose political views, like many other Germans, were changed as a result of the events of the early 20th century), and The Life and Legacy of Franz Xaver Hauser (a biography of the primary private contributor to the complete edition of Bach’s works compiled by the Bach Society).

   Other writings included How It All Began, depicting his and Mary Lee’s early lives (each of Dale’s chapters began with a picture of his current automobile), Christianity and HumanismDiary of an Army Air Corps (VH) Chaplain’s AssistantA Devotional Note on The Second and Third Epistles of JohnLimericks, Rhymes, and a Few Poems, as well as articles for Restoration Quarterly, The Word and Work, Christianity Today, and other publications. His compulsion to keep writing continued to the end of his life, entertaining hospital medical care workers and employees at The Fountains who frequently discovered a limerick on the back of the daily menu card referencing the food served that day.

   “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

   Funeral service will be on Friday, May 28, 2021, at 2:00 PM at the Davis-Playle-Hudson-Rimer Funeral Home in Kirksville, Missouri. Burial will be in Park View Memorial Gardens.




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Romans 14:8